November 30, 2005
Source: McGill University:
'Time to Deliver' for Canada on eve of World AIDS Day
Source: University Relations Office (URO) [newswire]
November 30, 2005
Canada to be in spotlight as country prepares to host 2006 World AIDS Conference
Canadians and their government must do more to address the calamitous toll of HIV/AIDS, says Dr Mark Wainberg, Director of the McGill AIDS Centre and chairman of the XVI International AIDS Conference, to be held in 2006 in Toronto.
"Devastating. There are 42-43 million people in the world with HIV. In Africa alone, 10,000 people die every day," says Dr Wainberg when asked how he would characterize the global AIDS situation.
Canada's response to the pandemic will be under scrutiny as the country prepares to host the conference, organized on the theme "Time to Deliver." More than 15,000 delegates, including scientists, health care providers, business leaders, NGOs, journalists and people living with HIV/AIDS, are expected to attend.
Despite impassioned pleas by advocates like Stephen Lewis, the UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, Wainberg says, "The average Canadian isn't too concerned with HIV and AIDS. They don't feel it directly affects them... Countries like Haiti and Jamaica, not that far from our borders, are facing a huge crisis, but it doesn't even register among many Canadians."
While AIDS is not currently a priority for many in this country, it is fast becoming a critical issue for Canada's First Nations communities, where one in three new infections is occurring. According to Dr Wainberg, the Canadian government must do a much better job of educating and protecting Aboriginal peoples.
"It's essential that our government takes the lead on this and fosters collaborative research among Canadian physicians and researchers and those from developing nations."
Dr Wainberg is prepared to comment on the upcoming conference and matters related to HIV. On World AIDS Day (December 1), he will be in Toronto and can be reached at 514-891-6922 or 514-340-8307.
McGill University Relations Office