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HIV infections up in Saskatchewan PDF Print E-mail
Written by Manfred Joehnck   
Friday, 01 December 2017 09:52

Photo courtesy of Manfred Joehnck

Saskatchewan still has the highest HIV infection rate in Canada.

This morning, the province released its annual HIV AIDS Report, which shows a 6 per cent increase in the number of new infections last year, with 79 per cent of them in the Aboriginal community.

This morning, a flag was raised at the legislative building during International AIDS Awareness Day, and stakeholders reflected on the growing crisis in Saskatchewan.

There were 170 new infections last year, up 10 from the previous year. Since 1985, there have been nearly 2,100 cases, with more than three quarters of them in the Indigenous community. Saskatchewan’s infection rate is 2.3 times the national average.

Sharing dirty needles among drug users is the number one cause of infection at 60 per cent, followed by heterosexual sex at 32 per cent.

Sex among gay men accounted for only 4 per cent of the new infections last year. Margaret Poitras, the CEO of the All Nations Hope Network, says organizations like hers need to lead the way in reducing the numbers.

"Indigenous people have to lead this movement in order for it to be effective and to address what we are seeing in our communities with HIV positive people who are Indigenous," she said.

While the overall numbers were up 6 per cent in Saskatchewan, the Sunrise Health Region, which includes the Cote, Key and Keeseekoose First Nations, saw an increase of 260 per cent. The Prairie North Health Region in northern Saskatchewan reported the second highest increase at 83 per cent.

Jason Mercredi, the executive director of AIDS Saskatoon, says this should be considered a health crisis.

"If this was any other infectious disease we could be hitting the panic button right now trying to get the federal government to really address this issue," he said.

HIV numbers in Regina were down 12 per cent from the previous year, while Saskatoon recorded a 22 per cent decrease. Still, the two cities have the majority of HIV patients in the province.

There was some other good news in the numbers as well. Even though 44 HIV positive women gave birth last year, none of the babies were infected.

Last Updated on Friday, 01 December 2017 12:04
 
A workshop in Prince Albert hosts young northern artists PDF Print E-mail
Written by Travis Radke   
Friday, 01 December 2017 08:37

Some performers during a previous Northern Spirits event. Photo courtesy Facebook, Sheryl Kimbley.

Eighty artists between the age of 12 and 18 are expected to arrive in Prince Albert today for the Northern Spirits Workshop.

The workshop, which is now in its eleventh year, will introduce mentors to the young creators who will help them hone their talents and build relations.

"We try to get the kids to relax and network together, that's the most important part of the weekend," said Northern Spirits Founder, Sheryl Kimbley. "These kids are so talented. There is no lack of talent in northern Saskatchewan, it's coming and it is coming at a rate that we cannot even imagine, and we knew that. We just need to find a way to get them to be heard."

The three-day workshop will serve as the precursor to a talent show in the New Year. Twenty-five of the artists present will be selected for the workshop will be chosen to return for the Northern Spirits Showcase in February.

"I'm telling you they do everything themselves, they produce it, they play the instruments, they sing, they dance, they emcee it and have their very own junior producer," said Kimbley.

The Northern Spirits Showcase will run alongside the Voices of the North event in February.

 

Last Updated on Friday, 01 December 2017 08:40
 
Northern communities receiving festive visitor PDF Print E-mail
Written by Travis Radke   
Friday, 01 December 2017 08:14

Photos from a previous Santa Claus run. Photo courtesy TransWest Air, Facebook.

Transwest Air will be flying Santa to the communities of Black Lake, Fond-du-Lac and Stony Rapids today and Wollaston tomorrow.

The man in red will be leaving Prince Albert this morning and will be delivering gifts to children in each of the communities. In the 17 years that the program has run, the airline says they have not experienced much change.

"There seems to be a nice system that we have going on. Santa travels from Prince Albert, and we bring the gifts up there with us and we visit the communities and the schools," said Transwest Air representative, Patty Hughes. "It is actually quite a well-attended event in all the communities, they all look forward to it."

The airline is expecting around 500 attendees to each of their four visits in the province's north. The northern children will receive treats, along with the gifts.

"Each child will get a gift from Santa, along with an orange and a candy cane, as well as time to sit on Santa's knee," said Hughes.

In addition to the northern visits, Transwest Air has prepared a package to be shipped to the children of Uranium City.

Last Updated on Friday, 01 December 2017 08:27
 
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