AIDS ACTION NOW! is at AIDS 2012 in Washington D.C. this week to draw attention to the Harper Government’s agenda to dismantle our country’s health system and HIV response. We will be vocal and active in variety of ways all week. ACTION = LIFE!
The Harper government is undertaking a massive agenda to dismantle the country’s healthcare and social supports for communities most affected by HIV. This includes attacks on:
• Indigenous peoples’ health through funding cuts to non-profit and government organizations;
• Refugees and newcomers to Canada through decreasing services;
• Women through systematically de-funded organizations that advocated for women’s rights;
• People living with and most affected by HIV through cutting funding to provincial and national HIV service organizations.
Cuts to health and social programs for those most affected by HIV will lead to increased infections and deaths.
The Harper government actively silences advocates who critique their ideologically-driven agenda. When organizations speak out against damaging policies, the government punishes them with public attacks and budget cuts. Addressing structural barriers through advocacy is a vital component of HIV responses.
Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper publicly denies the science and evidence supporting harm reduction and has actively tried to close supervised injection programs that are proven to work. The Harper government promotes policies based on stigmatizing moralistic attitudes that result in worsening the impacts of HIV and Hep C.
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Banner drop raises awareness on lack of access to harm reduction programs!
Calling for political action to end the global HIV/AIDS epidemic and acknowledging the International Day of Remembrance of People Who Use Drugs on July 21st, activists dropped a banner stating “Clean Needles Stops AIDS” at Friday night’s Washington Nationals baseball game. The demonstration comes just days before opening of the AIDS 2012, the XIX International AIDS Conference being held at the Washington D.C. Convention Centre and the We Can End AIDS Massive Mobilization for Economic Justice and Human Rights March on July 24th.
“Laws that criminalize drugs and moralistic policies are furthering the HIV epidemic and killing people who use drugs”, says Zoe Dodd of Canada’s AIDS ACTION NOW! – a direct-action activist group working to realize the human rights of people most affected by HIV. “There is a clear correlation between laws that criminalize drugs and high rates of HIV among people who inject drugs. Harm reduction programs save lives and will help end AIDS” Dodd stated.
This action draws attention to the recent report from the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, the independent high-level commission that finds that bad laws and human rights abuses are stifling the global AIDS response. The landmark report finds evidence that enforcing punitive laws hinders HIV responses and wastes resources. The Commission urgently calls for laws that protect human rights to save lives, save money and end the epidemic.
“Government inaction and stigmatizing attitudes are threatening people’s survival”, says Jessica Whitbread, an HIV-positive activist from AIDS ACTION NOW! “Vital evidence-informed harm reduction programs- like distributing clean needles to people who use drugs will save lives”.
During the XIX International AIDS Conference, AIDS ACTION NOW! mobilizing Canadian delegates at the AIDS conference and is part of an coalition of international organizations who will participate in the We Can End AIDS Massive Mobilization for Economic Justice and Human Rights. On July 24th at NOON, the march will take over five main streets of DC, including K Street, New York Avenue, and Pennsylvania Avenue and culminate at the White House Gates.
Download action press release!
Action pics on Flickr!
On July 24 in Washington D.C. during the upcoming International AIDS Conference, AIDS ACTION NOW! will be marching with thousands of activists from around the world for the We Can End AIDS Mobilization for Economic Justice and Human Rights. Join AIDS ACTION NOW! and Canadians from across the country as we march in the Human Rights and Harm Reduction section of the march. We will be calling on the Canadian government to end the war on people who use drugs, support the science and evidence of harm reduction, confront HIV criminalization and stigma, reverse cuts to health and HIV social services, and end the erosion of democracy by silencing dissent and attacking activists.
To join others from Canada in the march, meet at the AIDS ACTION NOW! Global Village booth on July 24th at 10:30 so we can mobilize together in advance of the march. At the booth there will be sign-making, and a orientation of the march route and activities. We will then join other marchers from around the world in the Human Rights Networking Zone. Together we will go to the march launch site on K Street for noon.
For more on AAN’s work and other planned actions during the conference, check out our AIDS 2012 Activist Calendar here!
Join the We Can End AIDS Call to Action!
We Can End AIDS on facebook.
Join the AAN We Can End AIDS facebook event page.
Download the AAN AIDS 2012 flyer!
ACTION = LIFE
In a recent interview with www.socialistworkercanada.com, AAN! steering committee member Jordan Bond-Gorr talks about the inconsistent, unfair and unjust application of the criminal law to people living with HIV who are accused of not disclosing their HIV status to sexual partners.
Jordan highlights the detrimental impact of the law on women and marginalized people and communities. He also points out that criminalization is undermining proven public health responses that prevent HIV transmission and address the negative impacts of HIV infection on people. Read the entire interview here.