The Conservative government announced on May 8 that they will be cutting funding for First Nations’ health programs. The Quebec Native Women Inc (QNW) received a letter that funding will be cut altogether for their health programs because of a reorientation of federal policy under the 2012 Economic Action Plan.

This plan states that the funding once used for social and health programs will now be used for direct healthcare services. As a result, the QNW’s HIV-AIDS coordinator position was eliminated due to the cuts. “The HIV-AIDS prevention and sexual education program was one of the most well-received and useful ones we had,” said QNW president Michele Audette.

Audette went on to say that the program allowed women to get an education about sexuality without judgment from their peers. It allowed them to talk to someone about issues of sexuality that concerned them.

With the cutting of this position, thousands of women and men will suffer. Direct healthcare may not always be the answer to the questions that First Nations women and men ask about their sexuality. The QNW’s holistic approach will be lost because of these cuts.