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January 14, 2020
The overdose crisis continues to impact communities in Ontario and across Canada. Opioid-related deaths have been on the rise since 2003, with 1,474 opioid-related deaths in Ontario in 2018, according to Public Health Ontario (PHO). Southwestern Ontario continues to be one of the hardest hit regions in both urban and rural areas. In 2018, Middlesex-London had 62 opioid-related deaths (PHO).
London, Ontario was the first community to open a provincially funded Overdose Prevention Site in February of 2018. In April 2019 the Temporary Overdose Prevention Site began the transition from a temporary solution to an annually funded Consumption and Treatment Service (CTS) as per the new provincial CTS program. RHAC is the primary program operator. RHAC works in collaboration with London Intercommunity Health Center (LIHC) to support medical components of the service with MLHU recognized as a vital founding partner and ongoing champion of this local public health response. On August 5th, 2019, the CTS expanded operating hours to 12 hours per day, 365 days per year - including statutory holidays. “The increase in service hours has strengthened our capacity to respond to this crisis and we are grateful to the Ministry of Health for supporting the work in London” said Dr. Chris Mackie, Medical Officer of Health of MLHU.
Since the opening of the service at Regional HIV/AIDS Connection (RHAC), Middlesex London Health Unit (MLHU), along with many community partners have responded to this crisis by reversing over 209 opioid poisonings, supporting over 30,000 visits and facilitating hundreds and hundreds of referrals to a range of services including: addictions treatment and counselling, primary care, HIV/HCV testing and related clinical care, system navigation, detox services, housing and other vital social services.
While moving through the process to establish the intended permanent location, MLHU and RHAC worked together to identify a name worthy of the program’s remarkable impact. We are pleased to share with the community that the program is officially operating under the brand name of Carepoint. “By bringing this service to our community’s most marginalized we are demonstrating that we care about those who continue to struggle with addiction” said Brian Lester, Executive Director of RHAC, “and the point of the program is to provide life-saving services while ensuring other support needs are met – hence Carepoint."
The program name also has a brand identity that integrates the global overdose awareness colours of silver and purple. The branding graphic honours the origins of London’s Overdose Prevention site while transitioning to the new brand identity. Depending on your visual perspective when viewing the logo, it can be seen as OP for overdose prevention or CP for Carepoint.
MLHU, RHAC and LIHC are pleased to share this milestone with our community as we continue to save lives, prevent new HIV and HCV transmissions and connect marginalized individuals to care and support across our community!
Brian Lester, Executive Director, Regional HIV/AIDS Connection – 519-434-1601
Dan Flaherty, Communications Manager, MLHU - 519-663-5317 ext. 2469 or 519-617-0570 (cell.)
December 20, 2019
The theme of World AIDS Day 2019 was “Communities Make the Difference." This is very evident in London and the surrounding counties. This year, a record number of 2,110 Red Scarves were handmade by members of the community throughout London, Perth, Huron and Lambton Counties. RHAC staff and volunteers were at 5 different pop-up events bringing scarves out to communities to help raise awareness and end stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS. In the spirit of community, several local businesses also participated with window displays, including: Nova Vita Hair Studio & Esthetics, Wabi Sabi Hair & Body, Grow & Bloom Co., Regency Florists, Starbucks North (Chapters/Indigo Masonville). We were also privileged to once again partner with students from Fanshawe College’s “Prism” group, Brescia University College and Kings University College whose campus pop-ups helped to raise awareness and end stigma. HIV/AIDS is more prevalent in marginalized communities and these events were a fantastic opportunity to start a conversation on campuses about HIV/AIDS and how students can help end the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS. I attended a Health Fair last week at Western University's main campus and had numerous students stop by our table to say they had seen the pop up and wanted to get more information.
