(Saskatoon, SK) The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations calls on Saskatchewan residents to take time on Saturday December 1st, World AIDS Day, to educate themselves on the facts about HIV/AIDS.
“Saskatchewan’s First Nation population has the highest rate of infection in Canada. It is really quite startling when you research the impact HIV/AIDS is having on First Nation people, in particular, our First Nation women and young girls,” says FSIN Vice Chief Kimberley Jonathan. “It’s been more than 40 years that HIV/AIDS started to spread in society and yet despite all the attention the virus has received, the rates continue to grow amongst First Nations. “
The stigma surrounding HIV-AIDs continues to be one of the main contributing factors to increasing rates. Even though more people are getting tested, everyone who is sexually active should get tested. Poverty compounds the problem in many ways, not the least of which is chronic under-funding. The lack of adequate resources often means communities can’t develop strategies to provide the spectrum of care required to effectively deal with the problem, from prevention to treatment and support.
“We need to work in partnership with the Provincial Government to develop a prevention strategy with a cultural component,” adds Vice Chief Jonathan. “The Province’s latest statistics indicate the largest HIV increase in the Aboriginal population in the past 10 years. Yes, more people are getting tested but that doesn’t take away from the fact that HIV continues to spread in our communities.”
The FSIN represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan. The Federation is committed to honouring the spirit and intent of Treaty, as well as the promotion, protection and implementation of the Treaty promises that were made more than a century ago.
For more information: Mervin Brass, Executive Director of Communications Direct: 306.956.1026 Cellular: 306.220.7187 Email BlackBerry: firstname.lastname@example.org