More than 60,000 Canadians and 37 million people worldwide are living with HIV. In the early days of HIV and AIDS, there was enormous fear and discrimination — to the extent that in British Columbia politicians debated quarantining individuals with HIV.
Since then, the arc of scientific progress on HIV has been swift. But HIV-related stigma and discrimination are not gone and the global epidemic is far from over.
There are still 2,000 new cases of HIV in Canada each year. Fundraising for AIDS service organizations has slowed and global funding for HIV research and development has declined.
This World AIDS Day we call for recognition that negative judgment and feelings about HIV are intertwined and tangled up with racism, transphobia and homophobia.
You can have HIV and become ‘untransmittable’
Due to access to modern antiretroviral treatments, HIV has become for most a manageable condition. Research from the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE) has demonstrated that people with HIV who are taking treatments now have a similar life expectancy to those who are HIV-negative.