MONTRÉAL, Dec. 1, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ - Approximately 10,000 people are living with HIV, in Montréal. Unfortunately, many of them still face discrimination, affecting their health and wellbeing. As part of the World AIDS Day, the city, the Direction régionale de santé publique (DRSP) du CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l'Île-de-Montréal and the Table des organismes communautaires montréalais de lutte contre le sida (TOMS) are launching a campaign to fight against the stigma and discrimination affecting those living with HIV.
This first awareness campaign launched as part of Montréal's Fast-track cities initiative is meant for the public at large, and will be broadcast over the next few months in metro stations and on social media. The slogan is "The most dangerous thing about HIV is the stigma", and the campaign aims to address unfounded fears and moral judgement that are still very present in today's society. For instance, according to a survey by the Public Health Agency of Canada, in 2018 more than one in five Quebecers feared that they would contract HIV simply by being in the vicinity of a person living with HIV, despite there being no risk of transmission.
"There have been major advancements in the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS. However, the issue of discrimination against people living with HIV remains a major hurdle to overcome. I would thus like to invite all Montrealers to show their solidarity with their fellow citizens, so that every person may feel included in every sphere of their city's life. The campaign launched today will help fight discrimination," said Nathalie Goulet, executive committee member responsible for social inclusion.
"The reality has dramatically changed over the past few years. Today, the treatments available prevent sexual transmission of the virus. They also enable people living with HIV to have a life expectancy that is similar to that of the general population. We must now tackle discrimination in order to reduce social inequities that affect the daily lives of people living with HIV, and we must facilitate access to healthcare," added Dr. Mylène Drouin, Montréal regional public health director and co-chair of Montréal, ville sans sida.
Changing the general mindset
"Medical advancements are important in the fight against HIV. However, stigma and discrimination remain very present according to our community-based member organizations. The negative impacts are detrimental to all the efforts deployed to end the epidemic. This campaign reminds the population that perceptions have not evolved at the same pace as treatments have. It calls for solidarity with people living with HIV," explained Sandra Wesley, TOMS representative and co-chair of Montréal, ville sans sida.
Broadcasting from December to February
The campaign will be broadcast starting December 1st, on various platforms, including metro displays and digital terminals in Ville-Marie borough, as well as on social media and on the Santé Montréal Portal. Complementary information will be available at www.santemontreal.ca/hivstigma .
Montréal, ville sans sida
On December 1st, 2017, Mayor Valérie Plante signed the Paris Declaration, making Montréal the first Canadian city to join the international UNAIDS Fast-Track Cities Initiative. One year later, Montréal sans sida launched an action plan developed in collaboration with the communities most affected by HIV/AIDS. The plan aims to eliminate the epidemic locally and to participate in the international effort to eradicate the virus by 2030 worldwide. One of the objectives of this action plan is to reduce discrimination against people living with HIV. For more information : www.montrealsanssida.ca .
SOURCE Ville de Montréal - Cabinet de la mairesse et du comité exécutif
For further information: Source: Laurence Houde-Roy, Attachée de presse, Cabinet de la mairesse et du comité exécutif, 438 925-0884; Information: Linda Boutin, relationniste, Ville de Montréal, 514 872-6013, [email protected]; Relations médias, CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l'Île-de-Montréal, Lundi au vendredi, 7h à 16h : 514 376-3748, Soirs et fin de semaine : 514 528-2477, [email protected]