Members of the Canadian AIDS services community, which includes The Canadian AIDS Society, Positive Living Society of BC, and the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT), today announced the launch of the first ever HIV Anonymous campaign in anticipation of the annual 2015 Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life, a national fundraising and awareness movement that takes place in more than 30 communities across Canada each year. This year, the event will take place from Saturday, September 12th to Sunday, September 20th.
The HIV Anonymous campaign captures the isolation, stigma, and manifold forms of discrimination those living with HIV/AIDS face on a daily basis. This platform gives a voice to Canadians who are living with HIV/AIDS, allowing them to share their stories while retaining their confidentiality. Allies and supporters will also be encouraged to participate and talk about their experiences. These stories will be available via a sharable audio library on hivanonymous.ca and will be used to educate the public about the realities of living with HIV.
Participants are also being asked to show their support on social media by changing their profile picture to the campaign icon, symbolizing anonymity.
“The intention of this year’s HIV Anonymous campaign is to create an educated and supportive society so those who are HIV positive don’t have to fear coming forward,” says David Stempowski, Vice-chair of the Board of Directors of the Canadian AIDS Society. “It is by raising public awareness, through events such as the AIDS Walk for Life, that we can make a real difference for persons living with HIV/AIDS. That is what this event – the Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life – is meant to do.”
“For us at ACT, the Walk is our most grassroots event – it takes place within, is run by and serves the HIV community,” says ACT Executive Director John Maxwell. “The opportunity to bring together affected groups and their supporters in the same space amounts to what we like to call a Group Hug. Politicians come to speak and to listen, entertainers arrive to share their art, and community members come to see the proof that they’re not alone, even if sometimes they feel like it throughout the year.”
About the Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life
The Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life is a project of the Canadian AIDS Society (CAS), in partnership with the Positive Living Society of British Columbia, the AIDS Committee of Toronto, and community-based AIDS organizations across Canada. During the national week-long event, cities and communities from across the country host Walks to raise funds for local services and programming and to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS. As Canada’s most important HIV/AIDS awareness and fundraising event, the Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life has now raised over $42 million for community-based HIV/AIDS service organizations since 1996 and has attracted well over half a million participants. Scotiabank continues its multi-year commitment as title sponsor for the AIDS Walk, playing a key role in expanding its promotional and fundraising capacity.