Saskatchewan

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:

  • 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.    (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.

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(8)  “ at 5.

(9)  PHAC at vii.