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What’s New?

January 4, 2012

Regional HIV/AIDS Connection is committed to becoming fully compliant with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. As of January 1, 2012 RHAC officially adopted its Customer Service Standards for persons with disabilities document. Read about our accessibility feedback process and download our accessibility feedback form and send it back to us.

January 4, 2012

On Wednesday, April 25, 2012 Regional HIV/AIDS Connection will be holding its first ever A Taste For Life event in Stratford as well as in London! We have signed six Stratford restaurants to participate: Bijou Restaurant, Fosters Inn, Molly Blooms Irish Pub, The Annex Room, Evergreen Terrace and The Sun Room.

Mark your calendars for April 25 when you'll have the chance to enjoy good food for a good cause!

Visit and select Stratford to see more details.

December 9, 2011

Join us and participate in a fruitful discussion around a screening of the video "The Woman I Have Become"and the topic "Creating Personal Support Networks".

WHEN: Friday, December 9 from 9:30-4:00

WHERE: Regional HIV/AIDS Connection, 186 King Street, London

Refreshments and transportation will be provided.

Call Mercy Nleya at 519-434-1601 for more information or email


9:30 - 10:00 am Breakfast and registration

10:00 - 10:15 am Welcome, introduction and housekeeping

10:15 - 10:30 am Words into Deeds PHA engagement project
Provincial Black PHA Advisory Body

10:30 - 11:30 am The Woman I Have Become (video)

11:30 - 11:45 am Break

11:45 am - 12:25 pm  Discussion about the video

12:25 - 1:00 pm Lunch

1:00 - 1:45 pm  Accountability: Our Responsbility

1:45 - 2:00 pm Break   

2:00 - 3:30 pm  Creating personal support networks

3:30 - 3:45 pm Evaluation, check-out and wrap-up

November 28, 2011

World AIDS Day 2011- “Getting to Zero”

The first World AIDS Day (WAD) happened 23 years ago on December 1st to raise awareness of what became, and arguably still remains, the most stigmatized virus on our planet. Stigma is defined as “a connotation of disgrace associated with certain things”. Stigma continues to impact millions of people around the world, and stigma is intrinsically linked to the reason approximately 60 million people have contracted the virus.

Since the first diagnoses in 1981 UNAIDS reports that HIV/AIDS has killed approximately 30 million people worldwide. This staggering number falls just short of the total population of Canada. One can only speculate the lives that may have been spared had stigma not impeded the response needed to stem the tide of infections and subsequent deaths.

According to UNAIDS estimates, there are now 34 million people living with HIV. During 2010 some 2.7 million people became newly infected with the virus, including an estimated 390,000 children. Despite a significant decline in the estimated number of AIDS-related deaths over the last five years, in 2010 there were still an estimated 1.8 million AIDS-related deaths.

In the 1980s, HIV, the virus known to cause AIDS, initiated its assault on gay men and Haitians and moved into other populations such as injection drug users and members of Aboriginal community. While many dismissed AIDS as a mostly "gay disease", the insidious virus began to take hold across sub-Saharan Africa in what became a well-publicized pandemic of enormous proportion. Suddenly AIDS was black, straight and someplace else! While many political leaders wouldn’t acknowledge emergence of the virus in the early days, activists and humanitarians around the world launched fervent efforts to bring about a response commensurate with rising infection rates and the mounting death toll.
World AIDS Day was launched to increase awareness, fight pervasive stigma and, in part, to raise funds. Today WAD continues to be an important annual marker of the work done within this movement. It is also a day to take time to remember those we have lost, honour those living with HIV/AIDS and celebrate all that has been accomplished in the movement. WAD is also important to help remind people that HIV/AIDS has not gone away and that there are many things still to be done in HIV/AIDS work.

Because of the development and improvement of life saving medications over the past 15 years the situation with HIV/AIDS has improved for millions living with the virus. This “optimism” has inspired the new WAD campaign entitled “Getting to Zero”. The theme will be used until 2015 and echoes the UNAIDS vision of achieving “Zero new HIV infections, Zero discrimination and Zero AIDS-related deaths.” It’s an ambitious vision and one that Regional HIV/AIDS Connection fully endorses.

However in order to realize such an ambitious vision it will require a critical mass shift in how we think about HIV/AIDS. The fact is more and more people are living with HIV each day. These same people are often living in fear from stigma imposed on them by society. Together we can get to the root of HIV/AIDS discrimination - stigma. Those of us in this movement call upon society to examine attitudes, beliefs and biases about HIV/AIDS. It is time to abandon stigmatizing thoughts about the virus and those living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS.

