Keeping Commitments: A Canadian Case Study

    MEXICO CITY, Mexico, Aug. 6 /CNW Telbec/ - At the AIDS 2008 Conference in
Mexico City today, the Canadian AIDS Society called upon the Canadian
Government to honour its commitments and provide funding in the amount of
$84.4 million to the Federal Initiative on HIV/AIDS.
    In 2004, after a hard-fought struggle, the federal government in Canada
pledged to double funding to the Canadian Strategy on HIV/AIDS in Canada over
the next five years. That never happened. Today, there is an $11.8 million
shortfall, when all of the funds were to have been rolled out this year.
    "With the number of new infections continuously on the rise in Canada,
dedicated funding for HIV is critical to stemming the epidemic in Canada now,"
says Monique Doolittle-Romas, Executive Director of the Canadian AIDS Society.
Recently, the federal government made a new international funding pledge,
committing to sustained and long-term funding to support the fight against
AIDS as a part of its report to the United Nations General Assembly Special
Session on HIV/AIDS. "How can any credibility be given to any funding pledge
by the Canadian government when it hasn't even honoured long-standing domestic
commitments?" adds Romas.
    Having proven its case for a doubling of the Canadian Strategy on
HIV/AIDS in 2004, the movement is simply requesting recognition of the
existing funding commitment. The best way to contain the epidemic in the short
term is by providing sustained funding to community-based AIDS service
organizations, which will enable them to effectively continue offering the
treatment, support, education and prevention programs they already provide.
Gail Flintoft, Chair of the Canadian AIDS Society explains, "While the
government has provided funding for HIV vaccine research and production
through the creation of the Canadian HIV Vaccine Initiative, which we support,
an HIV vaccine is years away. Community efforts, on the other hand, are
working now." With the proportion of new infections in Canada lower than in
many other countries, we have seen the results. The Canadian AIDS Society is
simply asking the government, on behalf of community HIV/AIDS organizations,
for its due, so community can continue to work to prevent new infections and
to serve people living with HIV and AIDS in Canada.
    The Canadian AIDS Society's call for funding to community-based AIDS
services organizations has also been echoed by other leaders of the HIV/AIDS
movement in Canada, as well as among people living with HIV and AIDS.

    Canadian AIDS Society

    The Canadian AIDS Society is a national coalition of over 125
community-based AIDS organizations from across Canada. Dedicated to
strengthening the response to HIV/AIDS across all sectors of society, we also
work to enrich the lives of people and communities living with HIV/AIDS. We
accomplish this by advocating on behalf of people and communities affected by
HIV/AIDS, facilitating the development of programs, services and resources for
our member groups, and providing a national framework for community-based
participation in Canada's response to AIDS.

For further information:

For further information: Tricia Diduch, Communications Consultant,
Canadian AIDS Society, (613) 230-3580 (ext. 130), Cell: (613) 277-3580,

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