Province Unveils Multi-Year HIV stratregy

Saskatchewan Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Moira McKinnon today released details of a comprehensive three-year HIV strategy to address the rising numbers of HIV cases in the province.

“The goal of the strategy is to ultimately reduce the number of new cases of HIV, and also improve the quality of life for those who are currently HIV positive,” McKinnon said. “There are frequently a complex set of factors facing our populations at-risk of contracting HIV, so the success of this strategy will rely on close collaboration with a variety of partners, including First Nation and Métis health authorities, health regions, community based outreach and AIDS organizations, who have been consulted during the creation of this document.””HIV/AIDS is a crisis in our First Nation communities, and it will take a strong strategy and even stronger partnership in order to see the number of positive tests decline,” Saskatoon Tribal Council’s Vice-Tribal Chief Geraldine Arcand said, who sits on the Saskatchewan First Nations’ Women’s Commission with the FSIN. “Today’s announcement shows just how far we have come by working together, but it also shows just how much work we have left. The Federation and the Women’s Commission will continue to support this partnership and ensure that all programs or services will be culturally appropriate, safe, respectful and grass roots driven.”

“Our first concern is the health and well being of our Métis citizens,” Métis Nation of Saskatchewan President Robert Doucette said. “We look forward to working with Saskatchewan Health in a meaningful way to address the health status in our Métis community. It is our hope that this three year strategy will work toward reducing the new numbers of HIV cases through prevention and education at the same time improving the quality of life for those Métis people that live with the disease.”

The HIV strategy will focus on four main areas:
• surveillance;
• clinical management;
• prevention and harm reduction; and
• community engagement and education.

“There are a number of specific initiatives planned, under development or already underway under each of the four main pillars of the strategy,” McKinnon said. “Part of the work already underway is creating stronger links between mental health and addictions services. We know it will take a lot of effort to turn this around but we are all determined to take steps now to prevent this from becoming a larger public health issue facing our residents and our province.”

The financial impact on provincial health and social services is significant. The current conservative estimate of the direct cost to the health care system in Saskatchewan is approximately $40 million per year.

It is estimated that as many as 25 per cent of HIV cases are undiagnosed in Saskatchewan. With more aggressive testing and contact tracing as part of the strategy it is anticipated that HIV case numbers will continue to climb over the next two to three years before levelling off and declining.

The Executive Summary of the HIV Strategy for Saskatchewan 2010-2013 is attached. The detailed strategy will be shared with stakeholders for further discussion and implementation. The executive summary of the HIV Strategy for Saskatchewan 2010-2013 can be seen online at www.health.gov.sk.ca.

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For more information, contact:
Karen Hill
Health
Regina
Phone: 306-787-4083

RELATED DOCUMENTS
9310-HIV Exec Summary.pdf (58.2 KB)

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