Research Participation Opportunity! Positive Plus One

Positive Plus One: A research study of relationships where one partner is HIV-positive and the other is HIV-negative

As HIV rates have stabilized, HIV-positive individuals are living longer lives. More and more people today are in relationships where only one of the two people has HIV (an HIV-serodiscordant relationship). While there has been research on living with HIV, far less is known about the issues faced by HIV-serodiscordant couples. Researchers from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, in collaboration with physicians and AIDS Service organizations from across the country, are therefore undertaking a national study of people in serodiscordant relationships.
This study, named Positive Plus One, is unique, because we want to hear from both the HIV-positive and HIV-negative partner in a serodiscordant relationship. Each partner will complete the survey on their own, and not in the presence of each other. However, if only one of the two partners wants to participate, they can also be involved. If a person has recently (in the last 2 years) been in a serodiscordant relationship, they can also participate, but we will not ask them to invite their partner.

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Positive Plus One is a mixed-methods study, meaning it includes both a survey, and an in-depth interview. Anyone who takes the survey can also volunteer for the interview. From the survey, we will obtain a broad understanding of serodiscordant couples’ relationships, as well as the characteristics of serodiscordant couples across Canada. From the interview, we will learn about how these relationships unfolded over time, and provide people with the opportunity to share their experience of living in a serodiscordant relationship.

Participants will receive a $20 gift card for participation in the survey, and an additional $40 gift card if they are selected for the qualitative interview.

 

In order to participate, you must meet the following five (5) criteria:

1) They are currently in a relationship where one partner is HIV-positive and the other is HIV-negative and the relationship has lasted 3 months or longer, OR they were in one in the past 2 years,
2) They live in Canada, and lived in Canada during at least part of the relationship,
3) They are at least 18 years old,
4) They speak either English or French,
5) If they are HIV-positive, they have disclosed their status to their HIV-negative partner.

To learn more, and to take the survey, visit our website at www.PositivePlusOne.ca, or call us at 1-888-740-1166.
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VIDC Connect is back!

Due to a lot of different things that we do not have time to discuss, VIDC Connect has gone on a semi-hiatus over the past three (3) months . BUT that doesn’t matter now, cause we’re back now!

We wanted to post this at the beginning of April, but it might be taken as an April Fool’s joke. So we waited.

VIDC Connect is back to provide you with all the content we provided in 2015 — community spotlights, news and information on HCV and/or HIV treatments, community updates. etc.!

Again, if you have any suggestions about things you want to see here, use our Contact Us page and let us know!

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Not us, we’re back!

2015 in review

VIDC Connect started in June 2015, in six (6) months, we’ve been viewed 2100 times — that’s 2100 views that added to helping spread awareness and education regarding HIV, HCV, among other things!

2016 is just around the corner!

HAPPY NEW YEAR from VIDC Connect! See you in 2016!

Here’s a little something detailing our progress in 2015:

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,100 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 35 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Community Spotlight: Veronica Masters

For our last Community Spotlight of the year, we want to highlight the courage of Veronica Masters.

Shawn Sharma and Veronica Masters discuss her case. (Chris Corday/CBC)
Shawn Sharma and Veronica Masters discuss her case. (Chris Corday/CBC)

Veronica bravely accepted the interview request from CBC to talk about something she — and a number of other HCV-infected individuals — are facing as one of the main barriers to treatment: the cost of treatment. However, they are not only battling the cost of the treatment, they are struggling against access to the treatment:

The cost of a revolutionary medical treatment for hepatitis C is so high that only those with moderate liver disease will have the medicine provided under provincial pharmacare programs. (Carolyn Dunn, CBC News)

In the interview, Veronica details her struggles with the illness, and how she feels about not being “sick-enough” to qualify for funding for treatment.

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Shawn Sharma, general manager of the Vancouver Infectious Diseases Centre, examines Veronica Masters, who has hepatitis C. (Chris Corday/CBC)

Our HCV Nurse and General Manager, Shawn Sharma, was also in the interview and spoke on the struggle from the health care provider’s perspective:

“You have to see the patients through the months and they’re just always actively questioning you, ‘Why are you not wanting to treat me?'” Sharma says. “That in and of itself is difficult to kind of go home with every day as a health-care professional.”  (CBC News)

The goal of VIDC’s involvement in the interview was to support Veronica is bringing attention to the struggle that a number of HCV-positive individuals face.

Follow this link to read more about Veronica’s story as reported by Carolyn Dunn from CBC; and this like for the report from Uncover Michigan by Amy McClellan on Veronica’s interview.

We will continue to support Veronica in whatever way we can and do all we are capable of to help her access the treatment she needs.

We at VIDC salute you, Veronica, for speaking out and bringing attention to this plight that HCV-infected individuals face.

