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World aids day 2022
Global Lessons. Local Actions.
Global Lessons, Local Actions: Martin Morberg
When settlers first arrived on Turtle Island, they imposed their beliefs and systems on the Indigenous peoples of this land. There was a widespread erasure and genocide of Indigenous cultures and ways of life. Western systems continue to cause harm for Indigenous people. What many Indigenous people want Canadians to understand is that Indigenous communities have their own worldviews and holistic approaches to health and wellbeing. Martin Morberg is the Two-Spirit Program Coordinator for the Community-Based Research Centre. “Indigenous people need to be supported in leading their own solutions. Understanding that there's an equal amount of validity to our own approaches, to our own systems as Indigenous people. We can collaborate with the western world and form equitable partnerships. We understand the effectiveness of these western sexual health tools, but we must lead the way in delivering them to our own communities, with our own approaches” he explains. Recently, Martin and the Two-Spirit program at CBRC undertook an important pilot program to try to improve both access to and trust of HIV self-test kits among Indigenous communities. With the guidance of their Two-Spirit community members, they conceptualized an Indigenous approach to the HIV self-test kits, a Medicine Bundle that holds Indigenous medicines and other spiritual items that support someone in their personal journey. According to the Two-Spirit program at CBRC, “the purpose of this Bundle is to bring the sacredness back into sex and offer access to a holistic approach to sexual health needs.” As Martin says, the Medicine Bundle is “A community-driven initiative led by and for Two-Spirit and Indigenous people.” The Medicine Bundle pilot launched in BC, and is will be launching a national expansion in the coming months with the support of CBRC, Communities, Alliances & Networks (CAAN), and other Indigenous organizations. Links https://www.cbrc.net/medicinebundle
Global Lessons, Global Actions: Jade Elektra
Long before the U=U campaign got underway in 2016, Jade Elektra knew that if you’re a person living with HIV with an undetectable viral load, you cannot pass the virus onto your sexual partners. “You know, I'm no angel. So me and a couple of my partners – you know, things happen or whatever in the heat of the moment – and most of my partners in the past were not HIV positive,” explains the founder of PozPlanet magazine and PozTO Awards. “The concept of I'm undetectable, we just did something that was unsafe – you're fine. That happened a couple times.” While it may not have been news to her, U=U took on a whole new relevance when she performed a cover of Unforgettable, with the key lyric changed to Undetectable, at the AIDS Memorial in Toronto. “From the second that I said the first 'undetectable' on stage. I could just feel the crowd. They were there with me. The warmth. The energy. It was a moment,” Jade recalls. “When I performed that song. That's when I actually understood how important the message was, and how it affected other people to hear that message.” Canada was the first country in the world to endorse the science behind U=U in 2018. And this summer, the Canadian government endorsed a formal global declaration on Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U), which “takes the global commitment to U=U one step further by recognizing the value of the message as a tool to advance efforts to end HIV as a public health concern, and by committing countries to integrate U=U into their policies and programs.” Links https://www.facebook.com/groups/POZPLANET https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/news/2022/07/canada-takes-action-by-endorsing-global-declaration-on-undetectable--untransmittable-uu.html
Global Lessons, Local Actions: Maureen Owino
Maureen Owino is a force. An HIV/AIDS activist and scholar, Maureen has been working in the HIV sector in Canada for over 15 years – most recently as the Director of the Committee for Accessible AIDS Treatment (CAAT). Canada is lacking in services, organizations and frameworks for women living with HIV. Maureen attributes this to the lack of support from women’s counterparts in the HIV/AIDS response. “Being real allies means speaking truth to power. Standing up even when it's the most challenging thing to do. Standing up without fear of losing your privilege, or losing your voice,” says Maureen. “I have never stood in a place where I have seen gay white men stand up for women. I have not seen gay white men speak up for Black people publicly. I have not seen the men in this movement stand up and ask why it is we have no services for women. I still am waiting. I want to see them stand up and say it's time we fought for our women. Because the women have been with you every step of the way.” Maureen is addressing the gap in services for women as a co-creator and co-founder of WomenSpeak, the first national network for women Living with HIV. “Our main objective is to do a national needs assessment for women living with HIV to find out what gaps exist, gaps in services, gaps in healthcare, gaps in research – to ensure that within the next five years we will now have different organizations for women; different frameworks of interventions and strategies specifically for women living with HIV nationally.” Links https://paninbc.ca/2022/03/09/women-speak-comunity-building-wlhiv-canada/
