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Canada’s Ministers wrap up meetings at 24th Int’l AIDS Conference

eAwaz Health

Policy makers, researchers and advocates from around the world gathered, in-person and virtually, to advance the HIV response

Montreal – Canada closed out events at AIDS 2022, the 24th International AIDS Conference – the largest global gathering on any health issue in the world. Canada served as the host country for this year’s conference, which took place between July 29th and August 2nd in Montreal, and virtually. The conference brought together scientists, clinicians, community leaders, advocates, people with lived experience of HIV, health providers, decision-makers and others from around the world to Re-engage and Follow the Science in the response to HIV and AIDS.

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, delivered closing remarks for the conference, during which he reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to reaching global HIV targets. He encouraged international partners to take collaborative action toward reducing stigma around HIV as a way to reach the undiagnosed and remove barriers to testing, treatment, and care. He also highlighted Canada’s endorsement of a global declaration on Undetectable = Untransmittable, calling on other countries to do the same. The declaration is the outcome of important discussions that took place at the Global U=U Summit on July 28th where Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer took part and reinforced the importance of learning from those with lived experience and addressing health inequities and the social determinants of health as a way to reach populations disproportionately impacted by HIV.

During the conference, Minister Duclos, together with Carolyn Bennett, Canada’s Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, announced nearly $18 million in funding to make decentralized forms of HIV testing, including HIV self-test kits, more widely available across Canada. In addition, culturally safe Indigenous-led testing initiatives will support citizens living in northern, remote, and isolated communities, ensuring that everyone has access to testing. This will help with reaching the undiagnosed by offering greater accessibility, privacy, and convenience to HIV testing.

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, David Lametti, also announced upcoming public consultations that will launch in October 2022 on how to modernize the criminal law relating to non-disclosure of HIV status in light of scientific evidence related to the risk of sexual transmission of HIV. Lastly, the Honourable Harjit Sajjan, Minister of International Development, also reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to the global HIV response by announcing $15 million for UNAIDS for 2023-2025.

These commitments from Canada, together with the vital discussions that took place at AIDS 2022 with experts, policy makers, and people with lived experience from Canada and from around the world, will help drive forward Canada’s progress on the domestic and global HIV response, and strengthen Canada’s resolve to end HIV and AIDS as a public health concern by 2030.