On World AIDS Day, Federal Health Minister, Ginette Petitpas-Taylor, signed onto the U=U Consensus Statement on behalf of all of Canada!
Surrounding her on Parliament Hill, amidst cheers and revelry were the team members from the AIDS Committee of Ottawa, U=U Campaign founder Bruce Reichman and community members.
Executive Director of the AIDS Committee of Ottawa, Khaled Salem, wrote of the occasion:
“Words cannot express our sentiments and truly convey our feelings surrounding this momentous occasion, when we, as an organization, city, country and most importantly, as the HIV community made history together.
“Our collective hearts were filled with pride, and tears were trickling down our cheeks, at the same time as our hands were either up in the air or coming together in thunderous claps, as our Federal Minister of Health, The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, of behalf of our Canadian Government, officially endorsed U=U and signed the consensus statement. Canada can now proudly declare that it is the first country in the world to do so.
“Saturday, December 1st, World AIDS Day 2018, on the steps of Parliament Hill in Ottawa will be frozen in time, and some day, maybe months or more likely years later, we will look back and see it as a turning point and a game changer in our collective fight to put an end to the driving factor behind new HIV infections, barriers to testing, starting treatment – HIV Stigma.
“It is crucially important to recognize the blood, sweat, tears and toil of so many incredible people living with HIV that laid the groundwork over the last 3 decades for this moment to materialize, so many fearless leaders that have come before us and created the path for us to follow. Unfortunately, many are no longer with us, but you will always be alive in our hearts.
“As Vitto Russo said back in 1988, “Remember that someday the AIDS crisis will be over. And when that day has come and gone, there will be people alive who will hear that once there was a terrible disease, and that a brave group of people stood up and fought and in some cases died so others might live and be free”. We are standing on the shoulders of giants, and we are simply building on the foundational work of the pioneers of the HIV movement.”
The OAN joins the AIDS Committee of Ottawa in its heartfelt congratulations and thanks to the teams in Ottawa and from across the province in their collaborative efforts to build awareness and momentum leading to this incredible action.
For more photos and videos of this incredible day hop on over to ACO’s Facebook page.