Minister’s statement on World AIDS Day, Indigenous AIDS Awareness Week

Press Release

Dec. 1, 2023

VICTORIA – Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, has issued the following statement in recognition of World AIDS Day and Indigenous AIDS Awareness Week:

“Today marks the 35th anniversary of World AIDS Day, along with the beginning of Indigenous AIDS Awareness Week. On this day, we reaffirm our commitment to supporting people in British Columbia who live with and are impacted by HIV/AIDS.

“We also renew our support for breaking down the barriers of stigma for those living with HIV/AIDS as we know that stigma can prevent people from receiving the care and support they need.

“This Indigenous AIDS Awareness week is an opportunity to increase awareness and knowledge about HIV/AIDs, reduce HIV/AIDS-related stigma and establish ongoing illness prevention and education programs in Indigenous communities.

“The B.C. government is implementing changes to legislation to eradicate racism in the health-care system and beyond. We continue to make progress on implementing the 24 recommendations of the In Plain Sight report, which will help Indigenous patients and their families receive the care they need, free from bias and discrimination.

“We carry out this critical work in the memory of the millions of lives lost to HIV/AIDS and the millions of people living with HIV (PLWH) globally, their families, friends and loved ones.

“The theme of this year’s UNAIDS World AIDS Day is Let Communities Lead. It is important for all of us to express our deep gratitude to the many organizations and communities around the province that work to connect people with culturally safe testing, treatment, prevention and support that is free from discrimination.

“B.C. has been a global leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS since the 1980s, committing to providing resources people need, including education and treatment measures to combat HIV/AIDS.

“Founded in 1992, the internationally renowned BC Centre for Excellence (BC-CfE) developed the Treatment as Prevention Strategy. This innovative made-in-B.C. approach has been adopted by jurisdictions around the world, laying the foundation for the UNAIDS 90-90-90 and 95-95-95 targets to end the global AIDS epidemic by 2030.

“Today, new HIV/AIDS diagnoses in British Columbia have achieved an all-time low, and the number of persons living and dying from HIV/AIDS has decreased by more than 90%. I’m incredibly proud of the work we have done and continue to do. In fact, B.C. is a leader in prevention, treatment and testing of HIV/AIDS.

“British Columbia could not have accomplished such tremendous success on our journey to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic without the efforts of organizations and communities across the province. Many of the people in these communities are living with or are affected by HIV/AIDS and working hard on the front lines of the response to HIV/AIDS.

“Front-line organizations, such as the Pacific AIDS Network (PAN), are playing a major role to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. With more than 40 member organizations, PAN is a network that connects and supports organizations throughout B.C. that are addressing HIV, hepatitis C and harm reduction.

“In the Interior region, Living Positive Resource Centre of Okanagan (LPRC), a member of PAN, offers support services that focus on community health and wellness to individuals living with, affected by, or at risk of HIV/AIDS. LPRC provides prevention and education resources as well as support to address financial and mental-health concerns.

“Another member of PAN, Vancouver Island Persons Living with HIV/AIDS Society (VPWAS), offers compassionate peer support and treatment information to all persons living with HIV/AIDS. Many of VPWAS’s programs are operated by volunteers living with HIV/AIDS to promote self-empowerment and self-confidence. It’s communities and organizations like these and the 40 more members that are part of PAN, that assist us in our mission to deliver the care and support to individuals living with HIV/AIDS.

“Our goal is to end the HIV epidemic. Communities establish connections, foster innovation, foster trust and put policies and services into action to sustain the well-being of individuals. For this reason, we will continue to support local communities and organizations and recognize their vital role in our collective goal to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic.”

Learn More:

For information about the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE), visit: http://bccfe.ca/

For information about UNAIDS and the 2023 World AIDS Day theme, visit: https://www.unaids.org/en/2023-world-aids-day

For information about Indigenous AIDS Awareness Week, visit: https://caan.ca/events-and-workshops/indigenous-aids-awareness-week/

For information about the In Plain Sight report, visit: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/app/uploads/sites/613/2020/11/In-Plain-Sight-Full-Report-2020.pdf

For information about Pacific AIDS Network (PAN), visit: https://paninbc.ca/about/

For information about Living Positive Resource Centre of Okanagan (LPRC), visit: https://lprc.ca/

For information about Vancouver Island Persons Living with HIV/AIDS Society (VPWAS), visit: https://vpwas.com/

Contact:

Ministry of Health
Media Relations
250 952-1887

IHT5

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