Stamping out stigma: Scotiabank AIDS WALK for LIFE turns 30
August 28, 2015 - Vancouver, BC: Vancouver’s Scotiabank AIDS WALK for LIFE is turning 30 next month, and
celebrations are ramping up to honour BC’s largest public fundraising and awareness event for people
living with HIV (PLHIV).
“It’s important to see how far we’ve come. The WALK started to save people’s lives, now it is a
chance to empower people’s lives,” says Val Nicholson, Chair of the event. And key to empowerment
is fighting HIV stigma, so get ready to lace up your kicks and take part in the WALK.
In daily life, PLHIV experience stigma as hostile behavior or discrimination. But perhaps the most
serious form stigma takes is the criminalization of HIV. Canadians are being charged with criminal
offences for not disclosing their HIV status to sexual partners, and at drastically higher
numbers than in other countries. The total number of HIV-related criminal prosecutions
in Canada is estimated at 170 cases, and in BC, the number of prosecutions for HIV
non-disclosure is estimated to be 20 or more. In modern-day Canada, no other
medical condition has been, or is likely to be, treated in this manner.
To combat HIV stigma, the WALK provides community and support to PLHIV, along with financial assistance
for health-related expenses via the Community Health Fund. The WALK is also stamping out stigma by
participating in the HIV Anonymous campaign, which aims to give a voice to Canadians who are
living anonymously with HIV. PLHIV can use the campaign’s online platform (hivanonymous.ca)
to share their stories and to talk about how stigma has affected their lives, while
keeping their identity private. Their stories will be used to educate others about
the realities of living with HIV/AIDS. The public is invited to show their support
by using the HIV Anonymous campaign icon on social media, as well as joining
the WALK for LIFE and the celebrations that will mark its 30th anniversary.
The 30th annual Scotiabank AIDS WALK for LIFE takes place September 20, 2015, starting at Sunset Beach
and following a 6.75 km route along the Seawall and through Stanley Park.
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Adam Reibin, Director of Communications
Positive Living Society of BC
The Positive Living Society of British Columbia exists to enable persons living with HIV and AIDS to empower themselves through mutual support and collective action.
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POSITIVE LIVING BC is dedicated to empowering persons living with HIV/AIDS through mutual support and collective action. We are a Registered Non-profit Society (#11928-2085) and an established leader in the HIV/AIDS movement. Uniquely among major agencies in Canada, the POSITIVE LIVING BC Board of Directors is composed entirely of HIV+ members.
Formerly known as the British Columbia Persons With AIDS Society (BCPWA) and with a membership of more than 5,000 HIV+ members, we are Western Canada's largest AIDS service organization and a proud history spanning three decades.
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