‘Getting to Zero. Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination.
Zero AIDS related deaths’
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ottawa, ON (December 1, 2015) 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 1-5, 2015, First Nations, Inuit and Métis 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 on HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment.
The Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN) will host the Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week launch event on December 1, 2015 in Calgary, AB. Meeka Otway, Pauktuutit’s Secretary-Treasurer, will be speaking on behalf of Pauktuutit.
On December 10, 2015, 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.
This event will bring together the voices of Indigenous youth leaders about the realities of HIV/AIDS among Indigenous communities throughout Canada. This event will speak to how we can collectively take action for the future.
The breakfast will commence with opening prayers, Inuit singers, and opening remarks from Hedy Fry, MP Vancouver Centre. The event will bring together the diverse voices of women, youth and two-spirit people to explore the issues of gender and HIV among Aboriginal communities in Canada. The session will end with a performance by the Nunavut Sivuniksavut student performers and a closing prayer.
On December 5, 2015, Pauktuutit staff and Inuvialuit Regional Corporation staff in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, will be hosting an Inuit Awareness Raising Event and HIV/AIDS Fair on December 5th as part of Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week. This event will raise awareness about HIV and gain local input regarding gaps and barriers to HIV education, care, treatment and support. It is an opportunity to increase awareness and knowledge about HIV/AIDS, to establish ongoing prevention and education programs and to reduce HIV/AIDS related stigma and discrimination.
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.