April 19, 2016
Caitlin and I had a great experience at the NEON Lights Conference on April 6 and 7 in Timmins. The conference was geared around HIV, Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction and testing. This conference was put on by the Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Strategy (OAHAS) and CATIE. It was nice to participate in a conference that was presented with indigenous teachings.
Hepatitis C is 5 times the rate in indigenous populations in Canada than non-indigenous populations in Canada. Many indigenous communities do not have access to health services like in urban communities. It is really important to get the awareness of HIV and Hepatitis C in these communities as well as testing. The Hepatitis C Team at the AIDS Committee of North Bay & Area is working with some of these communities to help get awareness and testing out there.
I came across a great resource called Honouring Our Voices. Honouring Our Voices, produced by BC’s Chee Mamuk, features the stories of five Aboriginal people living with Hep C. The book uses photography and storytelling to share information about testing, diagnosis and treatment for Hep C. The book aims to show the ways Hep C impacts Aboriginal people, families and communities. You can get a free copy of this book at http://orders.catie.ca/product_info.php?cPath=14_52&products_id=26348 .