October 15th, 2012
The mission of the Bureau local d’intervention traitant du sida (BLITS), a member of the Fondation, is to demystify HIV/AIDS among the population of Centre-du-Québec, to help people in the region living with HIV get back to living active lives, and to carry out awareness activities about the realities of HIV/AIDS, how the disease is transmitted, and how it can be prevented.
Today, people living with HIV have a much longer lifespan, and want to be active members of society. Many of them lead active lives, but are constantly confronted with obstacles related to the disclosure of their HIV-positive status, to confidentiality, and to discrimination – especially in the workplace.
As a society, we have to be able to come to terms with the new reality of HIV. Each of us may one day know an HIV-positive person, whether it be a family member, colleague, friend, neighbor or simply an acquaintance. We know that awareness is the key to reducing prejudice and discrimination, making it easier for those living with HIV to reintegrate into the workforce, or to continue their employment. That’s why it’s essential for each of us to be aware of the reality of HIV, and what it means for an infected person.
Faced with these facts, last year we developed an awareness campaign aimed at offices and private residences for autonomous people. Informational material themed “Let’s talk” were distributed to several target groups: one brochure for employers and/or HR directors, one brochure for employees, and one brochure addressing middle-aged residents. There were also two posters for these target groups.
Simultaneously, we carried out other awareness-building activities all over the community. We found that showing the film “Hommage à la vie” worked particularly well to facilitate discussion around the reality of HIV and HIV-positive people. These meetings also allowed us to update the information participants had about HIV, allowing them to feel more comfortable interacting with HIV-positive people in the future. A big thank you goes out to Jacques, who generously agreed to share his story and experiences during these presentations.