World AIDS Day 2018 in Vancouver: BPM film screening, Indigenous harm-reduction discussion

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      Although World AIDS Day is tomorrow (December 1), some events in Vancouver have already taken place with a few more to come.

      Here are two local events related to World AIDS Day, including a screening tonight and a harm-reduction discussion next week.

      Film screening of historical AIDS drama  

      Reel Causes, an organization that holds screenings about social justice issues, is partnering with the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation and the Positive Living Society of British Columbia to present a screening tonight (November 30) of the feature film BPM (Beats Per Minute), or 120 battements par minute, which previously screened at the 2018 Vancouver International Film Festival.

      This French drama depicts the struggles that the Paris chapter of ACT UP, a U.S.–based advocacy group for people with AIDS, faced in the 1990s during the height of the AIDS crisis as they confronted political and corporate apathy and disregard by staging unexpected and even innovative forms of protest, ranging from the radical and confrontational to the theatrical to even celebratory. As many of the members were gay, HIV–positive, or both, the situation for those involved was a matter of survival.

      Although Reel Causes usually features a post-screening discussion, tonight's event will feature a social gathering after the film, which will include complimentary snacks and a cash bar.

      The event begins at 7 p.m. at SFU Woodward's (149 West Hastings Street). Tickets are $5 for members ($10 for a yearlong membership) and full details are available at the Reel Causes website.

      Harm reduction for Indigenous people

      This year, Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week will mark its 20th anniversary with the theme of Health For All: Know Your Status to tackle issues of stigma related to being tested.

      The week, which runs nationally with events across Western Canada from December 1 to 6, launched in Ottawa with a parliamentary breakfast on November 29.

      A Vancouver event entitled HIV Harm Reduction Day will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday (December 6) at the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre (1607 East Hastings Street), with lunch provided.

      This event will address the second phase of the Prison Needle Exchange Program, which will be launched in federal penitentiaries on January 1 with the intention to reach all 43 institutions by August 2020.

      The discussion will cover harm reduction and the opioid crisis as it pertains to Indigenous people leaving federal institutions, including current resources and gaps in programs and services.

      For more information, visit the Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week website.

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