People living with HIV and/or HCV to blast Public Health Agency of Canada
for cutting funds to community-based health services
November 30, 2016 - People living with HIV and/or HCV, and their supporters will stage a loud and impassioned public protest at 12pm, December 1, World AIDS Day at the Public Health Agency of Canada’s (PHAC) offices. The group is protesting PHAC’s stunted HIV and Hepatitis C Community Action Fund (CAF) Letter of Intent (LoI) process, which has so far resulted in devastating cuts to approximately 33% of previously funded organizations providing direct services to people living with HIV and/or HCV, and further reductions in funding to several other organizations involved in HIV and HCV service delivery across Canada.
“PHAC sent out responses from the LoI process starting on Sept 29, 2016, several months later than originally promised, and the results have been catastrophic for the sector,” explains Neil Self, Chair of Positive Living BC. “ The impact of defunding community-based HIV and HCV organizations will be felt throughout BC, affecting those already living with HIV and/or HCV the most. The decisions as made by PHAC leave huge gaps in essential community-based service provision – most notably in the complete absence of funding for organizations exclusive to the HCV community, and for organizations in the Interior Health region.
“We maintain that the process by which the PHAC arrived at its funding decisions was not transparent, not consistent in its criteria, and not supportive of community-based organizations which lacked the infrastructure and capacity to submit professional LoI's. The outcomes of this process are perverse in that they will certainly result in huge new gaps in service provision in communities where the consequences will be to worsen the epidemic. Without direct services to support people living with HIV, Canada will have no hope of reaching the UNAIDS 90-90-90 goal, despite its public endorsement by the Minister of Health, and no alternative national plan.
“At a minimum, we request that PHAC work with the community to determine gaps in funding allocations, and focus on filling those gaps by increasing the value of CAF using some of the funds promised to the Federal Initiative to Address HIV/AIDS in Canada, and giving organizations a full year to wind down or find alternative funding, partnerships, or collaborators, as was one of PHAC's original promises,” says Self. “ We want more transparency in this process moving forward, including a review of the current applications and outcomes, and consultation on next steps to be taken.”
WHO: People living with HIV and/or HCV and their supporters
WHAT: A public protest against PHAC cuts to essential services for people living with HIV and/or HCV
WHEN: 12pm, December 1, 2016—WORLD AIDS DAY
WHERE: Courtyard, Woodward's Building, Hastings and Abbott Streets, Vancouver
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Adam Reibin, Director of Communications
Positive Living Society of BC
Positive Living BC is a registered charitable society dedicated to empowering persons living with HIV disease and AIDS through mutual support and collective action. It is Western Canada's largest AIDS organization with a membership of more than 5,700 HIV-positive full voting members. Our services and programs are available to, and regularly accessed by, many of the 12,000-15,000 HIV-positive individuals living with BC.
"Reproduced with permission - POSITIVE LIVING BC"
POSITIVE LIVING BC
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