Pre-conference activities begin as Canada hosts 24th International AIDS Conference in Montreal

Press Release

From: Public Health Agency of Canada

July 27, 2022

The Government of Canada is pleased to welcome the world to Montreal as Canada hosts AIDS 2022, the 24th International AIDS Conference. The conference brings together scientists, clinicians, community leaders, advocates, people with lived experience of HIV, health providers, decision-makers and others from around the world to advance HIV research, shift evidence into action, and accelerate progress toward the shared goal of ending HIV and AIDS as a public health concern by 2030.

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, and the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Canada’s Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, will attend AIDS 2022. The conference officially begins on Friday, July 29th and runs until August 2nd at the Palais des Congrès, and is taking place in-person and virtually. Pre-conference activities are already underway.

Ministers Duclos and Bennett will be joined by the Honourable Harjit Sajjan, Minister of International Development, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, and Dr. Howard Njoo, Deputy Chief Public Health Officer.

While in Montreal, Canada’s representatives will meet with key stakeholders and international leaders to advance the domestic and global HIV response. The conference also provides an opportunity to showcase Canadian expertise and innovation, and learn from those with lived experience and those who are dedicated to addressing HIV and AIDS.

HIV continues to be a major health concern in Canada and around the world. Nearly 38 million people are currently living with HIV globally. The latest data estimates that approximately 63,000 people in Canada are living with HIV, and of those 90% are diagnosed, 87% of those diagnosed are on treatment, and 95% of those on treatment have a suppressed viral load.

AIDS 2022 is an opportunity for us to come together as a global community to promote science-backed messages like Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U), which help curtail the barriers created by stigma and discrimination in all their forms towards people living with HIV. Today, HIV is managed effectively with medication and people living with HIV can lead long and healthy lives.

This year’s conference theme, “Re-engage and Follow the Science,” highlights the opportunity to apply the lessons learned from COVID-19 to the global HIV response and collectively re-focus to reach those who are undiagnosed in efforts to effectively address and eliminate HIV and AIDS.

Visit the virtual AIDS 2022 Canada Pavilion to learn more about Canada’s HIV response.
Quotes

“Together with our partners across federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments and Indigenous community partners, we are proud to welcome the global HIV community to Canada to re-engage our collective efforts to get to zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS-related deaths and zero discrimination. By leveraging the innovative advances in healthcare that resulted from our response to COVID-19, we can accelerate progress to find new ways of reaching those who are undiagnosed, and ensure that individuals living with HIV and AIDS receive the ongoing care, treatment, and support they need.”

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

“Removing barriers to testing, treatment and support is the cornerstone of reducing HIV-related stigma and ending the AIDS epidemic. This includes taking action to end stigma and discrimination and putting harm reduction at the forefront of our actions, particularly for those populations most affected by HIV. AIDS 2022 is an opportunity to come together with our domestic and international partners to commit to addressing these issues and removing these barriers to enhance prevention and improve the quality of life and mental health of those living with, and most affected by, HIV and AIDS.”

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and Associate Minister of Health

“Canada is committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including ending AIDS as a global health threat by 2030. As we work to address the intersecting injustices, stigma, and discrimination driving this epidemic, Canada continues to stand up for the rights of key populations and other groups that are disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS. We must increase access to a full range of health services for all women and girls and continue to support initiatives eradicating all forms of sexual and gender-based violence. Together, we can overcome the HIV epidemic and improve the quality of health of key populations affected by HIV and AIDS, especially women and girls.”

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan
Minister of International Development

“Everyone in Canada should have equal access to HIV and AIDS prevention, care, and treatment, regardless of age, race, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. Unfortunately, stigma and discrimination continue be among the greatest barriers for Canadians in accessing HIV health services. The International AIDS Conference showcases how we can collectively come together to raise awareness and erase the stigma of HIV. Together, we can make a difference and bring this global epidemic to an end.”

The Honourable Marci Ien
Minister for Women and Gender Equality, and Youth

“Our Government is committed to challenging and reducing the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV and AIDS by working with provinces, territories, and stakeholders to consider evidence-based changes to the justice system. Progress on this important issue is possible because of the hard work of advocates who have pushed for change. We will continue working with our partners to listen, learn, and evolve to ensure our response is based on medical science and evidence on advancements in treatment. We are committed to a fair, responsive and effective criminal justice system that recognizes HIV non-disclosure first and foremost as a public health issue.”

The Honourable David Lametti
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Quick facts

  • An estimated 63,000 people are living with HIV in Canada. Of these people, an estimated 1 in 10 are unaware of their status. In 2020, 1,639 newly diagnosed cases of HIV were reported in Canada.
  • The Government of Canada supports a comprehensive approach to addressing HIV and other Sexually Transmitted and Blood-Borne Infections (STBBI) in Canada. Through its Five-year Action Plan on STBBI, the Government of Canada has made progress on its commitments to reduce the impact of STBBI in Canada by 2030.
  • The Government of Canada recognizes that the contribution of community-based organizations is central to Canada’s ability to achieve global HIV targets, reduce barriers, and address systemic inequities. The Government of Canada is continuing to invest $33.4 million annually to support community-based efforts to reach key populations and help meet their prevention, testing, treatment, and support needs.
  • Canada was the first country to publicly endorse the Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U) campaign in 2018. U=U helps people live longer by stopping the spread of HIV through prevention, testing and treatment.
  • The Attorney General of Canada issued a directive in 2018 to harmonize federal prosecutorial practices with the scientific evidence on risks of sexual transmission of HIV. The directive recognizes that the over-criminalization of HIV non-disclosure stigmatizes people living with HIV or AIDS, and may discourage individuals from being tested or seeking treatment.

Associated links

Contacts

Marie-France Proulx
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health
613-957-0200

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada
613-957-2983
[email protected]

Maja Staka
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health
343-552-5568

Public Inquiries:
613-957-2991
1-866-225-0709

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