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2014

Sept. 21, 2014 – Over 500 participants enjoyed this unusually sunny Sunday while raising money for people with HIV in British Columbia as part of the Scotiabank AIDS WALK for LIFE. In total $187,175 was raised.

Now in its 29th year the WALK for LIFE is the largest fundraiser of the year for Positive Living BC’s Complementary Health Fund (CHF). The fund supports people living with HIV in BC by providing access to products like vitamins, supplements, bottled water and over-the-counter medications and health care services that aren’t covered by other plans.

Although HIV is now a condition that can be controlled by medication, the need is still great. There are approximately 12,000 to 15,000 HIV-positive people living in British Columbia, and many depend on services like the CHF to maintain their health.

Positive Living BC thanks the walkers, volunteers, donors and sponsors who supported the 2014 Scotiabank AIDS WALK for LIFE.

The Positive Living Society of British Columbia exists to enable persons living with AIDS and HIV disease to empower themselves through mutual support and collective action. From our personal struggles and challenges come our courage and strength.

Media Contact: Adam Reibin, Director of Communications and Education, t. 604.893.2209; c. 604.612.0222; adamr@positivelivingbc.org

Gold medalist Hayley Pipher is raising money to support health initiatives

Feb. 13, 2014

Vancouver – Swimmer Hayley Pipher, 21, will be supporting the health of Positive Living BC members with a 10-kilometre swim next week.

On Tuesday, Feb. 18, the former competitive swimmer and fourth-year University of British Columbia student will be challenging herself to raise money for our Health Promotion Department.

Pipher, who won Gold for Canada at the North American Challenge Cup in 2011, first heard about Positive Living BC when she took part in our annual AIDS Walk for Life. She became passionate about helping Positive Living because of her interest in Health Promotion and her awareness of the stigma and discrimination that can affect the lives of people living with HIV. “Often we talk about HIV and AIDS but we’re referring to developing countries,” says Pipher. “But, I think that exacerbates the stereotypes. I think it’s important to raise awareness of the issue here in Vancouver.”

The money Pipher raises will go directly to providing health services to people living with HIV in British Columbia, including educational forums, complementary therapies, and treatment and outreach programs. Donations are being accepted at http://www.eventbrite.ca/e/swimming-fundraiser-tickets-10442769605.

Pipher no longer swims competitively, but the sport has always been a part of her life, and she’s looking forward to the challenge. She encourages other young people to follow their dreams. “If you’re passionate about something, just go for it.”

Pipher will be swimming between 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at the University of British Columbia Aquatic Centre. The best time for media to arrive is 1:15 pm.

Contact:
Hayley Pipher: 778.846.9260, hayley.pipher@hotmail.com

Adam Reibin, Director of Communications, Positive Living BC: 604.893.2209, adamr@positivelivingbc.org

The Positive Living Society of British Columbia exists to enable persons living with AIDS and HIV disease to empower themselves through mutual support and collective action. From our personal struggles and challenges come our courage and strength.

Published Date: 1 February 2014

2013

December 13, 2013

Vancouver, BC: Positive Living BC today announced that its Peer Navigation Services program at St. Paul’s Hospital’s John Ruedy Immunodeficiency Clinic (IDC) was awarded Leading Practice status by Accreditation Canada. This is the first and only HIV peer-to-peer program in Canada to receive such recognition for its work in a clinical setting.

Peer Navigation Services connects professionally trained HIV-positive Peer Navigators to people newly diagnosed with HIV and those who may have been living with HIV for a long time but who are currently not accessing healthcare. Peer Navigators use their lived experience with HIV to help others improve their ability to manage their own health and care. The program was launched in partnership with the IDC and the STOP HIV/AIDS  initiative in 2011.

