HOW DOES HIV AND AIDS AFFECT ABORIGINAL PEOPLES IN SASKATCHEWAN?
- In general, according to the Saskatchewan HIV and AIDS, ANNUAL REPORT RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 30, 2013, Aboriginal people continue to be highly represented among the number of newly diagnosed HIV cases in the province. (1)
- While the overall numbers have fallen for the province, the rates continue to remain high for Aboriginal people.
- In 2012, Saskatchewan had the highest rate per thousand of new HIV diagnosis at 17.3/100,000 of all Canadian provinces. The average rate in Canada is 5.9. (2)
- Aboriginal people living in Saskatchewan make up 13% of the First Nations population in Canada; and 12% of the Métis population live in Saskatchewan. (3)
A disproportionate number of HIV cases are reported among Aboriginal males and females in Saskatchewan
- In 2012, 74% (131 cases) of all newly diagnosed HIV cases in the province self-reported Aboriginal ethnicity.
- 82% (58 of 71 cases) of females reported as having HIV in 2012 were Aboriginal, and 69% (73 of 106 cases) of males reported with HIV were Aboriginal males. (4)
HIV rates are high among Aboriginal youth, especially females, in Saskatchewan
- All 8 of the HIV cases diagnosed in 2009 in the 15-19 age range were Aboriginal youth.
- That same year, 92% (56 of 61) of reported HIV cases within the 20-29 age range were Aboriginal youth.
- Of those Aboriginal youth, 57% (35 cases) were female. (6)
On average female cases of HIV are younger than male cases in Saskatchewan, especially among Aboriginal females
- In 2009, the average age of Aboriginal female HIV cases was 29.4 years old with 38% of Aboriginal female cases being 25 years and younger.
- Whereas, the average age of Aboriginal male cases was older than 36 years old, and only 14% (11 cases) of male Aboriginal HIV cases in 2009 were 25 years and younger.
- And whereas, the average age of non-Aboriginal cases of HIV in Saskatchewan is 41.1 years old. (7)
More Aboriginals are reported as having injection drug use as a main method of HIV transmission compared to non-Aboriginals in Saskatchewan
- In 2009, 154 of 200 reported HIV cases self-reported injection drug use.
- Of these cases, 130 (84%) also self-identified as Aboriginal compared to 20 (13%) of non-Aboriginal ethnicity. (8)
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:
- 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
- a history of sexual violence, and,
- for this [Aboriginal] population in particular, racism and the multigenerational effects of colonialism and the residential school system. (9)
(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) Saskatchewan Ministry of Health, Population Health Branch, HIV and AIDS in Saskatchewan: Annual Report, 2010 at 4.
(8) “ at 5.
(9) PHAC at vii.