November 29, 2007
Media Release

York Region recognizes World AIDS Day December 1st

Education remains the best defence against HIV/AIDS
NEWMARKET The Regional Municipality of York Community and Health Services department joins its York Region AIDS Action Group community partners and countries around the world in recognizing the 19th Annual World AIDS Day on Saturday, December 1st. 
 
World AIDS Day was founded by UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, and is held every year on December 1st.  On this day, communities around the world honour and commemorate those lost to AIDS and those who continue to live with the effects 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.
 
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 (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) applies to the most advanced stages of an HIV infection.
 
The facts about HIV/AIDS are staggering:
 
 According to UNAIDS, there are 39.6 million people living with HIV, including 2.3 million children.  In 2006, 4.3 million people became newly infected with the virus, the highest ever in one year.  As many as half of those who become infected with HIV do so before they are 25 and die of AIDS before they are 35.
 
 The Public Health Agency of Canada estimates more than 58,000 Canadians are currently living with HIV/AIDS, and approximately 27 per cent are unaware they are infected.
 
 The number of Canadians living with HIV/AIDS continues to increase, with an estimated 2,300 to 4,500 new infections each year.
 
 York Region is not immune to HIV/AIDS.  Over 400 positive HIV tests have been reported in York Region since 1981.  On average, there are one to two new positive results every month in York Region, not including those who have travelled elsewhere for testing.
 
There is no cure for AIDS, but HIV infection is preventable.  In the absence of a cure or vaccine, education is our best defence against the virus.  The York Region AIDS Action Group is a community coalition that works together throughout the year to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS issues and initiatives.  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 (Community and Health Services department)
 Select Independent Schools (Pickering College and Villanova College)
 
 
 
The face of HIV/AIDS in York Region has become that of women, men and children.  The AIDS Committee of York Region is a community-based, non-profit organization that provides direct services, education, referrals and promotes access to dignified care for people living with HIV/AIDS and those affected by HIV/AIDS.
 
For more information, please contact the AIDS Committee of York Region at 1-800-243-7717 or visit www.acyr.org
 
York Region Community and Health Services provides testing for HIV at all sexual health clinic locations, including an anonymous HIV testing site beginning in early 2008.  Additional programs include HIV/AIDS education and HIV case management.
 
For more information about HIV/AIDS, sexual health clinics or other health issues, please contact York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653.
 
For more information on the Regional Municipality of York and our services, please visit www.york.ca
 
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Media Contact: Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, York Region Community and Health Services
 Phone:  905 830-4444 ext. 4016 or After-hours Cell 905 716-2717
 Email: jennifer.mitchellemmerson@york.ca
 

Note to media:  What is it like to live with HIV/AIDS in York Region?
  
  To draw attention to World AIDS Day and HIV/AIDS-related issues,
  media interviews will be available from 10 a.m. to  12:00 
  on Friday, November 30th with a client of the AIDS Committee of York Region.
  
  Please call the media contact above to arrange an interview.

Contact Information
 
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