November 29, 2006 15:00 ET

COCQ-SIDA: Quebeckers Not as Tolerant as we Think!

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 29, 2006) - The Coalition des organismes communautaires quebecois de lutte contre le sida du Quebec (COCQ-Sida) notes, on the occasion of World AIDS Day, that Quebeckers are not as tolerant as we think with respect to people living with HIV/AIDS (PHAs).

In fact, results obtained from one part of the MAYA(1) study show

- nearly half (46%) of respondents have perceived a recoiling
reaction from some people who learn of their seropositive status;

- one-third (34%) report having lost friends after telling them that
they had HIV;

- 47% say they have not revealed their sero-status to anyone in many
areas of their lives;

- more than two-thirds (69%) say they are worried about being judged
by people if they learn that they are HIV-positive.

These results are very similar to those gathered in the context of a similar study conducted with PHAs living in other regions of Quebec(2) demonstrating the extent of this intolerance.

Additionally, a Canadian poll(3) commissioned by the Public Health
Agency of Canada (PHAC) completes these results in mentioning that:

- half of Canadians (49%) would be uncomfortable drinking from a
glass that someone living with HIV/AIDS had used before them;

- more than half (56%) would be uncomfortable if a good friend or a
member of their family were dating someone living with HIV/AIDS.

Ken Monteith, President of the Board of Directors of COCQ-Sida asks: "In 2006, how is this still possible? What needs to be done, what needs to be said to make people understand that these negative reactions toward people living with HIV/AIDS hurt, stigmatize and isolate them? That they cause people to withdraw into themselves, to consider themselves worthless? No one wants to be set aside or rejected. Everyone wants the full benefit of the right to equality and the right to moral and physical integrity. This includes people living with HIV/AIDS. They are people with needs, dreams, ambitions and the same rights as everyone else. Let's talk about this! Let's take a step in the right direction!"

(1) Longitudinal Study on the Health, Quality of Life and Preventive Behaviours of People Living With HIV: Psychological and Environmental Dimensions (funded by the CIHR) Joanne OTIS (UQAM), Gaston GODIN (Laval University), et al., 2006.

(2) The Interrelation Between Health Behaviours and Aspects of Social Environment on Reported Health Status and the Quality of Life of People Living With HIV (free translation). (funded by the FQRSC). Gaston GODIN (Laval University), Joanne OTIS (UQAM), Jacques GELINAS et al., 2005.

(3) HIV/AIDS Attitudinal Tracking Survey 2006. Final Report., EKOS Research Associates Inc. for the Public Health Agency of Canada, Ottawa, March 2006.

Contact Information

    Ken Monteith, President of the Board of Directors
    Lyse Pinault, Executive Director
    514-844-2477 ext. 30