Health & Well-Being

Tough questions

Why is no one talking about the AIDS crisis in First Nations communities?

VICE is asking what most people aren’t: What about the Indigenous AIDS crisis?

And some might be quick to respond. What AIDS crisis?

According to federal data, the national average for new HIV infections is relatively low — 5.9 per 100,000 people — but in some First Nations communities, the number is 63.6 new infections per 100,000 people. In some cases, the rates are higher than rates in the African nations of Nigeria, the Congo and Rwanda.

Dr. Julio Montaner is the head of the University of British Columbia Medical School’s Division of AIDS. He calls the issue an “epidemic” and says he’s astounded the federal government won’t recognize it as a crisis.

"If HIV was represented in 'old stock Canadians' in the rates that its represented in First Nations communities, that would be declared an emergency tomorrow," he told VICE.

It’s one issue, in a long list of issues, that would get more attention if it was a concern among the rest of the Canadian population, and that’s a shame.

Do you have any questions about HIV/AIDS? Head on over www.hon93.ca for information and resources.

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Comments (1)

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    Anonymous, January 07, 2016 @ 1:39pm

    Just a clarification what does VICE stand for?