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The Canadian Treatment Action Council (CTAC) celebrates 50 years of public health care in Saskatchewan by urging substantial action on the province's HIV and co-infection crisis

July 5, Toronto, ON - 2012 marks 50 years of public health care in Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan was the first jurisdiction in North America to adopt a program of universal health care in 1962. The Canadian Treatment Action Council (CTAC) celebrates this milestone by urging national attention to demand substantial action on the escalating HIV and viral Hepatitis co-infection crisis in the province.

Between 2002 and 2010, the annual rate of new HIV diagnoses in Saskatchewan has ballooned tenfold with 2010 bringing nearly 200 new diagnoses in a province of just more than one million. Saskatchewan's HIV epidemic is different than in other provinces, with 70% of new infections taking place amongst First Nations and Métis populations, and 80% of new infections amongst people who use injection drugs.

The vast majority of First Nations and Métis peoples in Saskatchewan newly diagnosed with HIV are also living with Hepatitis C co-infection, substantially increasing mortality rates. "Back in the '80s, I buried all my gay friends," says Lynn Thompson, who works with CTAC in our co-infection program and also as an independent consultant providing support services in Saskatoon, Prince Albert and on northern reserves. "Now," she says, "I'm burying my people."

"The only way to curb this epidemic, which is devastating communities that have already endured the tragic consequences of historical and ongoing colonization, is a multi-sectoral and adequately resourced response led by First Nations and Métis communities," said Alex McClelland, Chair of CTAC's Board of Directors. "Tommy Douglas's ultimatum that 'We can't stand still; we can either go back or we can go forward' demands we build health delivery and support services that will meet the unique challenges presented by HIV in Saskatchewan."

The Canadian Treatment Action Council (CTAC) is Canada's national, non-governmental organization led by and for people living with HIV and viral Hepatitis co-infection, working on enabling access to treatment, care and support.

Akim Adé Larcher


Akim Adé Larcher
Executive Directo
Phone: (416) 410=6538 ex. 222
Email: akim@ctac.ca
Web: www.ctac.ca


For more information please contact: Akim Adé Larcher, +1 416-268-1622,  akim@ctac.ca


ABOUT CTAC
The Canadian Treatment Action Council (CTAC) works to secure and ensure access to therapies, treatments and care for people living with HIV/AIDS, including those who are co-infected, by working with the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. For more information on CTAC's mandate, mission and work please visit www.ctac.ca .

Canadian Treatment Action Council
555 Richmond Street West, Suite 1109B
Toronto, ON, M5V 3B1
Tel/Fax: 416-410-6538


"Reproduced with permission - CTAC Canadian Treatment Action Council /Conseil canadien de surveillance et d'accès aux traitement"

CTAC
www.ctac.ca


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