In the cool light of a clear fall of evening, friends and strangers stood in a circle holding hands – singing, talking and honoring a moment of silence for loved ones, now living with or lost by AIDS. Next to them on the passage of the legislature, candles set in a red ribbon memorial.
They were there on December 1 to mark the 30th anniversary of the World Aid Day and the 20th anniversary of the National Aboriginal AIDS Conscience in Canada.
While the group went around the circle by sharing stories about how AIDOS affected their lives or the lives of their loved ones, stigma was a heavy issue. Accounts were divided on how the stigma was killed, much before the illness had an opportunity.
Through the campaign "Know your status", AIDS-Vancouver Island encourages people to try, and for people to talk openly about HIV / AIDS to avoid stigma and shame.
An investigation shows that in Canada, 25% of people living with HIV do not know they have the virus because they have never been tested.
A 30th anniversary of the World AIDOS Day and a 20 year anniversary of a National Aboriginal AIDS Conscious week in Canada. Friends and family meet to honor those lost or facing the disease and the stigma that can be as destructive as the disease. #AIDO # WorldAIDSDay2018 @VictoriaNews pic.twitter.com/iZZJhzE3Se
– Keri Coles (@ KeriColesPhotog) December 2, 2018
In British Columbia the B.C. A Center for Illness Control has implemented a pioneer pilot program that allows patients to join and test HIV and other sexually transmitted infections online. For more information on this program, go to www.getcheckedonline.com.