Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network

Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network

November 29, 2007 08:30 ET

Your Voice Has Power: Together, Our Voices will be Part of the Solution! Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network Launches Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week (December 1-5, 2007)

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 29, 2007) - Kevin Barlow, Executive Director for the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN), today announced the launch of the 2007 National Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week campaign.

"We need your voice and especially our Leaders to speak loud and clear about HIV/AIDS," says Kevin Barlow, Executive Director of the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network. "Together, we can turn this epidemic around and together, we can make a difference for those now living with HIV or AIDS"

Aboriginal people living in Canada represent just over 3% of the country's total population but represent more than three times that number in prevalent HIV infections. Aboriginal people are the most vulnerable population in Canada to test positive for HIV. Recently released statistics from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) indicate that Aboriginal people now represent 27.3% of positive HIV test reports in 2006. This is a 4.1% increase from 2005.

In partnership with the Federal Initiative to Address HIV/AIDS in Canada, key national Aboriginal organizations and the Aboriginal People's Television Network, CAAN has developed and distributed various resources that can be used by First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities, organizations and media to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS.

"As leaders, we must help First Nations people living with HIV/AIDS and push for action. The high rates of HIV/AIDS among our youth and women require a long-term commitment to prevention, screening and treatment," Assembly of First Nations National Chief, Phil Fontaine said. "We must end the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS and recognize the factors that cause First Nations to be more highly exposed to the risks of HIV infection."

Martha Greig, President of Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada commented, "When some of our Inuit leaders believe the negative stereotypes and stigma that come with an HIV-positive diagnosis, it can be difficult for other community members to accept the truth about HIV/AIDS: that those affected or infected with HIV/AIDS need support from their loved ones and that they are not a threat in any way to their fellow community members. It's time for all Inuit leaders to help spread the truth about HIV."

To increase knowledge of HIV/AIDS among Aboriginal people this year CAAN would like to encourage individuals and communities to speak up because: "Your voice has power".

Now is an ideal time to engage your community about HIV/AIDS and how to reduce the HIV related stigma and discrimination too often associated with this virus. Beginning on World AIDS Day (December 1st) and extending to December 5th, Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week reminds individuals, communities and leaders that because HIV/AIDS does not discriminate it affects everyone.

The Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network is the only national voice representing a coalition of hundreds of Aboriginal organizations and individuals. CAAN is committed to providing leadership, support and advocacy for all Aboriginal people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, and to those most at risk to infection, regardless of where they reside.


ABORIGINAL AIDS AWARENESS WEEK PRINT AND ELECTRONIC MATERIALS INCLUDING:

- Colour and Grey Scale Posters

- Radio Public Service Announcements

- Television Public Service Announcements

- Booklets and Fact Sheets on HIV/AIDS and Aboriginal People

ARE AVAILABLE FOR VIEWING AND DOWNLOAD AT:

www.caan.ca/aaaw

Audio & Video are available on Marketwire website at the following addresses:

http://file.ccnmatthews.com/release/CAAN_Audio_ENGLISH.wav
http://file.ccnmatthews.com/release/CAAN_Audio_FRENCH.wav
http://file.ccnmatthews.com/release/CAAN_Audio_INUKITUT.wav

http://file.ccnmatthews.com/release/CAAN_Video_ENGLISH.wmv
http://file.ccnmatthews.com/release/CAAN_Video_FRENCH1.wmv
http://file.ccnmatthews.com/release/CAAN_Video_INUKITUT.wmv

Contact Information

  • Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network
    Colleen Patterson
    Senior Communications Officer
    613-567-1817 ex 115
    colleenp@caan.ca
    or
    Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network
    Media Inquiries: Kevin Barlow
    Executive Director
    613-715-3846
    613-567-1817 extension 110
    kevinb@caan.ca