December 01, 2011
For immediate release
OTTAWA - In recognition of both Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week and World AIDS Day in Canada, the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, highlighted on-going efforts against HIV and AIDS while remembering those affected by this disease in her video address to Aboriginal leaders and members from the HIV/AIDS community.
"This year's World AIDS Day marks the 30th year of HIV, with the first reported case documented in 1981," said Minister Aglukkaq.
"Aboriginal people continue to be identified as one of the most HIV-vulnerable groups in Canada, and this is why we are here on World AIDS Day. Aboriginal AIDS Awareness week is a time when we can look back at what has been accomplished and what our priorities should be in the year ahead."
The Government of Canada, through The Federal Initiative to Address HIV/AIDS in Canada, continues to invest in programs, research, surveillance and greater awareness, with significant funds dedicated to support Aboriginal-specific HIV/AIDS programming and research.
Through the Canadian HIV Vaccine Initiative (CHVI), the Government of Canada and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation continue to invest in programs designed to accelerate the development of a safe and effective HIV vaccine. Minister Aglukkaq took the opportunity at today's event to highlight investments into five new innovative research projects dedicated to developing a vaccine.
In addition, the Minister noted the establishment of the CHVI Research and Development Alliance Coordinating Office (ACO) at the International Centre of Infectious Diseases in Winnipeg. The ACO will apply its considerable expertise to identify gaps in the HIV vaccine field; facilitate the development of innovative projects; and work with partners to help support the next generation of HIV vaccine researchers.
The Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN) and Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada co-hosted the launch event for Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week, which runs from December 1 to 5, 2011 and coincides with World AIDS Day on December 1. Our Aboriginal Response to HIV and AIDS: It takes a whole community to support change! was selected by CAAN as this year's theme for Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week and reflects the call to action in the 2011 theme for World AIDS Day, Do Something!.
Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Federal Minister of Health