November 27, 2006
Media Release

World AIDS Day


York Region Health Services joins community partners in raising awareness
NEWMARKET– York Region Health Services joins communities around the world in recognizing World Aids Day, Friday, December 1st. To draw advance notice to this important issue, York Region Health Services and its York Region AIDS Action Group partners will offer a discussion panel and reflective ceremony in support of AIDS awareness, both locally and globally. The media is invited to attend.
WHEN: Tuesday, November 28, 2006
  1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.  Panel Discussion
  2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.  World AIDS Day Reflective Ceremony
WHERE: St. Elizabeth Catholic High School – Theatre (located at the north side of school)
  525 New Westminster Drive, Vaughan
WHAT: Discussion Panel – An audience of over 300 students from across York Region, Grades 7 through 12, will ask AIDS-related questions to five individuals who have been impacted in different ways by AIDS, both locally and globally. 
 Reflective Ceremony – This reflective ceremony will include offerings of music and dance by students of the York Region District School Board and York Catholic District School Board, short film clips and the participation of dignitaries from York Region Health Services, York Regional Police , York Region Emergency Medical Services, Vaughan Fire and Rescue Service, York Region District School Board, York Catholic District School Board, the York Region Committee in Support of the Stephen Lewis Foundation, the AIDS Committee of York Region and the local health care community.
The facts about HIV/AIDS are staggering:
• According to UNAIDS, there are now 39.6 million people living with HIV, including 2.3 children, and during 2006 some 4.3 million people became newly infected with the virus. As many as half of those who become infected with HIV do so before they are 25 and are killed by AIDS before they are 35
• Health Canada estimates that almost 58,000 Canadians are currently living with HIV/AIDS, with an additional 15,000 Canadians unaware that they are infected
• The number of Canadians living with HIV/AIDS continues to increase, with approximately 2400 new infections each year
• York Region is not immune to HIV/AIDS. In 2004, 24 new HIV positive tests were reported in York Region, the highest number to date. On average, there are 2 new positive results every month in York Region, not including those who have travelled elsewhere for testing
• HIV infection is preventable. In the absence of a cure or vaccine, education is our only defence against the virus
AIDS is a disease caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which kills or impairs cells of the immune system and progressively destroys the body's ability to fight infections and certain cancers. The term AIDS applies to the most advanced stages of an HIV infection.
World AIDS Day is held every December 1st. On this day, communities around the world honour and commemorate those lost to AIDS and those who continue to live with the effect of HIV/AIDS. It is a day to also mark the achievements made, and the work still to be done, in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Local World AIDS Day events, including the panel discussion and reflective ceremony, have been organized by the York Region AIDS Action Group.  Members include:
• York Region District School Board
• York Catholic District School Board
• York Region Committee in Support of the Stephen Lewis Foundation
• AIDS Committee of York Region
• The Regional Municipality of York (York Region Health Services)
This year, the local World AIDS Day message is:
Change the world, one action at a time.
Wear red December 1st. Support AIDS awareness.
For more information about this event, HIV/AIDS or other health issues, contact York Region Health Services Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or visit
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Media Contact: Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, York Region Health Services
 Phone:  (905) 830-4444 ext. 4016 or After-hours Cell (905)716-2717

Available upon request:
• Discussion panellist bios
• Reflection ceremony agenda
Note to media:  World AIDS Day is Friday, December 1st.
 What is it like to live with AIDS in York Region? Media interviews are available from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. on December 1st with a client of the AIDS Committee of York Region. To arrange an interview, please contact the media person mentioned above.

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