Member of Parliament for the Northwest Territories, Michael McLeod, on behalf of the
Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health announced an investment of $1,000,000 over 5
years from the HIV and Hepatitis C Community Action Fund to support the work of SMASH (Strength,
Masculinities, and Sexual Health).
Infections transmitted through sexual contact or contact with infected blood, known as sexually
transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBI), are preventable and treatable. But these infections—
including HIV, hepatitis C, chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis— are still a significant public health
concern in Canada.
SMASH will use the arts to focus on HIV/Hepatitis C/STBBI prevention among male youth in the Northwest Territories and
train peer leaders to hold school based workshops to educate and encourage youth to learn their
About 2,500 people are infected with HIV every year, and it is estimated that 65,000 people
are currently living with HIV in Canada. Of those, one in five is unaware of their infection. Similarly, an
estimated 44% of the more than 245,000 Canadians living with hepatitis C are unaware of their
infection and may not be accessing treatment. As well, the number of new cases of sexually transmitted
infections significantly increased between 2006 and 2015.
While Canada has made progress addressing STBBI in the last three decades, there is still work to do to reach the global goal of eliminating these infections as a public health threat by 2030.