Author: Eileen Day

HIV has become a state of emergency in some countries and is taken as a chronic disease that affects all ages. An Infected person taking medication can live a normal life compared to the person not taking the pills. ARVs reduce the chances of bacterial infections or complications that come with the disease. People are encouraged to use protection to avoid the risk of spreading the disease. It is essential to get tested and know your status and your partner’s status, LGBTQ, drug users, sex workers are also advised to get tested.

According to the director of the ACW, the reason there has been a decrease in the HIV rate is that many people might have stopped testing or due to stigma or phobia. With this in mind, the Aids Committee of Windsor started encouraging people to know their status, and also if infected one should use the medication and avoid transmitting the disease. Sometimes, infected individuals are out for revenge and intentionally engage in unprotected sex to spread the disease. Infected pregnant women are advised to visit the clinics to get educated on the preventive measures to protect the unborn child.

The ACW has introduced preventive measures in the community, such as offering free condoms to people, especially in learning institutions like colleges and universities. This measure is to ensure young people protect themselves from this disease. They also provide them in hospitals in VCTs for a better strategy to help reduce the spread of HIV. The committee also offers sterile needles in hospitals and individuals who need them to administer medication such as insulin. Stigma is one of the problems we have towards individuals living with this disease. Problems with family members are also a challenge because this disease affects the family members of the infected person in one way or another. Another challenge is that the victims may also face hardships getting the medication or even the care they need. People living with HIV face discrimination from people with HIV stigma, they are excluded from most activities, and most of them have testified losing friends and even family.

The ACW has worked tirelessly to ensure that stigma is not an issue by educating people more on caring for the infected. The services they offer have immensely helped people of Chatham-Kent and Windsor-Essex by fostering an environment that has supported HIV/AIDS-positive patients from all backgrounds. The committee has also advised people to be more responsible when it comes to their health and to always know their HIV status to help in risk reduction and disease control. The AIDS Committee of Windsor welcomes every individual who has questions concerning HIV /AIDS and its transmission to visit them.…

The AIDS Committee of Windsor has also been keen on educating the community on naloxone and opioids. Recently, the ACW hosted a campaign in Drouillard for people to learn more about opioids, the disadvantages of using opioids, and how to reduce cases of overdoses of naloxone until proper medical care is achieved. This workshop was an initiative taken by the Label Me Person committee to educate individuals that addiction can affect and be experienced by anyone, thus people should worry about attending to the problem rather than shaming and blaming the addict. The workshop addressed the different types of opioids and the wide range of the effects and medical care. The extensive kinds of naloxone and all its uses were also explored. This program was carried out to benefit people from different backgrounds and those that were interested in volunteering had the opportunity to do so.

Another initiative started by the AIDS Committee of Windsor to curb the spread of HIV is the Needle Syringe Program. This program makes sure to connect with people or reach them at the comfort of their homes without any judgments on the life choices they make. It also helps individuals on how to care for abscesses and wounds, how to prevent themselves from this disease, or how to live with people affected by HIV. This program also offers other services such as: How to use safe kits, teaching more about lubricants and CDs(condoms), educating people on preventive measures like not sharing sharp objects, or having unprotected sex.
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Due to the renewed dedication towards providing services and programs, the Windsor committee changed its name to (PPCS) Positive Pathways Community Services. Later on, the Executive director of the program Michael Brennan was of the idea that the organization is planning on stretching its community services and programs to work for and with the individuals. Expanding PPCS for the community is the goal. Michael said that the new program is a way of meeting the needs of people from different backgrounds making it a norm to the community looking to reduce the rate of stigma and spread of HIV.

Positive Pathways’ success has been overwhelming thanks to the involvement of a wide range of stakeholders, this includes people affected by HIV, LGBTQ groups, and those that abuse drugs. It stretches from African Countries to the Caribbean, and also the minority groups or marginalized groups, and even corporate support from the likes of Revco and others.

The stakeholders have focused on the name that will touch on people living with, at risk of, or affected by HIV one way or another to reduce stigmatization among people. This initiative shows how the agency is connecting people to essential service providers honoring the values in the programs. The service providers, staff, board members, and volunteers are always pumped to educate and implement HIV prevention measures, carrying out campaigns to kick out stigma, making it easy to access care and creating a safer environment for compassion, and connecting people to others for support. In 6 months, the facilities will change social media to promote the new and improved brand.

The Windsor-Essex October Health charts showed a drop in Hiv infections In the area. In 2021, 9 individuals were infected. As time goes by, each year registers an increase or a decrease. The average number of infections recorded in the last five years is twenty. According to the records from the health sector, infection rates rise and fall. Ahmed Wajid, the Medical health officer, once stated that a year would not be enough to predict what will happen in the future. There are improved efforts to prevent the increase of HIV in every country. People have been educated on how to stay safe and avoid any chances that will lead to contracting the disease.…

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
  • AIDS

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.…