November 24-December 1st/2018 is AIDS Awareness Week.
Even though we’ve known about HIV for about 35 years and HARS has been around for 30 of those, these days many of us don’t give as much thought to HIV/AIDS as we might have years ago.
That’s because we know more about HIV, and there’ve been a number of advances over the past 30+ years.
- Today, for some people an HIV test involves a simple finger prick with results while you wait.
- Today, many people living with HIV take one pill a day to treat their HIV. Treatment is easier to manage, and most people with HIV can expect to live long healthy lives.
- Today, there’s a whole menu of sexual health and harm reduction strategies to reduce the likelihood of HIV transmission.
- Today, when someone living with HIV is on effective treatment resulting in a suppressed viral load, they cannot transmit HIV to their sexual partner.
- Today, people who are HIV negative and at higher likelihood of exposure to HIV can take a pill that is 99% effective at stopping HIV transmission.
But none of this means that HIV is over. There are still many people who aren’t benefiting from this good news for a number of important reasons. And while a lot about HIV has changed, HIV stigma hasn’t.
Every day at HARS is busy working to combat stigma, remove barriers and open doors so that more people can benefit from the good news.
We offer practical assistance, food programs, a variety of different groups and social activities, community education, support and counselling, a drop-in space, and a whole lot more.
And in response to the opioid crisis, we’re busy with our needle and syringe program and do a lot of Naloxone distribution and training to help reverse an overdose.
We’ve also got a number of great events in store, including a ‘One-Night Only’ screening of the film “Buddies” on Saturday, December 1st. This was the first feature-length film about AIDS first released in 1985 and recently remastered and re-released. Please consider joining us for this poignant and powerful film.
For more information about HIV/AIDS and AIDS Awareness Week, visit www.catie.ca/en/world-aids-day.