Montreal Conference Impact Project
March 2022 - ongoing
#MEET4IMPACT and Tourisme Montréal have jointly undertaken a pilot project to develop an approach to generating measurable social impact through selected business events held in Montreal. We partnered with the Local Organising Commitee of the chosen event and worked to identify desired impacts, building a measurement framework and communicating outcomes. It was announced that the chosen event would be AIDS 2022.
Through the impact project, #MEET4IMPACT and Tourisme Montréal will collaborate with the conference hosts to identify the expected impacts of this event for the community gathered around the fight against AIDS in Montreal and support them to put in place the necessary efforts to generate these results. Such an approach will support the strategic aims of the AIDS 2022 organizing committee to galvanize the scientific, activist and policy-making communities in order to continue to ensure a strong response to the AIDS pandemic which has raged on for decades.
Two Impact Intentions
Reducing stigma around HIV and AIDS
The past two years have seen the pace of AIDS research fall behind as COVID has been at the forefront of research and developmental priorities in virology. There are less new researchers dedicating their efforts to the topic and the general public’s attention has been overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in HIV and AIDS being placed on the backseat. There is also an important amount of stigma still revolving around HIV/AIDS. Our aim with this track is to mobilise the public in the hopes of creating more empathy and understanding surrounding HIV/AIDS, its treatments and the way our society treats people living with the illness.
Increasing the awareness of the public through a variety of programmes is directly aligned with the core mission of IAS, which is to disseminate knowledge on the science and treatments, whilst also working to improve the lives of those living with HIV/AIDS.
Democratising access to antiretroviral drugs and PrEP
In discussing needs and gaps with actors within the local HIV/AIDS communities in Montreal, it became clear that there is a lack of information and awareness surrounding current medications available to people living and exposed to HIV/AIDS. Another important issue that was raised is the financial burden that is placed on individuals in order to have access to antiretroviral drugs and PrEP. Youth under 18 years of age who are on a private health insurance plan through a parent do not have the benefit of privacy in regards to medications reimbursed via the plan, hence forcing them to disclose their status to the parent. This lack of and mis-information not only touches people living with the illness, but also their loved ones and the general public.
Persons living with HIV/AIDS and those exposed to it to have greater knowledge of resources and medications available to them. There is also a desire for changes to governmental regulations which would result in the public health system entirely covering the costs of antiretroviral drugs and PrEP, as well as policies to be introduced where youth would benefit from a privacy clause when accessing medications using a parent’s private insurance plan.