HIV in Canada

Saskatchewan State of Emergency

ISSUE:

HIV levels in Saskatchewan are rated eleven times higher than Canada’s national rate. HIV rates in Saskatchewan are about ninety-five people per every hundred thousand people.

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RECOMMENDATION:

There is a need for HIV to be addressed as a matter of grave public health concern in Saskatchewan. People who live in reserves should be encouraged to know their HIV status by taking part in voluntary HIV testing. Inhabitants of Saskatchewan should be discouraged from stigmatizing individuals who are HIV positive. Local leaders in the reserves should be encouraged to allow their subjects to get tested and receive other services related to HIV prevention and medication. The government of Canada should concert its energies in fighting HIV in Saskatchewan. The province of Saskatchewan should receive the largest funding from the government of Canada in its fight against HIV. All HIV-positive individuals in Saskatchewan should receive antiretroviral treatment to prolong life and reduce health complications that stem from the virus. There is a need for the Federal government, the Saskatchewan Provincial government and leaders of the reserves to work together in eradicating the HIV menace.

KEY MESSAGES:

· There are sixty-four new infections per every hundred thousand reserve people in Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan HIV infection rates are higher among people who live in the reserves.

· Saskatchewan HIV incidence rates are as high as some African countries.

· Many people in Saskatchewan are ignorant about their HIV status. Chiefs and leaders of reserves are against their inhabitants being tested for HIV.

HIV Infection Rates in Canada

· A study by Canada’s Ministry of Health has revealed that there are sixty-four new infections per every hundred thousand reserve people in Saskatchewan .This is alarming based on the fact that Canada’s new infections rate is six new infections per every hundred thousand people. Saskatchewan HIV incidence rates are as high as some African countries. This is astonishing given that Canada is a developed country that has a functional health system, educated civilians and effective HIV prophylactic services.

There are also concerns by medical professionals that HIV incidence rates in Saskatchewan could be higher because little testing is done in the reserves. HIV levels in Saskatchewan can now be categorized as a humanitarian crisis. Agencies responsible for tackling the HIV problem in Saskatchewan are doing little to ensure that the problem is resolved (Leo, 2015).

ANALYSIS/ IMPLICATIONS:

· There is a need for large-scale HIV testing in Saskatchewan so that the residents may know their HIV status. Studies have revealed that two people die every month in Saskatchewan from HIV complications. The number of people being diagnosed with HIV is ten individuals per month and the rate is growing.

· The spread of HIV in Saskatchewan is mainly through intravenous drug use. Intravenous drug use encourages the use of needles among the drug users. The drug users have a habit of sharing needles. If one person is HIV positive among a group of intravenous drug users, the chances of the other drug users being infected are high.

· A large percentage of individuals who live in Saskatchewan are ignorant about their HIV status; this makes them susceptible to being infected. A study has also revealed that most people who live in Saskatchewan reserves do not care about health care programs that are meant to sensitize them about HIV.

· There is stigma associated with HIV in the reserves. Mass education is necessary to ensure that the stigma associated with HIV infections in the reserves is fought.  

· There is a need for cooperation from leaders of the reserves to fight the HIV menace. There are some leaders in the reserves who have developed a habit of objecting HIV testing being done on their subjects. The leaders need to be educated on the importance of HIV testing, prophylaxis and medication. Early detection of the virus is important because it ensures administration of life-saving medication that will play a major role towards prolonging the life of infected individuals (Markewich, 2016).

References

Leo, G. (2015, June 03). Special Report: HIV rates on Sask. reserves higher than some African nations. CBC News: Saskatchewan: Retrieved September 25, 2016 from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/hiv-rates-on-sask-reserves-higher-than-some-african-nations-1.3097231

Markewich, C. (2016, September 19). Saskatchewan doctors call for state of emergency over HIV rates. CBC News: Saskatoon. Retrieved September 25, 2016 from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/saskatchewan-doctors-state-of-emergency-hiv-1.3768183