This is a disturbing trend that requires a robust, immediate and ongoing response. This article emphasizes the importance of dedicated HIV prevention efforts to engage Aboriginal women as leaders and the community as a whole to meet the needs of women and maximize their health.
Background According to Census results, close to 1. Just over half We have different traditions and ceremonies; we live differently in urban, rural and isolated settings; and when assessing the colonial impacts on health, our challenges including access to health professionals and information vary widely. Between and , women represented Prevention in the Aboriginal community We know that prevention within the Aboriginal community in Canada is most effective and realistic when it is community-driven and culturally sensitive.
This principle infuses an understanding of good health for the individual and for the community. The Aboriginal social determinants of health must be taken into consideration to contextualize Aboriginal realities. In addition to income security, employment, education, food and shelter, these include colonization, racism, social exclusion, self-determination and cultural continuity the degree of social and cultural cohesion within a community.
The safety and well-being of girls and young women, growing up with strong role models and information to maintain good health, is central to our future. HIV prevention among Aboriginal women means preventing new exposures and preventing the rapid progression of the disease among those who are HIV-positive. This encourages women with HIV to attend to their own health and wellness, lowers the risk of being exposed to multiple strains of HIV and reduces the risk of passing HIV to others this is known as positive prevention.
An emerging priority for engaging Aboriginal women in Canada is to emphasize the positive: PAW also has a strong cultural connotation as bears figure prominently in many Aboriginal cultures and in Aboriginal storytelling. Recent arts-informed research has shown that PAWsitive prevention that builds on the strengths that Aboriginal women already possess is meaningful, powerful and contributes to re-affirming the central role of women in the community. Nurturing girls, looking after our women and engaging our men, youth and Elders in healthy ways are central to the prevention of HIV.
In addition, we are driving our response to HIV with policy and strategic planning. Oftentimes, Aboriginal people reside outside of major urban centres, which limits our access to healthcare services and places additional demands on organizations to provide resources and outreach services, ranging from education sessions to support.
Strong partnerships with organizations that share similar mandates and the incorporation of HIV messaging in creative ways across diverse sectors will increase the visibility of HIV prevention. Increased and sustained investments in relational care-building relationships with Aboriginal people living with HIV and AIDS and their communities will result in improving health.
Prevention is grounded in grassroots actions supported by policy and the direct engagement of leaders. Aboriginal women are the caregivers for their families and for their communities. How we respond to our women underpins how our communities will function. Learning about HIV risk, learning about risk reduction and examining how actions are contextualized and labelled will contribute to reducing risk by nurturing understanding and reducing HIV stigma. Allies, non-Aboriginal individuals and organizations, can contribute to the response.
There is an incredible capacity for all of us to respond in simple ways and in a larger context through services and policies. Aboriginal Peoples in Canada in Minister of Industry, Statistics Canada, Aboriginal languages in Canada: Summer , Catalogue No. The mental health of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada: University of British Columbia Press; Research ethics for protecting Indigenous knowledge and heritage: Handbook of critical and Indigenous methodologies.
Sage Publications; ; Public Health Agency of Canada. Saskatchewan Ministry of Health. Report to December 31, When women pick up their bundles: HIV prevention and related service needs of Aboriginal women in Canada. Women and HIV in Canada: Gahagan J, Ricci C. Reconceptualizing Native women's health: American Journal of Public Health. The Health of Aboriginal People. Social determinants of health: Canadian perspectives, 2nd edition. Canadian Scholars' Press; Loppie Reading C, Wein F.
Prince George, British Columbia: National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health; Indigenous health part 2: HIV risk behaviors become survival techniques for Aboriginal women.
Western Journal of Nursing Research. Our search for safe spaces: Visioning Health Research Team. Environments of nurturing safety EONS: Aboriginal women in Canada: Our work is guided by our membership and supported by a network of partnerships with organizations operating at grassroots through to the national level across the country. CAAN is involved in many campaigns and, with our allies, we have developed and contributed towards high-quality, strategic initiatives to prevent HIV infection within our communities.