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Canadian AIDS Society Builds Capacity through Community at Leading Together 2010: The 6th Canadian HIV/AIDS Skills Building Symposium Montreal, March 4, 2010

Montreal, March 4, 2010 - March 4-7, at the Delta Centre-ville in Montreal, the Canadian AIDS Society (CAS) presents Leading Together 2010: The 6th Canadian HIV/AIDS Skills Building Symposium. With the theme: Building Capacity through Community, the event will focus on assembling all players in the field of HIV/AIDS to build on the common vision of a future without HIV/AIDS.

Featuring 65 workshops and over 50 poster presentations, the event will gather approximately 550 participants from across the country. Participants will represent all players in the HIV/AIDS movement, including researchers, doctors, nurses, support workers, counselors, and workers from Canada's community HIV/AIDS service organizations, as well as people living with HIV/AIDS.

The largest event of its kind in Canada, the Skills Building Symposium is dedicated to supporting continuous learning among workers in the field of HIV/AIDS. "With an-ever evolving epidemic, we must continually learn and adopt the most innovative and cutting edge approaches to advance the national response to HIV/AIDS. Leading Together 2010 will offer communities the tools they need to better understand the current state of the epidemic and to respond most effectively to it," says Monique Doolittle-Romas, Executive Director of the Canadian AIDS Society.

Workshops and poster presentations are organized according to the six strategic focuses identified in Canada's blueprint for action on the epidemic, Leading Together 2010: Canada Take Action on HIV/AIDS (2005-2010): 1. Awareness of HIV/AIDS - Programs and Activities; 2. Social Factors/Inequities Driving the Epidemic; 3. Prevention Programs and Efforts; Diagnosis, Care, and Treatment; 5. Global Leadership; and, 6. Front-line Capacity to Respond.

"This truly is a prime opportunity to bring community together to celebrate its accomplishments, identify the challenges that lie ahead and renew its commitment to creating a world without AIDS," affirms Gerry McConnery, Board Chair of the Canadian AIDS Society.

Event Highlights:

Opening Ceremony - Thursday, March 4, 6:30 pm, Régence Ball Room
Facilitator: Monique Doolittle-Romas, Executive Director, Canadian AIDS Society
Guest Speakers: Dr. Rainer Engelhardt, Assistant Deputy Minister, Infectious Diseases and Emergency Preparedness Branch
Doris Peltier, Aboriginal Women and Leadership Coordinator, Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network
Ken Monteith, Executive Director, COCQ-SIDA
The evening's entertainment will be provided by 2008 Juno Award winner Billy Newton- Davis.

Daily Plenary Sessions - Friday, March 5 - Sunday, March 7, 8:00 am - 9:30 am, Régence Ball Room

Friday, March 5
Topic: Gay Men and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men
Facilitator: Gerry McConnery, Board Chair, Canadian AIDS Society
Presenters: Ed Jackson, Director of Program Development, Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE)
Bill Ryan, Professor of Social Work, McGill University
James Murray, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care

Saturday, March 6
Topic: The International Context of HIV/AID S
Facilitator: Hélène Legaré, Host Committee, Leading Together 2010
Presenters: Richard Elliott, Executive Director, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
Nicci Stein, Executive Director, Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development
Lucy Chesire, Advocacy Officer, Kenya AIDS NGO Consortium
Christina Dendys, Executive Director, RESULTS Canada

Sunday, March 7
Topic: The Criminalization of HIV Non-disclosure
Facilitator: Sylvain Beaudry, Host Committee, Leading Together 2010
Presenters: Richard Elliott, Executive Director, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network Darien Taylor, Director of Program Delivery, Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange
Jeffrey Keller, HIV Edmonton
Ken Monteith, Executive Director, COCQ-SIDA

The Canadian AIDS Society (CAS) is a national coalition of over 120 community-based AIDS organizations across Canada. We are dedicated to strengthening the response to HIV/AIDS across all sectors of society, and to enriching the lives of people and communities living with HIV/AIDS. We advocate on behalf of people and communities affected by HIV/AIDS, facilitate the development of programs, services and resources for our member groups, and provide a national framework for community-based participation in Canada's response to AIDS.

Representatives from the media are invited to the Symposium. Please note that media restrictions are in place due to disclosure issues surrounding people living with HIV/AIDS.

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For more information or to arrange for interviews and attendance, please contact:

Tricia Diduch, Communications Consultant
Canadian AIDS Society
Cell: 613-355-6098

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