November 6th, 2019

// Innovative HIV Testing in Indigenous Communities Leads Way to Global Targets

Innovative HIV Testing in Indigenous Communities Leads Way to Global Targets

National Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week 2019

OTTAWA, Nov. 5, 2019 /CNW/ – The Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN) announces Indigenous leadership and supporters will celebrate Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week December 1 – 6, 2019. It will launch in Ottawa, ON with a Parliamentary Tea followed by events across the country (Vancouver, Edmonton, Prince Albert, Winnipeg, Montreal, Toronto, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, and more) to unite an Indigenous response to HIV and AIDS mirroring World AIDS Day’s theme ‘Communities Make the Difference’.

In 2017, a total of 2,402 new HIV cases were reported in Canada, an increase of 3%. Indigenous peoples comprise 20.1% of those new HIV cases. They continue to be over-represented 2.7 times higher than other Canadians. 

One in 7 does not know their HIV status. A new type of HIV diagnosis test, Dried Blood Spot Testing, is dramatically increasing the number of Indigenous peoples getting tested. A First Nations pilot in Saskatchewan saw an increase of 4x more HIV tests. Dried Blood Spot Testing is a needle-prick test similar to having a blood sugar test for diabetes. 

Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week will host a series of nationwide events to recognize the essential role that Indigenous communities play in the AIDS response at the international, national and local levels. 

Community work to be highlighted:  

  • Many events will provide new Dry Blood Spot Testing for free or information on how to access 
  • Launch 4 Indigenous Tool Kits: HIV & AIDS, STTBIs, Hep C, and Harm Reduction 
  • Launch of report on stigma and discrimination in the workplace experienced by Indigenous peoples living with HIV 

“Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week provides the platform for Indigenous communities to make the difference toward meeting global HIV targets,” shared Denise Lambert, chair of the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network board. “During this week, Indigenous peoples across Canada will raise awareness about the critical role of community to inform culturally safe approaches to wholistic HIV testing, care and treatment. We will do so in a manner that reflects Indigenous cultures and traditional knowledge, and also the unique social, spiritual, economic and political needs of our communities.”

The Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network invites all supporters to participate in Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week to ensure community voices be heard in the development, implementation and monitoring of the national AIDS strategy.

For more information, Events Schedule or RSVP, visit: www.aboriginalaidsawareness.com

Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN) is a non-profit organization that leads a collective response to protect the wholistic wellness of First Nation, Inuit and Métis peoples impacted by HIV, hepatitis C and related diseases and issues, such as mental health, addictions and aging. Through research and programming, it informs and influences public health policy from an Indigenous worldview and advances self-determination to address health determinants with Indigenous traditions, values and knowledge. www.caan.ca 

Media Resources: http://bit.ly/aaaw2019media

SOURCE Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN)

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