Written by Sheena, staff member, Halifax Central Library.
December 1 is World AIDS day, a time to reflect on what has been achieved regarding the global response to HIV. It's a day to recognize and support the people in our communities living with HIV, and think about where our focus goes next. This important day also kicks off the start of Indigenous AIDS Awareness Week.
At this time, there is still no cure for HIV. However, there is increasing access to effective HIV prevention, diagnosis, and care. With treatment, people living with HIV can live long and healthy lives.
Why should we talk about it?
Stigma, fear and discrimination are still issues that impact people living with HIV. At the onset of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s (and sadly, even today), it was particularly impactful to 2SLGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities. Because marginalized communities were most affected, the initial medical and government response was fueled by homophobia, transphobia, and racism. It was inadequate and uncaring, and the decades afterward were marked with needless deaths and community loss. Our growing awareness and improvements to healthcare for HIV/AIDS are thanks to activists and organizers, who advocated for change.
Does HIV only affect some communities?
No. HIV can affect anybody. That’s why it’s important to combat stigma and boost our knowledge about HIV, how it’s transmitted, how to be as safe as we can be, and how people living with HIV can care for their health.
Did you know?
There are rapid at-home HIV test kits available in our community, learn more, opens a new window.
U = U. You may see this term used in HIV health, it means Undetectable = Untransmittable. This means that people living with HIV who achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load (the amount of HIV in the blood) by taking and adhering to prescribed treatments cannot sexually transmit the virus to others. This is why access to testing, treatment, and inclusion are so important!
Halifax World AIDS Day Vigil, December 1
On Wednesday, Dec 1, the AIDS Coalition of Nova Scotia, opens a new window will be hosting the 2021 Halifax World AIDS Day Vigil.
This year, the Vigil will be both in-person and online, with the ceremony starting at 7:00pm.