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Ministry of Health

Social Determinants of Health

The social determinants of health are factors and conditions that interact to influence the health of individuals and communities.

A Population Health Approach

The Ministry of Health uses a population health approach to measure the health of British Columbians. The Federal/Provincial/Territorial Advisory Committee on Population Health defines population health as: "the health of a population as measured by health status indicators and as influenced by social, economic and physical environments, personal health practices, individual capacity and coping skills, human biology, early childhood development and health services."

Social Determinants that Influence Health

A population health approach recognizes that not everyone has the same access to the services and supports that can help them to maintain their health. The availability of these services and supports can decrease the risk of HIV exposure for some individuals and influence the management of HIV/AIDS.

Safe and secure housing, jobs, adequate income support and access to health, social and addictions services are examples of social determinants that influence health and well-being.

Other social determinants that can influence health are:

  • poverty;
  • education;
  • gender orientation;
  • income and job security;
  • early childhood experiences;
  • abuse;
  • alcohol or substance misuse;
  • discrimination;
  • lack of caring and supportive family and friends;
  • access to health services; and
  • lack of respect for social and cultural diversity and equality.

Reducing the number of new HIV infections and improving the health and well-being of those already infected with HIV depends on changing the social determinants that place people at risk of HIV infection.