25 Years of AIDS in Toronto: ACT to Host Special Panel Discussion on Nov. 29

Toronto, Nov. 22nd, 2007 — In honour of World AIDS Day, the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT) will host "Looking Back, Moving Forward: 25 Years of AIDS in Toronto," a special panel discussion on Thursday, Nov. 29 about the future of HIV/AIDS in the city.

The panel, which features City Councillor Kyle Rae, activist Tim McCaskell and other experts, will address the changing legal, social, and political aspects of HIV/AIDS in the city and the province.

“It’s been 25 years since the first case of AIDS was reported in Toronto and the legal and political situation is as uncertain as ever —both for people living with HIV/AIDS (PHAs) and the organizations that work with them,” says ACT’s Executive Director Lori Lucier.

Currently, there are over 14,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Toronto. Two people are newly infected each day. Over the past several years, infection rates have increased dramatically among women and a number of ethno-cultural communities.

Recent legal cases have raised the spectre of legal sanctions for PHAs who are sexually active but private about their HIV-status. The federal government, meanwhile, has rolled back its funding for HIV/AIDS organizations and other health-related programs and services.

“Given all of this, particularly the uncertainty around the federal government’s commitment to funding domestic HIV/AIDS programs, the question is, Where do we go from here?” says Lucier.

“We’re hoping this event will be the first step towards some answers.”

Rounding out the panel are Richard Elliott, Executive Director of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, moderator Darien Taylor, Director, HIV Treatment Information at the Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange, and a special guest to be announced.

The panel discussion happens at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, Essex Ballroom, 310 Jarvis Street. 7 - 9 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

For more information about the event and all of ACT’s World AIDS Day activities, visit www.actoronto.org/aaw2007 or contact Tyler Stiem, ACT’s Communications Coordinator, at 416-340-8484 ext. 225 or tstiem@actoronto.org.