The Cedar Project: Residential transience and HIV vulnerability among young Aboriginal people who use drugs

Kate Jongbloed, Vicky Thomas, Margo E. Pearce, Kukpi Wunuxtsin Christian, Hongbin Zhang, Eugenia Oviedo-Joekes, Martin T. Schechter, Patricia M. Spittal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Aboriginal homelessness is considered to be a result of historic dispossession of traditional territories and forced displacement from community structures. Using data collected from 2005-2010 from the Cedar Project, a cohort of young Aboriginal people who use drugs in two Canadian cities, we examined how residential transience shapes HIV vulnerability. At baseline, 48 of 260 participants (18.5%) reported sleeping in six or more places ('highly transient') in the past six months. Generalized linear mixed models identified associations between high transience and sex and drug related HIV vulnerabilities. Transience was independently associated with sex work (AOR:3.52, 95%CI:2.06, 6.05); sexual assault (AOR:2.48, 95%CI:1.26, 4.86); injection drug use (AOR:4.54, 95%CI:2.71, 7.61); daily cocaine injection (AOR:2.16, 95%CI:1.26, 3.72); and public injection (AOR:2.87, 95%CI:1.65, 5.00). After stratification, transience and sexual vulnerability remained significantly associated among women but not men. Ensuring that young Aboriginal people have access to safe spaces to live, work, and inject must include policies addressing residential transience as well as the absence of a roof and walls.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-131
Number of pages7
JournalHealth and Place
StatePublished - May 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are deeply grateful to Cedar Project participants for continuing to share their voices and stories with us. We are indebted to the Cedar Project Partnership, including Elders Violet Bozoki and Earl Henderson, Prince George Native Friendship Centre, Carrier Sekani Family Services, Healing Our Spirit, Positive Living North, Red Road Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Network, Central Interior Native Health, Vancouver Native Health Society, Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network, All Nations Hope, Splatsin Secwepemc Nation, Neskonlith Indian Band, and Adams Lake Indian Band, for challenging us to be both great and good in our work. Thanks to our study staff, Vicky Thomas, Sharon Springer, Amanda Wood, Jill Fikowski, Pearl Lau, and Matt Quenneville, for their dedication to the study and participants. This research was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Operating Grant number RN156278-272441 .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015.


  • Aboriginal peoples
  • Drug use
  • HIV risk
  • Housing stability
  • Residential transience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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