National Aboriginal Hepatitis C Awareness Month
May is National Aboriginal Hepatitis C Awareness Month
Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada, the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network, and Hepatitis Services, BC Centre for Disease Control have partnered on the National Aboriginal Hepatitis C Awareness Campaign. They are working together to recognize the diversity and rights of Aboriginal Peoples regardless of residency, including the rights of Aboriginal Peoples to access and benefit from hepatitis C (HCV) prevention education and awareness, as well as related care, treatment and support to maintain a quality of life in a culturally appropriate manner.
National Aboriginal Hepatitis C Awareness Month is held annually from May 1 to May 31. This month is an opportunity to:
- Increase awareness and knowledge about hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS;
- Establish ongoing prevention and education programs in Aboriginal communities;
- Address common attitudes that may interfere with prevention, care and treatment activities; and
- Reduce hepatitis C and HIV /AIDS-related stigma and discrimination.
Hepatitis C is a major concern amongst Aboriginal people in Canada. Poor health, poverty, low education, limited housing, high unemployment, and sanitation problems are important factors that promote the spread of hepatitis C infections among Aboriginal people. Factors that increase the risk of hepatitis C infections include the regular use of injection drugs and involvement in other high-risk activities at an early age. Aboriginal prisoners in Canada’s jails may be at greater risk due to the high rates of infection among this population.