AIDS Awareness Week December launches in Ottawa Dec. 1, and includes events across the country, following a Parliamentary tea in the Nation’s capital.
Special events taking place in Vancouver, Edmonton, Prince Albert, Winnipeg, Montreal, Toronto, Happy Valley-Goose Bay and more have also been created to unite an Indigenous response to HIV and AIDS mirroring the World AIDS Day’s theme, “Communities Make the Difference.”
It’s hoped this series of events will connect communities across Canada as they share lessons learned in order to create community readiness and culturally safe approaches to holistic testing, care and treatment.
In 2017, a total of 2,402 new HIV cases were reported in Canada, an increase of three per cent and Indigenous peoples comprise more than 20 per cent of those new HIV cases. When it comes to HIV cases, First Nations men and women continue to be over-represented by 2.7 times higher than other Canadians.
As well, one in seven Indigenous persons does not know their HIV status. But, a new type of HIV diagnosis test, dried blood spot testing, is dramatically increasing the number of Indigenous peoples getting tested and a First Nations pilot in Saskatchewan saw an increase of four times more men and women getting tested for HIV. Dried blood spot testing is a needle-prick test similar to having a blood sugar test for diabetes.
To raise awareness even more, Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week, Dec. 1 to 6, is hosting a series of nationwide events to recognize the essential role Indigenous communities play in the AIDS response at the international, national and local levels.
In Vancouver Harm Reduction Day, which takes place Dec. 3, will focus on Indigenous brothers and sisters who are leaving federal institutions in the Pacific Region. This event will highlight the “Promising Practices” communities play in responding to these issues, their efforts and how they play a major role in the successful reintegration of Indigenous people.
This event will bring together several organizations within Vancouver and surrounding area to discuss current supports that are available, discuss gaps and services and will formulate strategies to address those gaps. The event, co-hosted by Circle of Eagles and Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network, takes place at the Circle of Eagles Lodge, 2008 Wall St., from 1 to 3 p.m. For more information, visit circleofeagles.com/brothers-lodge.
Also taking place in Vancouver is:
Vancouver Coastal health
Information booths, special speakers, cake, giveaways and more.
Carnegie Community Centre
401 Main St.
Nov. 29: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
On World AIDS Day, AIDS Vancouver will hold its final Red Ribbon Awards ceremony and will be honouring eight award recipients for their work in HIV prevention efforts in the community.
The Junction Pub, 1138 Davie St.
Dec. 1: 4 to 6:30 p.m.
Please consider taking a cash donation for AIDS Vancouver’s grocery program or toys for families of their programs.
The Afro-Canadian Positive Network, Positive Living B.C. and YouthCO have organized this free event, which includes food, an interactive HIV stigma challenge, photo exhibit and conversations about ways to stop the stigma.
Dec. 2: noon to 3 p.m.
Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre, 9750 140 St. (Surrey)
Dr. Peter Centre is looking for donations
The centre works with some of the city's most marginalized people living with HIV, mental illness and substance use. And while they have many clinical resources, food is also a primary medicine — their go-to "harm reduction" tool. Typically, harm reduction has come to be associated with clean needles and supervised injection sites and while the Dr. Peter Centre does provide those services, those tools fail when the most basic human need is not met. Which, is why the Dr. Peter Centre begins with food to help its clients climb back to health.
The centre’s in-house dietitian and chef works diligently to serve around 96,000 meals a year to more than 400 day health participants and another 100 individuals who spend time in the Dr. Peter Centre residence each year. For more information, visit drpeter.org.
On this World AIDS Day, the centre invites you to help keep the conversation around food as harm reduction alive, and help them ensure their clients continue to receive the nutrition and support they need.
- A gift of $500 provides 100 nutritious meals
- A gift of $250 provides 50 nutritious meals
- A gift of $100 provides 20 nutritious meals
- A gift of $50 provides 10 nutritious meals
- A gift of $25 provides 5 nutritious meals