Today, December 1st, is the internationally recognized World AIDS Day (WAD). It is a day to reflect and unite in the fight against HIV & AIDS*- an auto-immune disease affecting over 38 million people worldwide; and also one of the most discriminated and stigmatized widespread diseases. HIV & AIDS was identified in the mid-80s’ as an illness spread through contact with blood, semen and vaginal fluids (transmission commonly occurring via anal or vaginal sex, sharing injectables). It was instantly projected as a “queer” disease, as a large portion of those affected were gay men and trans women. This labelling caught the attention from malicious homophobes/transphobes, which transpired into mass anti-queer rhetoric, propaganda and mass hysteria. This discriminatory attitude was adopted by many medical teams across the globe, resulting in slower and more hesitant trials of treatment for the condition. Many lost their lives and loved ones in this time due to misinformation, lack of details surrounding the disease and also blatant neglect from healthcare.

In 1987, the AZT medication to help in preventing HIV from progressing to AIDS/slowing down the virus growth was approved & released. In 1995 & 1996 more antiretroviral medications were approved such as Saquinavir and Nevirapine, this opened the door to HAART- Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy, which mixed AZT with other antiretrovirals such as the ones mentioned before. Today, there are now dozens of options for HIV care and treatment; but the ultimate goal in mind is to eradicate HIV & AIDS once and for all. Over 38 million people currently live with the HIV virus. On World AIDS Day we acknowledge the historic and ongoing impact of HIV & AIDS, and push the goal of putting an end to HIV + AIDS.

At Trip! we address the importance of safe sex and safe party spaces, taking initiative to give resources, materials and accessible education to those who need it, or are interested. On an intersectional level, we also recognize the important presence of queer and trans liberation within the nightlife & rave scenes; and emphasize the need to challenge stigmas surrounding queer and trans friendly spaces.

If you are currently living with HIV or AIDS in Toronto, and are seeking support please refer to Parkdale Queen West CHC Services or get in touch with us for additional resources! <3

Indigenous People, African Caribbean and Black communities, women, people who use drugs, people who are incarcerated among other communities continue to be disproportionately impacted by HIV. We cannot respond to HIV without challenging inequities, systemic barriers, colonial practices, Anti-Indigenous and Anti-Black racism, carceral systems, gender-based violence and stigma. There is still a vital need to increase awareness, fight prejudice, improve education, and fund inclusive and culturally safe services including harm reduction services.

The theme of World AIDS Day 2022 is “Equalize”

The “Equalize” slogan is a call to action. It is a prompt for global leaders and for all of us to boldly recognize and to work for the proven practical actions needed to address inequalities and help end AIDS. These include:

Increase availability, quality and suitability of services, for HIV treatment, testing and prevention, so that everyone is well-served.

Reform laws, policies and practices to tackle the stigma and exclusion faced by people living with HIV and by key and marginalized populations, so that everyone is shown respect and is welcomed.

Ensure the sharing of technology to enable equal access to the best HIV science, between communities and between the Global South and North.

Indigenous AIDS Awareness Week (IIAW) theme for 2022 is “One Vision, Many Paths”

This national campaign is guided by a steering committee that consists of national Indigenous and non-Indigenous partners and reflects the collaborative efforts in recognizing HIV/AIDS in Indigenous community. The event consists of themed activities and events that are hosted in community and focus on specific target groups such as women, youth, people who are incarcerated, Two-Spirit people, Inuit, Metis and Indigenous Leadership.

The Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CANN) communities and alliances are once again proud to support IIAW kicking off on December 1, 2022, live from Ottawa and Virtually across Turtle Island.

IIAW will move forward with the theme, One Vison, Many Paths, by shining a light on many topics, including HIV/AIDS, MMIW2S, UNDRIP, gender-based violence, HIV self-testing, Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Doing, and more!

On Dec 7th CAAN and The Feast Centre are hosting a virtual conversation for IIAW

The History of Indigenous HIV in Canada: A Retrospective with Changemakers

Join this conversation with key voices and advocates for the Indigenous HIV movement who are working to make change for future generations.

you can sign up here.

Anonymous Rapid HIV testing from 10 am -3pm with gift card incentive

Table and board in the lobbies with HIV & Harm Reduction information and resources

HIV trivia for a chance to win prizes

QW site will be showing informational videos and documentaries in the program room from 1-3 including ‘Strong Medicine’ – a documentary produced by the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network about ‘HIV treatment, health and wellness for Indigenous people living with HIV, their communities, and their care providers’. (Vivian, Jacques, Knowledge Keeper & Shane, Osh ka Bewis will be here on site for smudging and for our Indigenous community members who may want/need further support)

Please wear your red ribbons (available at the front desks), play some trivia, pick up some resources, stop in and watch the short 27min “Strong Medicine Documentary” (It will play on repeat a few times between 1pm-3pm) and encourage your clients to get tested with us!

<3 Estella, a Trip! Peer (1st half) & PQWCHC HIV Tester Team (2nd half)

*HIV – Human Immunodeficiency Virus + AIDS – Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome