Canada takes Action at the XVII International AIDS Conference

In the spirit of Leading Together: Canada Takes Action on HIV/AIDS, Canadian researchers, scientists, community organizations, the federal government and provincial governments worked together to create a strong presence at the XVII International AIDS Conference held in Mexico City in August 2008. Gathering over 25,000 representatives to effect change in the global response to HIV/AIDS, the conference theme ‘Universal Action Now’ renewed the call to action at all levels to ‘reach the goals of ensuring universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010, and eliminating HIV stigma and discrimination’.

The Canada Booth demonstrated Canada-wide leadership, actions and response to HIV/AIDS on the domestic and global scale, delivering a strong message of hope, action, partnership, collaboration and inclusion representing the Canadian approach to the fight against HIV/AIDS. The Booth showcased a video on the experiences of Canadian People Living with HIV/AIDS, Canada’s efforts and investments in the fight against HIV, as well as the importance of the Greater Involvement of People Living with HIV/AIDS principle in Canada. This video, along with over 500 resources from Canadian governments and civil society, formed the Canadian Resource Library DVD ROM which was distributed from the Canada Booth.

The Conference also provided a unique opportunity for capacity building among Canadian non-governmental organizations, front line AIDS workers, scientists, researchers and government officials, as well as created networking opportunities with global counterparts. Specific accomplishments included:

  • The Government of Canada supported the participation of 60 Canadians through Canadian Scholarship programmes.
  • Canadians and Canadian organizations were the lead writers/presenters of over 70 posters, and were co-investigators or secondary authors in hundreds of other posters.
  • A satellite session on global action towards a vaccine was sponsored by the Canadian HIV Vaccine Initiative and other global partners including the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative.
  • The Public Health Agency of Canada co-sponsored a joint satellite session with the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention on the issue high resource/low HIV/AIDS prevalence country responses to HIV and co-infections.
  • 24 Aboriginal Canadians participated in a pre-conference international indigenous peoples forum.

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