Tag Archives: HIV/AIDS

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.

pp1
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.
Advertisements

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!

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!

Capture10
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.

Red Ribbons 4 Life!

The Vancouver Infectious Diseases Centre (VIDC) and the Empire of the Peace Arch Monarchist Association (Imperial Sovereign Court of Surrey) together with Lookout Emergency Aid Society (formerly KEYS Housing & Health Solutions) invite you to the 8th Annual Red Ribbons For Life (RR4L).

RR4L PostCard JPEG

This event was founded in 2008 by Martin Rooney as a part of the campaign to remove the US HIV Travel Ban. Proceeds have surpassed $35,000 since its inception and have benefitted two worthy organizations — primarily the Surrey HIV Food Bank (operated by Lookout) and AIDS Tijuana (Traux House), a clinic in Tijuana Mexico operating with funds raised through the International Court System and the Imperial Court de San Diego California.

Red Ribbons 4 Life has now become the largest single, one-night benefit for AIDS in the lower mainland outside the city of Vancouver!

It will definitely be a night to remember with breath-taking performances, an informative keynote address, an AIDS Memorial ceremony, silent and live auctions, and raffle draws — all while raising funds and awareness for the on-going battle with HIV!

IMG_6379
(PC: Emma Briones) Dr. Brian Conway MD FRCPC is following-up on his popular addresses at the last two years’ events this year for RR4L 8!

VIDC’s President and Medical Director, Dr. Brian Conway, will be giving the keynote address at the event.

World renowned Live Female Impersonator, Bobby Drake, is the headline performer for the celebration. A number of amazing local talent — Miz Adrien, Jennifer Geddes, Kiki LaWhore, Robin Loveless, and more — will also be gracing the stage with their performances!

We invite you to join us in making this event successful!

Details of the event are as follows:

Red Ribbons 4 Life 8th Annual Campaign

When: Sunday (November 29) 6-10PM
Where: The Columbia Theatre (530 Columbia St. New Westminster BC)
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Brian Conway MD FRCPC
Tickets: $25CAD*
Tickets can be purchased from the website.
*Early bird rate until November 15, 2015. Regular price would be: $35CAD
**A cash bar and food menu will be available

If you have any questions about the event, or issues concerning ticket purchase, contact: rr4life@shaw.ca

We hope to see you there!

CBC Radio On The Coast interview with Dr. Brian Conway

CBC Radio Screenie
Click on the photo to listen to the broadcast. Stephen Quinn’s interview with Dr. Conway starts on 1:40:20.

Last Thursday (September 10) our President and Medical Director, Dr. Brian Conway, was on the CBC Radio show On The Coast as the Hepatitis C Expert.

The interview was a response to the recently published study from UBC with shocking results concerning Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES) residents.

 

UBC Screeniw
UBC News article on the study.

According to the study, DTES residents are dying at a much higher rate compared to the national average, and not due to HIV/AIDS or substance overdose.

“We were somewhat surprised because most people thinking about the Downtown Eastside think about HIV/AIDS or the possibility of overdosing on opioids like heroin,” said Dr. William Honer, professor and head of UBC’s Department of Psychiatry and co-author of the study. “Our system is not doing as well in getting treatments out there for psychosis and hepatitis C in this group, and it’s interesting that those two illnesses are causing risk for early mortality.

— UBC News

Dr. Conway came on the show to speak on these findings — findings that, as VIDC’s President and Medical Director, does not surprise him. These results, as he mentions on the interview, parallels what we see when on our regular visits to the DTES for our Community Pop-Up Clinics (CPCs). The surprise that came with the results confirm one more important reality: there still isn’t enough awareness about hepatitis C.

According to Dr. Conway, the prevalence of HCV in the DTES community is because of a number of things. However, the main factors are: prevalence of injection-drug use, lack of awareness and education about the cure available for HCV, and the social situation of the residents. Not only is a very vulnerable population not aware of the disease and its cure, most of them have difficulty even accessing basic health care. It also does not help that HCV is asymptomatic (does not show symptoms) until about 20-25 years after infection.

image3
We have Community Pop-Up Clinics at various locations in the DTES to provide point-of-care testing for HIV and HCV.

