HIV/AIDS and Aboriginal women in Saskatchewan : colonization, marginalization and recovery
Romanow, Carol-Anne Gloria
Since the onset of the AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) crisis in 1982, Aboriginal women have been contracting HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) and Hepatitis C in increasing numbers. A new Aboriginal HIV/AIDS research agenda is imperative. This research was conducted in an attempt to understand why Aboriginal women in Saskatchewan remain marginalized in their continuing struggle against HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C. Through the use of in-depth ethnographic profiles and personal histories, twenty-two Aboriginal women from Saskatchewan candidly shared their life histories. The women were asked a range of questions, including their knowledge about HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C, and their attitudes and behaviours concerning sexual activities, alcohol and drug use, education, health, and lifestyle. The key issues for Aboriginal women with HIV/AIDS and/or Hepatitis C focus on the fact that they sustain ‘triple jeopardy,’ in that they are discriminated against for having HIV/AIDS and/or Hepatitis C, for being a minority population by virtue of their Aboriginal ancestry, and for being women. Any analyses of what makes Aboriginal women vulnerable to HIV and Hepatitis C infection must take into account the role of poverty, independent of any risk factors, in leading to infection, illness, and in some instances, death. The majority of the respondents were found to be prostitutes who continued to be involved in street prostitution, even after they had been diagnosed with HIV and/or Hepatitis C. Twenty percent of the respondents were infected through unprotected sexual activity, 20% through intravenous drug use, and 60% were infected through both unsafe sex and intravenous drug use. The results of this research the incidence of both HIV and Hepatitis C is high in Aboriginal communities in Saskatchewan, due largely to low condom use, high rates of STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), low self-esteem, a lack of self-identity, increasing intravenous drug use, violence, sexual abuse, and high representation in street prostitution. Research to date is inadequate to the task of preventing the further spread of HIV and/or Hepatitis C, and providing effective and culturally appropriate treatment to Aboriginal women in Saskatchewan. This thesis serves to fill some of the research gap in knowledge about the relationship between race, gender, social class, sexual behavior and HIV/AIDS and/or Hepatitis C infection.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
SupervisorAnderson, Alan B.
CommitteeHay, David A.; Elabor-Idemudia, Patience; Downe, Pamela J.; Monture, Patricia
Copyright DateAugust 2003
Intravenous Drug Use
Unsafe Sexual Activities
Personal Interviews with Aboriginal Women