News release

HIV/AIDS Needs Continued Attention in Nova Scotia

Community and government organizations are reaching out to African Canadian communities as part of HIV/AIDS Awareness week in Nova Scotia.

Percy Paris, Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs, launched HIV/AIDS Awareness Week in Nova Scotia by raising the red ribbon flag during a public ceremony at Province House today, Nov. 24. HIV/AIDS Awareness Week runs today to Dec. 1, World AIDS Day.

"While all Nova Scotians are at risk of contracting HIV and AIDS, the misconceptions and stigma attached to the virus continue to create serious barriers for HIV prevention, care, treatment and support," said Mr. Paris. "I'm pleased that this year's campaign will bring more attention to the impact of this disease within African Canadian communities and the specific actions needed to address it."

Each year, the HIV/AIDS Awareness Week Planning Committee for HRM, led by the Nova Scotia Advisory Commission on AIDS, focuses on the impact of HIV/AIDS on a particular population group. This year's focus is on African Canadian populations.

The committee has planned a series of workshops and information session in HRM to discuss HIV/AIDS issues as they relate to the needs of African Canadian families, youth, men and women, within a sexual health context. Events will also take place in Whitney Pier, Truro, and across the province.

"Nationally, HIV has affected some population groups more than others," said Larry Baxter, chairman of the Nova Scotia Advisory Commission on AIDS. "By targeting education and encouraging testing, we hope to reduce infections within these groups in Nova Scotia."

"Specific data on the rate of HIV infection in African Canadians living in Nova Scotia is not available," said Dr. David Haase co-president of the Health Association Of African Canadians. "However, we need to be just as concerned about the potential effects of this devastating infection in our local population, compared to African Americans."

Dec. 1, marks the 22 annual World AIDS Day, which honours those who have died and raises public awareness of the disease and the global spread of the HIV virus.

The Nova Scotia Advisory Commission on AIDS was established in 1988 to implement recommendations of the Nova Scotia Task Force on AIDS. The commission advises government on AIDS issues and its impact on society, and co-ordinates the implementation of the provincial HIV/AIDS strategy.

For a full list of AIDS Awareness Week events across the province, visit www.gov.ns.ca/aids .

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Community and government organizations are reaching out to African Canadian communities as part of HIV/AIDS Awareness week in Nova Scotia.

African Nova Scotian Affairs Minister Percy Paris launched the week by raising the red ribbon flag during a public ceremony at Province House today (November 24th).

Mr. Paris says while all Nova Scotians are at risk of contracting HIV and AIDS, the misconceptions and stigma attached to the virus continue to create serious barriers for HIV prevention, care, treatment and support.

December 1st marks the 22nd annual World AIDS Day. For a full list of AIDS Awareness Week events visit w-w-w dot gov dot n-s dot c-a slash aids.

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Media Contact:

Michelle Proctor-Simms
Nova Scotia Advisory Commission on AIDS 902-424-4741 Cell: 902-497-0816 E-mail: