CATIE Get the Facts Campaign Launched to Stimulate HIV Treatment Discussions
(TORONTO) - On Wednesday, December 3, CATIE (The Canadian AIDS
Treatment Information Exchange) launched its Get the Facts Campaign. The campaign aims to
empower people living with HIV to make well-informed treatment decisions and improve their
health. At the launch celebration CATIE presented the first 3 posters and postcards in what will
be a series of plain-language materials that encourage discussion about starting and adhering to
HIV treatment and other topics. The posters and postcards will be available free to community
organizations across Canada through the CATIE Ordering Centre at www.catie.ca.
More than 58,000 Canadians are living with HIV infection (including AIDS) and it is estimated that
there are more than 2,300 new infections each year. Although HIV treatment options have
improved, many people have questions and concerns about side effects and the difficulty of
following complex medication regimes. Difficulty finding objective information in plain, easy-tounderstand
language can be a barrier to starting treatment, particularly for members of
"People facing difficult treatment decisions need honest information about the improving
medication options available and about the real challenges and risks that still remain. These new
postcards and posters offer exactly that, with the goal of empowering individuals from all
communities to make the treatment choices that will work best for them," says Laurie Edmiston,
Executive Director of CATIE.
"Tragically, members of our communities, particularly our inner cities, continue to die from HIV/
AIDS without ever receiving treatment. New HIV treatment options are simpler, better tolerated
and all persons living with HIV/ AIDS should be fully supported in finding one which works for
them," says Dr. Chris Fraser of the Cool Aid Community Health Centre in Victoria, B.C.
It was Dr. Fraser who first suggested the development of simple, plain-language materials like
those in the Get the Facts Campaign to CATIE Executive Director Laurie Edmiston. Dr. Fraser
says approximately half of the people he sees at his clinic should be receiving treatment
according to clinical guidelines but they haven't started yet because they are concerned about
toxicity and the difficulty of following the regimen. He welcomes the Get the Facts Campaign
posters and postcards as a way to further discussion with patients.
At the Get the Facts launch celebration, guest speaker Dr. Brian Cornelson discussed the
importance of engaging street-based populations in treatment, the challenges, and how materials
like those produced for the CATIE Get the Facts Campaign can help people overcome barriers,
make informed choices and improve their health. Dr. Cornelson is an HIV primary care physician
at the Health Centre at 410 Sherbourne, Director of HIV Family Practice Clinics at St. Michael's
Hospital in Toronto, and Assistant Professor of Family and Community Medicine with the
University of Toronto. Mr. Dave Pineau also shared his personal perspective on the need for
information and outreach. Mr. Pineau was living on the streets in the 80's when he was infected with HIV by sharing a dirty needle. He believes that if information and support had been available
then he would have started treatment much earlier and improved his health.
The CATIE Get the Facts Campaign has been supported financially through an unrestricted
educational grant from Abbott Virology.
"Abbott is pleased to offer educational grants to support the work of organizations like CATIE. It is
vital that they have unrestricted resources to develop independent, objective, easy-to-understand
information materials that are based on the needs of people living with HIV," says Marie Prevost
who is Liaison, Community Relations and Development for Abbott Virology.
CATIE is a national non-profit organization that, through knowledge exchange, works to reduce
the transmission of HIV and to improve the quality of life of people living with HIV. As Canada's
national knowledge exchange broker for HIV prevention, care, treatment, and support, CATIE
offers a wide variety of free information services for people living with HIV and for the
organizations that serve them. CATIE offers services in print, online, and by phone in English and
in French. For more information, please visit www.catie.ca.
For more information about the CATIE Get the Facts Campaign or images of the new posters and
postcards, please contact:
Alexis Beamer / Aliya Ladha
Cohn & Wolfe
(416) 924-5700 ext. 4031 / 4094
firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
1-800-263-1638 ext. 268