HIV in First Nations living on reserve
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks the immune system. Early treatment and culturally safe care and support help people with HIV live longer and healthier lives.
How common is HIV?
In 2016, the rate of newly diagnosed HIV was three times higher in First Nations living on-reserve than the overall Canadian population (The Public Health Agency of Canada and Indigenous Services Canada data, 2016).
Medications and treatments are available through Non-Insured Health Benefits for eligible First Nations, regardless of where they live.
What are the risks?
- having sex without a condom
- having sex under the influence of alcohol and drugs
- having another sexually transmitted or blood-borne infection
- getting a tattoo or piercing with unsterile equipment
- borrowing or lending needles or other drug use equipment
- being born to a mother with HIV
Reduce the risk
Prevention: Know how to protect yourself and others.
Testing: Talk to your health service provider about confidential testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections.
Treatment: Seek treatment, culturally safe care and support services.
People can be infected with HIV without knowing it. They may not look or feel sick, but they can still pass HIV to others.
First Nations initiatives
- Hope for Wellness Help Line
Telephone: 1-855-242-3310, or online chat.