HOW DOES HIV AND AIDS AFFECT ABORIGINAL PEOPLES IN ONTARIO?
- In general, Aboriginal people experienced HIV at rates about 3.6 times higher than other Canadians in 2008. (1)
- Aboriginal people living in Ontario make up 23% of the First Nations population in Canada; and 19% of the Métis population live in Ontario. (2)
- However, Ontario does not currently report on ethnicity for positive HIV tests. (3)
The limited HIV data on the Aboriginal population in Ontario represents a growing concern
- While Aboriginals made up 1.1% of HIV cases in Ontario, this proportion has grown over time from 0.0% cases in 1981-1984 to 3.2% of cases in 2000-2004. (4)
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 discrimination),
- a history of sexual violence, and,
- for this [Aboriginal] population in particular, racism and [Aboriginal] population in particular, racism and the multigenerational effects of colonialism and the residential school system. (5)
(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) PHAC at 18.
(4) Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, HIV and AIDS: Aboriginal Peoples of Ontario, retrieved at http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/public/program/hivaids/aboriginal.html on October 20, 2011.
(5) PHAC at vii.