“Chasing the new is dangerous to society.” I read this quote at an activist art exhibition and it got me thinking about Halifax, my city, and of the group that I belong to. What if the old way of healthcare is actually dangerous to society at a whole?
We are in the midst of an incredibly dynamic moment in the world of medicine and public health. Hepatitis C research has progressed so rapidly that the virus could be eliminated as a public health threat only 40 years after its discovery in 1989.
Why do First Nations, Métis and Inuit in Canada carry such an unfair burden of hepatitis C in Canada? It is estimated that hepatitis C among Indigenous people is five-times higher than non-Indigenous Canadians. In particular, Indigenous women represent almost half of all hepatitis C cases in their communities, a much higher proportion than among the non-Indigenous Canadian population. Young Indigenous people (24 years and under) represent 70% to 80% of hepatitis C infections among people who inject drugs in Canada.
Harm reduction and gay men’s HIV prevention could be considered two historic elements in our HIV response that have long stood separate from one another. Traditionally, HIV prevention with gay men focused on sexual risk, while harm reduction focused on risks associated with injection drug use. Both approaches have evolved over the decades and some might argue that safer sex is a form of harm reduction, but in the context of drug use, there has been little focus given to harm reduction in the context of gay men’s sexual health.
The CATIE Blog hosts the views and opinions of people and organizations working and volunteering in Canada’s response to HIV and hepatitis C.