Today is WORLD AIDS DAY, a time for us to commemorate those who lost their lives too soon. It is also a day to raise awareness and continue to remind the world and our governments that we must keep up the momentum in our fight for the 38 million people currently living with HIV. Today as we celebrate all that has been accomplished nationally and internationally, we must also examine all that still needs to be done.
As many of you are aware, Philip Aziz Centre Hospice legacy reaches back to a man who was cared for by a small community church in the final months of his battle with an AIDS-related illness. This act of human kindness, compassion and justice expressed in the midst of stigma and fear, launched the beginnings of what was then a small community visiting hospice providing care and support for persons living with AIDS, to what we are today.
Lena Soje, our Social Worker, is this year’s keynote speaker at an AIDS virtual event, hosted by AIDS services organizations across our province. Lena is a long-time advocate for justice and equity for people living with HIV, and has been recognized by many in the field as an expert and passionate voice.
Here is an excerpt from her speech today:
“Today is world AIDS day. And the theme for this year’s symposium is Global Solidarity and Shared Responsibility. For me, global responsibility means to recognize each individual as part of humanity, regardless of his or her racial background, sexual orientation, gender or HIV status. It is about social justice and it is about not leaving anyone behind. It is also about our shared responsibilities in making sure that every person living with HIV has access to resources, services and support. It is about working in partnership to ensure that services are accessible.”CATIE-Cascade-Infographic-ENG-Final-WEB