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Infectious Diseases

Canada Is Losing Ground in Getting to Zero Transmissions of HIV

aids ribbon canadian aids society
aids ribbon canadian aids society
Gary Lacasse

Gary Lacasse

Executive Director of Canadian AIDS Society

Canadians’ sexual health should be front and centre, even in a pandemic.

Canada is losing ground in the fight against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne infections (STBBIs), the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated an incredibly fragile and underfunded national sexual health response.

All levels of government should be doing more and addressing the disparities that exist across our country in developing a more comprehensive safety net with regard to the sexual health of Canadians from coast to coast, we’re witnessing dramatic increases in most STBBIs, it’s time to press the reset button and to reengage in testing, access to treatment, and care for thousands of our citizens across this land.

Looking more closely at HIV, many advances have been made but we’re losing ground quickly. The most incredible advance since the introduction of antiretrovirals is that if someone is on continuous treatment they can now become undetectable, they cannot transmit HIV to their sexual partners. This concept is known as Undetectable=Untransmittable (U=U).

This is great news and should reduce stigma for the tens of thousands of people living with HIV in Canada, which will have a tremendous impact on their daily lives. Canada must do better. Our question to all levels of government is, do they have the political will to adequately fund and sustain community organizations to end HIV and curb STBBIs in Canada?

These are not only statistics – these are our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, children, and friends. We need action, and we need it now.

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