ONE members From left to right: Ryan Lukic, Ariel Pevzner, Guido Van Marle, Rob Poole, Emanuel Mostofi, Morgan Braun
At our World AIDS Day event, we had the pleasure to hear from Rob Poole from AIDS Calgary and Dr. Guido Van Marle of the University of Calgary. Rob has over 18 years of experience working across Canada with the HIV/AIDS community and was able to talk about AIDS as both an international and local issue that affects different people, and to different degrees, based on where they live. Meanwhile, Dr. Van Marle, who is the Director of the Biomedical Sciences program on campus and a researcher in HIV resistance, commented on the difficulties in Africa with testing and treatment. He illuminated the issue of simply throwing money at a problem but not addressing the surrounding concerns of infrastructure and political follow through on these improvements.
Both speakers encouraged a lively and important discussion on how we continue to move toward an AIDS free generation. The message was clear: the science of HIV/AIDS can only take us so far. We need to continue to focus on how we can prevent new cases, continue to develop community based action plans both abroad and right here at home to remove the stigma surrounding the disease and ensure that governments stay committed and don’t just provide lip-service on the issue.
We also talked about how important programs like PEPFAR and the efforts of (RED) and the Global Fund have been to reducing the number of new HIV cases and increasing the number of those on treatment. More importantly, we all agreed that programs that save lives and treat HIV/AIDS patients, work on prevention and community involvement are ones we do not want to see cut from budgets in the upcoming year. We all agreed that this is our time to stand up for these programs and ensure that our leaders know we are in this to end it!
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