HIV Infection Rate in Pregnant Canadian Aboriginal Women Seven Times Higher Than in General Population, Study Shows
The First Nations Chiefs' Health Committee has produced and released a new public service announcement encouraging HIV testing for all pregnant Canadian aboriginal women. According to the preliminary results of an ongoing four-year survey being conducted by FNCHC, Canadian aboriginal women are seven times as likely to be HIV-positive as other pregnant Canadian women. FNCHC Executive Director Shaunee Pointe said that the study results "cannot be ignored." She added that the results are "even more disturbing" because pregnant women are not considered to be at high risk for contracting HIV. Pointe said that HIV-positive pregnant women who know their status can take antiretroviral medicine to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to their infants (FNCHC Web site, 10/23). The PSA is currently being aired on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network and local cable channels throughout British Columbia (Canada NewsWire, 10/22). Approximately one in 2,500 pregnant Canadian women are HIV-positive, compared to 10 in 3,192 among pregnant Canadian aboriginal women tested during the first three years of the survey (Canadian Press, 10/22). The PSA can be viewed online.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.