Today, and for the week leading up to World AIDS Day, art shows, galleries, and artists partner with grassroots AIDS service organizations to help raise funds and awareness of the AIDS pandemic.
Since 1981 AIDS has resulted in over 25 million deaths and tens of millions remain infected with the HIV virus worldwide. It is not only the most destructive virus in recorded history, but is also the one about which scientists know the most. Continued research has led to successful drug treatments, and governments and non-profits worldwide have helped to increase an individual’s access to antiretroviral treatments and resource support systems.
65K Canadians were estimated to be living with HIV in 2008, there were 2,300-4.300 estimated new HIV infections in 2009, and 25% of Canadians infected with HIV don’t know their status
Despite the lack of balanced media coverage (other than today!), AIDS hasn’t gone away as the general public chooses to believe. The number of participants in the 2012 Farha AIDS walk in Montreal dipped by 1/3 this year, and organizers noted that the “not necessarily a deadly diagnosis anymore,” mentality is one of the causes for the lack of public support despite the 15,000-20,000 Quebec residents who are HIV positive. Quebec has also been noted as a province that is behind the pack when it comes to HIV treatment.
While most people living with HIV react well to treatment there are still those whose bodies are resistant, some who do not know that they are infected, and others who cannot access drugs or other necessary resources for the treatment and prevention strategy.
Though the number of deaths has decreased (as has the number of new infections), there is still a clear need for improved testing access and policies, clean needle exchange programs and continued awareness and education programs for the general public.
Last year’s speech by President Barack Obama was hailed by some for his commitment to the “Beginning of the End” campaign, and his official address for this year is already available for those who won’t be able to listen to the live broadcast.
Led by the World AIDS Campaign organization, the theme for World AIDS Day 2012 is ”Getting to zero.” Zero New HIV Infections. Zero Discrimination and Zero AIDS-related deaths.
This zero is not only meant to represent the number of new HIV infections, but also a call against discrimination and stigma towards those who are HIV positive.
A Day With(out) Art Happenings today:
The QP Collective at Concordia is organizing a workshop with Alex McClelland from AIDS Action Now! today as part of their two week long exhibit at the VAV gallery (Rene-Levesque between Bishop & Crescent).
Planning on seeing a certain exhibit on December first? Check with the museum first! Many museums close their doors on December first in solidarity with A Day Without Art – a step taken by many in the art world as a day to mourn.
FARHA Foundation has asked supporters to observe five minutes of silence on December 1 from 12:00 p.m. to 12:05 p.m. EST.