Accreditation Canada is a not-for-profit, independent organization that provides national and international health care organizations with an external peer review process to assess and improve patient services based on standards of excellence. Leading Practices are noteworthy examples of high-quality leadership and service delivery. A Leading Practice must be:

1) Linked to Accreditation Canada standards
2) Innovative and creative
3) Client- or family-centred
4) Evaluated
5) Able to demonstrate intended results
6) Sustainable
7) Adaptable by other organizations

“Peer empowerment is a cornerstone of the HIV movement,” says John Bishop, Chair of Positive Living BC. “At the beginning of the epidemic, when even the medical community knew little about the disease, people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) turned to each other for support, guidance and care. Much about the disease and its treatment has changed since then. Yet the benefits of peer-to-peer interaction and knowledge transfer remain. For Accreditation Canada to recognize Peer Navigation Services as a Leading Practice in HIV health care represents a meaningful step forward for BC’s HIV-positive community.”

– 30 –

Contact:
Adam Reibin
Director of Communications
Positive Living Society of BC
604.612.0222

The Positive Living Society of British Columbia exists to enable persons living with AIDS and HIV disease to empower themselves through mutual support and collective action.

Service helps providers reach people living with HIV

Oct. 8, 2013 – The new Care Registry by Positive Living BC offers service providers an easy way to connect directly with people living with HIV.

Designed for doctors, dentists, nutritionists, counsellors, alternative health care providers experienced in HIV Care, the registry is intuitive, easy to use, and easy to update.

Positive Living BC has long offered a Physician Care Registry to our members, but through their feedback we learned they were looking for more services. People are living long lives with HIV and are focusing on quality of life and healthy living.

Providers will find the registry useful whether they are an existing service already catering to people with HIV, a new service relocating to BC, or a service provider wanting to connect with this specific population.  Although our listings are extensive, we are willing to create new categories if the need exists.

If you are a service provider experienced in working with HIV-positive individuals we welcome your participation. It takes just five minutes to fill out the online form, and the listing will be available to our members and anyone else who is interested in using the registry to find a service. Although the service is intended for people living with HIV, the registry is also designed for identifying referrals for your clients. Once created, the listing can also be updated in real time.

View it, try it and use it at careregistry.ca.

For information about listing a service contact: Chuck Osborne, Health Promotion Department, chucko@positivelivingbc.org.

For media inquiries, contact: Adam Reibin, Director of Communications and Education, adamr@positivelivingbc.org.

– 30 –

Published Date:

1 October 2013

Sept. 22, 2013 – Over 500 walkers braved the rain on Sunday to raise money for people with HIV in British Columbia as part of the Scotiabank AIDS WALK for LIFE.

In total $205,650 was raised.

Now in its 28th year the WALK for LIFE is the largest fundraiser of the year for Positive Living BC’s Complementary Health Fund (CHF). The fund supports people living with HIV in BC by providing access to products like vitamins, supplements, bottled water and over-the-counter medications and health care services that aren’t covered by other plans.

Although HIV is now a condition that can be controlled by medication, the need is still great. There are approximately 12,000 to 15,000 HIV-positive people living in British Columbia, and many depend on services like the CHF to maintain their health.

Positive Living BC thanks the walkers, volunteers, donors and sponsors who supported the 2013 Scotiabank AIDS WALK for LIFE.

The Positive Living Society of British Columbia exists to enable persons living with AIDS and HIV disease to empower themselves through mutual support and collective action. From our personal struggles and challenges come our courage and strength.

Media Contact: Adam Reibin, Director of Communications and Education, t. 604.893.2209; c. 604.612.0222; adamr@positivelivingbc.org

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Published Date: 

1 September 2013

SEPT. 19, 2013 – Hundreds of walkers will be joining the 28th annual Scotiabank AIDS WALK for LIFE this Sunday to show their support for people living with HIV.

The event kicks off at 10 a.m. at our main stage at Sunset Beach where hosts Jonny Staub, co-host of the Jonny, Holly and Nira morning show on Beat 94.5 FM, and Symone, one of Vancouver’s premier gender illusionists, will welcome walkers.

