FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Northern Health has announced that they are giving $1.59 million dollars to 8 agencies in communities across the north, as well as 23 First Nations communities.
The funding is a continuation from work that is already being done. That includes a strong network of services across northern BC.
Health Minister Terry Lake says it is good news this funding will help even further.
“BC is a world leader in HIV prevention, testing and treatment and it is thanks to this work with our partners that what was once a life-threatening disease is now a manageable illness. It is great news that this funding will help to expand the work of the STOP HIV/AIDS program and provide HIV education, awareness and supports throughout the north.”
Community based services are being are being provided in these communities according to Northern Health:
· Prince George, Smithers and Dawson Creek where previously contracted service providers, Positive Living North and Central Interior Native Health Society will continue or expand their services;
· Southside Health & Wellness Centre will provide testing, treatment and outreach in the Burns lake area and in surrounding First Nations communities;
· The Fort Nelson Aboriginal Friendship Society will distribute and recover harm reduction supplies, and will deliver prevention education in and around Fort Nelson;
· The Gitxsan Health Society will distribute and recover harm reduction supplies, promote and provide testing, and support those living with HIV or HCV in and around Hazleton;
· Old Massett Village Council–Health Society on Haida Gwaii will integrate efforts towards HCV within their HIV outreach and education to bring more services to co-infected people;
· Quesnel Tillicum Friendship Society and Quesnel Shelter and Support Society will collaborate to distribute and recover harm reduction supplies and provide HIV and HCV testing in Quesnel and to First Nations communities in the area.
· The Northern BC First Nations HIV / AIDS Coalition will distribute its Healthy Sexuality kits and deliver train-the-trainer sessions in First Nations communities;
· Additional funds will support agencies in four other communities to plan and implement a response toHIV and HCV: Fort St. John, Fort St. James, Terrace and Prince Rupert. It is expected that new services will be operating by April 1, 2017, reaching another 4 municipalities as well as First Nations communities.
The new as well as continuing services will be linked to Northern Health services through a special support team and primary care home alignment, which will make those services available to everyone across the north.