Trevor Stratton, Muluba Habanyama, Ron Rosenes, and Darien Taylor are remarkable Canadians who are making this country a better place — while living with HIV.
HIV doesn’t discriminate. It can affect your mother, sibling, friend, lover or colleague. These portraits of HIV activists celebrate the impact of artists, philanthropists, leaders, and influencers who are making Canada stronger, while living with HIV. These resilient Canadians are making a difference in their communities.
While advancements in HIV and AIDS research have changed the landscape for people living with the disease, the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR) recognizes that HIV still disproportionately affects marginalized communities, including youth, Indigenous populations, women, and gay men.
Research produces results. CANFAR is funding life-saving science across Canada that directly impacts people living with HIV and improves their lives. As we approach our fiscal year-end, we commit that 100% of your donation goes directly to funding critical HIV and AIDS research grants.
Dear friend of CANFAR,
I was a young adult during the 1980s — a decade profoundly marked by the contrast of light hearted pop-culture against the backdrop of the onset and spread of AIDS. There was fear, panic and the heart-breaking realization that doctors did not know what they were dealing with.
At that time, HIV and AIDS was widely considered a death sentence. I recall speaking with my friend Walter about his HIV diagnosis and trying to reassure him that some medical breakthrough would be found, and that he would live a good and productive life. The idea of living and thriving with HIV was not a reality in the 1980s, and it wasn’t a reality for Walter.
He died long before the most fundamental HIV breakthroughs were achieved.
Thirty years have passed, and much has changed. Today we are celebrating four remarkable individuals who are doing exactly what I had hoped was possible for Walter. While living with HIV, these resilient Canadians are making significant contributions to society. This existence is only possible because of research advancements in the treatment of HIV and AIDS.
Trevor, Muluba, Ron, and Darien are making their communities better by adding their voices and shared experiences as inspiration to empower others.
Muluba is a public speaking phenomenon. At the Rideau Club last year, she brought a room of business leaders to tears while sharing her story of outliving both parents who died of AIDS-related illnesses. Muluba spoke forcefully about the impact research has had on her life, and that she is alive today thanks to medical breakthroughs. Federal Minster of Health Jane Philpott called her “a remarkable force of energy.”
I had the pleasure of meeting Trevor in Durban, South Africa while attending the World AIDS Conference. Trevor shared with me how he went from being an isolated man with little community connection to representing the Canadian civil society voice on the UNAIDS Program Coordinating Board. This volunteer role is in addition to his professional work as the Coordinator of the International Indigenous Working Group on HIV & AIDS at the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network. Trevor notes that because of groundbreaking research on antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, “I was able to get up from my death bed and go back to work.”
Even though times may have changed thanks to the progress made by HIV and AIDS research, we need to ensure that the lives of Trevor, Muluba, Ron, and Darien, as well as the other 75,500 Canadians living with HIV, continue to improve. We want to eradicate this disease, and find solutions to improve the lives of those living with it. CANFAR-funded researchers are tackling the most pressing issues, which are disproportionately affecting some of Canada’s most vulnerable communities.
As we approach our fiscal year-end (June 30), we need YOUR support more than ever. Our goal of funding $500,000 in Innovation Research grants is achievable, and could result in the breakthrough that brings an end to HIV and AIDS.
I hope that we can count on your support to continue funding life-saving science that produces revolutionary results and empowers people like Trevor, Muluba, Ron and Darien to make this world a better place.
President and Chief Operating Officer
Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR)