Dec. 1 marks World AIDS Day, now in its 30th year, as a day dedicated to increasing awareness of HIV/AIDS worldwide as we work towards the goal of having an AIDS free generation. On World AIDS Day, we come together to remember those we have lost too soon, reflect on the tremendous progress we have made in battling this disease, and carry forward our fight against HIV/AIDS. The City of North Battleford and the Town of Battleford have both made proclamations marking this day in our communities.
The theme for World AIDS Day 2018 is Know Your Status. It is estimated that 25 per cent of people worldwide and 21 per cent in Canada living with HIV are not aware of their status, amounting to roughly 9.4 million people in the world. HIV is a responsibility of us all. Regular testing for everyone is recommended, regardless of age, sex, marital status, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. That means that everyone should know their HIV status.
HIV in Saskatchewan is at alarming levels, with our provincial rate at over two times the national average. Research has shown people with HIV who are actively being treated and maintain an undetectable viral load, are not able to transmit HIV. Approximately 34.2 million people are currently living with HIV in the world with roughly 63,000 in Canada. That’s about one in every 500 people in the world who has HIV.
Testing is easier than ever, and provided through your primary care provider, through walk in clinics or through sexual health clinics. Knowing your status is a part of your regular health, and something we all should know. No longer is having a long term partner or spouse, or not using drugs, a reason or excuse why one shouldn’t know their own status.
On Dec. 1, please show your support, by getting tested, wearing a red ribbon (and let people know why), and talking to your spouses, partners, families, kids and grandkids, co-workers and friends about HIV. Without us all working together the road forward is much longer. For more information, please contact Kent Lindgren, HIV Project Coordinator or Amanda Maunula, Outreach Worker, at Battlefords Family Health Centre at 306-937-6840 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.