This article was published on October 29th, 2019
As Canada exhales a gigantic “WHEW!” over the latest federal election results, queer people are also sighing in relief that Conservatives hadn’t permeated Canadian politics as it has in the United States. But, what do these results mean for LGBT people living with HIV? Canadians voted in a new government, and here’s what that means for people living with or affected by HIV.
It was feared that some of the nationalistic, white supremist, racist, and homophobic ideals that America has seen surface under the reign of Trump would enter into Canadian politics at the federal election held on October 21. Fortunately, this wasn’t the case, and those gay people with or affected by HIV have a new opportunity to push for further advocacy in regard to the illness.
Canucks can once again push their leaders for equal treatment and fairness when it comes to HIV criminalization. The prison needle and syringe programs (PNSP) that have proven to reduce the spread of STIs can be advanced and protected further. Canadian sex workers will continue to have a voice in the government, as well as drug users and healthcare advocates who care for those with HIV and AIDS.
The current federal drug laws are harmful for those living with HIV and the court can do better to curve drug laws to better suit patients and addicts. Current PNSP programs are flawed and need advocacy and support. Lifesaving services need to be expanded. The Canadian Criminal code needs to be amended as well, to halt the needless persecutions and prosecutions of folks with HIV and AIDS.
Thankfully, Canadians banned any of the extremist conservative right party from securing a single seat in Parliament. The new minority liberal government with Justin Trudeau at the helm will be able to take on these concerns and issues of the people to help advance the quality of life for people living with AIDS and HIV. The advocacy that has been done thus far has worked and has seen plenty of advances for HIV patients.
But more can be done. Canadians will be looking toward the new government for advanced leadership in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Make your voices heard again by contacting your local government official. Talk to your friends about preventative measures like PrEP. You can also help by making a financial contribution to the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network to help advance the human rights of people living with, at risk of, or affected by HIV.