OHAfrica salutes leading Canadian advocate on AIDS in Africa - Richard Burzynski, recipient of The Casey Award 2009

    Pioneering Leader - Community Voice - Influential Social Activist
    Dedicated AIDS Advocate - Global Citizen - Compassionate Man

    TORONTO, Feb. 26 /CNW/ - OHAfrica today saluted Richard Burzynski, a
leading Canadian advocate on HIV/AIDS in Africa and internationally, as one of
three recipients of the prestigious Casey Award 2009 from Casey House in
    Launched in 2008 in memory of June Callwood, a founder of Casey House,
The Casey Award honours leadership in the fields of HIV/AIDS and social
justice. This year OHAfrica (www.ohafrica.ca) nominated Mr. Burzynski, in
part, for his international AIDS advocacy to advance social justice, human
rights and health in the face of devastation caused by AIDS in Africa and in
other parts of the world.
    "OHAfrica is especially pleased that the Award has recognized one of
Canada's greatest advocates on HIV/AIDS in Africa. Mr. Burzynski's example
demonstrates that Canada and Canadians share a special place in the global
response on HIV/AIDS," said Hilary Short, Vice-Chair of OHAfrica. "As
Canadians we are witness to the tremendous injustices of AIDS in Africa and
elsewhere in the world, and this Award reaffirms the commitment needed in our
shared responsibility to bring an end to this disease," she added.
    Working for almost 25 years in the HIV/AIDS fight, Mr. Burzynski has
served as one of the world's and Canada's greatest champions and most
influential advocates for HIV/AIDS in Africa. Among his many accomplishments,
he was the first community representative to address the Special Session of
the United Nations General Assembly on HIV/AIDS that lead to the creation of
the first global statement of commitment on HIV/AIDS.
    His international advocacy influenced the creation of the United Nations
special agency on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), and the establishment of the Global Fund
on AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (the Global Fund). Both organizations are
critical to funding and supporting the global response to HIV/AIDS in resource
limited settings in Africa and other parts of the world. He also helped found
the International Council of AIDS Service Organizations (ICASO)
(www.icaso.org) and served as its executive director for 17 years in Toronto.
    "Richard Burzynski is, in every sense of the word, one of Canada's
greatest global citizens, and the respect in which he is held from all over
the world, mirrors his deep, abiding respect, commitment and love for Africa
and the communities of people living with and fighting HIV and AIDS there,"
said Darryl Perry, Chief Executive of OHAfrica, in commenting on the
announcement of the 2009 Awards. "At OHAfrica, we share this global commitment
to stop AIDS in Africa where we are presently focused on AIDS in Lesotho," he
    "With his extensive service in the global and Canadian efforts on
HIV/AIDS, his pioneering leadership, commitment and compassionate example will
stand as one of the hallmarks of his lasting legacy in the fight against
social injustice related to HIV/AIDS," Mr. Perry added.
    Since its launch also on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2004, OHAfrica has
worked in partnership with the Government of Lesotho and other partners in
Africa and Canada to provide HIV testing, counseling, treatment, care and
support for almost 20,000 patients through the Tsepong Place of Hope Clinic in
Lesotho. A small country in southern Africa with a population of 2 million
people, Lesotho has the third highest HIV prevalence rate in the world with
one in every four adults infected with the HIV virus.

    WHAT:     The Casey Awards (www.caseyhouse.on.ca) at Casey House SnowBall
    WHEN:     Saturday, February 28, 2009, 6:00 p.m.
    WHERE:    The Fairmont Royal York

For further information:

For further information: or to arrange for an interview: Darryl Perry,
OHAfrica, (647) 248-1768 (cell), dperry@ohafrica.ca, www.ohafrica.ca; Alicia
Homer, OHAfrica, (647) 248-5079 (cell), ahomer@ohafrica.ca, www.ohafrica.ca

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