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A hIstory of Aboriginal AIDS awarness day in Canada
D S Greer
Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network, Toronto, Canada
Issues: Canada’s Aboriginal (indigenous) people are over-represented in HIV/AIDS statistics in Canada. Estimates of the number of new HIV infections in Canada published by the federal government in 1998 found that 14% were Aboriginal, when Aboriginal people make up only 2-3% of the total Canadian population.
Project Description: In 1998, the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN) organized the first Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Day in Canada to coincide with World AIDS Day on December 1st. The campaign has been hugely successful, and culminated in December of 2003 with the leaders of all major Aboriginal political parties endorsing the efforts of the network at a joint press conference held in Ottawa, Canada’s capital city. Aboriginal AID Awareness Day materials have been created specially for each year and sent to Aboriginal communities across Canada, and have proven to be effective, culturally-relevant tools in raising HIV/AIDS awareness among Aboriginal communities in Canada.
Lessons Learned: The on-going project has had many successes, and many challenges, over the past five years. One of the major challenges has been to include the Aboriginal political movement in the Aboriginal HIV/AIDS movement, without having health issues lost in the various political agendas, such as indigenous land claims, self government, etc. Other challenges have been to develop materials that are both culturally appropriate enough and at the same time diverse enough to appeal to widely differing Aboriginal cultures and populations across the country.
Recommendations: The proposed presentation on Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Day in Canada will highlight recommendations made for the project over the years – material development, inclusion of Indigenous political bodies, time lines, inclusion of Aboriginal people living with HIV, etc – and show how these have been incorporated yearly into the project. As well, the presentation will discuss plans for increasing the scope of the Awareness Day in coming years, both in Canada and internationally.
The XV International AIDS Conference
Abstract no. E12783
” D S Greer , A hIstory of Aboriginal AIDS awarness day in Canada. CD Only: The XV International AIDS Conference: Abstract no. E12783″