August 2nd, 2022
Liberals’ lack of leadership to eliminate the spread of HIV/AIDS puts more people at risk
NDP Health Critic Don Davies made the following statement:
“The HIV/AIDS epidemic is putting millions of people at risk as we face a growing rate of infections worldwide while access to treatment for those who desperately need it is slowing. The one-time funding boost announced by the Liberals yesterday falls short of what is called for by community-based HIV and human rights organizations fighting to eliminate the spread of HIV/AIDS. In fact, since the launch of the Federal Initiative in 2018, the Public Health Agency confirms that over 123 million dollars committed by the government to the HIV strategy haven't been spent while infections increase.
Furthermore, the Canadian government’s high number of denials of visas that prevented delegates and internationally renowned researchers from attending the 24th International AIDS conference in Montreal last week left out critical voices from countries most affected by HIV/AIDS from a vital conversation. We cannot take a serious role in eliminating the spread of this disease without including the experts who are at the forefront of this fight.
Worse, Canada's refusal to grant visas to many people from Africa has sent a message of race-based decision making that brings shame to our international reputation. The absurd length of time taken by Canadian immigration authorities to make decisions for a conference called well in advance is incompetent at best, and disgraceful at worst.
The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has revealed that millions of lives are at risk due to disruptions in HIV care caused by the COVID-19 pandemic amidst declining funding to eliminate the spread of HIV/AIDS.Canada can and must do better.
New Democrats believe that Canada has an important role to play in ensuring that long-term strategies are in place to strengthen health systems here at home and in low-income countries. Canada should also contribute more to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS to end this epidemic and support health care systems in low-income countries.”