By Nomvelo Nkomo
Canada’s first ever African, Caribbean and Black Canadian HIV/AIDS Awareness Day will take place this February 7th, 2015.
This day will help raise awareness of HIV and contribute to addressing HIV-related stigma in Canada’s African, Caribbean and Black communities.
This commemorative Day is inspired by the National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day that has been observed in the U.S. on February 7 every year since 1999.
To celebrate the first ever Canadian African Caribbean and Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the ACB education and outreach program at The Aids Network will be screening the film 12 Years a Slave.
When: Saturday, February 7th from 1pm-4pm
Where: The AIDS Network – 140 King St East, Suite 101
Light refreshments will be served!
Contact: Nnkomo @aidsnetwork.ca or 905-528-0854 ext. 230
Statistics and information on ACB Communities, awareness and HIV
HIV prevention is important in all communities.
- One quarter of the estimated 71,300 people living with HIV in Canada do not know they are infected.
- People from all backgrounds can become infected with HIV.
- 14% of people living with HIV are from Africa and the Caribbean. Awareness within this community is also important. Only 54% of people living with HIV in the ACB community have been diagnosed.
- 60% of Canada’s Black population resides in Ontario.
- An estimated 26,627 people were living with HIV in Ontario as of December 2008.
It’s never someone’s ‘fault’ for contracting HIV. Sex, risk, choices, and life are all complicated.
- Some cultural and religious beliefs about the roles of women can limit their ability to negotiate safer sex or expose them to sexual abuse.
- Some women live with the threat of violence in their relationships and may not feel safe enough to say no to sex or to negotiate safer sex.
- Cultural practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM) may increase the risk of becoming infected with HIV if:
(a) the tools used to perform FGM are not sterilized,
(b) the affected area does not heal properly despite appearances,
(c) the scarring is ruptured through sexual intercourse or childbirth.
- Some cultural, religious or social beliefs present unprotected sex as a man’s prerogative, a sign of manhood and of good sexual health.
- Community intolerance of gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men may lead some men to avoid HIV prevention education, or to engage in relationships that limit their ability to practice safer sex.
Living with HIV Today
- Living with HIV can mean dealing with a lot of stigma, discrimination and hate. This can be especially hard if other forms of oppression, like racism, sexism, and ableism, affect your life.
- HIV is a manageable chronic illness. When diagnosed early and linked to treatment and care people living with HIV can expect to live to their early 70s.
- You are not alone. The AIDS Network supports people living with HIV in Hamilton, Halton, Haldimand, Norfolk and Brant. 905-528-0854.
All Stats from ACCHO.ca
The African, Caribbean & Black Community Education and Outreach Program at The AIDS Network offers culturally specific training workshops on HIV as well as social care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS and their families. For more information, contact Nomvelo Nkomo, African Caribbean Community Outreach Worker: email@example.com, ph: 905-528-0854, ext 230 or check out Afro-Carib Fusion on Facebook.