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New CME course tackles HIV in Aboriginal community

June 22, 2012

The CMA and the Canadian HIV Trials Network (CTN) have joined forces to develop the country’s first continuing medical education (CME) course dealing with the social, cultural and historical issues surrounding the diagnosis and treatment of HIV/AIDS in Aboriginal patients.

The illness has a significant impact on Aboriginal people. Even though only 4% of Canadians self-identify as Aboriginal, it is estimated that in 2008 Aboriginal people accounted for 8% of those living with HIV in Canada.

As well, Aboriginal women are at greater risk of HIV infection than women in other ethnic groups. They accounted for half of positive HIV tests among Aboriginal people, compared with 20% of infections within other ethnic groups.The CMA and CTN received input during course development from the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network. “Aboriginal peoples in Canada are disproportionately impacted by HIV and face many negative social determinants of health,” says network CEO Ken Clement.

The accredited course is designed for doctors who treat these patients in rural or urban settings. “This is a tremendous opportunity for physicians from coast to coast to learn not just the medical specifics of diagnosing and treating HIV but also the culturally appropriate means for diagnosing and treating Aboriginal peoples,” said Dr. Sam Shortt, the CMA’s director of knowledge transfer.

The goals of the two-hour online course include teaching doctors how to diagnose and treat those living with HIV/AIDS, and showing them how to recognize social and physical barriers to care.

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