Category Archives: Holistic Approach To Health

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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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)

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

 

 

 

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.

Resources Update: hepc.bull

As part of the goal of VIDC and VIDC Connect to spread awareness and facilitate education, we try to provide and connect you with a number of educational health resources.

These are some newsletters, blogs, or organization websites that provide HCV educational materials, treatment information, news, and other innovations and noteworthy updates in the field of hepatitis C.

Our November Resources Update puts the spotlight on hepc.bull. If you’re looking for resources written, compiled, and distributed by community members directly infected and/or affected by Hepatitis C, then this resource is just what you need.

hepc.bull is the monthly newsletter sent by HepCBC – Hepatitis C Education and Prevention Society.

Organization Description: “HepCBC is a non-profit organization run by and for people infected and affected by hepatitis C. Our mission is to provide education, prevention, and support to those living with HCV.” – hepcbc.ca

Newsletter Description: “It contains the latest research results, government policy changes, activities and campaigns, articles by patients and caregivers, and a list of support groups plus other useful links.” – hepcbc.ca

Distribution: Free email newsletter and regular mail subscription (print)

Latest Version: November (full pdf)

 

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VIDC at Williams Lake write-up in the November 2015 issue of hepc.bull (Click on the photo or this link to see the full newsletter.)

FREE Webinars on HCV

In line with our goal of tackling  HCV through generating public awareness and promoting education, VIDC would like to share this amazing resource with all of you!

The Canadian Network on Hepatitis C (Réseau Canadien sur l’Hépatite C) — or CanHepC for short — is happy to inform you that their webinars for 2015-2016 are open to the public!

Yes, FREE WEBINARS ON HEPATITIS C related topics!

But what is CanHepC?

CanHepC is a collaborative network funded by CIHR (Canadian Institutes of Health Research) and PHAC (Public Health Agency of Canada) to establish a continuous pipeline from discovery to implementation to reduce HCV transmission, cure and improve the quality of life of persons infected with HCV, and to work towards the eradication of HCV infection in Canada.

Our overarching goal is to conduct innovative and interdisciplinary research, build research capacity, and translate evidence for uptake into practice and policy, to improve HCV prevention and health outcomes of Canadians and contribute to the global effort to reduce HCV burden worldwide. (About CanHepC)

The webinars cover a wide range of topics from Hepatitis C (HCV) statistics, patient care, all the way to research writing and patents. The wide selection is meant to cater to health care professionals and academics who are involved in HCV research, treatment, and patient care.

However, for the general public — HCV patients, friends/relatives of people with HCV, interested community groups, and even advocacy groups — there are a number of topics that could be very useful!

Here are some examples:

  • HCV in Aboriginal Communities (November 4)
  • Practical Nursing for HCV Patients (January 27, 2016)
  • Drug Use and Treatment: the Point of View of Real Patients (Feb 3)
  • Research/Patient Partnership (Feb 17)
  • The Federal Role in Hepatitis C (March 9)
  • HCV Prevention in Health Care System (March 23)

Simply head over to the website — here is the link again — and follow the instructions on how to register to attend one of these webinars. It’s that simple!

Better understanding of hepatitis C will help positively impact the fight against it in a lot of significant ways! Education helps dispel stigma, promote better health practices, and eventually affect the eradication of this disease.

If you, personally, won’t have time for the webinars — pass the information on!

VIDC September Multicultural Highlights

Last week VIDC had the opportunity to get involved with two momentous community-focused events by S.U.C.C.E.S.S. and RésoSanté Colombie-Britannique.

Health Fair 2015

SUCCESS HF Banner

On September 20, 2015 VIDC partnered with S.U.C.C.E.S.S. and had a Community Pop-Up Clinic (CPC) set up at their annual health fair. At the fair, we tested over 100 people for hepatitis C. And even provided FibroScan® options for those who tested positive, or who self-report being previously diagnosed with hepatitis B. We provided services in Mandarin, Cantonese, and English to ensure that information is being delivered efficiently.

RésoSanté Directory Launch

ResoSante Logo

On September 22, 2015 RésoSanté launched their directory of health care professionals that can provide services in French. This year was a momentous event for them as their directory now has 1000 health care professionals in BC that cater to the Francophone community — and of course, VIDC is on the list! (If you don’t know, our President and Medical Director, Dr. Brian Conway, is a Francophone!) At the launch, Dr. Brian Conway was invited to speak on the importance of receiving health care in your own language.

