(Treaty 6 Territory, Saskatoon, SK) – The Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation, Big River First Nation and Saskatoon Tribal Council are hosting a two-day HIV knowledge exchange forum to share program successes.

The forum will focus on the knowledge and experiences of the groups in developing a Know Your Status program. Communities will receive support in assessing community readiness, planning and implementation of HIV, Hep C and STI education, harm reduction, testing, and clinical management with the goal of reaching the UNAIDS 90-90-90 target.

The communities of Big River and Ahtahkakoop have built highly successful Know Your Status programs that have exceeded the UNAIDS 90-90-90 international standards for HIV care. They have also received international recognition for their work combatting the spread of HIV and AIDS.

“The Know Your Status program has helped to save lives and provide hope for those living with HIV in our community,” said Ahtahkakoop First Nation Chief Larry Ahenakew. “We highly recommend that other communities adopt the program. We are extremely proud of our health care workers and community members for embracing this life saving program.”

“Good things happen when First Nation communities gather to share experiences and knowledge. HIV is only one of the major health concerns we as First Nation people face. We need to work together and create sustainable programs for our people,” said Big River First Nation Chief Bruce Morin. “Creating better health for our people involves a strong cultural approach. Our Know Your Status Program, which was developed in 2009 is community-based and community driven. We strive daily to create an environment that meets the needs of all our clients and band members. We look forward to sharing with everyone at this event.”

The Saskatoon Tribal Council has been an active leader in HIV, Hep C and harm prevention programming and outreach in Saskatoon and surrounding communities.

“As a collective, we want to share successes and help any community combat HIV/AIDS,” said Saskatoon Tribal Chief Felix Thomas. “As First Nations, it’s time that we come together to drive the development, expansion and implementation of HIV programs by our people, for our people.”

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) and the First Nations Inuit Health Branch of Health Canada also support the event.

“The two-day forum is an opportunity for First Nations from across our Treaty territories to come and learn and share their experiences dealing with HIV,” said FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron. “We will get the message out to our communities that HIV is preventable.”

The event takes place at the Saskatoon Inn, 2009 Airport Drive, Saskatoon, SK on February 13 and 14, 2017.

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