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About Wholistic Care

Wholistic care actively recognizes the layered and intersecting determinants that impact HIV related health and wellness. Wholistic care was described as including physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and community-based elements of well-being.

Women noted care should be:

  1. trauma-informed;
  2. genuinely compassionate;
  3. culturally inclusive; and
  4. focused on women’s autonomy and self-determination to make informed decisions about their health regardless of gender identity.

In some cases, wholistic health was linked to "one stop shop" or “hub" models where women are able to access multiple services that address their various needs in one space, while for others it was about fostering wrap-around, collaborative models of care. System navigation through warm referrals and care linkages were frequently cited. Understanding systemic barriers for women facing structural risk for HIV was key.

51% of women interviewed during WHAI’s community consultations indicated that they have not been able to, or have only somewhat been able to access the health care and support services they need (n=101)

Unpublished Findings from WHAI’s Community Consultations 2021/2022.

100% of WHAI sites indicated that wholistic care is a priority area for their community capacity building work (n=16).

WHAI’s Community Consultations 2021/2022

What is WHAI doing?

Moving work on Wholistic Care forward and fostering women’s leadership and expertise in this work includes:

  • Supporting thoughtful referral pathways and collaborative efforts between community partners for wrap-around, wholistic care
  • Building capacity for culturally inclusive, anti-racist models of care that integrate a wholistic approach, and foster strong linkages to HIV prevention and care
  • Sharing knowledge and awareness about the impact of stigma, judgment and racism in care services

“…a wrap-around care model that is offered by agencies above, it does not stigmatize survivors to seek the support they need, as it is all offered under one roof.”

— Community Partner from Ottawa

"I've definitely experienced transphobia. My inability to get healthcare as a trans woman is transphobia. I know doctors don't want to take me because [they] don't want to deal with the 'complications' involved with me."

— Community voice from London

“No one really helps you navigate the massive maze of social support and I don’t know how to.”

— Community voice from London


Caring for Women Living with HIV: Women-Centred HIV Care Toolkit

This toolkit support clinicians and community-based organizations in providing women-centred HIV care.


Women-Centred HIV Care: Information for Women Toolkit

This resource is for women living with HIV and can be used as a tool to support health self-advocacy and management.