A number of events celebrating World AIDS Day and commemorating those who have died were held across Toronto.
The day began early, 7 a.m., with the 6th Annual World AIDS Day Breakfast celebrating Resilience Reward Renewal. Hosted by CBC’s Suhana Meharchand, the event awarded Dr. Ian McGilvray, a transplant surgeon with the University Health Network in Toronto, and James Kreppner, an HIV/AIDS activist who recently succumbed to his illness, the Glen Hillson Awards for their hard work.
The Hon. Deb Matthews, the Ontario Minister of Health and Long Term Care , announced an increase in government funding of $1.68 million for HIV/AIDS programming, with $1M specifically designated for women’s programs. Women have the highest growing rate of infection in Canada.
The Asian Community AIDS Services (ACAS), in partnership with St. Stephen’s Community House, held an afternoon forum to discuss issues facing the broad Asian community, including immigrant and refugee concerns, community referrals, service gaps and access to services. Guest speakers were Amutha Samgam, a person living with HIV/AIDS and an ACAS Women’s Support worker; Jacquiline Uy, a Ryerson University student, an ACAS volunteer on the Board of Directors and a worker with gay Asian youth; and Dr. Alan Li, an AIDS activist, ACAS Board of Directors member and a health care physician at Regent Park Community Health Centre.
Photo Positive, a photo exhibit at Starbucks in Toronto’s Gay Village, has HIV positive men reflecting about HIV and stigma in the gay community. The 519 Community Centre held a memorial service and vigil at the Centre. Casey House, the Toronto AIDS hospice, sponsored one of three national concerts and a vigil at the Metropolitan Church. The Black Coalition for Aids Prevention handed our red ribbons on the Toronto subway line, and the AIDS Committee of Toronto held a condom stuffing party.
In all there were over a 100 events ranging from information sessions, lunches and dinners, parties, and numerous ethno-cultural events marked the day.