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CAAN: This Valentine’s Day Show You Care… About Aboriginal People Living With HIV/AIDS

by NationTalk on February 12, 20081120 Views

Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network Challenges Leaders to Reduce HIV/AIDS Stigma and Discrimination

OTTAWA, ONTARIO–(Feb. 12, 2008) – Kevin Barlow, Executive Director for the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN), today announced the launch of a Valentine’s Day initiative that challenges Leaders to show they care about Aboriginal People Living with HIV/AIDS (APHA) by reducing HIV/AIDS related Stigma and Discrimination.”During this special time of year when most show appreciation for their loved ones, we are reminded that many Aboriginal People living with HIV/AIDS do not have this opportunity,” says Kevin Barlow, Executive Director of the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network. “Many APHAs simply face too many barriers and choose to be single because of the fear, stigma and discrimination that come with HIV/AIDS”.

Barlow goes on to challenge, “this Valentine’s Day, we seek both action and commitment from Aboriginal leaders and our communities to help stop stigma and discrimination.”

“Valentine’s Day can be a difficult time for Aboriginal people living with HIV/AIDS,” says Trevor Stratton, APHA Advocate for the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network. “Today we are supposed to express our love but many APHAs have given up on romance, love and sex because it is too complicated.”

“The stigma is because we are positive we are not supposed to have sex. The reality is as human beings we are entitled to love,” asserts Stratton. “As an APHA, I hope this campaign will remind our leaders that HIV/AIDS is a serious concern for all of us, HIV positive and HIV negative alike.”

Valentine’s Day is the first initiative of the “Fostering Community Leadership to Reduce HIV/AIDS Stigma and Discrimination” national campaign that will seek to increase awareness and knowledge. This campaign scheduled to launch next month will set out to increase support from and endorsement by Aboriginal leaders and officials for prevention, care and treatment programs intended for our communities.

“Not only must all of our leaders acknowledge HIV/AIDS is an epidemic but they must address the stigma and discrimination that is fuelling it,” says Doris Peltier, a board member with the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network. “Our leaders must take action to build healthy communities.”

Now is an ideal time to engage your community about HIV/AIDS and how to reduce the HIV related stigma and discrimination too often associated with this virus. Beginning on Valentine’s Day (February 14th) and extending to December 2008, CAAN would like to remind individuals, communities and leaders that because HIV/AIDS does not discriminate it affects everyone.

The Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network represents a coalition of hundreds of Aboriginal organizations and individuals committed to providing leadership, support and advocacy for all Aboriginal people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, and those most at risk to infection, regardless of where they reside.

A Campaign Backgrounder is available at the following address:

A Heart Valentine is available at the following address:

A Chocolate Valentine is available at the following address:

For more information, please contact

Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network
Kevin Barlow
Executive Director
613-567-1817 ex 110
Cell: 613-277-1817


Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network
Colleen Patterson
Senior Communications Officer
613-567-1817 ex 115

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