HEAL Committee News Release
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HOUSE OF COMMONS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Health Committee Seeks Doubled funding
for Canadian Strategy on HIV/AIDS
Ottawa, June 5, 2003 - The Standing Committee on Health today tabled a report in the House of Commons entitled Strengthening the Canadian Strategy on HIV/AIDS. Responding to concerns raised by non-governmental partners, the report calls for substantially increased funding for the ongoing Strategy.
Committee members indicated that the Canadian efforts on HIV/AIDS must be appropriately funded. They recommended that the total funding be increased from $42 million to $100 million annually. This substantive increase responds to evidence that the current funding should be doubled. It also ensures that additional funding will be directed to vaccine research and to certain at-risk sub-groups falling under federal jurisdiction. In particular, members are concerned about individuals who are among federal inmates and among First Nations and Inuit. To ensure an effective process of evaluation and accountability, Committee members also pushed for the establishment of clear, measurable five-year goals and objectives for the renewed Strategy.
“A new level of funding is required to address the changing nature of the HIV/AIDS situation in Canada,” stated Bonnie Brown, M.P. (Oakville), Chair of the Standing Committee. “We heard two significant observations. First, the virus itself has become more resistant to known interventions. Second, infection rates have increased among different population sub-groups.
The Chair went on to say that “Committee members were very moved by the stories of people affected by HIV/AIDS. Accounts of individuals infected through secondary transmission and those dealing with the illness of family and friends reinforced our conviction. We believe that increased funding and stronger interventions are imperative. With improved measures for detection, prevention and treatment, the burden of the disease for Canadians can be greatly reduced.”
According to Ms. Brown, “The federal government must act now to decrease the transmission of this preventable disease. Unlike other disease areas that rely on substantial charitable or private contributions, federal funding is essential for this work. Witnesses emphasized that efforts to counter HIV/AIDS receive very limited funding from non-governmental sources.”
The Committee is seeking to support the federal government in its work with Canadians affected by HIV/AIDS. Members of the Committee heard that 4,000 Canadians are newly infected each year and many of the new infections occur among previously unexposed sub-groups in the population. The members called for stronger interventions for the at-risk sub-groups among youth, women, Aboriginal, immigrant, and inmate populations. They also emphasized the need for greater coordination among multiple federal government partners.
For further information, please contact the Clerk of the Standing Committee on Health by e-mail at email@example.com or by telephone at (613) 995-4108.