“As a person living with HIV, World AIDS Day does not only happen on December 1st of each year. In fact, I celebrate World AIDS Day every single day. Every second of my life has been made possible by highly active anti-retroviral treatment (HAART) which will enable me to live a long and productive life just like any sero-negative person.
With effective treatment and a suppressed, undetectable viral load, I know that I cannot pass on HIV sexually to others. This is how I practice shared responsibility in HIV prevention.
If your experience with isolation over the pandemic has impacted your mood and mental wellness, can you think of how being disconnected from society day after day would feel like? Unfortunately, such isolation and disconnection are often experienced by people living with HIV and people who use drugs on a daily basis as a result of HIV and drug-related stigma and discrimination. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has posed many challenges to how people living with HIV and people who use drugs can seek support. In fact, Canada is in the midst of a worsening overdose crisis.
I look forward to this year’s World AIDS Day to witness how Canada and the world can engage in global solidarity to respond to the dual pandemics of HIV and COVID-19, and the overdose crisis. I would like to wish everyone good health and positivity amidst a challenging year for all.
I also have two kind asks for you on this World AIDS Day. My first ask of you is to read up about the Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U) Campaign, and share the news with at least 5 other people today (and ask them to do the same!). My second ask of you is to get a Naloxone kit from the pharmacy and carry it with you so you can save a life in the event that you witness someone experiencing an opioid overdose. This is something you can do to engage in global solidarity and shared responsibility.”