People who are living with, or who have died from, HIV/AIDS are being honoured as part of HIV/AIDS Awareness Week and World AIDS Day on Sunday, Dec. 1.
A red-ribbon flag was raised by Health and Wellness Minister Leo Glavine during a public ceremony at Province House today.
The 2013 global World AIDS Day theme is Getting to Zero. The campaign focuses on the goals of zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. The theme of the Canadian campaign, led by the Canadian AIDS Society, is The Fight Against HIV/AIDS: It’s Not Over.
“Much progress has been made toward an AIDS-free Canada and world,” said Mr. Glavine. “However more work needs to be done as new infections continue to occur, and HIV-related stigma and discrimination remain.”
The stigma associated with HIV/AIDS can discourage people from being tested and seeking care and support. Many people experience HIV infection as a lifelong disability.
The 2011 estimate that 25 per cent of Canadians living with HIV do not know they are infected, is also a concern as they are not being treated and may be transmitting the virus to others.
“Despite advances in prevention and treatment, more work is needed to increase culturally effective services for prevention, early screening and diagnosis, and for those living with HIV/AIDS,” said Michelle Proctor-Simms, director of the Nova Scotia Advisory Commission on AIDS. “Particular emphasis is needed for people and groups who experience stigma and marginalization, and those living in rural areas.”
The advisory commission and Canadian HIV/AIDS Black, African, and Caribbean Network will host I’m Still Here … and Staying for a While, tonight at 7 p.m. The free event focuses on the experiences and resiliency of people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS, and will be held at the Music Room, 6181 Lady Hammond Rd., Halifax.
On Sunday, the Healing Our Nations and the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network will be at the Westin Nova Scotian Hotel in Halifax, at 10 a.m., to discuss how Aboriginal people can continue to work together to reach the goal of “Getting to Zero”. Also, a Halifax World AIDS Day Vigil will be held at 7 p.m. at the Italian Canadian Cultural Association of Nova Scotia, 2629 Agricola St.
The Nova Scotia Advisory Commission on AIDS advises government on HIV/AIDS issues and its impact on Nova Scotia. It co-ordinates implementing the provincial HIV/AIDS strategy.
The strategy has been reviewed and a report will be released early in 2014.
For a full list of HIV/AIDS Awareness Week events across the province, visit www.gov.ns.ca/aids.