AIDS support group to get $1M over next 5 years
An estimated 65,000 people are living with HIV in Canada. Of those, one in five is unaware of their infection. Although sexually transmitted diseases are preventable, rates continue to rise, mainly in men who have sex with men.
To help those at greatest risk of acquiring HIV, hepatitis C and other sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections, the federal government announced a grant on Thursday of $1,050,000 over five years to AIDS Community Care Montreal (ACCM), a volunteerbased organization offering support and outreach.
ACCM works to increase disease prevention by promoting risk reduction and behaviour-based change in people living with sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections in Montreal, as well as raise awareness among those at risk of such infections.
The group’s activities include a text-based help line called SextEd for at-risk youth, including queer and trans, which got nearly 60,000 inquiries this year. The group plans to increase outreach to Montrealarea gay men, hold workshops on treatment-adherence among men who have sex with men, and create programs for people 50 and over living with AIDS.
According to the 2016 estimates released by the Public Health Agency of Canada, 65,040 Canadians are living with AIDS and the proportion of those unaware of they are infected is 20 per cent, or 12,820 people. About 2,500 individuals are infected with HIV every year.
Similarly, an estimated 44 per cent of the more than 245,000 Canadians living with hepatitis C are unaware of their infection and not accessing treatment.
Sexually transmitted and bloodborne infections — including HIV, hepatitis C, chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis — remain a significant public health concern in Canada.
These diseases are preventable and treatable, Anthony Housefather, member of Parliament for Mount-Royal, said in a statement Wednesday. “I am proud to see that the government is supporting the important work being done by AIDS Community Care Montreal,” he said.