Afro-Canadian Positive Network of B.C.
"We succeeded in getting these kids free HIV drugs and support. But if they can't keep the meds safe then the whole thing falls apart."
Even with access to care, I saw the Afro-Canadian positive community around me failing to receive the care they need. Refugees face many challenges -- being a newcomer, being alone, dealing with trauma. In addition, the shame of having HIV was profound; merely walking into an HIV clinic caused widespread gossip and shaming within the community.
"I was overwhelmed by the presence of the prime minister next to me."
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We are just three years away from being called to account for our progress towards the 2020 Fast-Track targets -- a critical milestone in ending the AIDS epidemic. We still have a great distance to travel before we're able to call it a success. Measures to close this gap are readily available, but what we need is an all hands-on deck approach.
Since 2011, new infections in children have reduced by a massive 60 per cent -- this drop is responsible for most of the impressive decline in HIV infections globally. So why then is it hard for me to join in the spontaneous applause that tend to break out at events where statements such as "... and her baby was born HIV-free" or "... and my baby is healthy" are made?
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Few health workers with knowledge of sign language and a lack of written or visual information on HIV in sign language are further barriers for those with hearing impairments. Requiring a sign language interpreter also limits the level of privacy deaf people have when accessing health services. Additionally, much information can get lost in translation. Without comprehensive knowledge of HIV transmission, Lesotho's deaf population remains vulnerable to this virus.
Internationally the formal commitment has been made to end AIDS by 2030. However, there is a chasm to be crossed between the formal signature of a country acknowledging that these targets ought to be met, and the day-to-day financial, political, and social effort that meeting these targets will require.
Thirty-seven years old. In 2030, I will be 37 years old. In 2030, the AIDS epidemic will be eliminated. I hope. According to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or "Global Goals" that's the plan. I pray to God they're right. I can wait till 37, but if I'm being honest, I expect to be waiting much past that.
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current prevention strategies are not decreasing the rate of new HIV infections quickly enough to end the epidemic -- and women and girls are especially at risk. Given recent advances in HIV prevention science, we can, and must, do better.
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Tuberculosis (TB), a formidable foe to global health for thousands of years, has joined forces with HIV, a relative new-kid on the block, and together the two have left a wake of destruction, destitution, and death in communities across the globe.
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Livey Van Wyk, 31, has come a long way from pregnant and HIV-positive teenager to becoming a fulfilled mother and an influential and inspiring young mayor who is the pride of her native Namibia. Her life tells a powerful story of courage and hope.
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Over the next three years, the Global Fund is on track to save eight million lives because thirty-five some odd countries came together to do the right thing. It is a truly remarkable achievement. The countries that contributed should be commended.
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Over the last decade, the HIV community has very effectively used the cascade of care analysis to identify and plug gaps so that more patients receive effective treatment. UNAIDS recently endorsed an ambitious "90-90-90" global target based on the cascade. The TB community has lagged behind.
Global Fund announced that pledges totalling US$12.9 billion were made. This is almost US$1 billion more than what was raised at the previous replenishment conference in 2013 and represents a significant commitment to fighting the three diseases over the coming three years. But will it be enough to end the three epidemics for good?