Ontario AIDS Network
Check out this video from our respected charity the Ontario AIDS Network.
Click to see video transcript
When my mother came from England, brought me and my sister to Ottawa, Canada, they discovered at two years old, that I was HIV positive and also my mother was HIV positive.
People who live with HIV have compromised immune systems. Without that medication to protect their health, they’re susceptible to a number of different conditions.
Pneumonia is very common, as well as all kinds of cancers, heart condition, diabetes.
We’d been in situations where we moved from Ottawa, Vancouver to Edmonton, to a shelter in Brampton, then Toronto, then Oakville, and that’s because we would tell one person in a church and the next day the whole congregation knew.
So it was disheartening, because a lot of adults in my life weren’t aware or educated about HIV as much as I was.
People who live with HIV today still face a lot of barriers. There’s still a lot of stigma out there around HIV, a total misunderstanding about what the condition is and how people get it.
I remember when I was around eight years old, I had a big sister who was a mentor, who made me eat out of paper plates and paper cups. As a child, discovering that and learning that, it really isolated me, and was just hard.
It is a disease that used to progress all the way to AIDS, and people would die from AIDS. Today, people live with HIV due to a lot of medical advances, but it’s still a huge public health threat.
I’m twenty four years old right now, and just dating with HIV can be confusing, and having to disclose that. And so that’s been the hardest thing about it, is always having to feel like you have this thing in this closet that you’re hiding.
The Ontario AIDS Network is a provincial organisation that is an association for all of the AIDS service organisations across Ontario. We work with member organisations who provide services to people who live with that condition, to make sure they live healthy and productive lives.
Ontario AIDS Network has made a difference in my life, because they have taught me so much about being an advocate in HIV work in Ontario. I don’t think that I would be a fulfilled member of the community, I wouldn’t know how to have my voice in the community. I wouldn’t know how to be an activist if I didn’t have their help, and I’m really grateful to them for that.
The money from Federated Health Charities comes to us without restrictions on how we can use it, and that is a huge asset in this sector. Without fail, almost all of the other organisations who we receive money from, direct how we can use that money.
So this is the one organisation that gives us the flexibility to use the money where we see it’s needed the most.
This work is needed by so many people, and it is going straight to the people that need it.
It’s important to continue receiving these donations, because the landscape of HIV is changing, and so are the needs of the people living with HIV.
I would actually say that I think today it’s more important, now more than ever.
If you saw me five years ago, I was not somebody that was this confident and that was able to speak. I have benefitted fully from their donations, and please give what you can, and I am so thankful. Thank you again.
Federated Health Charities
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