Hastings and Prince Edward Counties (November 29, 2019) – December 1 is World AIDS Day. This day is an opportunity each year for people world wide to unite in the fight against HIV, show support for people living with HIV, and commemorate those who have died from an AIDS related illness.
This year, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) is joining partners locally and across the globe, to help end the stigma associated with HIV. Together, we are working to reduce the fear and shame associated with testing, diagnosis, and disclosure of HIV status. Today, people living with HIV can live long, healthy lives.
As the result of medical advancements, individuals living with HIV can take steps to avoid passing it on to their sexual partners, such as taking medication called Antiretroviral Therapy (ART). When taken as prescribed, just one pill a day can help an HIV positive individual reduce the amount of the virus in their system so it is undetectable. If the virus is undetectable, it is not transmissible to others. The Public Health Agency of Canada is sharing information about U=U (Undetectable equals Untransmissable) to raise awareness of this important advancement and help reduce the stigma associated with an HIV diagnosis.
In addition, individuals who are at risk of HIV can also take steps to lower their chance of getting infected. Using condoms, knowing their partners’ status and their own, and taking a medication called PrEP can help prevent transmission.
“Enormous strides have been made in the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS,” says Gilles Charette, Executive Director at HIV/AIDS Regional Services in Kingston. “Today, we have the tools and science to halt the HIV pandemic, but HIV stigma can get in the way of people getting tested, accessing care or disclosing their status to their loved ones.”
“Don’t let stigma stop you from knowing your status, and making a plan to protect yourself and others” says Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health and CEO at HPEPH. “Visit your health care provider to discuss STI testing, and protection methods such as PrEP and Antiretroviral therapy. If you do not have access to a health care provider, our sexual health clinics can provide more information, testing, and referrals for these medications.”
Over the coming week, HPEPH will be sharing information on social media to help dispel myths associated with HIV. #worldAIDSday #endHIVstigma #KnowYourStatus #UequalsU
Emily Tubbs, Communications Specialist
About Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) is a public health agency that serves the counties of Hastings and Prince Edward from four local offices. We monitor the health of our local population, deliver programs and services within our communities, and help develop healthy public policies. We provide information and support in many areas to help improve the health and well-being of our residents. Together with our communities, we help people become as healthy as they can be. For more information, please visit hpePublicHealth.ca. You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
About HIV/AIDS Regional Services Kingston
HIV/AIDS Regional Services provides comprehensive services including education, prevention, and support for people living with, at risk of, or affected by HIV/AIDS. Find out more at hars.ca.