Together, let’s build a world without AIDS or HIV

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Together, let’s build a world without AIDS or HIV
March 7, 2018

The year 2018 is well under way and the Fondation québécoise du sida as well as its Board of Directors wish to extend their best wishes to you. We also take this opportunity to thank you for your constant support for the fight against HIV/AIDS through your donations.

World AIDS Day was celebrated on the 1st of December 2017 and Montreal, through its Mayor, Valérie Plante, signed the Paris Declaration, thus confirming the city’s accession to UNAIDS’ Fast-Track Cities Initiative: “Fast-track: ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030”. Together

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This decision challenges and commits us as actors in this fight that we have been waging for decades.

Our merger with the Farha Foundation is one year old. We thank the donors who have come on board as a result of this union and who are now moving forward with us. The fight remains the same as do all our objectives, so let’s pursue our efforts together to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Quebec.

 

Mark Wainberg: a big name in the fight against HIV has left us

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Mark Wainberg
a big name in the fight against HIV has left us
May 18, 2017

Mark WainbergThe world-renowned scientist from Montreal, Mark Wainberg, died in April at the age of 71.

Since the early 1980s, he was actively involved in the fight against HIV/Aids and he made it his fight. He not only devoted his scientific and medical career to it, but also became one of the pioneers of the defence of the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS and of the most affected communities, at a time when the subject was taboo and unpopular.

Dr Wainberg is known in particular for discovering the anti-viral medication, 3TC, in 1989. This was one of the very first effective molecules against HIV. The 3TC helped to change the course of the illness and is still widely used in tri-therapies, thanks to which the infection has become a chronic illness.

Mark Wainberg is also famous for his multiple contributions regarding the virus’ resistance to medicines. With his team, he worked to enhance understanding of the mechanisms and genetic mutations of the virus, and to find ways to counter them.

Dr. Wainberg, who was close to the Quebec anti-AIDS milieu and the Farha Foundation in particular, stated in 2000, during an interview with the McGill Reporter: “It is incumbent upon us all to be AIDS activists”. A fervent militant for access for all to medication, he is one of the people who enabled marginalized populations and poor countries, especially in Africa, to benefit from the results of research on HIV/AIDS.

Source : Radio-Canada
Yanick Villedieu – April 4, 2017

ABC OF HIV : Primary infection

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ABC OF HIVPrimary infection
May 18, 2017

This is the period immediately after the virus enters the body. At this stage, the virus multiplies quickly and transmission risks are highest.

This first phase can come with flu-like symptoms such as fever, throat pain, muscular pain, fatigue, swollen lymph-nodes and skin eruptions.

These symptoms, which disappear after a few weeks, are not present in all infected persons. Sometimes the primary infection stage goes by unnoticed. It is during this period that the immune system produces antibodies to defend itself against the virus.

Source : L’essentiel du VIH/sida, Portail VIH/sida du Québec, Benoît Lemire

Get involved in the Fqsida board of directors

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Get involved in the Fqsida board of directors
May 18, 2017

Fqsida has taken on a new momentum, particularly since Baya Touré joined its management in February and following our recent merger with the Farha Foundation.

Over the next few years, we plan to carry out many activities aimed at increasing our visibility and momentum, so we need a strong, diversified, motivated, and committed board of directors.

This could be the time for you to make a difference! Many opportunities are open to you: Together

˃ Representative of people living with HIV
• for Montreal (1 year)
• for other areas (1 or 2 years)
˃ Representative of Montreal (2 years)
˃ Expert: with a particular expertise or affiliation (funding, events, development, communication etc.)

Interested? We invite you to send us, before the 29th of May 2017, a brief letter of introduction describing your career and your motivation. Address it to Mrs. Mrs. Baya Touré, General Director, at direction@fqsida.org.

REVS+ Burkina Faso – The challenge of caring for vulnerable communities

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REVS+ BURKINA FASO – THE CHALLENGE OF CARING FOR VULNERABLE COMMUNITIES
February 15, 2017

In December last, REVS+ – a member of Coalition PLUS in Burkina Faso – organized a major workshop in Ouagadougou involving many non-governmental organizations active in the fight against HIV/Aids or in the area of human rights, along with many of some of the country’s decision-makers and opinion leaders. The objective of the encounter was to tackle the difficulties linked to providing care for the most vulnerable groups affected by the epidemic in Burkina Faso, and to ensure that these populations are less stigmatized and, at the same time, that greater consideration is given to their fundamental rights and health care needs.

