**** HEALTH/WELLNESS Media Release
Province Marks World AIDS Day
People living with HIV/AIDS and those who have died from the disease are being honoured with the raising of a red ribbon flag at Province House.
In keeping with COVID-19 public health requirements, the flag raising was pre-taped and is viewable online at: https://youtu.be/pGt1JJuXL0U .
This year’s World AIDS Day theme is global solidarity, shared responsibility. It highlights that health is strongly linked to issues such as economic growth and human rights. Reducing inequities, stigma and discrimination, and increasing access to testing and supportive services are key to ending both the COVID-19 and HIV pandemics.
“Prevention, early diagnosis and access to ongoing care and treatment are vitally important in the fight against this disease and to improve the health of Nova Scotians living with HIV/AIDS,” said Leo Glavine, Minister of Health and Wellness. “The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many health services. We are working with the Nova Scotia Advisory Commission on AIDS on new ways to improve access to testing. I want to thank the many Nova Scotians who have worked tirelessly over the years to provide support and reduce stigma.”
The Nova Scotia Advisory Commission on AIDS is an arm’s-length agency that provides advice to the provincial government on HIV/AIDS and related matters.
“Making it easier to access testing is essential for reaching the undiagnosed and supporting linkages to care. The commission will work with government and other stakeholders to determine how to integrate innovative testing technologies, such as the newly licensed HIV self-test, into the health system and ensure people are linked to the prevention, care, treatment and support services they need.
– Michelle Proctor-Simms, director, Nova Scotia Advisory Commission on AIDS
— HIV/AIDS Awareness Week runs from Nov. 21 to Dec. 1, World AIDS Day is on Dec. 1 and Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week in Canada runs from Dec. 1 to 6
— in 2019, 19 new cases of HIV were reported to public health in Nova Scotia, compared to 31 cases in 2018. The average yearly incidence is about 15 new cases
— 922 HIV cases have been diagnosed in Nova Scotia since 1983, when reporting began, until the end of 2019 (this does not include those who were first diagnosed outside of Nova Scotia)
— in July 2018, government increased access to HIV prevention medication by adding it to provincial Pharmacare programs
— on Nov. 2, Health Canada announced the licensing of Canada’s first HIV self-test. Nova Scotia is working to better understand these tests and how they might be used in the province
The 2020 World AIDS Day flag raising ceremony: https://youtu.be/pGt1JJuXL0U
For information on getting tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted blood-borne infections in Nova Scotia, visit: https://www.acns.ns.ca/info-resources/testing.html
For information about HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C, and World AIDS Day, visit: https://www.catie.ca/en/world-aids-day
For more information on the Nova Scotia Advisory Commission on AIDS, including the Review of Nova Scotia’s Strategy on HIV/AIDS, visit: https://www.novascotia.ca/AIDS
For more information on the self-test: https://www.insti.com/canada-first-self-test/
The federal government’s pan-Canadian framework for reducing the health impact of sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections in Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/infectious-diseases/sexual-health-sexually-transmitted-infections/reports-publications/sexually-transmitted-blood-borne-infections-action-framework.html; and five-year action plan on sexually transmitted blood-born infections: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/reports-publications/accelerating-our-response-five-year-action-plan-sexually-transmitted-blood-borne-infections/document.html