Global Lessons, Local Actions: Ashley Rose Murphy
STBBIs are on the rise in Canada. The COVID-19 pandemic stunted progress in testing, diagnosis and treatment. And stigma continues to grow unabated: a 2019 Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research National Youth Survey found that over 42% of Canadian youth don’t want their partners or peers to know they get tested for STBBIs. HIV self-testing is just one tool we have that can improve our relationship with our sexual health. It offers a confidential and discreet way of finding out your HIV status. “That already removes the fear and stigma of having to go somewhere and get told by somebody your status,” says Ashley Murphy, an HIV/AIDS advocate who was born with the virus and has been openly sharing her experience as a person living with HIV since she was 10 years-old. We can access HIV self-testing through programs like I’m Ready – an app where HIV self-test kits can be delivered to your home or picked up at one of over 80 locations across Canada. Resources: https://www.readytoknow.ca/ https://canfar.com/canfar-publishes-findings-from-its-2019-national-youth-survey/
Global Lessons, Local Actions: Christian Hui
Undetectable = Untransmittable. This simple equation is the sum of years of research and evidence proving that when a person is living with HIV, adhering to treatment, and achieving an undetectable viral load, they cannot pass HIV to another person – sexually or otherwise. Christian Hui thinks U=U has many uses in HIV advocacy and policy, not to mention helping with destigmatization. “You see a lot of people saying U=U has inspired them to come out with their status. For people that have considered becoming parents, U=U has made the process simpler and easier,” says the HIV/AIDS activist and one of the North American delegates in the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board NGO Delegation. Can U=U be used as a tool to help us achieve health equity for persons living with HIV? Christian is hopeful. “If the world can end the epidemic through U=U and equalizing all the inequalities and inequities, then that would be my wish.” Resource: https://www.preventionaccess.org/
Global Lessons, Local Actions: Gabriel Jarquin
Gabriel Jarquin doesn’t let HIV slow him down. The competitive marathon runner and Experience Director of Pride & Remembrance Run vividly remembers receiving his diagnosis. “The doctor that gave me the news was just as uncomfortable as me receiving it, and I remember leaving the clinic feeling very empty.” While Canada’s healthcare system has made strides in improving the sexual health for our communities, there’s still a stigma with HIV and other STBBIs that is unwavering, “so people don't get tested, because they either don't have access to getting tested, or out of fear of how a positive result will affect their lives,” Gabriel says. With one in ten Canadians not knowing their HIV status, testing and identifying new cases so that people can be connected to treatment and care is a top priority. In August, the Public Health Agency of Canada announced a total of $17.9 million for the distribution of HIV self-testing kits, and other methods of HIV testing. HIV self-testing kits are a confidential and safe way for anyone to find out their HIV status, and will be more readily accessible across Canada with more community-based organizations getting access to these lifesaving resources and more ways to deliver these kits to all Canadians. Resources: https://www.priderun.org/ https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/news/2022/08/government-of-canada-is-making-hiv-testing-more-accessible-across-canada.html
Global Lessons, Local Actions: Claudette Cardinal
Claudette Cardinal’s Indigenous name is Wâpakwaniy, which in Cree translates to flower. Claudette is an Indigenous Peer Research Associate at the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS – and she is also an Indigenous woman who has been living with HIV for over two decades. “December 18 is when I was told long, long ago. In Alberta. And I got the lovely call from the clinic. Back then it was called the STD clinic; [I] got that phone call that you've been in contact with someone and you need to come in and get checked out.” Claudette has since dedicated her work towards raising Indigenous women’s perspectives and voices in the response to HIV/AIDS. Some of the knowledge that Indigenous people bring to the fight with HIV/AIDS, says Wâpakwaniy, “is the healing properties, that love that comes from the energy.” Communities and Alliances Network and Canadian HIV Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Cohort study are working together on the kʷiisḥinčiƛ: Transformation Project, which seeks to further culturally grounded research for the well-being of Indigenous women living with HIV. Resource: https://caan.ca/research/current-research/the-transformation-project/
CN Tower. Toronto, Ontario.
National landmarks will be coloured red on December 1st to commemorate World AIDS Day -
collectively remembering those we lost and showing support for those who continue to be affected.
This World AIDS Day, over 50 Canadian community groups and organizations have united as partners to raise awareness about HIV in Canada. We celebrate the work that communities across the country have done toward ending the HIV epidemic in Canada.
95 - 95 - 95 Targets
95% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status.
95% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy.
95% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.