What can you do for Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week?
Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week is held every year from December 1 to December 6 beginning on World AIDS Day – December 1. This week is an opportunity to:
- Increase awareness and knowledge about HIV and AIDS.
- Establish ongoing prevention and education programs in Aboriginal communities.
- Address common attitudes that may interfere with prevention, care and treatment activities.
- Reduce HIV and AIDS-related stigma and discrimination.
Why is Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Important for My Community?
Many of our people believe they are not at risk for HIV infection. Many of our people believe HIV and AIDS is no longer a serious or deadly illness. And yet every day in Canada one more Aboriginal person will test positive for HIV. The Public Health Agency of Canada (2010) reports that Aboriginal people made up 8.0% of all those living with HIV (including AIDS) in Canada in 2008. Overall, the HIV infection rate for Aboriginal people was about 3.6 times higher than among non-Aboriginal persons in 2008.
Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week Activities – Just a Beginning
Every year, between December 1 and December 6, you have an opportunity to begin a dialogue about HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) among people in your community – especially among the young men and women who may be at greatest risk of infection.
It is an ideal time to begin to raise knowledge about HIV – what the virus is, how it is spread, the importance of knowing how to prevent infection and regular testing, and how the virus is best treated. Perhaps it is an ideal time for your community to remember your friends, family and community members who may have lost their brave struggle against HIV and died as a result of (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) or AIDS-related illnesses.
Or perhaps it is an ideal time to sit with community Elders and leaders to begin the necessary dialogue about what is needed to educate your community’s young people or how best to reduce HIV and AIDS-related stigma and discrimination, or how to best support and care for Aboriginal People Living with HIV and AIDS (APHA) from your community.