DECEMBER 1, 2021
Canada’s response to HIV, hepatitis C and other STBBIs desperately lacking, says new campaign
Inadequate federal funding contributes to growing case counts according to researchers and advocates
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA — Today, on World AIDS Day, and in recognition of Indigenous AIDS Awareness Week (Dec. 1-7), it’s time for Canada’s government to turn talk into action.
That’s the message in a new advocacy campaign from Canada’s largest community-based and human rights organizations on the front lines of HIV and AIDS, hepatitis C and other sexually transmitted or blood-borne infections (STBBIs).
Alarmed by rising HIV infections (up 11% in the past decade) and significant outbreaks of syphilis and hepatitis C, these groups are calling on the federal government to better fund its response to these infections.
For instance, funding for the federal Community Action Fund have stagnated. No additional money was attached to the government’s 2019 STBBI Action Plan, either.
The coalition has launched a letter-writing campaign addressed to Minister of Health, the Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos, calling on the Government of Canada to take three priority actions:
- Increase HIV funding to $100 million annually
- Increase national STBBI funding to help community-based organizations reverse troubling transmission trends
- Make commitments to meet and collaborate with the HIV, hepatitis C and STBBI sector
The organizations recognize the government is aware of these issues — including through the 2019 STBBI Action Plan and an all-party endorsement of $100 million for HIV funding. But unless those funds actually start to flow, services will continue to be cut and these organizations will be less able to provide prevention, testing, treatment and support programs for communities affected by HIV, hepatitis C and STBBIs.
Investing in supports would be especially impactful now given the disruptions caused by COVID-19. With Canada preparing to host the International AIDS Conference in Montreal next summer, the government must commit the resources necessary to address the critical challenges here at home.
A full list of participating organizations and more information on the campaign can be found at www.cbrc.net.
For interviews, please contact:
CBRC’s Knowledge Exchange and Policy Development Director
CBRC’s Media Relations Officer