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Montréal's 35th Vigil - HIV is everybody's issue: celebrating the diversity of our communities
MONTRÉAL, Dec. 1, 2023 /CNW/ - The Table des organismes communautaires montréalais de lutte contre le VIH/sida (TOMS) will today mark the 35th Montréal World AIDS Day Vigil, which will take place on December 1st, 2023, at 5PM, in the Parc de l'Espoir.
The chosen theme this year, "Montréal's 35th Vigil: HIV is everybody's issue – Celebrating the diversity of our communities", highlights the quintessential qualities of resilience, strength, and beauty that our communities have shown throughout more than 40 years of movement-building.
However, we cannot talk about inclusivity without also mentioning the disparities that endure for people living with HIV (PLHIV) and for the various communities affected by this epidemic.
In its call to action entitled "La gorge serrée" ("a lump in my throat"), the Portail VIH/sida du Québec paints an alarming picture: "Currently, 1 out of 8 people are living under the poverty line in Canada, i.e. approximately 12% of the Canadian population; meanwhile, for communities of people living with HIV, that proportion hovers between 45% and 65%, meaning that nearly half people living with HIV also live in poverty or in a state of financial insecurity." The Portail's study concludes that the link between poverty and HIV is bidirectional, meaning that someone living in poverty is at a higher risk of being exposed to HIV, and a person living with HIV is at a greater risk of living in poverty. These two crises have many faces, but among them are communities of sexual and gender diverse men, sex workers of any gender, people who use drugs, people of precarious or migrant status, and Black and Indigenous people who are at heightened risk of criminalization, oppression, and barriers to accessing public services in their daily lives.
To mitigate the impact of misinformation and barriers to accessing health services, we must invest in public awareness campaigns that are based on sound scientific facts and are tailored to the diverse communities affected (see Undetectable= Untransmittable), which involves improved social safety nets, guaranteed universal access to antiretroviral medication and to all prevention and harm reduction materials, such as PrEP, PEP, safer supplies/gear, and removing all incidental fees for STBBI and HIV screenings.
This year, the vigil will once again be a place to speak out and come together. We invite you to join us at this gathering to honour the strength and diversity of our communities, and to show solidarity for everyone who is living with HIV and the communities impacted by it.
The mission of the Table des organismes communautaires montréalais de lutte contre le VIH/sida (TOMS) is to support, advocate for, and promote the activities of our members and the communities they represent. The TOMS is composed of 30 community organizations working in HIV and STBBI prevention and that facilitate, through housing and support services, the health and well-being of people living with HIV and other STBBIs, and the people close to them.
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SOURCE Table des organismes communautaires montréalais de lutte contre le VIH/sida (TOMS)