British Columbia's Only Support Group for Women Living with HIV Closes

17 September 2017

Over 30 percent of HIV and AIDS organizations lost federal funding last year when the Public Health Agency of Canada realigned its priorities for fighting the disease, citing a shift in focus from treatment support to prevention. Due to this, the board of directors of Positive Women's Network in British Columbia announced they were closing their doors. "We have made this difficult decision in response to the shifting landscape of HIV and hepatitis C services, especially as these relate to women, as well as the challenge in sustaining long-term funding to run PWN's programs," a letter on the website reads.

Gary Lacasse, executive director of the Canadian AIDS Society, said he was "dumbfounded" when Positive Women's Network closed. It was one of the few groups of its kind in the country, he said. In the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the disease was seen as primarily affecting gay men, Lacasse said. Women had to fight for their place at the table for funding and research, and Positive Women's Network was a leader in that fight, he said. "They were trailblazers in developing programs for women that they really collaborated a lot on across Canada," he said.

Read the full article online here.

Read the letter from the Positive Women’s Network Board of Directors here