People who work daily in AIDS service organizations know that not only “certain kinds of people” get HIV/AIDS. There are certain kinds of risk factors related to acquiring HIV, but we refute that people living with HIV/AIDS should be categorized as innocent victims and those who deserve the virus. We encourage you to take some time to learn about HIV risk at and ask yourself, “Could it ever happen to me?”

Check your HIV/AIDS bias and get stigma to zero!

November 1, 2011

The holiday season will soon be upon us, which means that the Annual Holiday Client Dinner is coming up! Clients of RHAC are invited to attend the Annual Client Holiday Dinner, to be held on December 12th at the Byron Community Church (336 Glenrose Dr., Byron). The festivities start at 5:00 pm, with dinner at 6:00 and Santa Claus arriving at 7:30.

There will be a traditional holiday dinner, raffles, door prizes and gift bags. Transportation is available, but you will need to RSVP.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Rob Newman or check out the poster!

October 28, 2011

The Grand Bend Area Community Health Center is hosting a Well Women's Health Day on November 22nd at 7 pm. The event will feature RHAC's Bonnie Baynham presenting on Women's Sexual Health, as well as presentations from Mickey Gurbin on Women and Anxiety and a presentation called Health by Chocolate! from Miranda Burgess. Additionally, breast and pap exams will be available to women without a health care provider on site from 9 am - 4 pm that day.  

The Grand Bend Area Community Health Centre is located at 69 Main St. E., Grand Bend. For more information on the event, check out this poster or contact Bonnie Baynham.

October 27, 2011

There will be a workshop on Women, HIV and Housing on Monday, November 14th at 7:00. The workshop will be at the Central Library (251 Dundas St., London) in the Stevenson and Hunt Meeting Room.

Having a safe and affordable place to live is important to everyone's quality of life. When you are a woman who is HIV+, it is also an important part of taking care of your overall health. Bonnie Baynham and Shannon Dougherty of Regional HIV/AIDS Connection, along with Dr. Margaret Pelz, will explore HIV as an illness, the implications and exploration of the issues, and future recommendations for interventions needed to address prevention and supports for women.

For more information, check out this poster or contact Bonnie Baynham.

October 12, 2011

The first Hep C Peer Social will be held on Thursday, November 3rd. The Hep C Peer Social is a chance for people who are either currently living with, or have been through hep C, to connect with other people going through the same situation.  This is a chance to come out, socialize and meet new people.  Light snacks and refreshments will be available. The Hep C Peer Social will be held on the first and third Thursday of every month from 2:00 - 4:00 pm. It will be held in the Community Room on the 2nd floor of Regional HIV/AIDS Connection, 186 King St., London.

For more information, contact Zach Templeman and check out the poster!


October 6, 2011

We are pleased to announce that we will be starting monthly Lunch and Learn sessions for people living with Hepatitis C. These Lunch and Learns will be on the second Friday of every month from 12:30 - 1:30 pm in the board room of RHAC. The first session will be on Friday, October 14th and the topic will be Hepatitis C Basics.

Free lunch will be provided. 

The schedule of topics for the next few months are:

  • November - Relationships, dating and disclosure
  • December - Treatment. With guest speaker Nurse Practitioner Sue Tobin
  • January - Nutrition and Hepatitis C - What to Eat and What to Avoid. With guest dietician
  • February - Addictions and the Effect on Hepatitis C. With guest speaker, Needle and Syringe Program Coordinator, Karen Burton
  • March - Living with Hepatitis C  - Tips for Managing Symptoms and Staying Positive

 For more information on the Lunch and Learns, contact Zach Templeman.

October 4, 2011

Congratulations Ana Maria!

Ana Maria Castillo (pictured on the right) was given the first ever Hope Award at the agency's annual general meeting on September 8. We are thrilled that Ana Maria is the first recipient of this award. Her more than 20 years of activism, optimism and support of our community is a rare treasure, just like her!

The award is one of three: Voice, Knowledge and Hope, conceived this year to reflect the outstanding contributions of volunteers to the work of the agency. One may be awarded each year on a rotating basis.

The Hope Award is given in honour of the Newman family who, in October 1991, chose to make their HIV status public and spoke out against stigma and discrimination. In facing the loss of Robbie and Kim, the remaining members of the Newman family continue to inspire hope for those living with HIV that they can "survive and thrive" enjoying life and contributing to their communities.