The Committee for Accessible AIDS Treatment (CAAT) is a coalition of more than 30 Ontario based organizations from the legal, health, settlement and HIV/AIDS sectors. It was formed in 1999 to improve treatment and service access for marginalized people with HIV/AIDS. Since its inception, CAAT has been at the forefront of education, research, service coordination and advocacy on issues related to HIV, immigration and access.
In 2001, CAAT undertook a groundbreaking collaborative community based action research project: Improving treatment access for PHAs who are immigrants, refugees and without status.(IRN-PHAs) The study documented the challenges faced by these vulnerable PHA groups and engaged stakeholders from various sectors to develop a joint action plan to address these barriers. As a result of the study, several innovative initiatives were developed that continue to this day:
- The HIV Treatment Access Program at the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation that facilitates compassionate access to HIV treatment medications for Immigration, Refugee and Nonstatus PHAs.
- The HIV and Immigration Service Access Training Program based at Regent Park Community Health Centre in Toronto that facilitates provider and PHA skills development on HIV-immigration related issues;
- Providing accessible legal information on HIV and immigration in collaboration with the HIV/AIDS Legal Clinic of Ontario (HALCO)
- A provincial working group on health access for PHAs without full status in Canada.
Over the years , CAAT has played an increasingly important role in advocating and facilitating service access for immigrant, refugee and non-status PHAs. CAAT has hosted skill development forums, community planning sessions, and conducted in-depth policy analysis on issues affecting IRN-PHAs. Recently, CAAT has completed another action research project to explore ways to improve access to mental health services for our target communities and is in the process of engaging our target communities and key partners in knowledge transfer activities.
In 2007, CAAT received operational funding from the AIDS Bureau, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care to support its ongoing role in service coordination and community development. In spring 2008, after an extensive consultation and planning process involving its members and key partners, CAAT formalized its governance structure and elected its official Steering Committee to be responsible for the oversight and strategic direction of CAAT.
CAAT gratefully acknowledges the support from our funding partners:
ACAP (Ontario region), Public Health Agency of Canada; AIDS Bureau, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care; Canadian Institute of Health Research, Institute of Infection and Immunity; Community Innovation Fund, GlaxoSmithKline in partnership with Shire Biochem; The Ontario HIV Treatment Network; The Wellesley Institute.