Toronto hosts HIV/AIDs conference November 19-20

    TORONTO, Nov. 15 /CNW/ - The 9th annual research conference of the
Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN) will examine why individuals and
communities continue to be vulnerable to HIV/AIDS more than 25 years after the
disease first appeared.
    Research scientists, decision makers, service providers and people living
with HIV will gather in Toronto to explore a wide range of complex and
sometimes contentious concerns, including:

    -   social vulnerability and the mobilization of Aboriginal, Black and
        other communities to confront the HIV/AIDS epidemic
    -   the impact of the political "war on drugs" on HIV prevention
    -   women and HIV
    -   criminalization and HIV/AIDS disclosure.

    Where:    Hilton Toronto
              145 Richmond Street West, Toronto

    When:     Monday, November 19
              8:30 am to 8:00 pm
              Tuesday, November 20
              8:30 am to 5:00 pm

    Contact:  Jessica Harris
              Phone:  416-409-8841
                      416-642-6486 x 302

    Here are some highlights of the two-day conference, titled Addressing
Vulnerability: From Biology to Policy:

    -   six keynote presentations from internationally renowned experts.
        Highlights include:
        -  Phill Wilson, the dynamic activist and Executive Director of the
           US-based Black AIDS Institute, the United States' first black
           HIV/AIDS policy center dedicated to mobilizing black institutions
           and individuals in efforts to confront the epidemic in their
        -  Seodi White, an African feminist and social development lawyer who
           has championed ground-breaking law reform to protect women's human
           rights in Southern Africa
        -  various Ontario HIV experts addressing issues such as HIV in
           Aboriginal communities, pregnancy planning for HIV positive women,
           HIV and injection drug use, and the challenges when HIV interacts
           with other kinds of infections
    -   opening statement from George Smitherman, Minister of Health and
        Long-Term Care for Ontario
    -   an art exhibition presenting Body Maps - large multimedia self-
        portraits - created by people living with HIV/AIDS, illustrating the
        impact of HIV on the body.

    The entire conference is free to members of the HIV community.

               About the Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN)

    -   a non-profit organization, founded in 1998

    -   provides annual funding of more than $3.5 million in HIV/AIDS
        research in treatment side-effects, vaccine and treatment
        development, discrimination, mental health, and more

    -   committed to improving the quality of life for people living with
        HIV/AIDS and communities at risk in Ontario by:

        -  funding high-quality research in HIV treatment, support, education
           and prevention
        -  working with decision-makers to improve the quality of Ontario's
           HIV programs and services by using research to shape policy and
        -  creating opportunities for healthcare providers and communities
           affected by HIV to build knowledge and skills to enhance their
           response to HIV

    -   special emphasis on community-based research and research relating to
        the social determinants of health

    -   significant accomplishments include:
        -  funding of more than 350 research studies
        -  involvement of people living with HIV in all programs
        -  co-funding of the first ever Research Chair dedicated to HIV
           research in Canada, at the University of Toronto
        -  establishing a multi-disciplinary housing and health research
           project, the first of its kind in Canada to look at how housing
           issues affect the health of people with HIV
        -  hosting Ontario's largest HIV cohort study
        -  providing an extra year of training in HIV care for 10 physicians

    -   funding programs:
        -  Various programs provide support for:
           - project funding, equipment, and career support for researchers
           - community-based research and partnerships between communities
             and researchers
           - responses to urgent or emerging HIV-related issues in Ontario

    -   funded through the AIDS Bureau of the Ontario Ministry of Health
        and Long-Term Care

    -   governed by a Board of Directors including people living with HIV,
        researchers, health care providers and policy makers.

For further information:

For further information: Jessica Harris, Manager, Knowledge Transfer and
Exchange, at (416) 642-6486 ex. 302,,

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