Louise Binder in the Toronto Sun: HIV treatment in Canada lacking.

Published 13, Dec, 2011

PositiveLIte.Com writer and activist Louise Binder talks to reporter Kevin Connor about the state of #HIV treatment in 2011

Louise Binder, seen Nov. 28, 2011, has had HIV since 1993. (Dave Thomas/Toronto Sun)

PositiveLite.Com says: we were delighted to see our Louise Binder made the Toronto Sun December 1, 2011, World AIDS Day, albeit surrounded by ads for Pizzaville (two medium pizzas, six toppings for $18.99?  Not bad!), The Sun story story goes on to take a lightning tour of a host of HIV-related issues, which will likely never be referred to again in the pages of the Sun, at least until World AIDS Day 2012.  Still, any coverage of these issues is good and kudos to the Toronto Sun for stepping up to the plate.  Louise does a grand job of highlighting some of the  inequities in treatment access which exist in Canada right now too.

We’ve also included readers’ comments, to illustrate the public perception of HIV in 2011.  Interesting!

Here is the article: .

By Kevin Connor ,Toronto Sun  December 01, 2011

TORONTO - Louise Binder has seen a lot of change since she was diagnosed with HIV in 1993, but as World AIDS Day arrives on Thursday wonders why even in Canada people aren’t being properly treated.

“One of the major issues is we still have marginalized people who aren’t getting access to treatment. There are the haves that get treated and the have-nots — like Aboriginal people — who aren’t getting treatment and they are dying,” said Binder, who is with the Canadian Treatment Action Council.

The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network says Aboriginals account for 8% of Canadians with HIV and make up 12.5% of all new infections.

One in four new HIV infections in Ontario is among marginalized women, a survey shows.

Even though there have been significant advances in HIV care, 25% of new HIV infections from 2006 to 2008 were in women, according to a health study by researchers from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and St. Michael’s Hospital.

“The epidemic has moved to the marginalized population with people who are already at risk, the people who have to put up with what is dished out to them. Housing is also a huge problem for HIV people because you need to be housed to remain on treatment,” Binder said.

“We don’t have a cure, but treatment can change your life.”

A new study for Casey House, which cares for people with HIV/AIDS, shows that nine out of 10 Ontarians believe that society has a “moral obligation” to provide compassionate care to people living with the disease.

“The good news is that HIV/AIDS is no longer a death sentence,” says Dr. Kevin Gough, director of infectious diseases at St. Michael’s Hospital, who co-authored the report.

“Today, if people have access to treatment, HIV/AIDS can be more like a chronic disease that waxes and wanes in severity throughout their lives. That’s terrific news. But we’re seeing that as people age with HIV/AIDS, their health-care needs frequently escalate and can become very disabling.”

Casey House has announced a new Day Health Program to help people age with the disease.

“The Day Health Program will be an innovative response to the expanding demand for chronic-care management in our province, which currently claims 55% of direct and indirect health-care costs in Ontario,” said Stephanie Karapita, CEO of Casey House and co-author of the report.

“Not only is this program a targeted means to address the expanding and deepening need for complex HIV/AIDS treatment in Toronto, but it’s also an effective way to reach out to marginalized populations who are not currently getting the range of health-care services that they need to stay healthy.”

Experts say that AIDS funding in Canada and internationally is nowhere near what it should be.

“At home, federal funding for HIV has been flat-lined since 2007 and it is unknown whether federal funding will be cut even further next year,” said Richard Elliott, executive director of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network. “Cuts and delays in funding would have serious implications for front-line community services that do HIV prevention and support services, and most importantly, the people who depend on those services.

“On the global front, just as we are seeing results from sustained global investments in HIV prevention and treatment, funding is stalling and governments are failing to support what is needed. In 2010, UNAIDS estimated a $10-billion shortfall for a comprehensive and effective global AIDS response.”

Binder says another concern is that legal action against people with the disease is becoming far too common.

There has been an increase in cases in which people with HIV have been charged with offences in the Criminal Code where there has been no significant risk of transmitting the disease — which simply criminalizes a person based on their HIV-positive status. “People who knowingly infect others are criminals. Most people are unlikely to transmit their disease, but the justice system in Canada is putting (HIV) people in jail at an alarming rate,” Binder said.

“HIV is easy to prevent but young people are still becoming infected. We need more public education.”

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And a selection of Sun reader’s comments  . . . 

"Non HIV people in Ontario are having as much of a hard time accessing health care with the usual problems so what's the difference for them?"

"Blame ROB FORD AND STEPEN HARPER FOR THIS"

“People who knowingly infect others are criminals. Most people are unlikely to transmit their disease, but the justice system in Canada is putting (HIV) people in jail at an alarming rate,” Binder said. AND dear Louise Binder - please prove this utterly stupid statement.  Like that our Aboriginals are the 'have nots' - certainly not ALL of them.  Their Chiefs and their families are doing quite well in their monster homes and hummers.Then she says HIV is easy to prevent but young people are still becoming infected...then they are stupid as EVERYONE knows the way to GET aids is IV drug use and being a fvck (sic) pig or both. Simple to figure out. So tell us Louise, how'd you get infected if it's so easily preventable? Information about this was WIDELY pushed in this country since the mid 80's."

"This will teach them, not to be careless in whom they have sex with".

"Sorry, but drug users who share needles, people who have unprotected sex with multiple partners I have NO sympathy for. On the other hand people who were infected by tainted blood, or by a parent during pregnancy I think should have priority in treatment as they had no choice in this matter. People who are infected and continue to have unprotected sex should be automticly (sic) charged with attempted murder and be done with it. The aboriginals have just as much chance for treatment as anybody else,,,,,just ask the elders who steal the money left right and center.How many billions of dollars are we supposed to keep giving if this disease is easily preventable.....you do everything you shouldn't be doing and contact HIV too bad, this is not like a cancer that can and does hit everybody and anybody you make your choices.".