Tag: Indigenous

We need to address the unique and complex issues of Indigenous people living with HIV

By Cécile Kazatchkine and Sandra Ka Hon Chu

cecile-k-2SANDRA_HI_RES- croppedIndigenous people in Canada are disproportionately affected by HIV, representing 10.8 per cent of new HIV infections and 9.1 per cent of people living with HIV in Canada.[1]  In Saskatchewan alone, the number of Indigenous people living with HIV is around twice the national average and the highest in Canada and “one of the few places in the industrialized world where people are still dying from AIDS and HIV.”

Lack of access to HIV treatment and care among other complex factors contributes to these alarming rates: in many rural or remote areas, HIV-specific services are simply not available, or the small size of the community creates concerns around confidentiality for those accessing care. Indigenous people in Canada — many of whom are surviving a legacy of colonization and the intergenerational effects of residential schools — continue to experience systemic discrimination and extremely high rates of incarceration. In this context, the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure may be perceived as yet another form of institutionalized violence and discrimination, amplifying the negative impact of the HIV epidemic on Indigenous communities.

Indigenous Youth Leaders are Taking Action on HIV in their Communities!

By Sarah Flicker and the Native Youth Sexual Health Network

Group shot

Taking Action II is a community-based action research project about building and supporting Indigenous youth leadership in the HIV/AIDS movement.  We are a group of Indigenous youth leaders, Indigenous community-based organizations and university-based researchers. We wanted to create awareness around HIV, sexual health, and decolonization in First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities across Turtle Island (also known as Canada).

In Taking Action I, we worked with over 100 youth in six Indigenous communities across Canada to make art about the links between HIV and colonization. We did this as a way of broadening the conversations about HIV – to move away from the individual shame-and-blame discourse. We wanted to help communities understand and respond back to all the structural factors that have conspired to make them vulnerable to HIV: racism, poverty, land theft, residential schools, loss of language/culture, epidemics of addiction, the Sixties Scoop (the practice of taking Indigenous children and placing them in foster homes beginning in the 1960s) and ongoing child welfare involvement, incarceration, etc. Youth created a lot of amazing art that took up these themes. They loved our workshops and asked for more opportunities to get together with youth from other communities.

How The Cedar Project is using mobile phones to engage young Indigenous people who use drugs in HIV prevention and treatment

By Kate Jongbloed

Members of the Cedar Project Partnership in March 2015.

Members of the Cedar Project Partnership in March 2015.

 

How’s it going?

These three little words have tremendous power. Sent as a simple text message, it creates an opportunity for dialogue between a case manager and a person seeking health care.

It is the power of those three words that drives a new mobile phone program in B.C. that connects young Indigenous people living with or vulnerable to HIV with much-needed care and services.

Wise Practices: An Indigenous approach to the annual business meeting

By Laurie Edmistonledmiston_1

I recently had the fortune of attending the annual event of the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN), combining their annual meeting, caucus of Aboriginal people living with HIV/AIDS (APHA Caucus), skills-building conference and “Wise Practices,” the research conference of CAAN’s Aboriginal HIV & AIDS Community-Based Research Collaborative Centre. The event brought together Indigenous people from across Canada involved in the response to HIV and hepatitis C. Although I attend most years, these gatherings never cease to enthrall and move me.

Indigenous issues front and centre at AIDS 2014

By Trevor Stratton

While much of the media attention this summer focused on the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, a smaller pre-conference held in Sydney brought together Indigenous HIV activists and allies from around the world to discuss the issues facing our peoples.