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Canadian Positive People Network (CPPN)

Réseau canadien des personnes séropositives (RCPS)

The CPPN acknowledges that its corporate office in Peterborough (ON) sits on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe Missis​sauga adjacent to Haudenosaunee Territory and in the Territory covered by the Williams Treaty, and that its operations and management office sits on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg people.  We recognize and deeply appreciate the contributions that Métis, Inuit, and other Indigenous Peoples have made to shape and strengthen our local communities, our provinces and territories, and our country as a whole.

Le RCPS reconnaît que son bureau principal à Peterborough (ON) est situé sur le territoire traditionnel de la Anishinaabe Mississauga adjacent au territoire de Haudenosaunee et sur le territoire couvert par le traité Williams, et que son bureau des opérations et de gestion se trouve sur le territoire traditionnel non cédé du Peuple Algonquin Anishnaabeg. Nous reconnaissons et apprécions profondément les contributions des Métis, des Inuits et des autres peuples autochtones à la formation et au renforcement de nos communautés locales, de nos provinces et territoires et de notre pays dans son ensemble.

Richard S. of London, Ontario shares his perspective

Asked how he defines what a long-term survivor is, Richard told us that “this is a difficult question. Easy answer is ten years, but I also feel that you don't have to have HIV to be a long-term survivor. A survivor is someone who has experienced the death of someone or has been a loved one or caregiver, such as doctors, nurses, family and loved ones of someone who lived with HIV. Also, a survivor can be some who has dealt with illness or the stigma of having HIV over a shorter period of time.”

To Richard, “AIDS at 40: Envisioning a Future We Never Imagined” (this year’s Long-term Survivors theme), mean that “people are having longer and maybe fuller lives with the use of antivirals since the 80s when the epidemic killed many gay men and people of colour. This also does not address the medical community valuing longevity over quality of life of people living with the side effects, stigma and poverty of many people living on HIV meds. I feel that we, as community, have become complacent in being case cows for the Pharmaceutical companies and are pushed to be grateful or be stigmatized by the greater HIV community.”


Asked what about HIV/AIDS has (or hasn’t) changed over time, Richard shared, “I think many things have changed; it’s not seen as a death sentence. Certain beliefs and stigmas around HIV infection have changed. Some attitudes about having sex with HIV-positive people have changed with introduction of PrEP.”


Richard believes that Canadian need to realize that Long-term Survivors “need more funding, more support.” He also thinks that Canadians need to know that “many of us also deal with job insecurity and symptoms from long-term use of medicines. Many of us also deal with stigmatization from the cultures and communities we come from. And some of us have difficulty maintaining relationships.”


To someone who is recently diagnosed with HIV, Richard would share with them that they should “get connected to doctors and outreach communities. They should read everything they can about their disease (the history, science, alternative medicines, and even the conspiracy around HIV).” Richard would also encourage someone newly diagnosed, don’t “be afraid. Take control of your health. Ask questions of your health care providers. And don't be afraid of the therapies.”


In conclusion, Richard shared that “as gay men, we have lost a lot of our elders; a whole a generation of gay men have died of HIV. I feel because of this the gay men’s community has internalized HIV stigma which is expressed through body obsession, ageism, body-shaming and an unhealthy obsession for being young and healthy.”

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