Dec. 1, 2015 is World AIDS Day: an annual event held since 1988 to recognize the barriers faced by people living with HIV/AIDS. World AIDS Day also serves to highlight issues around the world related to HIV/AIDS.
This year’s theme, “Getting to Zero,” highlights the need for zero new infections, zero deaths, and, just as significantly, zero discrimination[i].
At LAO, we commemorate this day in honour of those in the HIV/AIDS community who live with—and resist—the stigma of this illness. Many have specific legal needs associated with HIV/AIDS.
We support access to justice for people living with HIV/AIDS through funding specialized legal services– like those offered by the HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario (HALCO).
The beginning of Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week
In Canada, this year’s World AIDS Day also marks the historic launch of the first-ever Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week.
As its organizers say, the goals of this week are to “connect national Aboriginal organizations, government partners, health care providers, and community leaders to focus on how they will work together to reach the goal of “Getting to Zero.”
Be a part of World AIDS Day
World AIDS Day is an opportunity to recognize the vital work of researchers and activists in reducing the impact of HIV/AIDS. It’s also a day to share facts and information to counter the misconceptions that contribute to ongoing stigmatization and inappropriate criminalization of HIV/AIDS.
Some ways you can participate are to:
- Find events happening in your community in honour of World AIDS Day.
- Learn about the work of HIV/AIDS organizations, such as the HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario (HALCO), which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary as Canada’s sole full-service community legal clinic for people living with HIV/AIDS.
- Research the history of HIV/AIDS to better understand the context and impact of this disease.
- Learn about the specific challenges related to HIV/AIDS for different populations, such as those addressed in our four-part series on prison needle and syringe programs, or our guest blog about supervised drug consumption sites and community health from the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network.
- Join World AIDS Day campaigns on social media by listening, learning and re-sharing; on Twitter, use the hashtag #WAD2015.
- HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario (HALCO)
- The Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN) and Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week
- The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
- CATIE: Canada’s source for HIV & Hepatitis C Information