December 1st is World AIDS Day which launches the beginning of Indigenous AIDS Awareness Week. This day provides global opportunities to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support and celebrate people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from AIDS-related illnesses.
Globally, there are an estimated 38 million people living with the virus. Despite only being identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.
We cannot fail to recognize the impact COVID-19 has had in consideration of HIV and AIDS. As a result of the pandemic access to HIV preventions, testing, treatment and care has been significantly depleted. Without strategies to meet these needs, we may see a resurgence of HIV that would threaten our public health response to COVID-19.
World AIDS Day is significant as it reminds the public and government that HIV has not gone away and a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education and resources persists.
We are grateful for PQWCHC staff who continue to provide information, support and rapid testing year-round in the collective effort to end stigma and provide dignifying care in a time where services are limited.
This beautiful mural at our Queen West location was created by Amy Muli which recognizes the significance of this day in an ode to artist and activist Keith Haring. Individual red ribbons are available for staff and community at both locations to raise awareness and demonstrate support in solidarity for the millions of people living with HIV.