The theme this year is “All About the Shoes.” Participants have been invited to wear their most colourful, fabulous or unforgettable shoes to take part in our first-ever AIDS WALK Shoe Fashion Show. The Fashion Show kicks off at 10:40 a.m. with celebrity judges:

Fiona Forbes: Host of the award-winning entertainment talk show The Rush on Shaw TV.
Kaitlyn Herbst: Traffic reporter for the Global BC Morning News Team and a weather reporter for BC1.
Conni Smudge: A local drag performer who has performed everywhere from the biker bars of Nanaimo to the grand theatres of Europe.

At 11 a.m. the opening ceremonies begin, including the official Positive Living BC Day proclamation from the City of Vancouver and blessing by Leonard George, leader and former elected Chief of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.

The WALK starts at 11:30 a.m. and closes at 1 p.m. After the WALK there will be prizes for students, individuals and teams. Follow the WALK on Twitter: #AIDSWALKVan. Funds raised from the Scotiabank AIDS WALK for LIFE support Positive Living BC’s Complementary Health Fund.

The Positive Living Society of British Columbia exists to enable persons living with AIDS and HIV disease to empower themselves through mutual support and collective action. From our personal struggles and challenges come our courage and strength.

Media Contact: Adam Reibin, Director of Communications and Education, adamr@positivelivingbc.org, 604-893-2209

SEPT. 16, 2013 – Becoming a Diamond level fundraiser is a no-nonsense business for Anabelle Liao, a Grade 11 Crofton House student.

Anabelle raised $500 within days of registering and has already exceeded her goal of $1,000 for the Scotiabank AIDS WALK for LIFE with less than a week to go.

“It’s a lot like business,” says Anabelle. “You are trying to convince consumers that what you’re selling is trustworthy. You are trying to get people to support your business.”

In addition to knowing her product, Anabelle also knows her customer. She understands that her businessman neighbour doesn’t have a lot of time.

“You have to be polite, be sincere, and try to grab their attention on why they should support you,” when approaching a busy adult, she says.

On the other hand, her schoolmates don’t have a lot of money.

“Other times, I try and convince friends that any amount – $5, $10 – is greatly appreciated and will go directly to a great cause,” she says.

Whatever the strategy, the funds raised by dedicated walkers like Anabelle go to helping people living with HIV lead healthy lives.

“I support the organization’s beliefs that everyone should have the choice to live with respect and dignity, and wanted to get involved to fundraise and contribute in any way I can,” she says.

Every year hundreds of walkers sign up to show their support for people living with HIV through the Scotiabank AIDS WALK for LIFE. The funds raised support Positive Living BC’s Complementary Health Fund. The WALK takes place this Sunday, Sept. 22 at 10 a.m. beginning at Sunset Beach. For more information, visit aidswalkvancouver.ca.

Media Contact: Adam Reibin, Director of Communications and Education, 604-893-22209, adamr@positivelivingbc.org.

SEPT. 11, 2013 – Positive Living BC’s members count on the annual Scotiabank AIDS WALK for LIFE to help them lead healthy lives with HIV.

Although antiretroviral (ARV) medications are covered provincially through the Drug Treatment Program of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, HIV-positive people depend on vitamins, supplements, alternative health care and other products and services to deal with side effects and boost their immune systems. The AIDS WALK is the largest fundraiser of the year for Positive Living BC’s Complementary Health Fund (CHF), which reimburses users up to $35 per month.

Member Denis Hachey says the CHF helps him deal with stomach problems caused by medication, and allows him to consider taking other recommended supplements.

“It’s really beneficial to have that option,” he says. “It makes you feel a lot better about taking care of yourself.”

Richard Partridge, another user of the service, says he takes a potassium supplement to stay out of the hospital. In the past he’s had kidney stones, which required an operation. This one supplement alone costs $70 per month and isn’t covered by other plans. In total he spends $200 a month on complementary health care.

