The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on World AIDS Day:
“On World AIDS Day, we show our solidarity with people living with HIV and AIDS, in Canada and around the world. We remember the loved ones we have lost and renew our commitment to ending this epidemic. We also recognize the efforts of activists – particularly from 2SLGBTQI+, Indigenous, and Afro-Caribbean communities – who tirelessly work to raise awareness, increase access to treatment, and break down the stigma.
“Thanks to medical research and expertise, there have been extraordinary strides in HIV prevention, treatment, and care. Early detection and treatment now allow people living with HIV to lead long and healthy lives.
“The Government of Canada has taken action to respond to the impacts of HIV and AIDS here at home. Our five-year action plan on sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections has helped improve access to HIV treatment and care, prevent new cases, and reduce transmission.
“Through our Community Action Fund and our Harm Reduction Fund, we are providing supports to communities disproportionately vulnerable to and impacted by transmission and infections. We have also supported community groups to help distribute HIV self-test kits across Canada. Through our community-based approach to prevention, we are ensuring that people living with HIV in Canada have the resources, services, and supports they need to stay safe and healthy, now and into the future.
“HIV and AIDS disproportionately impact the most vulnerable. Existing non-disclosure criminal law over-criminalizes and stigmatizes people living with HIV and AIDS, discouraging them from seeking treatment and testing. That is why Canada is proud to have been the first country to endorse the global declaration on Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U), which recognizes that those living with HIV who take proper precautions can lead long, healthy lives without the fear of passing HIV to their sexual partner. We are also reviewing the scope of the criminal law on the non-disclosure of HIV, informed by current scientific evidence, to help reduce the stigma experienced by people living with HIV, while continuing to protect the public and support victims.
“Canadians deserve access to quality health treatment, care, and support, including HIV prevention and treatment. We are making progress, but there is much more to do. Today, I invite everyone to learn more about HIV as we continue to meet this global challenge. On World AIDS Day, we recommit to working together to end this epidemic and its stigma, protect those who are affected, and build a world where everyone is able to lead authentic and happy lives.”