On World AIDS Day, Federated Health Charities remembers the lives lost to HIV/AIDS, and we stand in solidarity with the thousands of people across Ontario and throughout Canada living with HIV today. We also recognize the tireless work of activists, researchers, and healthcare providers who have fought for more than 40 years to raise awareness, increase access to treatment, and break down the stigma around HIV/AIDs. Today, extraordinary strides in HIV prevention, treatment, and care allow people living with HIV to lead long and healthy lives.
It’s estimated that more than 6,000 Canadians live with undiagnosed HIV. That’s 1-in-10 people living with HIV. The Public Health Agency of Canada estimates there were more than 1,500 new HIV infections in Canada in 2020. Women, men who have sex with men, and injectable drug users make up a large portion of new cases. One-third of new infections and two-thirds of new infections among women in Canada are contracted through heterosexual sex.
HIV and AIDS also disproportionately impact vulnerable populations. According to public health data, 18% of new cases in Canada are among Indigenous peoples. An Ontario study found that African, Caribbean, and Black people living with HIV were less likely to know their status (85%) than the general Canadian population (90%).
Testing is the only way to know for sure if a person has HIV. Whether someone tests positive or negative, people need to know their HIV status. If you test positive, the earlier you start treatment and care, the better it is for your health. If you test negative, you can learn more about ways to prevent getting HIV, including information about how to use condoms and other physical barriers, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), and Safer injecting and smoking supplies.
You can order a free, at-home HIV test by visiting HIV self-test kit – CATIE Ordering Centre. CATIE, which stands for the Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange, will deliver free HIV self-test kits in discreet packaging right to your shipping address, anywhere in Canada. Each kit includes easy-to-follow instructions, plus information from CATIE about self-testing and where to go for more resources and support.
The global theme of World AIDS Day 2023, “Let Communities Lead”, acknowledges the fundamental role that community organizations play in supporting those affected by or at risk of getting HIV. Federated Health Charities has been a supporter of the Ontario AIDS Network (OAN) since 1992. OAN was formed in 1986 to share information and provide peer support between AIDS service organizations in Ontario. Today, the organization includes 45 agencies providing services to over 22,000 people in Ontario living with HIV/AIDS to empower them to live healthy and productive lives.Donate to Federated Health Charities today to support healthier communities and ensure people living with HIV/AIDS have access to the resources they need to control their destinies.