February 7 is African, Caribbean & Black Canadian HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

ana Blog, human rights, living with HIV, social determinants, stigma

Start a conversation. Know your health options. End the stigma!

On Tuesday, February 7, HIV Community Link joins the Canadian HIV and AIDS Black, African and Caribbean Network (CHABAC) in celebrating National African, Caribbean & Black Canadian HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. CHABAC’s vision is to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic among the African, Caribbean and Black (ACB) population in Canada.

HIV Community Link’s Drum Beat program is proud partner with CHABAC to celebrate this day in Calgary, as one of two regional hubs in Alberta. The awareness day will raise awareness of the unique strengths and challenges faced by the ACB community response to HIV.

ACB communities represent 2.5% of the Canadian population yet they represent 16% of the epidemic. Statistics continue to show a steady increase in the numbers of individuals testing positive from ACB communities. One in 7 people living with HIV in Canada is from the ACB population.

In 2014, the rates of HIV among ACB were about 6 times higher than among other Canadians. There are various factors that put this population at higher risk, such as the experiences and impact of racism and discrimination, and those based on gender, sexual orientation and socio-economic status. These factors affect access to information, resources and services, as well as opportunities for making health related decisions. (Falconer, 2005; PHAC 2009)

Through Drum Beat, HIV Community Link reaches out to Calgary’s ACB community to raise HIV awareness through community education on prevention, testing and treatment, and by addressing the issue of stigma.

Drum Beat provides education in a variety of ACB venues and gathering places including churches, barbershops, post-secondary institutions, markets,  community associations and  immigrant service organizations.

This year’s guest speaker at the awareness day is Robert Bardston, a strong HIV activist for the ACB community. Robert is a long-term survivor of HIV and is also a national co-chair of CHABAC. Robert will speak about being a black man living and aging with HIV and the challenges faced by ACB people living with HIV. Robert Bardston is an accomplished international cellist and will play some pieces on his beloved cello at the event.

The event will be held at HIV Community Link’s office located at 110, 1603 10 Ave SW. Calgary and will start at 3:30pm.

The 2017 theme of this awareness day is: Start a conversation. Know your health options. End the stigma. Join us!

Feb7 - Awareness Day