What is the AIDS Committee of Windsor?
The ACW (AIDS Committee of Windsor) is a charity organization that offers support, outreach, and education services for individuals affected by, at risk of, or living with HIV AIDS. The organization services span Chatham-Kent and Windsor-Essex county through 2 offices situated in downtown Chatham and downtown Windsor. Some of the services offered by the organization are youth programs, programs that target women, harm reduction programs, Gay bisexuals, and other men who have sex with men(GBMSM), and many more.
The ACW has grown tremendously over the years and diversified its services to touch on the emerging issues arising in the community. It also has volunteers who work closely with the staff and board members to offer different services to more than one thousand people yearly. The ACW offers extensive programs that are educative to the members of the community about HIV.
The Ontario Accord and The ACW work together to support the great group of people living with HIV, those that have been affected by the disease in one way or another, and those that work and live with the infected individuals. They engage and foster an environment that supports HIV-positive patients from all backgrounds.
The dedicated ACW team stretches out to provide preventive measures services seven days a week to areas around Chatham-Kent and Windsor-Essex. Services offered to the people are ;
- Risk prevention counseling
- Syringe and needle services
- Health education
- Educative information services
- Practical and food aid
HIV can be transmitted through body fluids such as Semen, blood, breast milk, vaginal and other body fluids. Without medical care, a person with HIV is at risk of getting AIDS(Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). To get AIDs, an individual has to get HIV, and having HIV does not mean a person has AIDS.
There are three stages of HIV, namely:
- The acute stage-this stage occurs mainly the very first days or weeks after transmitting the disease.
- The chronic stage is also known as the clinical latency stage – in this stage, HIV multiplies but at a slow rate. It has no symptoms
The AIDS Committee of Windsor has spearheaded increased education and awareness on PrREP drugs for negative people at risk of contracting the disease to prevent themselves. It reduces the risk by only using antiretroviral drugs. This is one of the preventive measures of HIV transmission. For instance, if a positive Individual is taking the medicine, the virus is suppressed and may not be detected. If the disease is undetectable, HIV can not be transmitted sexually.