La red de los Inuit Canadienses: Uniendoa los Inuit de Canadá en la lucha contra el VIH/SIDA

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The Canadian inuit HIV/AIDS network: Uniting Canada’s inuit in the fight against HIV/AIDS

A Reynolds
Pauktuutit Inuit Women’s Association, Ottawa, Canada

Issues: Inuit are one of the three main recognized Aboriginal (Indigenous) groups in Canada. The majority of the 45,000 Inuit in Canada live in 52 remote Arctic communities extending from the Alaskan border to the eastern shores of Labrador. In many regions of the north there is very limited funding for HIV programming. Pregnancy rates continue to be high in Inuit communities and STD rates are going up, and the number of Inuit with HIV/AIDS is on the rise.

Description: The Canadian Inuit HIV/AIDS Network was created under the auspices of the Pauktuutit Inuit Women’s Association in the year 2000 to educate Inuit about the dangers of HIV, AIDS, and other sexually transmitted diseases. CIHAN develops and provides culturally appropriate HIV prevention materials to the North and to Inuit living in the South. The project’s steering committee are Inuit from the Inuit-populated regions in Canada, who provide input into the project and project materials.

Lessons Learned: Projects such as “lifesaver condom campaign” where condom covers are printed with drawings of traditional Inuit foods such as Arctic char, caribou and seal have proven to be immensely popular among young Inuit. Each year CIHAN coordinates the Arctic Youth HIV/AIDS Fairs, where Inuit Youth in remote northern communities host HIV/AIDS Awareness-raising project competitions, and an HIV positive Inuk youth is sent to the community to speak on his or her experience with HIV. Other projects include Inuit specific AIDS walks organized through CIHAN in remote Northern communities, and a host of materials translated into the five syllabic dialects of Inuktuutit — the language of Inuit.

Recommendations: From issues of translation into indigenous languages to providing cultural relevant materials in English, the project has made recommendations to other groups attempting to reach their own communities in culturally appropriate ways. CIHAN also continues to advise the government on Inuit issues, and to sit on pan-Aboriginal community committees in Canada, to ensure Inuit needs continue to be addressed.

The XV International AIDS Conference
Abstract no. WePeE6876

Suggested Citation
” A Reynolds , The Canadian inuit HIV/AIDS network: Uniting Canada’s inuit in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Poster Exhibition: The XV International AIDS Conference: Abstract no. WePeE6876″

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