The importance of this directory of French-speaking health care professionals cannot be underestimated. The best health care is provided in the best way possible at the time that it is first requested. One component of this excellence is to provide it in the right language. – Dr. Brian Conway

VIDC’s involvement in these events are the first steps we are taking into pursuing our commitment to providing a community-based holistic approach to treatment. Dr. Conway’s statement rings true regardless of what language or culture is in question — health is one of the few fundamental things that one should have access to, and this access should be facilitated through the right medium.

Let’s talk about viruses

One of the biggest debates in modern microbiology revolves around this question: are viruses living organisms? As you might think, this isn’t quite a black and white question. In order for something to be classified as a living organism, it needs to be able to replicate on its own.

Viruses however, are incapable of this – they need a host cell to replicate and ‘live.’ Once inside a cell, a virus can then perform the same functions living cells can – like producing proteins, replicating, and protecting itself form danger.

A viral life cycle contains five different distinct phases: exposure, entry, replication, shedding, and latency.

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Generally, a viral infection occurs when a host (i.e. Human) is exposed to a virus. This can be through a physical breach (a cut in the skin), direct inoculation (unsafe needle injections) or direct infection of the surface (inhaling the virus into the lungs). Only after a virus enters the host, can it gain access to certain cells to infect.

Once a host has been exposed, the virus needs to enter the host’s cells; and when inside the cell, the virus hijacks the cell’s machinery to replicate. To get inside the cell, proteins on the viral surface connect with proteins on the cell surface which results in the creation of a pore. Using this pore, viruses enter the cell and begin making copies of itself.

Next, the virus takes control of the cell’s replication machinery and quickly begins making millions of copies of itself.

Once a virus has made enough copies and used up all of the resources inside a cell, shedding occurs. The cell is no longer useful for the virus, and so the cell dies and all the new viruses are released to now infect new cells.

Some special viruses, like HIV, have a latency period. During this time, the virus hides inside the cell and does not replicate in order to evade the host’s immune system. The virus waits, until the time is right to begin replication and start the infection.

As you can see, this question is a difficult one to answer. When you look at the viral life cycle, arguments can be made for both sides; but ultimately, regardless of whether viruses are classified as living or not, efforts should be placed on developing vaccines and treatments.

yourlanguage.hepcinfo.ca

One of the main barriers to ridding the world of hepatitis C is the lack of awareness and education. And one of the main barriers to widespread awareness, is language diversity.

This is where this resource comes in. yourlanguage.hepcinfo.ca is a resource page with different language options. The goal is to provide the same information in various languages.

The resource page is created and maintained by CATIE, Canada’s source for HIV and hepatitis C information. Following their commitment to providing HIV and HCV information to Canadians, CATIE recognizes the needs of a multicultural nation such as Canada.

The website has a very simple and easy to understand design. The language options are displayed on a banner at the very top of the page and a hyperlinked table of contents can be found on the left side for ease of access. Basically, as long as you can get to the website,  there is almost no reason for you to not get the information you need — if the language you speak is listed!

Currently, the website offers information in 12 languages — Arabic, Chinese (simplified), French, Spanish, English, Filipino (Tagalog), Bengali, Tamil, Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, and Vietnamese.

This is a great resource for interested individuals, health care providers, and even educators. If you know anyone who needs to understand hepatitis C but has very limited knowledge of English, this might be the resource you’ve been waiting for.

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yourlanguage.hepcinfo.ca displaying “What is Hepatitis C?” in Chinese (simplified).

VIDC on MyDavieVillage.com

We are proud to announce that the Vancouver Infectious Diseases Centre (VIDC) is now affiliated with the MyDavieVillage.com online directory.

MyDavieVillage.com is website that seeks to

provide a resource base for Vancouver’s gay community and GLBT visitors to Vancouver …  a virtual Davie Village to complement our traditional West End “gaybourhood” and make it easier for all of Vancouver’s GLBT gay community to be engaged with our community.

As a medical and research clinic that emphasizes the need for a community-based holistic approach in providing care, we strongly support initiatives like MyDavieVillage that endeavors to bring the community together.

This is especially significant as the GLBT Community that MyDavieVillage.com seeks to bring together, is one of the communities at a higher risk for HCV and HIV. Being visibly accessible to the community through this directory means VIDC can reach a wider audience in raising awareness and providing care.

Here are some screenshots from their website:

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Medical Resources landing page
mdv VIDC online write-up
Short blurb about VIDC on the desktop version of the website.

The website is also mobile friendly, making it easy to access the resources while on the go.

MyDavieVillage.com mobile website screenshot
MyDavieVillage.com mobile website screenshot
Medical Resources landing page (with VIDC blurb) on the mobile-friendly webpage.
Medical Resources landing page (with VIDC blurb) on the mobile-friendly webpage.