It’s about more than allyship, it’s about co-conspiring. We need actions, not just words.
I have only been tested once for HIV and that was in 1990. It was a scary time, I felt very alone, and I knew it would be a positive result. Something inside of me knew. I thought I would be dead within 2 years. And yet I found my inner strength. It was the counseling that brought me through it all; it was the community supports, my family and my friends. The Indigenous community stood by me and I continue to benefit from my community involvement.
Even before I was diagnosed with HIV in 1990, we were all living with HIV. But we stood together with people living with HIV, with the key affected populations, with researchers, with philanthropists, with families and all of the advocates.
The Indigenous HIV movement is like a family to me. I am connected. I have a strong supportive network of colleagues and friends all across Canada. I feel that I am a conduit for the Indigenous community and the community of people living with HIV. The Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network brings us together and I’m proud to be a part of the community response.
It’s hard not to be sad about all of the friends that I have lost during my journey living with HIV. Before there was effective treatment for HIV, it was a death sentence. I am thankful for my life and for the many HIV tools that we now have as a result of investments in research and development over the years, but there is a continued role for everyone in the pandemic response. We all have responsibilities to carry out so that we can push through and see the end of AIDS.
It’s about more than allyship, it’s about co-conspiring. We need actions, not just words. We need to go further than voicing our allyship and transform this into plans, tactics and positive action.
We need to work together to form partnerships and coalitions to find our common ground and fight for it.
For further information and to learn more about how you can get involved, Trevor links to a short clip featuring a panel of HIV activists on TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin called "Canada's Fight to End HIV/AIDS."
You can also learn more about the International Indigenous Working Group on HIV & AIDS (IIWGHA) by visiting them online https://www.iiwgha.org/ or connecting to their Facebook page.