AIDS Healthcare Foundation

AIDS Healthcare Foundation

August 13, 2006 15:21 ET

AIDS Healthcare Foundation: Thousands March to Demand Improved Global Efforts & Access to 'AIDS Treatment Now' as AIDS Conference Opens in Toronto

AIDS Treatment Advocates from Around the Globe Fill Streets of Toronto and Call For Universal Access to Lifesaving Treatment; Advocates Present 'Toronto Declaration' to Conference Officials On Steps of Rogers Centre Just Prior to Official Opening Ceremonies and Concert

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Aug. 13, 2006) - Thousands of AIDS treatment advocates, people living with HIV/AIDS, community activists and others from around the world who are gathered in Toronto this week for the XVI International AIDS Conference are marching through the streets of downtown Toronto this afternoon in a colorful rally and march calling for universal access to lifesaving AIDS treatment. The marchers, many carrying banners and placards, world balloons and flags from a number of the 150 nations that are represented at the conference, are joining together today to demand improved access to AIDS care and treatment around the world.

The lifesaving drug treatments, known as anti-retroviral therapy or ART, were first introduced to world ten years ago in 1996 at the AIDS conference that took place in Vancouver, the last time the Conference took place in Canada. Since then, HIV/AIDS has become more of a chronic, manageable disease for many of those who are fortunate enough to have access to these treatments; however, many millions in resource-poor countries in Africa, Asia and throughout the world still lack access to these drug treatments.

"Of the forty million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS today, barely two million have access to these lifesaving drugs, and most of those live in the US and Western Europe," said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, one of the primary groups spearheading the 'AIDS Treatment Now: Time to Deliver' march. "It is indeed high time to deliver these AIDS treatment to many, many more of the millions still in need of care."

The 'AIDS Treatment Now: Time to Deliver' march played off the official theme of this year's conference_Time to Deliver, a reference_and commitment to_stepping up access to treatment, care and services in the fight against HIV/AIDS worldwide. Marchers gathered first for a rally in Grange Park and then began marching down John Street to Rogers Centre where the opening ceremonies of the conference were to take place.

The AIDS Treatment Now: Time to Deliver march proceeded to the steps of Rogers Centre just prior to the opening ceremonies of the Conference, where advocates deliver the 'Toronto Declaration' to senior conference officials calling on delegates to pledge a commitment to the goals of the Declaration, which include the significant expansion of pediatric treatment and HIV testing globally.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation, with supporting partners Worldwide Orphans Foundation, Women's March/Toronto, Africare, Uganda CARES, Indian Network of Positive People (INP+), Cambodian People Living with HIV/AIDS Network (CPN+), Asian Harm Reduction Network (AHRN), and numerous other AIDS and community groups, spearheaded the treatment advocacy march.

Contact Information

  • Maverick PR
    Stephanie Engel
    (416) 640-5525, ext. 241
    AIDS Healthcare Foundation
    Lori Yeghiayan
    Associate Director of Communications
    (323) 377-4312, (416) 268-9792, mobile