NALOXONE at VIDC

The Vancouver Infectious Diseases Centre (VIDC) is now providing Take Home Naloxone Training for individuals using prescribed or diverted opioids. The training educates participants about basic overdose prevention, in addition to how to identify and respond to an opioid overdose, and administer naloxone when appropriate.

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One of our staff, Riley Flannagan, providing NALOXONE Take Home Training at our HCV Treatment Support Group.

What is Naloxone?

image2Naloxone, also commonly known as Narcan, is an antidote to an opioid overdose. An overdose of opioid drugs such as morphine, heroin, methadone, OxyContin can cause a person’s breathing to slow or stop. Naloxone is an injectable medication that can reverse this so the person can breathe normally and regain consciousness. Naloxone does not work for overdoses such as cocaine, ecstasy, GHB, or alcohol. However, if an overdose involves multiple substances including opioids, naloxone will help by temporarily taking the opioid out the equation.

Who is eligible to receive a Take Home Naloxone Kit?

An individual who has received the training, has a history of illicit opioid use, and a written prescription from a physician is eligible to receive a Take Home Naloxone Kit at no cost. Individuals who don’t use opioids, but know someone who does (eg. Support workers, peers of people who use opioids, family members) are not eligible to receive a kit. They are encouraged to attend the training to learn how to administer naloxone in an emergency situation and how to respond if naloxone isn’t readily available. Morbidity and mortality related to any kind of overdose is significantly reduced when the community has an increased awareness of how to mitigate risks, recognize, and respond appropriately in a timely manner.

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Our HCV Nurse, Shawn Sharma, participating in the practice exercise — how to administer injection.

We will be holding more training sessions in 2016, please stay tuned to hear about them. Or you can also subscribe to our e-newsletter to hear about it.

(Post by Riley Flannagan)

World AIDS Day 2015

For World AIDS Day 2015, we at VIDC quietly remembered our friends who have lost their lives to AIDS and those who are winning their battle with HIV.  The whole day was quiet, a little solemn, but also mostly hopeful — our battle with HIV has come a long way in the past couple of decades.

We also joined our friend, Bradford McIntyre in reliving his interview at The Dini Petty Show. Bradford sent us a link to his blog where he featured the footage of his interview and reflected on the experience and how far he’s come since the interview for World AIDS Day 1994.

November 30, 1994: Bradford McIntrye comes out on World Aids Day 1994 and begins a journey as an HIV/AIDS warrior. He had been given 6 months to live. (Dini Petty YouTube Channel)
November 30, 1994: Bradford McIntrye comes out on World Aids Day 1994 and begins a journey as an HIV/AIDS warrior. He had been given 6 months to live. (Dini Petty YouTube Channel)

Click on the photo to watch the full interview (or follow this link).

We also took to Snapchat and joined their World AIDS Day Campaign in cooperation with (RED).  For every photo snapped with the (RED) filter, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will donate $3 to (RED), up to $3 MILLION.

Yes, the filter was upside down. No, there's nothing significant about it.
Our research staff ( from left to right: Anita, May, Riley, Hannah, and Carmen) represented VIDC and took a snap! Yes, the Jared Leto (RED)filter was upside down. No, there’s nothing significant about it.

The (RED) Revolution is one of the many ways YOU can help. Read more about (RED) by going to red.org and find out how you can help!

Once a year we commemorate World AIDS Day, as the fight against HIV continues. Let’s keep doing what we can to help!

Resources Update: Hepatitis C Resource Center Blog (AJM)

Our December Resources Update brings you Hepatitis C Resource Center Blog by the American Journal of Medicine.

If you’re looking to brush up on your hepatitis C knowledge and be updated on progress made in the medical research around the virus, then this resource is for you.

The American Journal of Medicine (AJM) Description: “The “Green Journal” publishes original clinical research of interest to physicians in internal medicine, both in academia and community-based practice. The American Journal of Medicine thyroid.amjmed.webedcafe.comis the official journal of the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine, a prestigious group comprised of chairs of departments of internal medicine at more than 125 medical schools across the country. Each issue carries useful reviews as well as seminal articles of immediate interest to the practicing physician, including peer-reviewed, original scientific studies that have direct clinical significance, and position papers on health care issues, medical education, and public policy. The journal’s ISI factor – the international measure of cited manuscripts and scientific impact – is fourteenth in the world among all general medical journals.  The Editor-in-Chief is Joseph Alpert, MD. ” –  About Our Hepatitis C Blog

Hepatitis C Blog Description: “The goal of this global hepatitis C blog is to encourage communication and break down communication barriers so clinicians and their supportive care teams can effectively confront the challenges associated with screening, diagnosing, treating, and managing increasing numbers of individuals with hepatitis C. This blog is supported by Elsevier Multimedia Publishing and the American Journal of Medicine (AJM), and serves as a companion to their comprehensive, online, global educational initiative, the AJM Hepatitis C Resource Center (hepcresource.amjmed.com).” –  About Our Hepatitis C Blog

Capture2AJM Hepatitis C Resource Center Description: “The AJM Hepatitis C Resource Center provides both primary care providers and specialists with continually updated treatment guidelines, and an up-to-date repository of informative, freely-available, full-text articles to encourage effective HCV screening and diagnosis, and to highlight the promise of novel treatment regimens.”  –  About Our Hepatitis C Blog

 

 

 

Community Spotlight: Bradford McIntyre

This month’s Community Spotlight is again on Bradford McIntyre.

