HAPATO, HIV/AIDS Preventive Agency of Toronto is a non-profit organization that develops programs and brings awareness to the public about HIV/AIDs. A 25-member panel of expert consultants are working with Health Canada to develop Stop HIV Now, a campaign designed to bring awareness to the increasing number of Canadians diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. We are focusing on raising awareness among all Canadians and reducing the risk of infection among the most vulnerable groups. HAPATO is working tirelessly with communities to develop information about HIV/AIDS, increase the knowledge of gay men, youths, and aboriginals to reduce the transmission of HIV within these groups. HAPTO offers ...view middle of the document...
Antiretroviral therapy will use medicines to help people with HIV live longer and healthier lives. Your health care provider will decide when to start appropriate treatment and which HIV medicines to take.
The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends HIV testing for everyone between the ages of 15-65 as part of routine medical care. PHAC recommends HIV testing at least once a year for people at high risk of HIV infection. You should consider getting tested for HIV infection if you or your partner has ever:
• had anal or vaginal intercourse without using a latex or poly urethane condom or other protective barrier.
• had sex while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
• tested positive for another STD
• shared needles, syringes or other drug use equipment
• had tattooing, piercing or acupuncture with unsterilized equipment
Your HIV test results “expires” each time you engage in unprotected sex or partake in risky behavior. Make testing a part of your sexual health routine so that you are aware of your HIV status. Sexually active people should get tested once a tear. If you identify yourself as a sexually active gay or bisexual man, we recommend you get tested every 3-6 months regardless of risk behavior. Knowing whether you have HIV is critical to your well-being and the general health of the public. Get test and know your status.
HAPATO has been actively calling on the government to develop universal HIV testing. HIV/AIDS remains a public health concern for Canada as the number of people living with HIV continues to rise. According to statistics from PHAC, there was an 11.4% increase in a three-year span from 64,000 in 2008 to 71,300 in 2011. It is staggering that an estimated 1 in 4 cases are not aware they are infected. The numbers will surely increase as the public continues spreading the infection amongst themselves because they are unaware they have the virus.
This could change if HIV testing became routine. The Ontario Government should ensure free HIV testing for men and women aged 15-65, including pregnant women, during regular checkups. Adequate funding for this campaign will allow HAPATO to continue providing free anonymous HIV testing and counseling to vulnerable groups. Investing in our campaign to prevent and protect the public from HIV will save the Ontario Government for having to pay for HIV medicine and therapy. When we work...