December 1st marked World AIDS Day and the first day of Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week (December 1-5th, 2012).
Aboriginal people (First Nations, Metis, and Inuit) are still experiencing disproportionate rates of HIV infection. In 2008, Aboriginal people made up an estimated 12.5% of all new HIV infections in Canada, with an infection rate 3.6 times higher than among other Canadians (PHAC, 2010).
The theme of this year’s Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week (AAAW) is “Getting to zero” – zero new infections, zero discrimination, zero AIDS-related deaths. The goal is to bring together Aboriginal organizations, government, health care providers and community members to discuss the issues underlying HIV infection rates in Aboriginal people, and the responses to them.
The Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN), together with the Red Road HIV/AIDS Network, is hosting a ‘Getting to Zero” event on December 5-6th in Victoria, BC, with a focus on celebrating Aboriginal women.
CAAN has also developed an AAAW activity guide and a poster (see Additional Resources below) for distribution to communities and health providers. The guide is meant to help communities plan for AIDS awareness activities not just during Awareness Week, but throughout the entire year.