SFU professor challenging health inequities for communities affected by HIV

Angela Kaida will join Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Institute of Gender and Health

This is a photo of the Academic Quadrangle at the SFU Burnaby campus. Outside of the building, its a sunny day and there are students sitting on benches.
PHOTO: Allyson Klassen / The Peak

By: Natalie Cooke, News Writer

SFU’s health science associate professor, Angela Kaida, is leading a global research program that investigates health inequities experienced by women and youth affected by HIV. In regards to treatment access, Kaida found “HIV and the clinical features of the virus often play a smaller role in influencing sexual and reproductive health compared with other social determinants of health, including the impacts of socio-structural environments and political decision making.” 

Kaida has a personal understanding of the effects of HIV. She was born in Kenya, and saw the impacts HIV had on her family members across East Africa. Kaida explained to the Canadian Association for HIV Research, “In my family, I saw some of the ways in which HIV-related stigma played out — fear of accessing care, and of disclosing one’s status.” Kaida explained she was “really confused that an infectious agent could yield this sort of shame within a very loving and tight family.” As well, she noted that if people have shame about having HIV, they will not test, which will prevent their ability to receive treatment. 

Kaida will join the Institute of Gender and Health at Canadian Institutes of Health Research as their scientific director. Kaida said, “I am deeply honoured to help shape the Canadian health research [by] embracing a sex and gender-based analysis+  approach inclusive of racial identity and experience, gender diversity, sexual orientation, and other intersecting identities.” 

Joy Johnson, SFU president, told SFU News, “Dr. Kaida’s work at SFU has made an incredible impact on our students and community, and I am excited for her to continue advancing gender and health research in this new role.”

Kaida has previously conducted research analyzing data of people who are living or affected by HIV in Canada, the United States, Uganda, and South Africa. 

Her current contributions to global health research include: HIV prevention, sexual health, sexual health for those living with HIV, and safer contraceptive methods. Kaida told the Canadian Association for Global Health she is committed to the “greater and meaningful involvement of women living with HIV/AIDS.” According to SFU News, she has worked with the Peer Research Associates “who are women living with HIV with research training.” 

For more information on Kaida’s work, visit the Government of Canada’s website.