We want to join him in celebrating the life he was told should have ended within 6 months from November 28 — THIRTY YEARS AGO!

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Taken from his blog: positivelypositive.ca

Brad, as you might remember from our September Community Spotlight, is a dear friend of VIDC. A number of our photos (for example, the ones from STRUT 2015 and RR4L 8, to name a few) were taken by him — if there is anything significant happening in the HIV community that we are a part of, we can bet that Brad is already there! Brad’s commitment to the work that he does for the HIV Positive community rivals even our own, and this post sheds some light on what motivates this passion.

This month’s spotlight is a bit different. Not only is it shone on someone we’ve already featured before, but it is also one where we will let the the person speak for himself.

There is no way anything written on VIDC Connect could be as impactful as reading his words for yourself.

As such, follow this link to Brad’s blog to read his reflections on the anniversary of being told he had six months to live (Nov 28, 1985).

Brad, thank you for being such an inspiration to us!

His story was also featured in Vacouveritesfollow this link to read about it. And again on the livingapozlife blog — click here to read it.

VIDC November Highlights

Here’s a quick snapshot of some important updates from VIDC.

UBC iCON South Asian CPC

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On November 28, 2015 the VIDC team held its third special CPC. VIDC Community Pop-Up Clinics are are constantly evolving to accommodating different communities that would benefit from point-of-care testing for either HIV, HCV, or both. This year we have done a CPC at the World Hepatitis Day Vancouver Event 2015 for attendees, one for the Chinese community at the S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Health Fair 2015, and now a one for the South Asian Community.  Just like the first two events, VIDC provided point-of-care HCV Testing, FibroScan® Testing, and a specialist consult for those who test positive

AMBER Study

As a medical and research clinic, VIDC is involved with a number of clinical trials — specifically trials in HIV and HCV. One of which is AMBER, an AbbVie clinical study focused on treating chronic hepatitis C infection for genotype 1. Consequently, the VIDC team — led by Dr. Brian Conway — successfully enrolled the very first patient for the study.

AMBER Study November Newsletter
AMBER Study November Newsletter

Clinical studies like these are a very integral part of the cascade of care we provide at VIDC. These studies allow us to further engage patients in care, and provide them access (when applicable) to treatment options that are only available through clinical studies.

Red Ribbons for Life (RR4L)

Red Ribbons for Life 8 last November 29 was a huge success! Community organizations and its supporters, local politicians, pharmaceutical company representatives, and amazing performers came together to help raise money and awareness for HIV.

And of course, VIDC was there to support the cause — and to listen to our President and Medical Director, Dr. Brian Conway, give the keynote speech for the evening.

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Dr. Conway with fellow Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for Excellence in the Field of HIV/AIDS in Canada Honoree, Bradford McIntyre, at RR4L 8. [PC Brad McIntyre]

It was a lovely evening filled with music, laughter, and show-stopping performances shared with friends and family all present to support the fundraising efforts of RR4L.

 

bc211

One of the main issues with health care revolves around access — regardless of how state-of-the-art your services are, if the target population cannot access it, it is essentially useless. This is one of the reasons VIDC Connect exists, to help in engaging individuals by updating them on who we are and what we do. There is, however, an organization that’s taking this a step further: bc211.

According to their website:

bc211 is a Vancouver-based nonprofit organization that specializes in providing information and referral regarding community, government and social services in BC. Our help line services include 211, the Alcohol and Drug Information and Referral Service (ADIRS), the Problem Gambling Help Line, VictimLink BC, and the Youth Against Violence Line. (www.bc211.ca/about/)

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Basically, bc211 bridges the gap between service providers and individuals who need the services. Their main helpline, 2-1-1, is both a telephone and a texting service!

211 is a confidential, multilingual telephone and texting service available in Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Squamish-Lillooet and Sunshine Coast Regional Districts. 211 provides free information and referral to a full range of community, social, and government services, and operates twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. (WWW.BC211.CA/HELP-LINES/)

They also have a Twitter account that further facilitates the ease of connecting with them.

@bc211Help
@bc211Help on Twitter

And here’s our — Vancouver Infectious Diseases Centre’s (VIDC’s) — listing on bc211.

 

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Click the photo or this link to see the listing.

Please help us spread this amazing resource as widely as possible. You, your friend, relative, coworker, classmate, professor, mentor, etc. might need it or know someone who does. Being able to access the appropriate services at the appropriate time could drastically alter an individual’s life.