Health Canada funds HIV/AIDS project for Aboriginal communities in Montreal

Health Minister Pierre Pettigrew announced today that Health Canada will contribute $105,000 to the Native Friendship Centre of Montreal for an HIV/AIDS community development program.

In Canada, it is estimated that every day one Aboriginal person becomes infected with HIV/AIDS. Fostering Peer Support and Peer Leadership Amongst HIV Positive Aboriginal Peoples in Montréal is an initiative of the Native Friendship Centre of Montreal, a non-profit, community development agency that promotes, develops and enhances the quality of life for the urban Aboriginal community in Montreal.

"This is a much welcomed two-year project that will provide HIV/AIDS peer support and training services to Aboriginals throughout Montreal," said Minister Pettigrew. "This project is another example of how an integrated, collaborative approach can help people infected with or at risk of HIV/AIDS."

The objectives of this project are to:

  • increase the knowledge and self-care skills among Aboriginal people living with HIV/AIDS;
  • increase the ability of Aboriginal people living with HIV/AIDS to engage in a peer support approach for HIV/AIDS prevention in the Aboriginal community of Montreal; and,
  • increase the knowledge and capacity of HIV/AIDS community-based organizations and health centres in Montreal to respond to the needs of Aboriginal people living with HIV/AIDS.

The Government of Canada funding was provided to the Native Friendship Centre of Montreal under the Canadian Strategy for HIV/AIDS.

Since 1998, the Canadian Strategy for HIV/AIDS has provided stable, ongoing funding of $42.2 million annually to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Canada. The Strategy's goals are to:

  • prevent the spread of HIV infection in Canada;
  • find a cure;
  • find and provide effective vaccines, drugs and therapies;
  • ensure care, treatment and support for Canadians living with HIV/AIDS, and for families, friends, and caregivers;
  • minimize the adverse impact of HIV/AIDS on individuals and communities; and,
  • minimize the impact of social and economic factors that increase individual and collective risk of HIV infection.

Of the Strategy's resources, $3.4 million is specifically targeted to Aboriginal communities. In addition, the federal government contributes $2.5 million for on-reserve HIV/AIDS activities.

There are now more than 42 million people living with HIV/AIDS around the world, and over 3 million people died of AIDS-related illnesses in 2002. Every year in Canada, about 4,000 people become infected with HIV, despite prevention efforts.

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