This World AIDS Day, we recognize and celebrate the generations of HIV and AIDS activists whose trailblazing work has fundamentally changed and continues to impact the political landscape of public health and the everyday lives of people living with and affected by HIV. As we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, there's a lot we can learn from those affected by the HIV / AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s.
The COVID-19 pandemic was marked by government coordination and action, but those on the front lines of the HIV epidemic were treated with apathy and hostility, all while taking care of each other and grieving the loss of family, partners, and community members.
The sexual health and public health sectors owe so much to the creativity, resilience, ethics and vision of everyone in the HIV/AIDS movement. They are still on the frontlines, pushing back against stigma when it comes to HIV and STIs.
Everyone deserves to be healthy and to thrive. Knowing our HIV status is a crucial part of taking care of ourselves. This year, Health Canada approved the use of the INSTI HIV Self-Test, which allows people to receive a testing kit in the mail and take a 1-minute test from their homes. With 14% of HIV-positive Canadians still undiagnosed, this is a crucial step towards making HIV and STI testing more widely available so that everyone is able to know their status and connect with community supports and treatment. To learn more about HIV self-testing, read this update by CATIE.
Diagnosing and treating other STIs is also a key part of HIV prevention work, because STIs can make us more vulnerable to HIV infection. We all deserve access to accessible, sex positive, comprehensive sexual health information and care. It’s our right. Find out more about STI testing here.