Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The spread of AIDS along aboriginals in Canada

Medical officials are warning of an AIDS epidemic amongst aboriginals in Canada. Some of them are comparing it to the AIDS epidemic in Africa. Some of the factors are certainly similar, stigmas against the victims, and a lack of education on the disease.

From this Reuters story that we found at ABC News, reporter Rod Nickel describes the spread of AIDS in Canada.

Many aboriginals, a broad term that includes Indians, Inuit and Metis, live in poverty and suffer poorer health than most other Canadians. They make up about 3.3 percent of the population, living mainly in western cities, the North and on rural reserves.

Despite their relatively small population, aboriginals accounted for almost one-quarter of Canada's reported AIDS cases in 2006 for which ethnicity was known, double the rate six years earlier, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Intravenous drug use, especially among women, is the cause of more than half the infections with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which leads to AIDS. Canadian non-aboriginal infections are mostly linked to unsafe sex.

Aboriginals with HIV infections also tend to be younger than other infected Canadians and more often women.

"(It's) partly because of the vulnerabilities of that group -- (especially) if they're addicted and dependent on the sex trade for their income," said Dr. Moira McKinnon, chief medical health officer for Saskatchewan.

The rate of HIV infection in Saskatchewan has risen rapidly among natives, McKinnon said. The province of 1 million people, had 174 new HIV cases last year, up 40 percent from 2007. Sixty-five percent of the new cases were aboriginals.

1 comment:

Life Insurance Canada said...

Similar situation is happening in the rural areas of Russia. People are just not educated enough and don't realize they're in danger. The numbers just look terrible for Aboriginals. Something definitely needs to be done so it doesn't turn out to be an epidemic like in Africa. All these people need is more knowledge about diseases...