Canadian AIDS Society Calls for Social Justice in HIV: Freedom, Rights, Dignity
June 18, 2010 - OTTAWA, ONTARIO - The Canadian AIDS Society (CAS) calls
for social justice in HIV as people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHIV/AIDS) assemble to attend the annual PLWHIV/AIDS Forum and the CAS annual general meeting.
Gerry McConnery, CAS Chair explains, "At its roots, we recognize that HIV/AIDS is a question of human rights and social equity. This year's event focuses on
empowering our members and PLWHIV/AIDS to respond to the key human rights issues, including the right to basic needs, access to health care and social services and personal
privacy. This is more critical than ever given the increasing gap between the haves and have-nots, increased cases of criminalization of HIV non-disclosure, reduced
funding to social programs and continued stigma and discrimination against people who live with HIV/AIDS."
With a special ceremony to be held at Bronson Park at Friday, June 18 at 1:00 pm, CAS will be inviting special guest speakers and attendees to pay tribute to the
nation's leaders in social justice and HIV, as well as to those who have improved the quality of life for PLWHIV/AIDS in Canada.
Jeffrey Keller, Chair of the PLWHIV/AIDS Committee on the CAS Board
Monique Doolittle-Romas, Executive Director, Canadian AIDS Society
Paul Dewar, MP for Ottawa Centre
Irene Lindsay, First Nation Elder, representing the Algonquin First Nation Community
Reverend Andrew Jensen, United Church of Canada
That same evening, human rights lawyer and activist Douglas Elliott will address Forum and AGM participants during the evening's AGM Opening Dinner
and Awards Ceremony. In his presentation, Our Journey Towards Justice: Living with AIDS, Douglas Elliott will reflect on his 27 years of AIDS activism in the context of this
year's theme. He will remind us about the challenges our movement faced in the early years and the tremendous progress that we have made together in the fight for our human
rights. Doug believes that living with HIV/AIDS has never been just about survival: it has always been about having the best quality of life possible. Today, we face
renewed attacks on our freedom. Doug will explain both the deep roots of these threats and our power to resist these threats - and win. "
Monique Doolittle-Romas, CAS Executive Director, says, "Human rights work is all about active engagement. We couldn't think of anyone better than Doug to encourage
participants to know their rights, to speak out for them and to take responsibility by countering stigma and discrimination, denouncing rights violations and acting in solidarity
with all people living with HIV/AIDS."
Mr. Elliott's law firm Roy Elliott O'Connor was honoured with the 2009 CAS Corporate Leadership Award and Doug himself was the first recipient of the CAS Individual
Leadership Award. He was recently honoured for his work in human rights advocacy with the presentation of a Law Society Medal by the Law Society of Upper Canada.
This year, CAS presents its Individual Leadership Award to Enrico Mandarino for his dedicated service in the HIV/AIDS community. Monique Doolittle-Romas states,
"Each year, the CAS Leadership Award is presented to acknowledge outstanding dedication in advancing the HIV/AIDS movement in Canada and excellence in raising awareness
about HIV. This year, we congratulate Enrico Mandarino, who is being recognized for having met this high standard of national leadership."
Bio for Enrico Mandarino
With over 20 years of dedicated service in the field of HIV/AIDS, Enrico Mandarino is a strong advocate, at the community, provincial and national levels, of HIV/AIDS research and
access to treatment, as well a champion of strengthening representation of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHIV/AIDS) in positions of leadership. He is also a role model and mentor
for many members of the HIV/AIDS movement.
At Sunnybrook Health Science Centre, Enrico researched several methods for viral load testing in Ontario, which then became standard of care in HIV. He has also played a significant
role in establishing access/equity and non-discrimination polices at the AIDS Committee of Toronto, where he volunteered and later worked as Vice Chair. Enrico served on the
Canadian Treatment Action Council's Board of Directors and as an Ontario representative. He has also served on the Canadian AIDS Society's Board as an Ontario Director in
the role of Secretary and as an apprentice on the Community Advisory Committee of the Canadian HIV Trials Network.
In addition, Enrico's leadership in the movement has seen him appointed to the Ministerial Advisory Council on the Federal Initiative to Address HIV/AIDS in Canada. Most recently, Enrico
continued his community HIV work with AIDS service organizations within the pharmaceutical industry.
Enrico is also the researcher and co-author of numerous clinical and public policy abstracts, several of which he also presented at the 14th and 15th International AIDS Conferences.
Canadian AIDS Society
The Canadian AIDS Society is a national coalition of over 120 community-based AIDS organizations from across Canada. Dedicated to
strengthening the response to HIV/AIDS across all sectors of society, we also work to enrich the lives of people and communities living with HIV/AIDS. We accomplish this by
advocating on behalf of people and communities affected by HIV/AIDS, facilitating the development of programs, services and resources for our member groups, and
providing a national framework for community-based participation in Canada's response to AIDS.
For further information:
To arrange for interviews: Canadian AIDS Society
Tricia Diduch, Communications Consultant,
(613) 230-3580 ext. 130, Fax: (613) 563-4998,