Kisses 4 CANFAR Makes February More Than Lip Service To Valentine's Day

By Karen Bliss 1/31/14 |

Some University of Toronto students get in the spirit of Kisses 4 CANFAR.
Valentine’s Day might be approaching on Feb. 14, but the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR) is making the first half of February all about red lips and kisses. The AIDS campaign, appropriately called Kisses 4 CANFAR, is now in its second year and runs Feb. 1 to 15.

So what to do? Canadians are encouraged to wear red lips — red lipstick, kiss pins, kiss tattoos— to show support and solidarity for this national awareness and education campaign that raises funds for HIV and AIDS research. The main part of the campaign is online,, and anyone can participate. There’s also a school component where CANFAR provides educational resources to students as a way to help fill a gap in formal sexual education.

“There is still no cure for AIDS, but sadly many people think there is,” Kelsey Williams, CANFAR’s awareness and prevention programs officer, tells Samaritanmag. “With Kisses 4 CANFAR, we aim to spread awareness about the global AIDS response and the need for re-engagement in this fight.

“Many people believe HIV is a thing of the past, or that it’s not something that will happen to them, but becoming HIV does not discriminate. We want to encourage people to make smart, healthy sexual decisions, and ultimately stop the spread the new infections. “

Supporters can create profiles online, either as teams or individuals, and fundraise through them. They can also make straight, one-time donations

CANFAR will also be running a “Smooch Selfie” contest: encouraging people to post pictures of their “smooches” on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and include #smoochselfie and #Kisses4CANFAR. For every photo they post, their chance of winning increases.

“We are extremely excited about the positive response we’ve been receiving. The campaign is only in its second year and we’re already blown away by the number of new participants,” says Williams.

“Last year, we were able to raise enough money to fund an entire research grant for CANFAR; this year, we want to at least match that, but ideally grow the program so that we can raise enough for multiple grants.”

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