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Aboriginal women are at greater risk


Linda Dumont, Windspeaker Staff Writer, Vancouver







Page 35


The tenth annual British Columbia conference on HIV/AIDS will be held in Vancouver from Oct. 26 through to 28. Over the past 20 years, the B.C. AIDS conference has addressed clinical, scientific and community HIV/AIDS issues. The conference will examine a variety of issue in living and working with HIV/AIDS, including immune restoration, AIDS/HIV and the community, nurses and HIV/AIDS, HIV counsellor training, HIV management for physicians, and cyber AIDS.

As a special event, there will be a Talking (Healing) circle led by Lakota traditional healer, Robert Owns White Face Horse Cross. The circle will provide

a time and a safe place for dealing with the emotional impact of HIV.

Mai Nguyen will present the medical statistics on HIV/AIDS and Aboriginal women. Nguyen works with the Division of HIV Epidemology with Health Canada

in Ottawa.

Connie Fife, outreach worker for the Urban Native Youth Association will be moderating a roundtable discussion on HIV and Aboriginal women. Aboriginal women are at the highest risk for HIV infection in Canada. Through personal testimonies, this session will highlight the need for programs designed for and about Aboriginal women and their communities.

According to a report prepared by the Aboriginal Nurses Association of

Canada in 1996, AIDS among Aboriginal people continues to spread, and the general perception is that it has risen. Several factors place Aboriginal people at a higher risk than the general population. Aboriginal women are at high risk of infection, because of gender role behavior that makes it difficult for women to insist on safe sex practices.

For more information on the HIV/AIDS conference or to register, call