“Sure, the antiretrovirals are keeping us alive, but there are a lot of other meds that can add to the quality of our lives that are not covered,” he says.

The medical community has made great strides in helping to control HIV, which means people are living longer, but the need is still great.

“It’s not a life sentence now; it’s a chronic condition,” Partridge says. “We’re living longer now, and we want to live healthy. Your support can help people in need.”

The 2013 AIDS WALK for LIFE takes place on Sunday, Sept. 22, starting at Sunset Beach at 10 a.m. The theme this year is “All About the Shoes.” Participants will be encouraged to wear their wildest, craziest or most colourful shoes to the walk and there will be a fashion show judged by Fiona Forbes, Shaw TV; Kaitlyn Herbst, Global BC traffic reporter; and Connie Smudge, local drag performer. For more information, visit aidswalkvancouver.ca.

The Positive Living Society of British Columbia exists to enable persons living with AIDS and HIV disease to empower themselves through mutual support and collective action. From our personal struggles and challenges come our courage and strength.

Media Contact: Adam Reibin, Director of Communications and Education, 604-893-2209, adamr@positivelivingbc.org.

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Sept. 6, 2013: Positive Living BC’s special event, REINSPiRE, raised over $26,000 to assist people living with HIV to lead healthier lives.

The 62 guests in attendance at the Thursday evening event viewed displays of the NAMES Project ˆ Canadian Memorial AIDS quilt and the momentous “One World – One Hope” quilt created by the late Doreen Rennschmid and based on the work by Joe Average.

Average explained that his design, which was commissioned for the International AIDS Conference in Vancouver in 1996, signifies the interconnectedness of the world‚s population affected by HIV/AIDS.

“I used kind of a stained glass effect to show that we‚re all fragile in the face of HIV and AIDS and there‚s a heart in the centre that joins us all,” he said. “Love joins us all.”

Seeing the quilt unveiled for the first time was one of the „greatest moments‰ of his life, he explained.

Judy Weiser, a former board member of the NAMES Project, spoke about how the Canadian AIDS Memorial Quilt came together as a way to help Canadians remember loved ones based on the same principle as the National AIDS Memorial Quilt in the United States – to honour the identity of each person who died in a personal way.

She met Frederick Haineault, co-founder of Healing Our Spirit BC Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Society, while taking a weekend volunteer workshop at AIDS Vancouver.

“Soon after organizing the very first quilt display in an Aboriginal setting anywhere in the world at the Friendship Centre in Vancouver in October 1995, where there were sections each containing a panel by someone who was Aboriginal who passed from AIDS related causes, Frederick had died,” she said.

One of the panels on display at the event was created by Weiser to honour Haineault.

Although Haineault had a mission to educate other Aboriginal people about HIV/AIDS, Weiser said he never let the disease define him. That‚s why it was important for the creators of the quilt panels to portray the individuals represented, each in their own way.

Hosted by Deborra Hope of Global BC with live auction conducted by David C Jones, the REINSPiRE event raised funds for Positive Living’s Complementary Health Fund (CHF), which helps people living with HIV afford health-related goods and services not covered by other plans such as supplements, over-the-counter medications and alternative therapies.

The CHF‚s next major fundraiser is the Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life, which takes place starting out from Sunset Beach on Sept. 22. The theme this year is „All about the shoes.‰ Participants are encouraged to wear their wildest, craziest shoes or decorate some plain ones and be part of a fashion show judged by Fiona Forbes, Shaw TV; Kaitlyn Herbst, Global BC traffic reporter; and Connie Smudge, local drag performer. For more information or to register, visit aidswalkvancouver.ca.

