A two million dollar grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research will go towards combating AIDS and HIV on First Nations reserves. The money will go to Dr. Stuart Skinner, a clinician, and researcher based at the University of Saskatchewan.

Skinner is currently working on a program known as “Know Your Status,” which brings HIV diagnosis and treatment methods to Indigenous communities. The grant from CIHR will help to expand and further develop the KYS program.

“We’re pretty excited about the grant success,” said Skinner.”We wanted to build a First Nations-led initiative that met the local community needs and integrated western and Indigenous approaches.”

The KYS program attempts to integrate aspects of mainstream western medicine and the traditional Indigenous health model, which includes mentoring from elders and providing physical, emotional and spiritual care to maintain community health and wellness.

Saskatchewan’s First Nations communities have an HIV infection rate that is seven times higher than the national average.

(PHOTO: Courtesy usask.ca)