HIV and Workplace Disclosure: Call for Participants in Research Study

Gayle Restall, Associate Professor at the College of Rehabilitation Sciences at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba has contacted PAN to ask for assistance in distributing a request for research participation in a survey about HIV and Workplace Disclosure. The study has been approved by the Health Research Ethics Board at the University of Manitoba.

The goal of the survey is to better understand the ways that peers, advocates, service providers, human resource personnel, organizations and others support people living with HIV to make difficult decisions about whether or not to disclose their health status in the workplace. We are contacting you because you have been identified as someone who has knowledge and experience in this area.

The questionnaire is short and will take approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete. To begin the survey, please click on the link: Supporting Choices: HIV and Disclosure in the Workplace

If the link above does not work, try copying the link below into your web browser:

The survey is confidential. Your participation is voluntary. If you have any questions or comments about the survey, please contact Alexandria Simms, the Study Coordinator, at 204-480-1393 or [email protected]

If you know of anyone else in your networks who would be interested in completing the survey, please forward this information. If you are interested in receiving a summary of the results directly, please contact Alexandria Simms, Study Coordinator at the University of Manitoba (e-mail: [email protected]) to be added to a contact list.

Posted in Community News, Research |

Gay Men’s Health Summit – Call for Submissions

From CBRC for Gay Men’s Health

Romancing the Package: Optimizing Combination Prevention 

November 2nd and 3rd, 2017


This year’s Summit will address the potential gains to be realized by fully optimizing the combination prevention package of behavioural, societal, and biomedical approaches to HIV prevention for gay and bisexual men across Canada, and issues like structural stigma which may be holding us back. Get ready for another amazing event in which we tackle a key gay health problem with an aim to make progress on how we move forward. 

For the last two decades, gay health promoters have been advocating for broader approaches to gay, bisexual, queer and other sexual minority men’s HIV prevention beyond those based on sexual behaviour alone. Research evidence has increasingly shown that sexual stigma negatively influences our HIV infection rates while doing even more insidious harm to our health than HIV itself. 

The arrival of biomedical primary prevention in the form of PEP and PrEP- post and pre-exposure pharmaceutical regimes- may have seemed a medical work-around both behavioural and societal prevention strategies, but actual accessibility to these medications continues to be a formidable constraint on their effectiveness. The cost of prescriptions is just one of many barriers. Structural stigma surrounding gay sexualities seems to be hiding around every corner, in the form of unquestioned policies and practices keeping PEP and PrEP out of reach, and the promise of lower HIV acquisition rates beyond our grasp. 

Combination prevention aims to bring behavioural, societal, and biomedical efforts together in a rights-based, evidence-informed “package” tailored to the broad health needs of specific populations, organized at the community level. Condom distribution is still the base but the whole package involves linking up with health services for rapid testing, early treatment as prevention (TasP), PEP availability, PrEP accessibility, stigma reduction and mental health. 

2017 Keynote Speaker

Dr. Will Nutland, recent DrPH graduate of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, will recount the rise of Prepsters in London, UK, and his own involvement in the story behind the recent drop in gay men’s HIV infections. (Stay tuned for news on other Key Note Speakers.)

Submissions to Summit 2017 are now welcome in the form of oral presentations, panels, workshops, videos, roundtables, and readings. 

Submission deadline is June 30, 2017. Please see CBRC site for full details on Summit conference and making submissions.



Posted in Community News, Conferences/Trainings, News |

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

Wednesday May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. It’s a worldwide day to celebrate diverse genders and sexualities and note the tensions between living proudly and living with the stigma that many LGBTQ people face. Its aim is “to draw the attention of policymakers, opinion leaders, social movements, the public and the media to the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTI people internationally.”

It’s a day to speak, if it’s safe to do so. This lack of safety must be acknowledged, as it isn’t always present. Even in big cities where there may be safety in theory, it’s not a guarantee. Anyone who has been threatened or bashed in Vancouver’s West End can agree with that. PAN member organizations across BC know the stigma of homophobia, bi and transphobia, as well as the added stigma that people living with HIV or HCV face.

Two of PAN’s current community-based research projects are hearing about the impact of stigma in the context of HIV. The BC People Living with HIV Stigma Index Project documents experiences of stigma and discrimination from the perspective of people living with HIV. This three-year project will soon be moving into the knowledge translation phase based on data gathered by peer research associates. I was talking recently with Positive Living, Positive Homes coordinator Heather Picotte, who says stigma came up as a theme in that team’s research work as well.

Two events are scheduled in Vancouver to honour the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (or IDAHOT as it’s being tagged on Twitter); one on May 18 and one on May 19.


Learn more
International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia
The BC People Living with HIV Stigma Index Project
Positive Living, Positive Homes

Questions? Feedback?
 Get in touch!
Janet Madsen, Capacity Building and Knowledge Translation Coordinator,
[email protected]
Posted in Community News, Public Health and Policy, Research |

Vancouver International Candlelight AIDS Memorial

The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial is one of the longest-running HIV awareness events in the world. It recognizes the people who have died, but also the people who have lived proudly to confront stigma and advocate for all people living with HIV.

In The AIDS Candlelight Memorial Still Matters – Here’s Why, Robin Irwin writes about decreased funding to HIV services in contrast to the ongoing political, structural, social and legal barriers many with HIV face.