Martine Somda – President of REVS+ and Administrator of Coalition PLUS
Credit : © Coalition PLUS

For Martine Somda, President of REVS+ and Administrator of Coalition PLUS, this workshop was « a victory in that it convinced the decision-makers and opinion leaders present to confront the issues of access to prevention services, care and HIV treatment for all citizens, regardless of gender, religion or sexual orientation and gender identity, with serenity, determination and pragmatism ».

Progress has certainly been registered in Burkina Faso in the fight against AIDS, with the HIV-prevalence rate dropping from over 7% in 1997 to 0.8% today, according to UNAIDS. However, important challenges remain with regard to providing care for the estimated 95,000 persons living with HIV in the country, especially in the most socially or economically vulnerable communities.

To sustain the progress made in the years-long fight against AIDS, continuous outreach to prisoners, children, handicapped persons, sex workers, men who have sex with other men and injectable drug users is an imperative. Unfortunately, the social environment in Burkina Faso is still hostile or indifferent to these communities.

Key populations

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KEY POPULATIONS
February 15, 2017

In the current dynamic of the HIV/AIDS epidemic at the global level, the communities most exposed to the virus are male and female sex workers, men who have sexual relations with other men and injectable drug users. Because of the discrimination and even criminalization they are subjected to, these persons are, in fact, 10% to 24% more liable to be infected by HIV than the general population. What is at issue here is the limited access to prevention and care when their sexual practices or drug use are condemned by society and even the State. According to the terms of reference of the United Nations these are « key » populations in the epidemic.

Source : Pulsation – June 2016 – Coalition PLUS

The Global Fund and Africagay against AIDS, partners in defence of LGBT rights

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THE GLOBAL FUND AND AFRICAGAY AGAINST AIDS, PARTNERS IN DEFENCE OF LGBT RIGHT*
November 30, 2016

Africagay2The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria provides indispensable support to anti-AIDS associations that work to defend the basic rights of LGBT persons in Africa. These include the 19 members of the Africagay network against AIDS. Members of Coalition PLUS, ANSS (Burundi), ARCAD-SIDA (Mali) and REVS+ (Burkina Faso) are part of this network, which is one of a kind, with technical and financial support from the French associations, AIDES (founding member of Coalition PLUS) and Sidaction.

The second “Africagay Network Day against AIDS” was held last October in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. The aim was to fight for equitable access to care in Africa, irrespective of social orientation and gender identity.

« Homosexuals are afraid to leave their homes because there is discrimination in health institutions. Doctors say » ‘I won’t touch a homosexual, my religion forbids it !’ » Homosexuals living with HIV prefer to die at home than to go to those services. » Yves – LGBT militant – Cameroon.

More than 97% of new HIV infections take place in developing countries and only 18% of the world’s States implement HIV-prevention programmes among homosexual and bisexual men, whereas the latter are 5 to 25 times more affected by the virus than the general population. All told, 39 of the 54 countries of the African continent still criminalize homosexuality, condemning gay people to remain in hiding, far from care systems, without treatment or prevention tools.

For more information on the Africagay network against AIDS go to: africagay.org

* Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
Illustration : @ AIDES — Africagay against AIDS
PHOTO : Africagay, an African combat

 

Objective 90-90-90: An ambitious target

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OBJECTIVE 90-90-90: AN AMBITIOUS TARGET
September 8, 2016

At the Durban conference, many actors in the fight against HIV/Aids denounced an enormous gap between the promises to end Aids and the reality on the ground, with funding insufficient and health systems on the brink of implosion.

Funding continues to be the main challenge facing the attainment of the 90-90-90 objective by the year 2020: 90% of persons with HIV knowing their status; 90% of persons tested receiving lasting antiretroviral treatment; 90% of persons under treatment having an undetectable viral load.

Today, 51% of persons with HIV do not know that they have the virus. Three out of four have no access to treatment, and the rate is 9 out of 10 among children. We have all the tools we need to close the gap, but the challenge continues to be huge because of the cost of medication, infrastructure costs, and the human and medical resources needed. Without real political will, we will not be able to attain the 90-90-90 target.

