World AIDS Day, December 1, 2014

“It takes the whole community to support change!”

Ottawa, ON (November 28, 2014) December 1 is World AIDS Day and the beginning of Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week in Canada. On this day, and during the week of December 1-6, 2014, Aboriginal people across the country will be participating in activities to promote AIDS awareness and discuss how First Nations, Inuit and Métis people can continue to work together to reach the goal of Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.

The Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN) and All Nations Hope Network (ANHN) will co-host the Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week launch event on December 1, 2014, in Regina, SK. National Aboriginal leadership will be present to support the launch and the release of the Saskatchewan Indigenous Strategy on HIV and AIDS. Scheduled speakers include the Honourable Rona Ambrose (video message), Minister of Health, Rebecca Kudloo, President, Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada, the Assembly of First Nations, Nelson Mayer, President National Association of Friendship Centres, Clement Chartier, Métis Nation of Canada and Michelle Audette, President, Native Women’s Association of Canada.

During the week, there will be workshops across the country (Puvirnituq, Montreal, Ottawa, New Credit First Nations, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Vancouver) to continue discussions on Aboriginal HIV and AIDS issues in Canada Dec 2 – 6, 2014.

On December 3, 2014, a Parliamentary Breakfast will be held on Parliament Hill. The public and members of Parliament are invited to the Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week breakfast session to learn more about the HIV and AIDS issues facing Aboriginal people in Canada. The breakfast will commence with opening prayers, Inuit singers, with representatives present from CAAN, the Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development (ICAD), Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada and an HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis (HAT) Caucus representative. The event will bring together the diverse voices of women, youth and two-spirited people to explore the issues of gender and HIV among Aboriginal communities in Canada. The session will end with closing remarks from the HAT Caucus, Inuit throat singers, and closing prayer.
On December 1, 2014, Pauktuutit staff and the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services in Puvirnituq will be hosting a community gathering to raise awareness about HIV and gain local input regarding gaps and barriers to HIV education, care, treatment and support.

Rebecca Kudloo, Pauktuutit’s President noted “We all need to know about HIV/AIDS. We must reduce the stigma and discrimination about this disease so that people will come forward to be tested.” She continued to say that “We need to be informed about the HIV risks in our community and teach everyone ways to prevent infection and support people living with HIV. We can be inclusive and supportive in an attempt to get to zero discrimination and zero infection.”

Pauktuutit has been active in HIV and AIDS prevention and awareness since the early 1990s. It launched the nationally and internationally recognized ‘Lifesavers’ Inuit-specific health promotion campaign that featured country food-flavoured condom covers. The range of education and awareness materials developed during this time continue to be effective tools across the Arctic, but continued innovative activities to reach youth and others are still required. In 2012, Pauktuutit produced Tukisiviit: Do You Understand? A glossary of HIV and AIDS terminology in five Inuktitut dialects to empower Inuit to be active participants in their own health care and to be able to make informed decisions about care, treatment, support and testing.

Have an HIV /AIDS awareness activity in your community during Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week and visit Pauktuutit’s website for information and ideas!

Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada

Full PDF here: Press release World AIDS Day and AAAW 2014