New progress in the fight to end HIV in Canada by 2025

A new initiative sponsored by the CIHR Centre for REACH 3.0 and the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR), and led by MAP scientist Dr. Sean Rourke, seeks to end the stigma that inhibits Canada’s progress to reaching its goal to end the HIV epidemic by 2025.

The Positive Effect – collaboratively designed by scientists, medical experts, community leaders and people with living with HIV in Canada – begins online at The initiative will connect the lived experience of those both managing and preventing HIV with facts and evidence to correct the misinformation and fear that underlies and perpetuates stigma.

The will promote authentic, ongoing and high-energy engagement across Canada of those dedicated to wiping out HIV stigma, which impedes testing, prevention efforts, and contributes to further health inequities across communities. 

The Positive Effect is much more than a website – it is about shifting mindsets and enriching lives,” said Dr. Rourke. “It is a movement to end HIV stigma by linking facts and evidence of how stigma can affect people to their core, with stories of lived experience where people navigate through challenging circumstances and vulnerability with courage, resilience and growth.

“We know stigma interferes with HIV prevention and deters people from getting tested regularly and knowing their status – this is one of the reasons why ending HIV stigma is so critical. HIV stigma arises out of fear, lack of knowledge, and prejudices, and that’s why we created The Positive Effect. We want to inspire and support people to think differently about HIV by appreciating real stories that they otherwise may never hear about – through these experiences, we will shift mindsets.”

Quick Facts

  • One in five people living with HIV are denied health services because of stigma and discrimination.
  • 9,090 Canadians live with HIV and don’t know it.
  • 10,340 people diagnosed with HIV aren’t in care and accessing life-saving treatment.
  • Reducing HIV stigma is central to ending the HIV epidemic in Canada and will mean less barriers for people to know their status and receive treatment or preventative care.

Learn More

Visit the Positive Effect website

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