HIV/AIDS Epi Updates, July 2010 – Overview

Overview of Epi Updates Development and Methodology

HIV/AIDS Epi Updates (PDF document - 435 KB - 11 pages)


The primary objective of the PHAC Epi Updates publication is to provide up-to-date information on trends and developments in the epidemiology of HIV and associated risk behaviours in Canada. Prior to 2007, the Epi Updates were published on an annual basis. A new approach has been developed, specifically, a staggered approach to publication of the chapters. Each chapter will now be published as a stand-alone document that will be updated as new epidemiologic data become available.

The chapters published in 2010 were developed based on literature searches from January 1, 2006, to December 31, 2009. For those published after 2010, the literature search focus period is described within the Epi Update chapter itself.

Search Methodology Used

A detailed search strategy was developed by a PHAC health librarian to generate a list of relevant HIV literature citations within the context of the Canadian population. A broad search was done using the SCOPUS database. Search terms included "HIV" and "Canada". This yielded a large number of results, as it was designed to be a comprehensive search strategy.

Articles were screened by title and/or abstract using pre-defined inclusion/exclusion criteria.

To identify other relevant documents, such as reports, news articles and exposés, a Web search was done using search engines such as Google™; this search also used the search terms "HIV" and "Canada". RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds were set up through the Health Canada Library to locate any newly published media report within the parameters of the literature search objectives.

Inclusion criteria

Articles meeting the following criteria were included in the Epi Updates reference materials:

  • Articles that referred to the vulnerable populations as specified in the Federal Initiative to Address HIV/AIDS in Canada, which include Aboriginal Peoples, at-risk youth, women, people who inject drugs (IDU), men who have sex with men (MSM), prison inmates, people from countries where HIV is endemic, people living with HIV/AIDS.
  • Independent variable: HIV-associated risk behaviours, social determinants of health.
  • Dependant variable: HIV and associated outcomes.
  • Study design: surveillance, epidemiologic studies, socio-behavioural, relevant randomized controlled trial (RCT), qualitative research and community-based research.
  • Country/populations: Canada/populations of people who reside in Canada.
  • Peer-reviewed literature.
  • Grey literature, such as agency reports, conference abstracts.
  • Articles are written in English or French.

Exclusion criteria

Articles meeting the following criteria were excluded from the Epi Updates reference list:

  • Animal RCTs.
  • Drug trials.
  • Program evaluation reports, discussions on surveillance methodology, articles that include HIV and populations of interest but focus on condition/topic other than HIV (e.g. cardiovascular disease in HIV populations), similar articles published with different titles/order of authors.
  • Articles written in languages other than French or English.

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