This is one of main driving forces behind VIDC’s CPCs and the health-care model that we have at VIDC. By heading out into the community, we promote awareness and education while making health care a lot more accessible to the community members. Also, at VIDC, we understand that often treatment for a disease that is asymptomatic is the last thing on their minds. Why would they seek treatment when they are worried about where they can spend the weekend and how they will eat for the next couple of weeks? This is why our patient care takes all these into considerations. Often our nurses, research coordinators, clinic staff, and physicians would help patients with their housing application, or contact shelters and soup kitchens for them — all these on top of getting them started on treatment, applying for treatment fundings, and providing general health care.

To find out more about this, here a couple of very useful links:

Community Spotlight: Bradford McIntyre

This month’s community spotlight sheds light on an issue that’s worth celebrating yet heartbreaking. Bradford McIntyre — more commonly known as Brad to us at VIDC — is a friend of VIDC who has successfully outlived the 6-months-to-live diagnosis he was given in 1984.

Brad was recently featured in an article by the Vancouver Courier entitled “Living longer with HIV.” He was the prime example of how the field of HIV is rapidly changing. Not too long ago, being diagnosed with HIV was considered a death sentence; now, because of the new treatments available, people like Brad are living well into their sixties.

“New research from the Canadian Observational Cohort Collaboration found the average life expectancy for HIV-positive people receiving antiretroviral therapy is now 65. ” Vancouver Courier (19 Aug 2015)

This is great news! This means we are slowly but surely making great progress in our fight against HIV. However, this also spotlights a new issue: an aging HIV-positive population.

“McIntyre has been a longtime advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness and started his website positivelypositive.ca in 2003 to share his story and the latest research. He has a good life and enjoys cooking, gardening and spending time at the beach. But he says aging with the virus comes with its own unique set of challenges. These include health, emotional, financial and social effects. ” Vancouver Courier

Because of the advancements in the field of HIV research, people who were expecting to die at a young age, are now given a new hope — a new hope with a new challenge. That means there is a growing population of more senior individuals living with HIV.

The challenge, however, is not just on the individuals who are now given a shot at a longer (and ideally, a more fruitful) life. Society, at large, is also faced with a new challenge. Because an aging HIV population is a fairly recent phenomenon, our society has yet to catch up with services and infrastructures — and especially  the knowledge — to care for and support this growing population.  Most importantly, the stigma and discrimination that comes with the virus, is ever so present.

Capture2
Brad’s photo on the Vancouver Courier website.

This is the new reality that Brad — along with the rest of society — has to face.  All the more reason for Brad to keep doing what he does!

As mentioned earlier, Brad has a blog called positivelypositive.ca where his primarily goal is to promote HIV/AIDS awareness and education.

“I receive thousands of emails from around the world,” says McIntyre. “Oftentimes there’s an individual that has just found out they’re positive and is thinking the worst. Then they find my website and see that I’ve lived all these years and I’m married and it gives them hope.” – -Vancouver Courier

Brad turned a death-sentence into a mission. His website provides information, resources, and — most importantly — hope. Resources like positivelypositive.ca are constant reminders that although stigma and discrimination that come with HIV is very real, there is hope of dispelling them through education and awareness.

To find out more about the work that Brad is involved with — did you know that he is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for excellence in the field of HIV/AIDS in Canada? — visit his blog: positivelypositive.ca!

It is because of amazing individuals like Brad that we are encouraged to keep doing what we’re doing. People like him remind us that there is hope, and that there are more and more people getting involved with promoting HIV/AIDS awareness, research, education, prevention, etc!

VIDC at the PRIDE FESTIVAL 2015

It’s been a long time coming, but here it is — updates (and of course, PHOTOS) from PRIDE FESTIVAL 2015

As previously mentioned, VIDC is proud to have been part of this year’s PRIDE FESTIVAL. We’ve been in the community for so long, it was only a matter of time before this happened — and now is the time!

IMG_0972
The VIDC Information Booth set-up — with flyers, pamphlets, booklets, wristbands, and a glimpse of what we had for breakfast that day!

PRIDE is a time to celebrate acceptance and to stand up against discrimination — and since HCV and HIV/AIDS do not discriminate, we wanted to be present at the festival to promote awareness about these diseases and the treatments available.

It was a very interesting and informative day for us as we got to see other organizations who support PRIDE, the initiatives they are involved with, and the health programs they have for the community.  It was a great reminder that although HIV and HCV are negatively affecting a lot of people, there are also a lot of people working together to help those affected.

