SOURCE: Scotiabank

Scotiabank

September 10, 2015 15:41 ET

Toronto's 27th Annual Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life Taking Place Sunday, September 13, 2015

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - September 10, 2015) - The 2015 Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life, a national fundraising and awareness movement, takes place in Toronto at Yonge-Dundas Square on Sunday, September 13, 2015.

The Toronto Walk supports the life-saving programs and services of the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT). This year's honourary co-chairs are former Toronto mayor Barbara Hall and her husband Max Beck. The co-chairs are familiar with the fight against the stigmatization and discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS. Barbara has been raising awareness about HIV/AIDS and its impact on LGBTQ communities since the 1980s. She was honoured for her work in 2014, when Cawthra Square was renamed to Barbara Hall Park -- now the current home of Toronto's AIDS Memorial. Max was honorary chair of the AIDS Walk twice in the early 1990s and continues to support the work of ACT.

"The AIDS Walk, in its earliest days, was for me an effective way to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS with all Torontonians," says Barbara Hall. "I think that was true in the 80s and 90s, and still holds true today."

The Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life Toronto takes place each fall and is ACT's most grassroots event. The Walk has evolved into a large-scale, annual demonstration of support for all people living with and affected by HIV.

"I have been to over twenty AIDS Walks here in Toronto, and the feeling of being an HIV-positive person and showing up to the Walk to see thousands of people out to support you is an incredible feeling, and one that doesn't get old," says John Maxwell, Executive Director of ACT.

Over 70,000 people are living with HIV/AIDS in Canada, though a quarter of them are unaware of their status. There is no cure and no vaccines to prevent new infections. Funds raised in the Walk are used to support direct programs and services for Canadians living with HIV/AIDS in their communities.

"Over the coming weeks, our collective steps will raise much needed funds and awareness for essential HIV/AIDS programs and services across the country," said Marianne Hasold-Schilter, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, International Banking at Scotiabank. "HIV/AIDS affects people of all ages, genders and ethnicities and Scotiabank is proud to bring this event to cities across Canada and to help to build stronger communities where we live and work."

In July 2015, members of the AIDS services community, which includes ACT, CAS Regional PLWHIV/AIDS and Positive Living Society of BC announced the first ever HIV Anonymous campaign in anticipation of the annual AIDS Walk. The campaign captures the isolation, stigma, and manifold forms of discrimination those living with HIV/AIDS face on a daily basis. The platform gives a voice to Canadians who are living with HIV/AIDS, allowing them to share their stories while retaining their confidentiality. These stories will be available via a sharable audio library on HIVANONYMOUS.ca and will be used to educate the public about the realities of living with HIV/AIDS in 2015.

About the Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life

The Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life is a project of the Canadian AIDS Society, in partnership with the Positive Living Society of British Columbia, ACT, and community-based AIDS organizations across Canada. During the national week-long event, cities and communities from across the country host Walks to raise funds for local services and programming and to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS. As Canada's most important HIV/AIDS awareness and fundraising event, the Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life has now raised over $42 million for community-based HIV/AIDS service organizations since 1996 and has attracted well over half a million participants. Scotiabank continues its multi-year commitment as title sponsor for the AIDS Walk, playing a key role in expanding its promotional and fundraising capacity.

For more information visit:
http://aidswalkforlife.ca
http://aidswalktoronto.ca

Follow ACT on Twitter:
@ACToronto

Event hashtag:
#AIDSWalkTO
#AIDSWalk

Follow Pennant Media Group on Twitter:
@PennantMedia

Available for Interviews:
Barbara Hall
John Maxwell, Executive Director, ACT

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