HIV: The tools are there, the funding needs to follow

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HIV: THE TOOLS ARE THERE, THE FUNDING NEEDS TO FOLLOW
September 8, 2016

Summer is coming to an end. A beautiful sun-filled summer that we hope you’ve been able to enjoy to the fullest. To mark the return to school and work, we offer you an opportunity to catch up on the latest on HIV for the summer season, with a selection of news that caught our attention, mainly from the 21st International Conference on HIV/AIDS, held in Durban, South Africa, from the 18th to the 23rd of July 2016.

coupleIt’s confirmed. People living with HIV whose viral load is undetectable cannot transmit the virus to their partners.
An american study published on the 12th of July in the Journal of the American Medical Association monitored 1,166 serodiscordant couples, a third of them same sex, for 16 months and found that there was no HIV transmission between partners when the viral load of the HIV-positive partner could not be detected. The medical treatment used to reduce the viral load can thus, without the shadow of a doubt, also be considered a very effective prevention method since it blocks the transmission of the virus. The relevance of this approach, known as Treatment as Prevention (TasP), has thus been confirmed once again, since it is a significant contributor to the decline of the epidemic.

PrEP “on demand”: A promising approach
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) continues to demonstrate its effectiveness and each new study shows that it considerably reduces the risk of HIV transmission. The Truvada medication, which prevents the virus from multiplying, was, moreover, approved by Health Canada as a preventive treatment. A Canadian study confirmed that, when taken continuously, it has a 98% rate of success in preventing infection of persons newly exposed to the risk of transmission.

PrEP “on demand”, a one-off prophylactic treatment prescribed during bouts of high risk of exposure to transmission, occupied a place of prominence in the debates at the Durban conference. A first study had established its effectiveness at 86%. A new French study, conducted from November 2014 to 2016 with 362 individuals, yielded results that were even more spectacular. Only one person – who, in fact, had interrupted the PrEP – was infected.

When well managed, PrEP “on demand” represents a promising approach for populations that are highly vulnerable to the risk of HIV transmission, have very high prevalence rates, and among whom the transmission chain seems difficult to break. Not only does it have fewer secondary effects than the continuous treatment formula, but it, moreover, leads to substantial savings which could encourage its development among the biggest pools of high-risk populations.

Objective 90-90-90: An ambitious target
At the Durban conference, many actors in the fight against HIV/Aids denounced an enormous gap between the promises to end Aids and the reality on the ground, with funding insufficient and health systems on the brink of implosion.

Funding continues to be the main challenge facing the attainment of the 90-90-90 objective by the year 2020: 90% of persons with HIV knowing their status; 90% of persons tested receiving lasting antiretroviral treatment; 90% of persons under treatment having an undetectable viral load.

Today, 51% of persons with HIV do not know that they have the virus. Three out of four have no access to treatment, and the rate is 9 out of 10 among children. We have all the tools we need to close the gap, but the challenge continues to be huge because of the cost of medication, infrastructure costs, and the human and medical resources needed. Without real political will, we will not be able to attain the 90-90-90 target.

Sources: La Presse, Ici Radio-Canada, Seronet

MALI: The vital challenge of anti-HIV treatment for children

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MALI: THE VITAL CHALLENGE OF ANTI-HIV TREATMENT FOR CHILDREN
September 8, 2016

mere_enfant

Crédit : © Coalition PLUS – D. Hérard

Each year, an estimated 1.4 million women with HIV become pregnant worldwide. In the absence of antiretroviral (ARV) treatment, these women have a probability of 15% to 45% of transmitting HIV to their babies during pregnancy, at delivery or through breastfeeding.  However, the risk shrinks to less than 1% if the precious ARV molecules are administered to them and their infants at all stages where infection can take place.

In Mali, one of the priority axes of advocacy by Coalition PLUS focuses precisely on reinforcing the national plan for the elimination of HIV transmission from mother to child. In recent months, our advocate, Fatoumata Konaté, targeted the shortages of pediatric anti-retroviral treatments along with the weaknesses of the distribution network for these essential medicines, shortcomings that threaten the lives of thousands of Malian children living with HIV.

This problem affects Africa as a whole. According to UNAIDS, of the more than 2.6 million children under the age of 15 years currently living with HIV worldwide, 90 % live on that continent. However, barely 18 % of African children with HIV have access to the treatments they need to survive. And half of all children born with HIV in Africa die before their second birthday for lack of appropriate medical coverage.

The African members of Coalition PLUS take to the field each day to tackle this sad reality and change it. This fundamental work is possible thanks to your precious financial support. Thank you!

Access the Coalition PLUS 2015 activity report at coalitionplus.org.