Ending the HIV epidemic in Canada in five years seems like an ambitious goal, but it is now in fact a target being advocated by a group of public health and HIV advocates in a new document published by the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR). I am one of the authors of that document, which acknowledges the necessity of addressing racism and structural violence. But, except for support from a couple co-authors, I am dispirited by the co-authors’ failure to be clear about the difference those systemic and structural issues make, to inspire determination in addressing them, and to illustrate what is at stake and what it means to address racism and structural disadvantage.
The PositiveLite.com team (from left to right): Rob Olver, Wayne Bristow, John McCullagh and Bob Leahy
It’s not surprising that PositiveLite.com —what we called Canada’s online HIV magazine but it was, I’d argue, so much more —came to an end on March 31. It had been going for nine years.
It was a unique model run by people living with HV for people living with HIV. Most people thought we had big offices; in fact, we operated out of our own homes. We were independent in all senses of the word.
The possible unintended consequences of the introduction of PrEP to the sex industry is something that has been discussed in international sex work advocacy since at least 2012. So, when I saw that new PrEP prescription guidelines for Canada were being drafted, stating that « sex-trade workers » were a « significant risk of having transmissible HIV, » I was troubled that there had been no community consultation whatsoever. National guidelines required a national convening.
The emergence of PrEP has highlighted important gender inequalities in HIV transmission and HIV prevention. PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is a drug that HIV-negative people (including women!) can take to help prevent HIV; however, most discussions about PrEP focus on men. Despite representing fewer new HIV infections than men, women also need innovative HIV prevention methods.