• Main Office: 511 Pelissier Street, Windsor, ON N9A 4L2 | Satellite Office: 67 Adelaide Street South Chatham, Ontario N7M 4R1
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Resources

Welcome Service Users

On this page you will find resources for those currently living with an HIV diagnosis, newly diagnosed or individuals engaging in behaviours that are putting them at an increased risk of HIV transmission.

Education

Educating you, the community member is key to dispelling some of the myths and misconceptions that exist within our communities regarding an individual’s vulnerability to HIV infection, HIV diagnosis, treatment and care.

Doyouknow2

Committee for Accessible AIDS Treatment (CAAT)

CAAT is a coalition of more than 30 Ontario based organizations from the legal, health, settlement and HIV/AIDS sectors. It was formed in 1999 to improve treatment and service access for marginalized people with HIV/AIDS. Since its inception, CAAT has been at the forefront of education, research, service coordination and advocacy on issues related to HIV, immigration and access.

HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario (HALCO)

HALCO is a charitable not-for-profit community-based legal clinic that provides free legal services for people with HIV/AIDS who live in Ontario, Canada.

Naloxone Program

Offered every Tuesday from 1:00pm to 5:00pm at the AIDS Committee of Windsor’s office (Windsor only). The program aims to educate opioid users surrounding overdose and the administering of Naloxone.

Opioids Toolkit

Health Canada opioid resources as part of an opioids toolkit

Hello Ontario

Check out the new resource, HelloOntario.info, which was created for people who are new to Ontario and who have been diagnosed with HIV or are at risk of acquiring it. Comprising a website and pocket guide, the resource provides newcomers with information to help them access HIV prevention, testing, care and support services. It includes important information about the status of HIV in Ontario, how HIV may (or may not) impact their application to live in Canada, settlement & legal services, health care services and medication access, social programs and services, and more. Both the website and the accompanying pocket guide are available in English and French.

CATIE

CATIE is Canada’s online source for the most up to date HIV and hepatitis C information.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are the most frequently asked questions of our staff by service users.

I’m newly diagnosed. What now?

A positive HIV antibody test is scary news but it’s not a death sentence. Many people are alive and well 20 years or more after testing positive for HIV. A positive test result is an important medical message that may save or extend your life. Whether you took the test or not, sooner or later you would have learned of your HIV infection status. If you learn by testing, you have a chance to slow or prevent some of the possible medical consequences. If you didn’t get tested, HIV would have announced itself at some point in the form of an infection or damage to your immune system. But if you waited for the disease to announce itself, many of your best medical options may already be lost.

Most testing services provide counseling to help people handle the news. The real work, however, is up to you. Given the right attitude and the right information, HIV infection can be managed like any other chronic illness, one which some people seem able to survive for decades. Getting informed and taking charge of your health is the first step towards managing your condition.

Where can I get free condoms?

Free condoms are available at both AIDS Committee of Windsor offices through our Needle Syringe Programs. You can also access free condoms at various sexual health clinics around the city. Below is a list of a few locations:

– Windsor-Essex County Health Unit Sexual Health Clinics (Windsor & Leamington)

– Chatham-Kent Public Health

– University of Windsor Student Health Services

– Windsor-Essex Community Health Centres

HIV & disclosure; who do I need to tell, and when?

Who do I need to tell?

The decision to disclose your HIV positive status can be a struggle. In order to avoid the risk of unnecessary disclosure, you should be really cautious of who you disclose to. Therefore before deciding to disclosure consider the following:

– Who is trustworthy and will be supportive if negative things happen to you, such as the loss of close friends, family, etc.

– Healthcare providers, such as doctors or dentists where disclosure of your HIV positive status may result in you receiving better holistic care.

Read more on The Positive Side

When and where should I tell?

There is no specific time and place that you need to disclose, whenever or wherever you feel is suitable. However if you are about to engage in condomless sex with a partner, you are obligated by law to disclose your HIV status before having sex.

Law & Disclosure

There are laws, such as the Canadian Criminal Law that requires an HIV positive person to disclose their HIV status to their sexual partner. There are also laws to protect someone who is HIV positive from discrimination because of their status.

How soon should a person get an HIV test after they’ve had unprotected sex?

The period after infection but before an HIV test can be positive is called the window period. It’s the time that the immune system usually takes to make antibodies against HIV, but tests differ in how early they are able to detect HIV antibodies. Although most HIV tests look for these antibodies, some look for the virus itself. For most HIV tests the window period is 3 to 8 weeks.

The decision to get an HIV test is up to you. Having unprotected sex does not automatically put you at risk for HIV infection. Several factors have to occur for you to possibly contract HIV. See the HIV transmission section of the site.

For a list of HIV testing sites in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent visit the Testing Locations section of the site. The locations listed are just a few of the many places in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent where you can receive a free HIV test. You can also speak with your health care practitioner, or go to the closest medical clinic in their community.

What’s PEP & PrEP?

Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP): Antiretroviral (ART) medications used immediately after a potential exposure to HIV to decrease the risk of HIV infection. Types of exposures include:

– Occupational exposure: oPEP

– Non-occupational exposure: nPEP

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP): ARVs used in high-risk individuals before exposure, to prevent HIV.

– Oral ARVs ~ PrEP

– Topical agents (vagina, rectum): microbicide

Click the links below for more information about PEP & PrEP

www.actoronto.org/Prep

www.actoronto.org/pep

www.actnow.ca

What is HIV viral load?

HIV viral load is the amount of HIV (or number of virus) in the bodily fluids of someone living with HIV. It is measured in the blood as part of routine clinical care. A higher viral load is associated with a higher risk of HIV transmission. Research shows that successful HIV treatment can reduce the viral load to “undetectable” levels and this can significantly reduce the risk of HIV transmission.1

Source: 1CATIE . “HIV viral load, HIV treatment and sexual HIV transmission”

If someone tests positive for HIV, should they access antiretroviral therapy (ART) right away?

Before taking treatment, most commonly known as highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) there are some things that might affect your life and need to be considered. We highly recommend self-checking according to this checklist.

A Provincial Approach

Affiliated provincial initiatives and organizations working on addressing the social determinants of health and achieving better health outcomes for populations most at risk of or living with HIV and Hepatitis C.

Southwestern Ontario AIDS Service Organization Alliance

Access to Care

Listed below are some clinics and online resources in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent that may be able to assist you with accessing care regarding your sexual health and or HIV related needs.

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