Canada: New Aboriginal HIV-STI Program
February 26, 2008
On Monday in Prince George, British Columbia health officials debuted a new program to combat HIV and sexually transmitted infections in the provinces aboriginal community. The Chee Mamuk Aboriginal HIV-STI program was designed by the B.C. Center for Disease Control.
The initiatives goal is to link health professionals with vital HIV/AIDS and sexual health services in aboriginal communities, the center said. The five-day program aims to encourage community-based solutions to the growing problem of HIV and STIs and build new networks among participants. The course runs until Feb. 29, and two more sessions are planned in the coming months.
In 2006, the province recorded 54 new HIV cases among aboriginals.
The burden of HIV disease has been extremely high for the aboriginal population in B.C., said Melanie Rivers, acting manager of Chee Mamuk. Although aboriginal people only represent about 5 percent of the total B.C. population, they represented just over 15 percent of all new HIV infections in 2006, with this overrepresentation being more pronounced for aboriginal women, who accounted for 37 percent of the new cases.