Media Contact: Adam Reibin, Director of Communications, adamr@positivelivingbc.org, 604-893-2209

Date: Thursday, Sept. 5

Time: 7-9 pm

Place: Creekside Community Recreation Centre, 1 Athlete‚s Way, Vancouver

Tickets: $45 at positivelivingbc.org or reinspire.eventbrite.ca

Contact: Adam Reibin, Director of Communications, 604-893-2209, adamr@positivelivingbc.org

SEPT. 3, 2013 – Positive Living BC’s special event, REINSPiRE, honours the history of the AIDS movement in Vancouver while “re-inspiring” the community to get involved.

The event features sections from the NAMES Project – Canadian AIDS Memorial Quilt that contain locally-made panels, each lovingly crafted to remember an individual who died.

Two of the quilters whose panels will be on display will be at the event sharing their stories and answering questions.

May McQueen, 87, has been volunteering at Positive Living BC (formerly the BC Persons with AIDS Society) for 22 years. David Trudeau was a fellow volunteer who helped train McQueen. She says she was much more naïve at the time.

“For me it was a great eye-opener,” she said. “I didn’t know there was such a thing as gay people. I didn’t know anything, but I was trained by the best. It was an honour.”

Trudeau died in 1997, and McQueen and a small group of fellow volunteers created the panel to remember him.

Judy Weiser, a former director of the NAMES Project, will be a special guest speaker. She will be speaking about how the NAMES Project came together in Canada from her first-hand perspective.

In addition, she made 17 panels, including one for her friend and fellow volunteer, Frederick Haineault, co-founder of Healing Our Spirit Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Society. She describes the process as trying to remember a person in a way that’s both personal and universal. In Haineault’s case it was important to acknowledge his Cree identity, his public life, and his sense of humour and friendship.

“I wanted their name, their life, I wanted something that showed their uniqueness and who they were, besides a person with AIDS,” she said.

Also on display will be the monumental “One World – One Hope” quilt based on the iconic work by local artist Joe Average. We’re pleased to announce that Average will be in attendance for this rare showing of the quilt, which was created for the 1996 International AIDS Conference (IAC) in Vancouver and last seen at the 2006 IAC in Toronto.

In addition to guest speakers, there will be musical entertainment provided by UBC A Cappella and live and silent auctions. Net proceeds benefit the Positive Living BC’s Complementary Health Fund, which helps people living with HIV afford health products and services not covered by other plans.

The Positive Living Society of British Columbia exists to enable persons living with AIDS and HIV disease to empower themselves through mutual support and collective action. From our personal struggles and challenges come our courage and strength.

mcqueen
August 29 – Twenty-two years ago, being part of Positive Living BC (then called the BC Persons with AIDS Society) meant a lot to volunteer May McQueen.

McQueen, a post-secondary support worker, had recently retired and was angered to see a news story from the United States about a boy with HIV who was not permitted to attend school.

She joined a group of 50 volunteers and learned whatever she needed to know to combat the “ignorance” she saw around her.

“When I first started, most of us knew absolutely nothing, except what we heard on the news, which was absolutely nothing,” she said.

Sensing her confusion, David Trudeau, an HIV-positive volunteer, stepped in to help.

“He explained everything to me and as time went on, we got to be really good friends.” McQueen recalled.

At the time, HIV and AIDS were taking a larger toll on the community than they are today. McQueen spent many hours in hospital holding hands, providing a shoulder to cry on, and consoling mothers (there just weren’t a lot of fathers around in those days).

“We would be your care team if you were ill,” she said. “And we didn’t leave you alone. We just did everything we could for you because you must not die alone.”

In time, Trudeau, her fellow volunteer also became ill and, this time McQueen was not able to be by his side. He returned to Ontario to be with his family, but would phone McQueen every night from the hospital. She slept on the couch so she could be by the phone.

Trudeau died in 1997 and McQueen joined with the rest of the care team for one last task.

The NAMES Project – Canadian Memorial AIDS Quilt was created to remember the people who died. Each panel is unique and contributed by an individual or group who lost someone to AIDS.

McQueen sewed Trudeau’s panel with a small team. She didn’t have any sewing skills, but it she had to take part.

