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More Torontonians living with HIV/AIDS: increase in new diagnoses observed

Walk to raise funds for ACT's HIV prevention and support services

Toronto, August 18, 2010 - More people than ever before are living with HIV/AIDS in Toronto, and a 6% increase in new HIV diagnoses was recorded in 2008, according to the most recent statistics available.

Don't Just Stand There, the 2010 call to action for the Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life Toronto, is part of the new media campaign underlining once you have HIV/AIDS, life gets a lot harder.

"Life gets harder in lots of ways," says John Maxwell, Director of Programs and Services for the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT). "From health issues that arise as a result of the virus and medications, to stigma, discrimination and criminalization, HIV/AIDS has complex consequences for the individual and for society at large".

The Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life Toronto will take place on Sunday, September 19 at 2 p.m. All funds raised will support the vital work of ACT, providing programs and services to people living with, affected by, and at risk for HIV/AIDS. Visit www.aidswalktoronto.ca to register, pledge and walk to help ACT prevent HIV infections and support people living with the virus that causes AIDS.

FACTS: HIV Locally

  • Every day, two (2) Torontonians and another ten (10) Canadians contract HIV.
  • 19,458 people have tested positive for HIV in Toronto since 1985.
  • 612 Torontonians were diagnosed with HIV in 2008 (the latest year for which data is available). In 2007, the number was 575. It's estimated that an additional 30% were infected with HIV but don't know it.
  • 65% of all positive HIV test reports in Ontario since 1985 have been reported in Toronto. 1,121 people tested positive for HIV in 2008 across Ontario, a 20.2% increase in new infections since the year 2000, and an estimated 1,620 persons were newly infected with HIV in 2008 in Ontario.
  • Preventing one HIV infection saves $750,000 in both direct and indirect costs to the individual and our health care system over the lifetime of a person with HIV/AIDS.

"Our largest fundraiser this year, the Scotiabank AIDS Walk Toronto, will have a major impact on our ability to improve and expand our efforts to prevent further HIV infections, particularly among gay men, women, and youth," says Hazelle Palmer, Executive Director of ACT.

"While we might finish off with a celebration of life and achievement, the walk always has a reflective tone, recognizing the lives lost and the many more lives still affected by HIV/AIDS," says Jim Stone, Chair of the Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life Toronto Steering Committee. "While much advancement has been and continues to be made, higher risks for cancer, heart disease and secondary infections are increasingly evident in those living with HIV/AIDS. Further, the challenges of HIV prevention become increasingly complex as stigma is compounded by issues such as racism, homophobia, and worse yet, criminalization."

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LEARN MORE


For further information, please contact
Andrew Brett, Communications Coordinator
AIDS Committee of Toronto
416-340-8484, ext. 225
abrett@actoronto.org


Source: Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life Toronto 2010
http://www.aidswalktoronto.ca/index.php/media/22-nrlaunch20100818.html



"Reproduced with permission - AIDS Committee of Toronto"

AIDS Committee of Toronto
www.actoronto.org


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