Tag Archives: VIDC Connect

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.

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.

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!

brb_forever alone
Not us, we’re back!


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!

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.)


As promised, here are the photos and updates from when VIDC went out to STRUT our stuff down Sunset Beach last June 6 in support of Foundation of Hope’s (FOH) fundraising efforts for LGBTQ+ Refugees. It was a surreal experience to be part of this momentous event! The energy and the support from everyone who came out was simply overwhelming; although we don’t all fully understand the struggles of being an LGBTQ+ refugee, we all understood the importance of STRUT for them.

Only three of those feet belong to females, VIDC males represent!
Only three of those feet belong to females, VIDC males represent!

We got a good taste of the pain and the struggle of walking (even standing!) in heels! We got a full dose of what STRUT was all about — enduring a bit of pain to get an extremely minuscule glimpse of what LGBTQ+ refugees have to suffer.

That mile was the

L      O      N      G      E      S      T          M      I      L      E

our team has ever walked, especially since it was a first (walking in heels for THAT long) for a lot of us.  The blisters and muscle pain we’re still feeling is a constant reminder of the privilege we have in a world that’s just all kinds of unfair.

VIDC is no stranger to working with marginalized, oppressed, and at-risk individuals, and still STRUT was quite surreal for us. It’s one thing to work closely with someone, it’s another to physically get a (very very small) taste of what they’re going through.


VIDC would very much like to thank Foundation of Hope for organizing this event and for giving us the privilege to be a part of it. We partnered with FOH and attended the event to engage the community and provide financial support to the cause; and yet it seems as though we got so much more than what we gave.

Don’t get the wrong idea though! It was a very meaningful event, but it was also FUN!

Check these photos out for proof!

Colorful doesn't even begin to describe STRUT!
Colorful doesn’t even begin to describe STRUT!
We were told to wear
We were told to wear “whatever we would define as heels” — clearly, we were outdone.
Yes, those are heels too!
… and outwitted. (Yes, those look like the most comfortable pair of “heels” ever!)
Definitely the cutest STRUTer that day!
Definitely the cutest STRUTer that day!
Kárà-Kátà Afrobeat Group got things started with very groovy and contagious music.
Kárà-Kátà Afrobeat Group got things started with very groovy and contagious music.
VIDC Team at our booth BEFORE the walk -- we didn't really know what to expect yet.
VIDC Team at our booth BEFORE the walk — we didn’t really know what to expect yet.

We definitely got more than what we gave, thank you to everyone that came out and supported STRUT!

Click here for more photos — including a video of our HCV Nurse, Shawn, taking his first steps in heels!

You can also read more about STRUT here from The Georgia Straight.

Why We Have A Support Group At Our Clinic

Illness Quote
Huth, Edward J. Medicine in Quotations: Views of Health and Disease through the Ages. 2nd ed. Philadelphia: American College of Physicians, 2006. Print.1

After ignoring Eric Cassell’s lack of gender sensitivity in his language (we’ll let it slide as it was written in the 1970s), his statement actually resonates very well with the VIDC mission. Our holistic approach to healthcare understands this difference and, as such, addresses both the illness and the disease.

Initiatives like our DTES Pop-Up Clinics and VIDC Connect stem from this and seek to engage the community through awareness building and information dissemination. And we don’t stop there! We directly engage with our patients through our Hepatitis C (HCV) Support Group.

Every Friday from 10AM to 12PM we have breakfast, a discussion group, and lunch for patients who deal or have dealt with Hepatitis C (HCV). Our discussions are led by our HCV Nurse, Shawn, who prepares a presentation on anything and everything that’s related to dealing with Hep C — healthy living, coping with the illness, GMOs, new treatments, drug interactions, etc.

Yes, we made it easy to invite people who would benefit from the group -- we have our own business cards!
Yes, we made it easy to invite people who would benefit from the group — we have our own business cards!

It’s a discussion group meant to inform, educate, and provide social support for patients dealing with the illness and disease brought about by the Hep C Virus. Sometimes attendees just sit and listen to Shawn, sometimes they have very lively discussions on how they feel about healthy food options, and other times they have very heartfelt discussions on what it feels like to live with Hep C. Whatever the case is, it’s always a space where people can feel safe, cared for, and listened to.

Following Eric Cassell’s quote, there is a huge difference between the illness and the disease caused by HCV. The medication can only deal with the disease, and that’s why we have the Hep C Support Group to help patients tackle the illness.

As Dr. Brian Conway MD, FRCPC would often remind us,

A person’s well-being is like a four-legged chair and physical health is just one of the legs. If we want to ensure someone is fully healthy, we need to address all four aspects of his/her person — and social health is one of them. [Paraphrased]

VBCC, VBYC & Sarabande Summer Sing!

Last Sunday at the Chan Centre at UBC, Vancouver Bach Children’s Chorus (VBCC), Vancouver Bach Youth Choir (VBYC), and Sarabande presented Summer Sing! Folk Songs Around the World.

VIDC was privileged to have witnessed amazing (and CUTE!) musicians make music; and we’re proud to have been a part of it!


The VBCC, VBYC, Sarabande, and guest musicians all on stage together for the grand finale!
image1 (1)
VIDC information on the Summer Sing! programme.

VIDC is proud to support the arts! As part of our commitment to holistic care, we believe supporting local organizations and their endeavors is a great way to bring the community together.


You read that right — STRUTTING.

Walking a mile in heels isn’t easy, but living in fear of persecution for being LGBTQ is harder. Strut Vancouver is an event put on by the Foundation of Hope to raise funds and awareness for LGBTQ refugees. Creative Director: Lisa Lebedovich Art Director: Craig Fleisch Copywriter: Bryan Loewen
Creative Director: Lisa Lebedovich
Art Director: Craig Fleisch
Copywriter: Bryan Loewen

On June 6th at 12 noon VIDC will be at Sunset Beach STRUTTING as part of Foundation of Hope‘s Fundraising efforts for LGBTQ+ Refugees.

Yes, we will be walking a mile in heels!

That said, you can help us by visiting the VIDC Struts’ Team Page and donating to the cause.

VIDC Facebook Shoutout (STRUT)
STRUT Shout out for VIDC on their Facebook event page. We are so honored to have the opportunity to be a part of STRUT!

We will also be setting up an information booth where we will be giving out flyers and information about our point-of-care testing for HIV/AIDS and HCV. Come say hi!

Photos to follow!


(WE DID IT! Check it out here!)

Welcome to VIDC Connect

VIDC Connect is a community engagement initiative that stems from our mission:

Through innovative models of intervention, VIDC (Vancouver Infectious Diseases Centre) particularly seeks to engage more vulnerable patients in a multi-disciplinary environment of health care. We provide peer-friendly education about disease, state-of-the-art antiviral medications (often available only within research protocols), and comprehensive support during and after treatment within an open, flexible, and community-based holistic approach. Services are provided in English, French & Arabic.


Basically? This is for YOU – for us to be able to connect with you and deliver our community-based holistic approach through a new medium: the internet!

This blog will be filled with anything and everything that we believe will be beneficial to your journey to health and wellness – news about treatments for HIV/AIDS and HCV, announcement about upcoming VIDC events, reviews and summaries of journal articles, tips and tricks on living healthy, and whatever else YOU would want to hear.

Check out our Contact Us page to get in touch with us!

To stay updated and connected, please visit our Subscribe to our mailing list! page and sign up for monthly updates sent directly to your email.