Premier John Horgan has said that today, as we fasten a red ribbon to our clothing in recognition of World AIDS Day, we stand in solidarity with the millions of people living with HIV/AIDS around the world and remember those who have lost their lives to this disease.
“Here in B.C., AIDS-related deaths are at an all-time low. Breakthroughs in treatment and prevention, along with education, awareness, community work and fighting stigma, have contributed to huge advancements toward the elimination of this epidemic.
“British Columbia has been on the leading edge of treatment since the early days of the epidemic, and we continue to innovate in ways that are benefiting people worldwide. Dr. Julio Montaner and his team at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS are doing internationally recognized, life-saving work. The centre also delivers the Antiretroviral Outreach Program in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside to reach some of B.C.’s most marginalized and at-risk populations.
“This kind of outreach work is in line with this year’s theme for World AIDS Day, which is ‘communities make the difference.’ This speaks to the invaluable contributions of communities to the AIDS epidemic and the work being done by those in high-risk populations to support and advocate for each other.
“Our government is committed to advancing the fight against this disease as we increase support for communities and people affected. Last year, the Province made pre-exposure prophylaxis — known as PrEP — available to all British Columbians at high risk of contracting HIV. Thousands of people in B.C. have been prescribed the potentially life-saving medication and have taken steps to protect their health.
“I want to extend my gratitude to all the volunteers, health-care workers, medical practitioners, researchers, friends and family who dedicate their time to helping those living with, or vulnerable to, HIV. We must continue to lift each other up and build strong communities to end the AIDS epidemic here and around the world.”