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A slight change in focus, has meant a name change for a local organization.

Executive Director Debby Warren says AIDS Moncton was incorporated 29 years ago.

“We used to be very specific about our mission to address and support people who were affected by HIV.  Now we have moved from the HIV to talk about our mission is about alleviating complex social challenges.”

They will now be known as ENSEMBLE, which means together.

Warren says, “It is a name that is bilingual and we don’t even have to translate it.  It allows us to move forward and people feel inclusive, but it is not a stigmatizing name.  We looked at trying to find a name that would be inclusive of the populations, regardless of who they might be at the time.   Today, they include people who use drugs, people who have Hepatitis C, who are at risk of HIV.”

In 2014, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and partners launched the 90–90–90 targets; the aim was to diagnose 90% of all HIV-positive persons, provide antiretroviral therapy (ART) for 90% of those diagnosed, and achieve viral suppression for 90% of those treated by 2020. This will be the focus of ENSEMBLE’s work, in partnership with its sister organizations AIDS New Brunswick and Avenue B [formerly AIDS Saint John].

ENSEMBLE will work towards the 90-90-90 target through education and prevention initiatives.

ENSEMBLE continues to push for awareness.  There is no cure for HIV, but it is now considered to be a chronic condition, and there are treatments available.

About 75,000 people in Canada have HIV, and one in five HIV-positive Canadians are not aware of their status, which makes the possibility of transmitting the virus to others much more likely. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, there were 2,344 new HIV infections in Canada in 2016, an 11.6% increase from 2015.