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National Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week 2010: Leaders Gather in Regina to Discuss Aboriginal Access

November 8, 2010 - Vancouver, BC - Saskatchewan's escalating HIV rates set the stage for leaders to gather in Regina for the launch of Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week 2010 (December 1 - 5, 2010). On December 1, 2010, the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN) will be hosting a special presentation luncheon to share the knowledge, expertise and work addressing Aboriginal HIV/AIDS issues in Canada.

Expected speakers at the luncheon will include: Don McMorris, Saskatchewan Minister of Health; Robert G. Doucette, President of Metis Saskatchewan, and Guy Lonechild, Grand Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations. The forum connects national Aboriginal organizations, government partners and health care providers to better understand what is driving this epidemic and strategize harm reduction for the Aboriginal people - First Nations, Métis and Inuit - who make up a unique segment of the concentrated HIV/AIDS epidemic in Canada.

"Aboriginal people deserve universal access and human rights, especially as it relates to Aboriginal people living with HIV/AIDS and those at risk," states Ken Clement, CEO of Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network. "However, discrimination, ignorance and stigma cause serious road blocks - in our communities and in places where our people receive health care - and challenge our ability to meet these basic rights, which threatens the very integrity of Aboriginal families."

Aboriginal people are the largest group affected and of those: 48.8% of who test positive for HIV are women, and 32.6% are youth. It is the goal of this event to put a face to the epidemic of HIV/AIDS with the theme of "Respect & Honor Equals Healthy Mother, Healthy Child." It is only by remedying the "Discrimination, Ignorance and Stigma (D.I.S.)" associated with the virus that the Aboriginal community will be granted better access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.

A convergence of culture, social, health and political events during Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week is creating a climate for important positive developments on the HIV/AIDS agenda. CAAN invites you to join us to hear the Aboriginal voice:

Where:       Regina Inn Hotel & Conference Centre - 1975 Broad Street, Regina

When:        December 1, 2010  11:00am - 3:00pm CST

RSVP:       By November 19, 2010 to Peter Vickers peterv@caan.ca or call 604.266.7616 (Toll Free: 1.800.285.2226)

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