AIDS Vancouver, McLaren Housing Society, Canadian AIDS Network, Downtown Eastside Consumers Board, and YouthCO invite all in the Vancouver area to attend the Vancouver International AIDS Candlelight Memorial on Sunday May 21st in Alexandra Park in Vancouver’s West End: 1755 Beach Avenue, 8PM- 9PM. 

For more information, contact AIDS Vancouver.

Posted in News |

Upcoming Conference: Supporting Prisoners’ Mental Health

This is a heads up to our member groups who are in the Lower Mainland and any other members who might be in the area June 2. West Coast Prison Justice Society is presenting a conference about mental health in corrections, and especially the impact of solitary confinement on mental health.

The agenda will include discussion on:

  • the harms of solitary confinement
  • trauma and addiction
  • current standards for accommodating and treating prisoners with mental health issues, including personality disorders
  • implementation of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Mandela Rules)

Among the speakers will be Howard Sapers, Dr. Ruth Elwood Martin, Dr. Diane Rothon, and Dr. Mate. I’ve heard three of the four speak (Sapers, Martin and Rothon), and can attest to their passion about healthcare access and social justice within prison systems. Given what I’ve read about Mate’s work on impacts of trauma, I can imagine he too will be a powerful speaker.

Many of PAN’s member organizations work with people who have direct or indirect experience (through a family member) with provincial or federal corrections. People who have been in and out of prison may have had trouble accessing timely or adequate healthcare. Advocates for improving prison health services (Dr. Martin among them) are glad to see that the Provincial Health Services Authority will be taking over healthcare services to BC institutions, starting October 1. Martin is quoted as saying, “It’s in everybody’s best interest that their health and social needs are addressed so that when they leave correctional facilities, they are healthy.”

The conference discussions on ethics, advocacy and prison security concerns should prove to be interesting. This conference offers continuing education credits for physicians and lawyers. There is a sliding scale for registration. The registration deadline is May 15, but I spoke with one of the staff at West Coast Prison Justice Society/Prisoners’ Legal Services and she said people can register after the date provided seats are still available.


Learn more:

Complete event listing
West Coast Prison Justice Society/Prisoners’ Legal Services
Mental Health, Substance Use, HIV and HCV


Questions? Feedback?
 Get in touch!
Janet Madsen, Capacity Building and Knowledge Translation Coordinator,
[email protected]
Posted in Community News, Public Health and Policy |

YouthCO News: Camp Moomba for kids and Statement on Black Lives Matter Vancouver

Can you help YouthCO spread the word about Camp Moomba to youth and families in British Columbia? Youth from 6 – 17 who are living with HIV or who have a close family member living with HIV are welcome to join YouthCO for this free, confidential, week long summer camp on BC’s Sunshine Coast. Campers must be aware of their HIV status and/or the HIV status of their family member to attend. YouthCO, Oak Tree Clinic, and our partners, are available to help support families with disclosure. 

We have been doing a lot of work to indigenize Camp Moomba since this program joined our team officially last fall. This year, we will have Indigenous-led programming and an Elder present throughout camp.

Camper application forms are available now! These forms indicate camper(s) are interested in, and available to, attend summer camp, taking place from July 16 to July 21, agree to our camp community agreements, and are aware of the way HIV impacts their families. Application forms must be received by June 1, 2017. Applications and more information are available on YouthCO’s site


Statement on Black Lives Matter Vancouver

Over the past few months, YouthCO has been discussing how we can show our support for Black Lives Matter Vancouver (BLMV), and what we can do in response to the anti-Black racism that BLMV has drawn attention to within and beyond our LGBTQ+ communities. 

After much discussion, YouthCO has decided that for us, meaningfully supporting Black Lives Matter Vancouver looks like not participating in Vancouver Pride Society 2017 events at this time. 

As an organization that celebrates youth leadership and anti-oppression, we want to express our support for BLMV’s organizing to call attention to the ways Black people, and especially queer and trans Black youth, experience violence and exclusion in our city and LGBTQ+ communities. Read our full statement on youth leadership and Black Lives Matter Vancouver.   

BLMV has described a reality of anti-Blackness, racism, and violence that is experienced by many people on our staff and volunteer team, as well as youth who participate in our programs. For example, in the context of our HIV work, anti-Blackness results in disproportionate rates of HIV among African, Caribbean, and Black communities, and the excessive use of the criminal law in cases of HIV non-disclosure involving Black people. In our broader experience, we notice that many local institutions, including public schools and the police, consistently ignore requests to acknowledge and resolve racism experienced and described by Black youth. Further, police institutions too often over-police and under-protect many people in our communities, including Indigenous people and sex workers. Our decision not to participate in Vancouver Pride Society events in 2017 also reflects the reality that not all of our staff and volunteers will feel respected and safe at Pride if law enforcement is part of the celebrations.

We are proud of our decision to support Black Lives Matter Vancouver’s advocacy, organizing, and leadership focused on addressing anti-Black racism in Vancouver. We look forward to continuing our celebration of our LGBTQ+ people and communities, supporting Black Lives Matter Vancouver, and engaging with youth in our upcoming programs.


Posted in Community News | Tagged