“We had a lot of fun,” she said. “We laughed a lot. It was a good time, because we could talk about Dave. That’s important – to talk about people.”

The team sent their panel to the NAMES Project in Halifax where it was added to a section of the quilt, which is composed of 500 panels. In the years following Trudeau’s death it would be exhibited every now and then in Vancouver. But, in time, the face of AIDS changed and the exhibits became less frequent. People are living longer and managing HIV with medication. McQueen can’t say how long it’s been since she last saw the panel, but “It’s been many, many years.”

On Wednesday, Aug. 28, staff and volunteers laid out the quilt in the Positive Living offices where McQueen continues to volunteer.

“It was difficult,” McQueen said of the private showing. “David was such a special person.”

She reminisced, sat with the quilt, touching the portrait of Trudeau, and looking back on that time when many people died – all of whom McQueen considered friends.

Although her job has changed, McQueen still feels she has work to do, which is what keeps her motivated to keep volunteering at the age of 87. When asked what her position entails, she described it this way: “I hug. That’s the main thing. The main thing is that everybody knows that I’m there if they need me.”

McQueen will have another opportunity to see the quilt at REINSPiRE, a reception hosted by Positive Living BC at Creekside Community Recreation Centre on Thursday, Sept. 5, 7-9 p.m. REINSPiRE: Celebrating Life & Stories from the Quilt features three quilt sections from the NAMES Project as well as the momentous “One World – One Hope” quilt based on the iconic work by local artist Joe Average. There will be guest speakers and entertainment, including music by UBC A Capella. Tickets are available at reinspire.eventbrite.ca or by calling Positive Living BC at 604-893-2242. Net proceeds support Positive Living BC’s Complementary Health Fund.

Shella Gardezi is a communications co-ordinator at Positive Living BC and editor of Positive Living Magazine.

Photo caption: Positive Living BC volunteer May McQueen holds the quilt panel dedicated to her friend Dave Trudeau which she helped create in 1997.

Photo Credit: Michaela Baer

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July 31, 2013 – REINSPiRE honours the history of the international AIDS movement through the showing of the momentous “One World – One Hope” quilt, based on the iconic work by Joe Average, and other quilts lovingly crafted in memory of those who died.

The “One World – One Hope” quilt is a unique part of Vancouver history. The 350-pound work based on the painting by local artist Joe Average measures 29 by 32 feet and was created for the 1996 International AIDS Conference (IAC) in Vancouver. It was last displayed at the 2006 IAC in Toronto.

You’ll also have the opportunity to meet some of the local quilters who created quilts on loan from the Names Project – Canadian AIDS Memorial Quilt.

While HIV is no longer considered a fatal disease, the struggle is far from over. The Positive Living Society supports 5,300 members in addition to the estimated 12,000 to 15,000 HIV-positive British Columbians who are invited to access our services. By inviting the entire community to reconnect with us over this important part of our history, we hope to “re-inspire” people to get involved.

The evening includes cocktails, entertainment and silent and live auctions.

When: Thursday, Sept. 5, 7-9 p.m.

Where: Creekside Community Recreation Centre, 1 Athletes Way, Vancouver

For more information contact: Adam Reibin, Director of Communications and Education, adamr@positivelivingbc.org, 604.893.2209

The Positive Living Society of British Columbia exists to enable persons living with AIDS and HIV disease to empower themselves through mutual support and collective action. From our personal struggles and challenges come our courage and strength.

2012

Members Vote for a New Name

The prospect of changing the Society’s name has been discussed for more than two years now.

Following the recent vote by members, British Columbia Persons With AIDS Society is pleased to announce that it will soon be be changing its official name to “Positive Living Society of British Columbia”, to be known as Positive Living BC.

The Society’s location, office hours, email addresses, and phone and fax numbers will remain unchanged. Members will be able to continue to access existing services as usual.

For more information please see the press release below.
positive-living-bc-launch-release

2008

2007

2006