Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week December 1 to December 5, 2020

Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week, which is scheduled every year from December 1 to December 5 beginning on World AIDS Day – December 1, is an opportunity to:

  • Increase awareness and knowledge about HIV/AIDS.
  • Establish ongoing prevention and education programs in Aboriginal communities.
  • Address common attitudes that may interfere with prevention, care and treatment activities.
  • Reduce HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination.


  • In general, Aboriginal people experienced HIV at rates about 3.6 times higher than other Canadians in 2008.  (1)
  • Aboriginal people living in Alberta make up 14%  of the First Nations population in Canada; and 22% of the Métis population live in Alberta.  (2)
  • Aboriginal people are disproportionately represented in newly diagnosed HIV cases
  • From 2000 to 2009, Aboriginals made up the second largest group of HIV cases with known ethnicity in Alberta.  (3)
  • Of the 219 new HIV cases reported in 2009, 23% of the cases in Alberta were Aboriginal.  (4)

HIV diagnoses are growing among Aboriginal people in Alberta

  • Proportion of newly diagnosed HIV cases in Aboriginal peoples accounted for 27.4% of newly  diagnosed cases in 1999, 40% in 2002, and 18% in 2009.  (5)

The Aboriginal population is more vulnerable to contracting HIV and AIDS because of unique factors and social determinants of health

  • A person’s vulnerability [to HIV infection]  increases or decreases based on
  • income,
  • education,
  • unemployment,
  • access to stable housing,
  • early childhood development (e.g. history of child abuse),
  • physical environments (e.g. geographically isolated communities, prison environments),
  • access to health services,
  • support networks and social environments (e.g. homophobia,  HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination),
  • gender,
  • a history of sexual violence, and,
  • for this [Aboriginal] population in particular, racism and the multigenerational effects of colonialism and the residential school system. (6)

(1) Public Health Agency of Canada, Population-Specific HIV/AIDS Status Report: Aboriginal Peoples, 2008 at 19, [PHAC].

(2) PHAC at 4 to 5.

(3) Government of Alberta, HIV and AIDS in Alberta: 2009 Annual Report, 2010retrieved at: http://www.health.alberta.ca/documents/STI-HIV-AIDS-Report-2009.pdf on October 20, 2011 at 4 [Annual Report].

(4) Government of Alberta, Alberta Sexually Transmitted Infections and Blood Borne Pathogens Strategy and Action Plan 2011-2016, 2011 retrieved at: http://www.health.alberta.ca/documents/STI-BBP-Plan-2011.pdf on October 20, 2011 at 1.

(5) “ at 10.

(6) PHAC at vii.

Please visit Canadian AIDS Aboriginal Network for more information https://caan.ca/en/ 



Northern Indigenous Health Alliance


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