Voices for World AIDS Day
Support and Remembrance for those with HIV/AIDS
Today, on Friday December 1st, people across Canada and around the globe stand united in support of World AIDS Day. This special day is an opportunity to show our collective support and compassion for those who have been living with, or are affected by, HIV and AIDS. Today is also an opportunity to come together to commemorate and remember those who have been lost to AIDS-related illnesses.
The Canadian Foundation for Aids Research (CANFAR) reports that more than 75,500 people are currently living with HIV in Canada. HIV infections affect key populations around the world are on the rise; the need for HIV and AIDS awareness is more crucial than ever. Thanks to the work of organizations such as CANFAR, CAS, ICAD, CAAN, and UNAIDS, Canada is helping to advance research which seeks to prevent, treat and cure HIV/ AIDS.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection) is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. If left untreated, HIV can destroy many of the cells that are vital to the body fighting off. This makes the individual more likely to get other infections or infection-related cancers; then these infections or cancers can take advantage of the weakened immune system.
AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is the final and most severe stage of an HIV infection. Those living with AIDS have immune systems that are weakened to the point where they may contract an increasing number of severed illnesses, called opportunistic infections.
Currently, there is no effective cure for AIDS, but with proper medical care HIV can be controlled. Thanks to scientific developments, those who are diagnosed with HIV and treated before the disease is far advanced can live as long as someone who does not have HIV.
Early prevention is key. Vancouver has a number of key service organizations that help educate and support hose affected by HIV and AIDS: the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in AIDS/ HIV and AIDS Vancouver both offer many educational programs, treatment options and research to support those who are currently living with HIV and AIDS and YouthCO is a BC-based, youth-driven organization leading the HIV and AIDS awareness movement through peer education, support, and shared leadership.
Today, let’s show our solidarity with those who are affected by HIV and AIDS. Wear a red ribbon and share the hash tags #Voices4HIV or #VoixSIDA. By increasing awareness through personal stories, hosting events or raising funds for these organizations – we are bringing greater awareness to this important issue.