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Celebrating WCRI scientist’s achievements in HIV/AIDS research for women

from the May 2, 2011 issue of Connect

Celebrating WCRI scientist’s achievements in HIV/AIDS research for women

Dr. Mona LoutfyIt’s an exciting time for Dr. Mona Loutfy, scientist at Women’s College Research Institute (WCRI). After co-chairing the 20th Annual Canadian Conference on HIV/AIDS Research this month, she is embarking on a new research study – to provide hope for the thousands of women living with HIV/AIDS in Canada.

Dr. Loutfy has received a $1.2-million grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to conduct a five-year, nationwide study on women affected by HIV/AIDS. The purpose of the Canadian HIV Women and Reproductive Health Cohort Study (CHIWOS) is to learn from HIV-positive women about the opportunities and difficulties accessing women-specific HIV/AIDS services. The study will also look at the impact on the sexual, reproductive and mental health outcomes among women who are treated with women-specific services.

“The primary objective of this study is to show that women living with HIV/AIDS do better in all health outcomes when they are provided with women-specific services,” says Dr. Loutfy, co-principal investigator.

The study will include HIV-positive women from Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec as part of the community of researchers – ensuring it remains relevant to their needs and issues.

And that’s not all. Dr. Loutfy has also been busy co-chairing the 20th Annual Canadian Conference on HIV/AIDS Research, where she had the opportunity to present the concept of her study to more than 800 attendees. The conference, held in Toronto, is all about exchanging information about the prevention of HIV infection and improving the quality of life for people living with HIV/AIDS. Among the speakers was the Honourable Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care in Ontario; and Dr. James Orbinski, Canadian physician and humanitarian.

“We’re thrilled to have one of our scientists receiving recognition as the co-chair of such a prestigious conference for HIV/AIDS research,” says Dr. Paula Rochon, vice-president of research at Women's College Hospital and a senior scientist at WCRI. “With the help of Dr. Loutfy, Women's College continues to make great strides in the research and clinical management of HIV in women.”

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