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The Union of Ontario Indians HIV/AIDS Program serves 39 member First Nations in Ontario.  The program currently has one full time educator who serves the 39 member First Nations.  The primary objectives of the HIV/AIDS program are to promote the adoption of healthy behaviors and reduce the spread of HIV.  The educator provides health education activities (such as workshops, presentations, education displays/ booths, health fairs) and training exercises for member First Nations by community invitation.


The River of Healing
The aim of this video is to reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with drug use in our communities. We focus on positive solutions such as youth prevention programs and strategies that educate our people on the prevention of transmittable diseases such as Hepatitis C and HIV through unsafe drug use. The video emphasizes the positive effects, such as healing, that can be brought about through effective methods of harm reduction.
Produced by The Union of Ontario Indians HIV/AIDS program coordinator Jody Cotter in collaboration with Regan Pictures, The River of Healing features the participation of the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network, the Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Strategy, Nurture North, the AIDS Committee of North Bay and Area and others impacted by HIV/AIDS. 
Funding for The River of Healing was provided by Health Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Health AIDS Bureau. 

The Basics

HIV is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus that causes AIDS, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

HIV is a virus that attacks your immune system.  Once the virus gets inside your body:

  • You may not feel or look sick for years, but you can still infect others
  • Over time, your immune system grows weak and you can become sick with different illnesses
  • If left untreated, your immune system will no longer be able to defend your body from infections, diseases or cancers which can kill you.  Once this happens, you have AIDS.

Anyone can be infected with HIV no matter what age, sex, sexual orientation, race or ethnic origin.  Its not who you are that puts you at risk for HIV infection.  It's what you do. 
There is NO CURE for HIV or AIDS. 
There are some drugs that can slow down the disease so that you stay healthier for a longer time.
Prevention is the only defense.

You can get HIV if the blood, semen, or vaginal fluid of an infected person gets into your bloodstream through a break, cut or tear in your skin.  The virus can get into your bloodstream if you:

  • Have vaginal or anal sex with someone who has HIV without using a condom
  • Have oral sex with someone who has HIV without using a condom or a dental dam. (A dental dam is a square piece of latex used to cover the anus or vagina.)
  • Take part in any other activities that include contact with infected blood, semen, or vaginal fluid.

You can also get HIV if you

  • Share needles or other equipment(water, cooker, filter, etc.) to inject drugs like cocaine, heroine or steroids with someone who has HIV
  • Share needles or ink to get a tattoo 
  • Share needles or jewelry to get a body piercing
  • Share acupuncture needles

A woman with HIV can pass the virus to her baby:

  • During pregnancy, in the uterus
  • During birth
  • Through breastfeeding

Since November 1985, all blood and blood products in Canada are checked for HIV.  Your risk of getting infected from a blood transfusion is extremely low.


You can't get HIV from...

  • Talking, shaking hands, working or eating with someone
  • Hugs or kisses
  • Coughs or sneezes
  • Donating blood
  • Swimming pools
  • Toilet seats or water fountains
  • Bed sheets or towels
  • Forks, spoons, cups, food
  • Insects or animals
 Understanding our Responsibilities


HIV Poster: Women and HIV
File: HIV Poster Women and HIV.pdf

Zach and Mindy Poster
File: Zach and Mindy Poster.pdf

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