VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Volunteers scouting the area for the 32nd annual AIDS walk in Vancouver say they made a disturbing discovery as they set up for the event
“Along the walk we found some disturbing flyers posted all over a variety of areas,” says Neil Self, Chair of the Positive Living Society of BC. “One with a swastika, the other one with a symbol I’m not familiar with at all, but it was connected to the same other neo-Nazi symbol. And then a third one, disturbing to us, is that ‘you deserve AIDS’, was the third one.”
He believes those responsible for the flyers targeted the event. Self says although he was shocked at first, he isn’t entirely surprised that this kind of thing is happening.
“With everything going on down south and with everything, with the intolerance coming out more and more, it doesn’t totally surprise me that it’s happened.”
In his five years of working the event, Self says he hasn’t come across anything like this but knows there have been threats in the past.
“One including someone who was apparently going to threaten a sniper to shoot us, so again I wasn’t there for that but I got that from our director of communications. And then we’ve also had people protest along, saying ‘God’s wrath’ and that sort of thing, we’ve had that in the past.”
Despite finding the disturbing flyers, Self believes the walk was successful and went according to plan.
He does stress, however, that there’s still a need to address the stigma around HIV and AIDS.
“We need to let people know that it’s not alright to discriminate or to fear people living with HIV, that it’s not alright to target us.”
The annual AIDS walk is held to address the stigma attached to HIV and AIDS, and is a way to bring awareness to the issues that surround them.