CANADIAN AIDS SOCIETY

CANADIAN AIDS SOCIETY

November 24, 2009 06:00 ET

Canadian AIDS Society/HIV in Canada: How Do You See It?

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 24, 2009) - On the occasion of Canadian HIV/AIDS Awareness Week, the Canadian AIDS Society is asking Canadians, "HIV is in Canada -- How do you see it?"

"With approximately 63,000 people currently living with HIV in Canada, HIV is all around us, but do we see it?" asks Monique Doolittle-Romas, Executive Director of the Canadian AIDS Society.

"The Canadian AIDS Society's campaign was developed to challenge the way people see HIV/AIDS in Canada," adds Doolittle-Romas. "We have to see HIV in our midst, but it's also important to see that we have the power to prevent further transmission. We can only do that with a clear vision."

With advances in HIV treatment options and with roughly 30% of people living with HIV unaware of their HIV positive status, HIV is becoming less visible. Yet, stigma and discrimination remain, as do many of the challenges of living with the disease. If you do take medication, it is a treatment and not a cure. Once you have HIV, you have it for life.

Increasingly, HIV may appear where you're least likely to see it. Although gay men and men who have sex with men are still the population most affected by HIV, the evolution of HIV in Canada is seeing more cases of HIV among women and a higher percentage of HIV reports attributed to heterosexual sex, with an increased number of Black and Aboriginal Canadians becoming infected as well. We need to be able to see HIV clearly to understand our risks and how HIV can be prevented.

As we mark HIV/AIDS Awareness Week in Canada, we encourage Canadians to learn more about HIV/AIDS in our country. Simply visit: www.cdnaids.ca/worldaidsday2009 to access a series of fact sheets with HIV statistics in Canada, prevention tips, insights into HIV stigma and discrimination, as well as brief outlines of the evolution of the epidemic, its contributing factors, and the role of AIDS service organizations in stemming the epidemic in Canada.

It's time we all changed our perspective on HIV/AIDS. HIV is a part of our world, whether we see it or not.

Canadian AIDS Society

The Canadian AIDS Society is a national coalition of over 120 community-based AIDS organizations from across Canada. Dedicated to strengthening the response to HIV/AIDS across all sectors of society, we also work to enrich the lives of people and communities living with HIV/AIDS. We accomplish this by advocating on behalf of people and communities affected by HIV/AIDS, facilitating the development of programs, services and resources for our member groups, and providing a national framework for community-based participation in Canada's response to AIDS.

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