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Canada Reaffirms Commitment to Fight Against HIV/AIDS and Announces New Advisory Council Members

OTTAWA, ONTARIO–(Nov. 30, 2007) – Health Minister Tony Clement and Minister of International Cooperation, Beverley J. Oda, today marked AIDS Awareness Week and World AIDS Day (December 1) by reaffirming the Government of Canada’s commitment to fight this devastating disease in Canada and around the world, by announcing the appointment of two new co-chairs to a key advisory council on HIV/AIDS, and by commending front line workers and community groups for their ongoing efforts to support individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS.”The HIV/AIDS pandemic is a heart-wrenching health crisis here and around the world, and the Government of Canada knows that battling HIV/AIDS demands unwavering determination and dedication,” said Minister Clement. “Today I am pleased to welcome Dr. Brian Conway and John C. Plater as council co-chairs who can provide key advice on Canada’s HIV/AIDS programs. The council is made up of high calibre members, who continue to make invaluable contributions in the struggle against this epidemic.”

This council, made up of 13 experts and stakeholders, provides advice to the Minister on all aspects of HIV/AIDS that are national in scope. The council will meet on Dec. 3-4 in Ottawa. Biographies of Dr. Brian Conway and John C. Plater are included in the backgrounder.

Nationally, the Government of Canada’s approach to HIV/AIDs programs is comprehensive, balanced, and is based on evidence of what works. Funding helps to raise public awareness, reach out to help those in need, and conduct vaccine research to prevent future infections.

The Government will invest in excess of $84 million towards fighting HIV/AIDS in Canada in 2008-09, more than has ever been spent in our nation’s history.

“To see the federal government commit $84.4 million in support of community programs, and possibly in excess of that amount, is a very promising action on the part of the government,” said Debra Jakubec, Executive Director at HIV Edmonton. “This is positive news for community-based organizations, people living with HIV and their friends and families.”

Internationally, Canada has contributed over $480 million since 2006 to support efforts to respond to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in developing countries. This includes Canada’s contribution of $250 million for two years to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria announced in 2006 by Prime Minister Harper which represents more than double the amount of the previous annual contributions made by Canada during the first five years of that Fund.

History was made earlier this year when Prime Minister Harper announced the ground-breaking Canadian HIV Vaccine Initiative. This project is being undertaken by the Government of Canada in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to find a vaccine against HIV/AIDS. The Government of Canada is contributing $111 million to this initiative.

“Canada is committed to the global fight against HIV/AIDS,” said Minister Oda. “Our leadership in HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support initiatives in developing countries is an integral part of Canada’s approach to helping improve the health of the world’s poor and most vulnerable.”

On December 6, Minister Clement will meet with the leaders of national non-governmental organizations involved in HIV/AIDS in Canada to share progress and address critical concerns in the Canadian response to HIV/AIDS in Canada and globally. These organizations represent a large network of community-based HIV/AIDS organizations across Canada.


Ministerial Council on HIV/AIDS

The Ministerial Council on HIV/AIDS was created to advise the Minister of Health on aspects of HIV/AIDS that have a national scope. The Council’s membership reflects a broad range of experience and knowledge, and includes several Canadians living with HIV/AIDS. The main focus of its work is to evaluate and monitor the Federal Initiative to Address HIV/AIDS in Canada, to champion current and emerging issues, and to offer a vision for the long-term.

Today, the Government of Canada announced the appointment of two new co-chairs to this advisory council: Dr. Brian Conway and John C. Plater.
Dr. Conway is a leader in the development of novel strategies for the delivery of care for HIV, HCV, genital herpes and other infections in the inner city. He has over 100 journal publications to his credit and is the Associate Editor (Clinical) of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. He is the President of the Canadian Association of HIV Research.

Mr. Plater is the past President of Hemophilia Ontario, and a former Vice President of the Canadian Hemophilia Society. He is the Co-chair of the Ontario Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS, and Chair of the Ontario Hepatitis C Task Force. In 2006, he was honoured with the Ontario AIDS Network’s Social Justice in HIV/AIDS Award.

Government of Canada Investments

The Government of Canada is proceeding with important work to address HIV/AIDS in Canada. Some recent examples of this work include:

– The Public Health Agency of Canada provided $21 million for 200 projects to deliver HIV prevention and care programs across Canada;

– Health Canada provided over $5 million to address prevention, education and HIV/AIDS awareness among Aboriginal people living on-reserve and in Inuit communities;

– In 2006-07, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research also provided over $28 million for HIV/AIDS grants and awards plus an additional $9 million for research projects for a total research investment of $37 million; and

– Correctional Service Canada spent over $2 million on HIV-related health programs and services for offenders in federal correctional institutions.

Ongoing work at the Public Health Agency of Canada includes:

– Augmenting HIV and risk behaviour surveillance to better understand the epidemic;

– Enhancing HIV laboratory reference services to improve the reliability of HIV testing and diagnosis;

– Developing a national HIV/AIDS social marketing campaign to increase Canadians’ knowledge of HIV/AIDS and to reduce stigma and discrimination.

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For more information, please contact

Office of the Honourable Tony Clement
Minister of Health
Laryssa Waler

Office of the Honourable Beverley J. Oda
Minister of International Cooperation
Veronique Bruneau

Public Health Agency of Canada
Alain Desroches
Media Relations

Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Media Relations Office
[email protected]