Toronto, ON — The Canadian Treatment Action Council (CTAC) will host its first national conference, Strengthening the Pillars of Treatment Access in Canada in Toronto on September 16th and 17th. This event will bring together participants from across the country to review research and identify solutions to the many challenges surrounding treatment access for people living with HIV and hepatitis C.
Strenghtening the Pillars of Treatment Access in Canada aims to identify strategies to overcome treatment access barriers and promote health equity by bringing together people living with HIV and hepatitis C, as well as policymakers, researchers and other civil society leaders from across Canada. The event profiles leading research and program interventions that promote the human rights and self-determination of people living with HIV and hepatitis C in Canada. In addition, escalating evidence-based interventions across the spectrum of care, as well as addressing social and structural barriers that impede access to treatment, care and support in Canada.
The event will feature presentations from medical and scientific experts, health care policy researchers and patient advocates. Keynote speakers will include Mark Harrington, renowned HIV/AIDS activist and Executive Director of the New York-based Treatment Access Group (TAG). Mr. Harrington, who was featured in the 2012 Academy Award-nominated film How to Survive a Plague will explain seven necessary steps to accelerate HIV and hepatitis C treatments in the pipline.
Dr. Bohdan Nosyk, Associate Professor of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University and one of Canada’s leading authorities on health administration and the prevention of HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis, will explore how Treatment as Prevention programming through the STOP AIDS initiative in British Columbia has increased access to treatment for people living with HIV in the province, explaining how universal treatment access could make it possible to stem the tide of new HIV infections, here in Canada and around the world.
The conference will conclude with remarks by Dr. Gail Beck, member of the Canadian Medical Association Board of Directors, who will identify ways to work across health sectors to build a stonger, more equitable Canadian health system that puts patient needs at the centre, including transformative, innovative patient approaches to advocacy.
“With new medications making it possible for us to cure hepatitis C within a generation, and with an increased need to support the health and human rights of people living with HIV, the HIV and hepatitis C sectors are at an important crossroads,” says Derek Hodel, CTAC’s Interim Executive Director. “Our conference highlights the best work being done in Canada to strengthen our health system and make a real difference in the lives of people living with HIV and hepatitis C.”
Over 150 participants from across the country are expected to attend the conference taking place at the Eaton Chelsea Hotel in downtown Toronto.
For the full conference program (including list of confirmed speakers) and more information on CTAC’s work, please visit our website at www.ctac.ca.
CTAC is Canada’s national civil society organization addressing access to treatment, care and support for people living with HIV and HCV. In operation since 1996, CTAC works to engage community members, service providers, policymakers and other relevant stakeholders to identify, develop and implement policy and program solutions.