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Canada Falling Behind on Slowing the Spread of HIV

Leaders discuss the need for Indigenous-led solutions on Parliament Hill as Indigenous AIDS Awareness Week 2023 Commences

OTTAWA, ON, Dec. 1, 2023 /CNW/ - Rates of HIV infection among Indigenous peoples in Canada are on the rise, putting Canada's international targets and thousands of lives in jeopardy.

"Efforts to address COVID-19 redirected support and attention from fighting back against HIV infections," said Margaret Kîsikâw Pîyesîs, Okimâw (CEO) of CAAN Communities, Alliances & Networks. "We need Indigenous-led solutions to get back on track and to achieve the objective of ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030."

Today is World AIDS Day which marks the beginning of Indigenous AIDS Awareness Week. The week will focus on the disproportionate distribution of HIV/AIDS among marginalized populations.

"In communities where structural and development challenges are greatest we see this illness continuing to be allowed to have a foothold," said Kîsikâw Pîyesîs. "This is troubling given Canada's ability to reduce rates among non-Indigenous populations over the years. We have the solutions, we are simply lacking support," she added.

Canada's Indigenous communities represented about 18.2% of all people diagnosed with new HIV infections in 2020, while representing only 5% of the population. This follows the trend of poor health outcomes that are persistent in Indigenous communities, for example where the rates of TB are more than 300 times higher in Inuit Nunangat than in the Canadian-born, non-Indigenous population and for First Nations living on reserve where the rate is over 40 times higher.

Today, CAAN launched the visioning project known as Wapiwin Akinê (See Collectively), funded by the Government of Canada under the Community Services Recovery Fund. The theme for Indigenous AIDS Awareness Week 2023 is 'Re-membering: Our Members, Our Agencies, Our Partners' to highlight and underscore the importance enabling and supporting communities in their leadership roles.

"I am delighted that the Government of Canada is providing funding to support the essential work of community service organizations like CAAN Communities, Alliances & Networks across the country. These organizations play a critical role in strengthening our communities and supporting those who are most in need. By providing funding to these organizations, we are investing in the well-being and resilience of our communities. We are building a more inclusive and supportive society where everyone has access to the services they need to thrive." Said the Hon. Jenna Sudds, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.

CAAN Mandate and Mission

CAAN provides a National forum for Indigenous Peoples to holistically address HIV and AIDS, HCV, STBBIs, TB, Mental Health, aging and related co-morbidity issues; promotes a Social Determinants of Health Framework through advocacy; and provides accurate and up to date resources on these issues in a culturally relevant manner for Indigenous Peoples wherever they reside.

SOURCE CAAN Communities, Alliances & Networks

By: PR Newswire Association LLC. - 01 Dec 2023
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