Vulnerable population groups including, Indigenous communities, people who inject drugs, men who have sex with men, sex workers, prison inmates, women and transgender communities, still experience considerable health, social and political inequities, confront human rights injustices, and shoulder the brunt of new HIV infections.
The theme for World AIDS Day over the next three years will be "Getting to Zero: Zero new infections, Zero discrimination and Zero AIDS related deaths." This message is powerful, however if we are serious about making this a reality, then we need to start purposively tackling the challenges that have hindered our progress so far.
Canada used to be a leader in supporting research to monitor HIV in key populations -- terrifically difficult because the activities that put them at risk are covert and illegal in many countries; surveillance can expose vulnerable populations to authorities and create risks for them. But Canada bowed out of supporting the HIV/AIDS Surveillance Project this year, just one more brick in a wall that is contributing to exclusion and marginalization of those most vulnerable to HIV infection. It's such a shame that our government has lost its vision of never leaving anyone behind.