Hair salons offer HIV testing for black communities in Ontario

TORONTO — Two hair salons are offering HIV screenings on Friday to promote routine testing within the African, Caribbean and black community, to mark Black HIV Awareness Day.

Although black women make up for less than 5 per cent of Ontario’s population, more than half account for women diagnosed with HIV, according to the African and Caribbean Council on HIV/AIDS in Ontario.

This year, the ACCHO is launching “The Care Salon” in an effort to provide a safe space for black women to have a conversation about the healthcare issue.

Ky’okusinga Kirunga, director of the ACCHO, spoke with CTV’s Your Morning on Friday about their collaboration with two Toronto hair salons.

“This stigma is holding people back from being tested and from having conversations about HIV … we’re talking about self-care these days so we’re hoping that African, Caribbean and black women can tie routine HIV testing to their self-care routine,” Kirunga said.

Customers can expect a brief “counselling” session to explain the process and certified testers will be administering the testing, according to Kirunga. The testing was being offered at Crown ‘N Glory Natural Hair Studio in downtown Toronto and Nappy’s Hair Studio in Scarborough.

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