Our research assistants Ghazal and Dr. Sahand Vafadary posing for a photo before the festival opens.
Our research assistants Ghazal and Dr. Sahand Vafadary posing for a photo before the festival opened.

It was also very encouraging how receptive people were to the information. Festival goers were generally very inquisitive, and it was our great pleasure and delight to educate them about the diseases (HIV and HCV) and the treatments available.

One of our research coordinators and nurses, Candice, was handing out Hepatitis C Information Booklets and answering questions about testing and treatment options for Hepatitis C.
One of our research coordinators, Nurse Candice Tan, handing out Hepatitis C Information Booklets and answering questions about testing and treatment options for Hepatitis C with a huge smile!

We focused mainly on providing information on Hepatitis C. Why? Because we feel like the awareness of HCV isn’t as widespread as HIV; also, at PRIDE, there were a number of organizations with information booths spreading awareness for HIV already. We tried to fill in the gap where we saw fit. Hepatitis C is a serious disease, and we want people to know that they should get tested and that treatments are available!

Here is our Communications Assistant, Ivan, and volunteer, Marianne, handing out condoms, booklets, and bookmarks while telling people to “Be safe and get tested!” (The people in the back were on their lunch breaks.)

The VIDC team had different shifts in staffing the booth. We wanted to make sure we got the chance to enjoy the festival while also ensuring that we always had a medical professional to address people’s questions and concerns. We had all three of our nurses, a couple of our research coordinators, assistants, and volunteers present on-site at various times of the day — all ready and equipped to spread the good word that HCV is now curable and people should get tested.

Research Assistant, Riley, and our HCV Nurse, Yashna rocking the VIDC shirts -- not everyone can make them work.
Research Assistant, Riley, and our HCV Nurse, Yashna rocking the VIDC shirts — they’re one of the blessed ones who can make those shirts work!

We clearly had a lot of fun at! And we look forward to being a part of the PRIDE FESTIVAL again next year. Who knows, maybe we’ll have a float for the PARADE too!

Our volunteer, Marianne, embodying our main message for the day: Be safe! Get Tested!
Our volunteer, Marianne, embodying our main message for the day by giving out HCV information AND condoms — Be safe! Get Tested! (Yes, that’s Nurse Shawn Sharma in the background.)

Community Spotlight: Tyler Cuddahy

This month’s community spotlight is a little bit different, it’s not just an introduction about a dear friend of VIDC, it’s also a call to action. Yes, this month’s community spotlight is for YOU to join and take part in the goodwork that our friend is doing!

2015 marks the 30th year for the AIDS WALK FOR LIFE and the spotlight is directed at Tyler Cuddahy. He’s a dear friend of VIDC and we want to get the word out there about the work he’s involved in! He came to our office informing us of his walk, and our President and Medical Director, Dr. Brian Conway, jumped at the chance to support him financially — and to make sure that we spread the word to get more supporters!

On September 20, 2015, Tyler will be walking 6.75KM along the seawall with a bunch of other people with the aim of walking for:

strength, for health, and for LIFE.

BUT

Tyler won’t just be walking, he will be walking in 8-inch heels. Yes, EIGHT! You can do a quick search on Google Images to see what those will look like! (Take it from people who have walked a mile in 2 to 4-inch heels, EIGHT INCHES IS QUITE THE CHALLENGE!!!)

Now, here’s the part where YOU come in.

Tyler won’t just be walking for the sake of looking glamorous in his EIGHT-INCH HEELS; he’s walking to raise funds for the walk. The funds will go to Positive Living BC’s Community Health Fund.

Here are two things YOU can do:

1. Support Tyler’s walk financially! You can take part in his journey (again, in EIGHT-INCH HEELS) by supporting it financially. Click here for his donation page. 

or

2. You can register to walk too! Don’t worry, you can walk in normal shoes if that’s more your style. Click here if you want to register and do the walk too! You can walk alone or in a team.

AIDS WALK
Here’s an excerpt from the AIDS WALK FOR LIFE website. Click on the photo to find out more, or visit walk30.ca

It’s because of people like Tyler who participate in initiatives and events like these that help bring awareness that HIV is still a problem that needs to be addressed. And it will be because of people like YOU that he — and others — can keep doing so.

As a medical and research clinic with a strong commitment to a community-based holistic approach in providing health care, we proudly support individuals like Tyler and his efforts!

GO TYLER!

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:

mdv screenshot 1
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.