Local events planned to mark AIDS Awareness Week

Staff ~ The Truro Daily News
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TRURO - The continued stigma and discrimination of people living with HIV and AIDS makes it increasingly important to be aware of World AIDS Day, a local advocate believes.
"It's important to be aware," said Tom Harrison, events planner with the Northern Connection AIDS Society, of the fact that not all countries offer universal access to HIV treatment and/or human rights.
"It effects us here mainly because of stigma and discrimination and we need to reduce stigma and discrimination and work towards universal access and enforcing human rights right here in our own country to ensure people are going to feel sick and get the care that they deserve."
Next week is AIDS Awareness Week and World AIDS Day is Dec. 1.
World AIDS Day started 21 years ago in 1988 and each year since there has been a theme to mark the event. This year's theme is Universal Access to Treatment and Human Rights.
Currently, some 71,000 Canadians are living with HIV or AIDS and while there has been talk in recent months of a vaccine for HIV, there still is no cure.
Worldwide estimates for 2007 indicated there are 33.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS of which 2.5 million are children.
Protecting human rights can help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS by making sure that all people have access to the same care and treatment and that people have all the information needed to make healthy decisions about their sexual health and health in general, Harrison said. "So we must remember that prevention and protection is still our best defense," he added.

Organizations: Northern Connection AIDS Society, Universal Access, Human Rights

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