Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath's Statement on World AIDS Day and Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week
More than 75,000 Canadians and over 30,000 Ontarians are currently living with HIV/AIDS. Studies suggest that roughly one in five people living with HIV/AIDS are unaware they have it, and the number of Canadians living with HIV/AIDS continues to grow.
World AIDS Day and Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week are important reminders for us to honour and mourn those we have lost to the virus, as we continue to work to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, while fighting the stigmatization that so often targets people living with the disease.
Around the world, options for preventing the spread of HIV, and treatments for those infected with the virus have improved dramatically. People living with HIV and AIDS live longer, with much greater quality of life than others before them.
But there is more we need to do. We must ensure at-risk individuals have access to the testing, services, and supports they need in a timely manner, and we need to do more to reach out to the communities that are disproportionately at risk, starting with meaningful consultation. This epidemic is more than a medical issue – social factors play a significant role in exposure, education, access to testing, stigmatization, and treatment outcomes.
On December 1, New Democrats stand alongside millions of Canadians to mark World AIDS Day 2016, and the start of Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week. The global theme for this year’s World AIDS Day is “Hands up for #HIVprevention” – a theme focused on different aspects of HIV prevention, and how different communities are affected, including vulnerable populations, women and girls, and those already living with the virus.
Ontario’s NDP is committed to eliminating new HIV infections, reducing AIDS-related illness and death, and fighting discrimination against those living with the virus. New Democrats extend our sincere thanks to the organizations, experts, and activists who work tirelessly to raise awareness and reduce the harm caused by HIV and AIDS.