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The Latest Stories By Bob Leahy

  • People living with HIV make their mark at IAS 2015 in Vancouver
  • Vancouver conference confirms tools are in place, shows the way to move forward to end the epidemic
  • Frank talk from Julio Montaner
  • HIV Happy
  • PositiveLite.com at IAS 2015 in Vancouver

Bob Leahy

Bob Leahy

Award-winning blogger Bob Leahy first made his social media mark a decade ago on LiveJournal.com where there are still to this day almost 3,000 entries of his available to be read. He was a featured blogger on Ontario’s HIVStigma.com campaign, along with PositiveLite.com founder Brian Finch.  He joined PositiveLite.com at its inception in 2009 and became it's Editor a year later.

Born in the UK, Bob’s background is in corporate banking, which he gladly left in 1994, after being diagnosed with HIV the previous year.  He has chaired the board of PARN (Peterborough AIDS Resource Network) and has been an executive board member of both the Ontario HIV Treatment Network  (OHTN) and the Canadian AIDS Society (CAS).  He was inducted in to the Ontario AIDS Network’s Honour Roll in 2005.  Bob is currently a member of Ontario’s GMSH (Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance). He also writes for TheBody.com.

In 2012, Bob was honoured with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for his work and commitment to HIV/AIDS in Canada.

Bob continues to write for this site while in the Positivelite.Com editor’s seat, with a particular interest  in HIV prevention, theatre and the arts in general. He is accredited media for a number of Toronto theatres. He lives in Warkworth, Ontario with his partner of thirty-two years and three dogs.

Jul28

People living with HIV make their mark at IAS 2015 in Vancouver

Tuesday, 28 July 2015 Written by // Bob Leahy - Editor Categories // International AIDS Conference , Conferences, Activism, Health, International , Treatment, Living with HIV, Bob Leahy

Bob Leahy reports on the Canadian Declaration by Persons Living with HIV that calls for the protection of human rights in light of biomedical advances in HIV Treatment but in a progressive way supportive of 90-9-90 and expanded treatment access

People living with HIV make their mark at IAS 2015 in Vancouver

Of the significant outcomes of the IAS 2015 in Vancouver that closed just last week, one was the signing of the Vancouver Consensus Statement (2015). It’s  an urgent call to world leaders, donors, governments, clinicians and civil society to ensure that all people living with HIV have access to antiretroviral treatment upon diagnosis and the strategic use of ARVs for treatment and prevention in order to meet the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets. 

It’s progressive and addresses the priorities that recent science has dictated make sense in the current environment. Treatment as prevention is there, early treatment is there, better access to medication is there.  You can read the Consensus Statement here  and/or read aidsmap’s review of it here.

Does it do enough to enshrine the rights and priorities of people living with HIV? Perhaps not, said a group of people living with HIV, who quickly gained support for the release of a second statement which builds upon the Vancouver Statement, agrees with its approach but adds important safeguards for people living with HIV. Called The Canadian Declaration by Persons living with HIV (2015) it’s a human rights based document that ensures people living with HIV are not coerced into treatment, have immediate access to HIV medications and, amongs other provisions, are fully engaged in all phases of the global approach to ending the epidemic.

It concludes “To truly achieve or exceed the 90-90-90 targets globally, the scientific, research, medical and pharmaceutical communities, policy makers, international and governmental bodies, funders, and donors must work together with people living with HIV and activists as allies to address more than the bio-medical issues associated with HIV. We must all commit to reducing and eliminating the social and structural impediments that continue to put people at risk of HIV and that drive the epidemic”

Organizers report that within a day, 50 individuals and/or organizations from 12 countries had signed on to show solidarity behind people living with HIV, since expanded to 111 persons and/or organizations. Organizers are encouraging others to sign on here and distribute to others. A French version will be available shortly.

Want to know who has signed up so far? Go here.

Myself and PositiveLIte.com are original signatories to the declaration because we believe in its combination of a progressive approach to ending the epidemic that is comprehensive of the concerns and invovment of people living with HIV while protecting their human rights.

We were at the media launch on Vancouver’s waterfront on July 22, 2015, the last day of the conference. You’ll see our video below of some of the people living with HIV attending IAS 2105 talking about why the declaration is important to them.

Consider signing it, won’t you?

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