One year after the International AIDS Conference 2006: New poll reveals that half of Canadians say the government is not doing enough about AIDS

    TORONTO, Aug. 10 /CNW/ - Stephen Lewis and members of the Canadian
Coalition for Youth and HIV/AIDS in Africa (Care Canada, Plan Canada, Save the
Children Canada and World Vision Canada) reported today that since polling on
this issue started in 2003 more Canadians (48 per cent) feel the government is
spending too little on foreign aid contributions for HIV and AIDS. The vast
majority of Canadians (91 per cent) say it is important for the government to
help increase access to treatment for people with HIV and AIDS in developing
    These findings were part of an Ipsos Reid poll of Canadians' attitudes
towards HIV and AIDS, released today at an event marking one year since
Toronto hosted the International AIDS Conference that drew more than 25,000
    "Last August, the world's top HIV and AIDS experts and advocates
descended on Toronto for the AIDS 2006 conference, full of hope that the
global health crisis would finally get the attention and resources it
deserved," said Darryl Perry, executive director and CEO, AIDS 2006 Toronto
Local Host, XVI International AIDS Conference and MC for today's event. "This
year is different."
    Findings from today's poll show that Canadians feel significantly less
informed about the issue of HIV and AIDS now (70 per cent felt well informed)
than they did in 2005 (80 per cent felt well informed) according to an Ipsos
Reid poll conducted that year. NGO leaders at today's event suggested that an
overall decrease in media coverage might be the cause for the drop.
    "Media coverage of the pandemic goes up and down over time, but Canadians
consistently want leadership from our government in helping people with HIV
and AIDS in developing countries. I think it's safe to say that people haven't
changed their minds on this since we started asking them in 2003, and they
aren't likely to anytime soon," said Dave Toycen, president and CEO of World
Vision Canada. "More than 10,000 people signed our petition this year
demanding that children be given priority in the global response to AIDS."
    Sarah Hendriks, Advisor-Gender Equality and HIV/AIDS, Plan Canada agrees.
"I spend much of my life in Africa living and working with children infected
with HIV, and it's hard to believe the rest of the world is ignoring their
lives and deaths. If there is one success story from last year's conference it
was the conscious decision to give young people a voice and to listen to them.
They are the silent majority of victims."
    Ninety-two per cent of the poll respondents knew that Africa is hardest
hit by the spread of HIV and AIDS. More people than in similar polls conducted
since 2003 understand that low education levels, poverty, sexual violence and
lack of political will in the international community are the key causes of
the rapid spread of HIV and AIDS.
    "Last year, half of all people infected were under 25," says Stephen
Lewis, UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa and the keynote guest speaker
for the coalition event. "This is a continuing international emergency, and
Canada is simply not doing enough. AIDS should rank on at least a par with
Afghanistan. In the developing world, up to 80 per cent of infected children
die before the age of five. It's a catastrophe that has to end."
    David Morley, president and CEO of Save the Children Canada said,
"Fighting this pandemic requires all of us - NGOs, governments and individual
Canadians. We need to be generous and reach out to more children, youth and
adults affected by AIDS. I believe we can continue to be effective in slowing
the pandemic if we can deliver health services, education and livelihood
    The Canadian Coalition for Youth and HIV/AIDS in Africa is a joint
initiative of CARE Canada, Plan Canada, Save the Children Canada and World
Vision Canada to enhance the Canadian response to the challenges posed by HIV
and AIDS in Africa. For three years, they have worked together on programming
efforts in four countries (Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique),
reaching more than 3 million AIDS-affected children, youth and adults with
health, education and economic support. The project has also informed more
than a million Canadians about HIV and AIDS through its PictureChange
photography exhibit.

    About the Poll

    These are the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted from June 21 to
June 25, 2007. For the survey, a representative randomly selected sample of
1429 adults was interviewed via Ipsos Reid's I-Say online panel. With a sample
of this size, the results are considered accurate to within +/-2.6 percentage
points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult
population been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and
for other sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were weighted to
ensure that the sample's regional and age/sex composition reflects that of the
actual Canadian population according to Census data. (*) Question OV 1 was
fielded to 1012 Canadians from July 25 to July 27. For complete tabular
results, please visit

For further information:

For further information: or to set up interviews with any of the
speakers, please contact: Karen Homer, World Vision Canada,, (905) 565-6100 x3898, (416) 936-4159 (cell)

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