ST. CATHARINES, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 23, 2012) - On behalf of the Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq, Rick Dykstra, Member of Parliament for St. Catharines, today announced support for a community-based project to improve knowledge and reduce the rate of HIV in that region.
"Through education and awareness programs, this project seeks to reduce the rate of HIV infection among high-risk populations including First Nations, Inuit and Métis," said Mr. Dykstra. "Our Government applauds the work of AIDS Niagara as they continue to make great strides in addressing HIV and AIDS at the community level."
AIDS Niagara's mission is to improve the quality of life for those infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS and to reduce the spread of HIV. Through the "Community Development and Education Program" it will assess the learning needs of high-risk populations and produce new culturally appropriate educational materials and resources. It will also develop a media stigma-reduction campaign and provide training for peer educators to deliver presentations on HIV to local educational institutions.
"Education is key, not only to prevention, but also to reducing stigma related to HIV and AIDS," said Glen Walker, Executive Director, AIDS Niagara. "This program will allow our organization to increase community members' knowledge on all aspects of HIV/AIDS so we can in turn improve attitudes towards people living with this disease."
This investment is part of the more than $72 million that the Government of Canada is currently investing through the Federal Initiative to Address HIV/AIDS in Canada. A large portion of these funds assist community-based projects like this one in helping to:
- prevent the acquisition and transmission of new infections;
- slow the progression of the disease and improve quality of life; and
- reduce the social and economic impact of HIV/AIDS.
Fact Sheet: AIDS Niagara
Federal Initiative to Address HIV/AIDS in Canada: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/aids-sida/fi-if/index-eng.php
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INCREASING AWARENESS AND EDUCATION OF HIV AND AIDS IN THE NIAGARA REGION
- As of 2008, an estimated 65,000 people were living with HIV in Canada. An estimated one quarter of these individuals were not aware that they were infected which presents a challenge for prevention efforts.
- The Government of Canada is supporting a project that will increase awareness of HIV and AIDS and reduce the rates of HIV among high-risk populations in the Niagara Region.
- The "Community Development and Education Program" is a project being funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada ($166,022 over two years) and carried out by the AIDS Niagara.
This project aims to improve community members' knowledge of HIV and AIDS in order to reduce associated stigma and to ensure residents of the Niagara Region are well equipped to make informed choices about their health.
The project will be led by AIDS Niagara which works to improve the quality of life for those infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS and to reduce the spread of HIV in that region.
It will include the development of population specific educational materials for awareness activities as well as the creation of culturally appropriate resources for high-risk populations such as First Nations, Inuit and Métis. In addition, the AIDS Niagara is partnering with Niagara College and Brock University to develop a mass media campaign to promote positive attitudes toward people living with HIV/AIDS.
About the Government of Canada's Federal Initiative to Address HIV/AIDS in Canada
The Federal Initiative to Address HIV/AIDS in Canada is a partnership of four federal departments and agencies: the Public Health Agency of Canada, Health Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Correctional Services of Canada. Through this initiative, the Government of Canada collaborates with provincial and territorial governments, non-governmental organizations, researchers, health care professionals, and people living with, and vulnerable to, HIV/AIDS to prevent the spread of the disease, slow its progression, and improve the quality of life of people living with the disease.
The Government of Canada is currently investing over $72 million to support programs under this initiative. A large portion of these funds assist community-based projects across Canada in making a meaningful difference in helping people at risk for and living with HIV/AIDS.