Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life

Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life

September 20, 2013 10:34 ET

A Thought Revolution has Begun!

Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life Toronto Chair aims to reduce stigma, create dialogue

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 20, 2013) - This year, the residents of Toronto, along with the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT), honour the 25th year of the Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life in our city, but so much has changed since the first Walk and, despite 25 years of raising awareness, HIV and AIDS is still a disease that's globally prevalent.

It's time for a change and the Chair of this year's Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life Toronto, Shaun Proulx, is spearheading a cutting-edge movement to inspire open and honest discussion about contracting, living with and dealing with HIV and AIDS. This morning, on CBC's Metro Morning, Proulx publicly announced that he has been living with HIV since 2005.

"When I was diagnosed, I made the decision to keep this information private, with the exception of intimate relationships. Given my public career, I wanted to avoid the label of "HIV-positive guy"; even my family and best friends didn't know my status," says Proulx, "But over time, things you keep private can begin to bear the weight of a secret. As I spent this summer working on the AIDS Walk, I began to realize that if I shared my story instead of keeping it to myself, I could help others that are dealing with the disease, whether personally or in regard to a loved one, understand."

Proulx's goal is to lead candid, forthright conversation to facilitate empowerment amongst those living with HIV, and to encourage them to make their lives continue to grow in a positive way, free from stigma and self-torment. "I see HIV, whether you have it or not, as a representation of the struggles we all have in our lives, and I hope that my message is an inspiration to live joyfully while overcoming the obstacles and to be mindful of others and free from judgment, not only of others, but, most importantly, of ourselves."

"I became infected because I'm human, and HIV infection is what can happen to humans in this time we live in," Proulx says, "I had unprotected sex. I am human, with the same powerful force of nature operating within me that all humans have."

His blog, www.shaunproulx.ca, will provide an informational and interactive space for those looking to participate in the new dialogue.

The Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life National team has helped further this new direction by enlisting the help of ad agency, TBWA Toronto.

With the fundraising committee, TBWA identified a new approach; rather than focusing on pathos, as had been the strategy in the past, the agency instead focused on how easy it is to participate in the fundraising effort. The disease is complex, helping to raise funds and awareness is as simple as walking. To target a younger generation not directly affected by the AIDS epidemic but nonetheless at risk, the agency created a funny, quirky, visually-appealing, rapidly-moving PSA with the "easy" message loud and clear.

The PSA can be viewed at www.aidswalktoronto.ca.

Contact Information

  • To bring Shaun's message to your audience, please contact:
    Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life, Toronto
    Leanne Minichillo
    diva Public Relations
    416.273.4074
    diva@divapr.ca

    TBWA
    Tracy Nesdoly
    COMMUNICATE
    416.440.1849
    tn@tncommunicate.com