Conference in Canadian Province Focuses on HIV/AIDS Among Native Youth
Aboriginal youth from northern parts of the Canadian province of British Columbia recently gathered for a three-day conference on HIV/AIDS in an effort to curb the spread of the disease in their communities, the CP/Prince George Citizen reports. Conference attendees, ages 15 to 22, were selected by the First Nations chiefs, councils and health directors.
Emma Palmantier, chair of the Northern B.C. Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Task Force, said that youth attending the conference are expected to take knowledge back to their communities. She added the goal of the training is to give young people basic knowledge about HIV/AIDS, in addition to lessons on sexuality and teen pregnancy, lectures, workshops and group discussions. The CP/Citizen reports that at the end of the conference, the attendees will make recommendations to the task force, chiefs and councils, which will then be used to develop community action plans.
Palmantier said that because many youth who move to urban areas like Prince George and Vancouver come from low-income families, they often turn to commercial sex work and drug trafficking as ways to survive. She said, "The governments need to come up with funds to train these youth in trades and jobs so they can live normal lives. There's a big door of opportunity for training" (Trick, CP/Prince George Citizen, 10/21).