The Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN) is sharing HIV knowledge gains with the world! This week Canada has been in the spotlight in Durban, South Africa, at the 21st International AIDS Conference. The conference is hearing that Canada’s indigenous populations are experiencing high HIV numbers — the province of Saskatchewan alone has an infection rate comparable to countries in the developing world. CAAN produced a documentary, “Promising Practices in Indigenous Communities in Saskatchewan,” that highlights how some Saskatchewan communities are tackling the issues with culturally appropriate practices.
Minister of Health, Jane Philpott said in Durban: “Indigenous people continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV. There will be no ending AIDS without dignity, social justice and human rights of Indigenous people, and without their leadership. In our Canadian health-care system we must have zero tolerance for discrimination that some Indigenous people continue to face when seeking health care. We are here [in Durban] to share wise practices….”
After a sneak preview in Saskatchewan the film premiered globally in Durban, South Africa this past weekend at the International Indigenous AIDS pre-conference on HIV and AIDS, where speakers included federal Health Minister Jane Philpott and Dr. Luiz Loures, deputy executive director UNAIDS. It will continue to screen this week at the International AIDS Conference in the Canadian Pavilion and Global Village.
“Even as the rest of the world educates its way towards health, the infection rates in Saskatchewan’sIndigenous communities remain high and seems to be the epicentre of Canada’s HIV pandemic largely because of stigma and a lack of adequate services,” said Ken Clement, CEO of Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network. “With this documentary we want to show Canada how breaking stigmas surrounding HIV and AIDS can change that.” (See also CITUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hwLTfgc4v8)
“Promising Practices in Indigenous Communities in Saskatchewan“ focuses on successes in Indigenous Communities, All Nations Hope Network, Saskatchewan Indigenous Council on HIV and AIDS, Sturgeon Lakeand Ahtahkakoop. It is the first of a series of four documentaries that in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and First Nation communities will feature the Aboriginal-led responses of Canadian communities toward Hepatitis C (Eskasoni), HIV and AIDS Community Readiness (Quebec), and HIV and Youth (BC).
In celebration of UNAIDS International Indigenous Day on August 9, 2016, CAAN invites anyone to request a copy of the documentary for personal or community sharing. In select cities a partner is also available to assist them in fostering conversations around innovative, culturally appropriate practices in order to address the epidemic and empower community ownership of their health.
The Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network is a not-for-profit coalition of individuals and organizations which provides leadership, support and advocacy for Aboriginal individuals living with and affected by HIV AIDS, regardless of where they reside. – CNW