Viewpoint: First Nations making big gains against HIV/AIDS – StarPhoenix

December 6, 2016

A great deal of public discussion has been focused on HIV/AIDs recently, but overlooked often in these conversations are the significant achievements that First Nations are making in preventing the further spread of HIV in their communities.

As the chief medical health officer for Health Canada’s First Nations and Inuit Health Branch in Saskatchewan, I’d like to offer some insights on the issue.

The rate of HIV/AIDS is significantly higher in Saskatchewan, particularly in First Nations communities, than in the rest of Canada. In 2014, the on-reserve rate of diagnosis in Saskatchewan was nearly three times the provincial rate and nearly six times the national rate. While the underlying reasons are varied and complex, many First Nations in the province have become increasingly vocal in raising awareness in their communities about this threat and are encouraging testing and treatment.

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