December 1st, 2022

NDP Commemorates World AIDS Day

QUEEN’S PARK – Kristyn Wong-Tam, 2SLGBTQ+ Issues critic, released the following statement to mark World AIDS Day:

“At its core, World AIDS Day is about public health and social justice. As with every pandemic, HIV/AIDS spreads along lines of marginalization, including race, class, gender and sexual orientations. This stigma, especially homophobia and transphobia, continues to drive inequities that cause vulnerable communities to be overrepresented in the transmission of HIV/AIDS.

World AIDS Day reminds us that AIDS is not over. It continues to spread ⁠— especially in communities that are not prioritized and supported by government. HIV/AIDS survivors need better public health education and deserve ongoing mental, social, and medical support. People at risk need better access to testing and the only way to get pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to everyone who needs it is by ensuring that it is always publicly paid for.

This World AIDS Day is different because of how many people who are queer, bisexual, Trans, Two-Spirit, and people who do sex work have had to face another infectious disease that forcefully hit our communities ⁠— Monkeypox. Monkeypox highlighted what we already know: we need a minimum of 10 paid sick days, major increases to public health budgets, and real investments with community partners to ensure that public health education is received by target audiences.

To this day, many communities have been left out of an adequate response to HIV/AIDS: Two-Spirit, Black, racialized, Trans communities, and also women living with HIV/AIDS deserve to be a focus of government efforts. Harm reduction advocates have worked hard to support people left behind in our medical system. When some are left out of our public health response, everyone suffers.

The HIV/AIDS prevention community has also been clear about what they need: more funding. Increases by federal, provincial, and municipal governments in recent years have not kept pace with inflation and peoples’ need for services and research. This community has been left to shoulder almost the entire burden of organizing a community-led public health response to Monkeypox. The community does not need more sympathetic statements: they need a seat at the decision-making table and adequate government funding now.

Ontario’s NDP hears the HIV/AIDS prevention community, and we will always fight for you to get the funding and services you deserve. Only by working together will we be successful in ending HIV/AIDS.”