World AIDS Day 2022
1 Dec 2022
December 1 is World AIDS Day. First observed in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever international day for global health. This year’s theme is “Equalize” which encourages everyone around the world to work to eliminate the inequities that create barriers to HIV prevention, testing, and access to care. World AIDS Day also provides the opportunity to remember the lives lost to, and affected by, AIDS-related illnesses.
Today also marks the start of Indigenous AIDS Awareness Week in Canada, which aims to increase awareness and knowledge about HIV/AIDS, establish ongoing prevention and education programs in Indigenous communities, and reduce HIV/AIDS related stigma and discrimination with the objective of increasing prevention and treatment activities.
HIV in Canada
The Public Health agency of Canada (PHAC) estimates that at the end of 2020, almost 62,800 people were living with HIV across Canada, 23,350 of which were in Ontario. Consistent with previous years, Ontario, along with Quebec and Saskatchewan, had the highest estimated number of new infections.
Canada supports and works towards global HIV/AIDS objectives, including the 90-90-90 targets that by 2020, “90% of all people living with HIV know their status, 90% of those diagnosed receive antiretroviral treatment, and 90% of those on treatment achieve viral suppression”. Canada as a whole achieved both the 1st and 3rd of these targets, while Ontario achieved the 3rd. Moving forward in Canada’s commitment to the global goal of ending HIV and AIDS as a public health concern by 2030, the government has committed to meeting the 95-95-95 targets by 2025.
HIV/AIDS-related stigma can undermine and create challenges to the health of people living with HIV and can adversely affect adherence to antiretroviral therapy, and access to and usage of health and social services. It is important that the global community continue to work together to reduce related stigma and ensure all those affected have access to the necessary resources, support, and care.