Our World AIDS day Vigils were held again this year, one in London and the other in Stratford. In Stratford, we had the pleasure of being joined by students from St. Mary’s and Stratford high schools who performed songs prior to the Vigil. Most had never attended a Vigil of any sort and were eager to learn more about its significance. It’s a solemn event to remember those who were lost to AIDS-related illnesses. This year, our Red Scarf tags were dedicated in-memory of lives lost to HIV/AIDS. When preparing the church for the vigil, we placed Red Scarves on the end of the pews. I sat at a random pew, at the back of the church, and glanced at the scarf in front of me. This is what I saw:
The tag reads: “This scarf is dedicated in memory of Richard R.” Richard was my cousin and my favourite person in the world. He was a bright, beautiful light that was extinguished at the young age of 32. A brilliant, kind, funny man who loved his family above all else. He was also a teacher, role model and member of a broad community in Toronto. He was so much more than an HIV diagnosis or a death from AIDS. I wasn’t surprised to find Richard’s tag in front of me, he is always looking out for me, guiding me and loving me.
Oh behalf of RHAC and the families, like mine, who have lost a loved one to HIV/AIDS, I thank you. Thank you for giving your time, your talent and a little bit of your community to ours. It truly means the world.
Coordinator of Volunteer Services
December 5, 2019
2019 Holiday Hours
RHAC wishes you a Happy Holiday! Our holiday hours from December 24the-January 1st are as follows:
Regional HIV/AIDS Connection – 186 King St.
Dec. 24: 9am-12pm
Dec. 25: CLOSED
Dec. 26: CLOSED
Dec. 27: 9am-5pm
Dec. 30: 9am-5pm
Dec. 31: 9am-3pm
Jan 1: CLOSED
Carepoint Consumption and Treatment Services – 186 King St. (North Entrance)
Open daily: 9:30am-9pm
John Gordon Home Program – 596 Pall Mall St.
24 hour service delivery
November 21, 2019
Remember, honour and celebrate the lives of those we have lost to HIV/AIDS
Red Scarf and RHAC are hosting vigils in Stratford on November 29 and in London on December 1 for World AIDS Day.
Contact Almas at email@example.com for more information.
October 17, 2019
Monday, October 28, 2019
9:30am to 3:30pm
BMO Centre London (295 Rectory Street London, ON N5Z 2A7)
GILEAD, Specialty Rx Solutions, and RHAC present Viral Hepatitis & Gay Men's Health; a conference for service providers and community members. Join us as we hear from a variety of speakers including a keynote address from Dr. Jordan Feld, from the Toronto Center for Liver Disease.
Topics that will be explored include hepatitis prevention and testing, navigating intimacy, and harm reduction in 2LGBTQIA+ communities. Lunch provided at 12 noon. Preview the programme here.
For more information contact Kyle Rubini at firstname.lastname@example.org
October 17, 2019
Virgin Radio presents Red Scarf in support of Regional HIV/AIDS Connection. The fourth annual Red Scarf benefit concert features JUNO Award winning artist Bulow.
Tickets are $25 + fees in support of clients at Regional HIV/AIDS Connection. Tickets are available at the door, and online at redscarf.ca/concert (plus applicable service fees).
Licenced/All Ages event.
Tickets on Friday September 13th at 10:00am
Ticket link: https://bit.ly/2mbk7jF
London Music Hall - 185 Queens Ave - London, ON
September 5, 2019
The Board of Directors of Regional HIV/AIDS Connection (RHAC) invites you to join us for this year’s Annual General Meeting on Thursday, September 5, 2019.
Please join us as we review of our performance during fiscal 2018, along with reflection on key impacts we have made in the community and the election of new members to the Board.
If interested in becoming a member, you can find the membership form to fill out here. Please return the form by Monday, August 26, 2019.
To RSVP, contact Martin at email@example.com or 519.434.1601 ext. 229
We will be joined by our keynote speaker for the evening, Dr. Andrea Sereda. Dr. Sereda is a family physician who cares for groups of people who have been marginalized and excluded from traditional healthcare models. Her practice focuses on people who inject drugs, people living with homelessness and women involved in the sex trade. Dr. Sereda believes in breaking down barriers and in providing equitable, culturally appropriate, and assertive care to all of her patients.
We look forward to seeing you there!
August 7, 2019
Regional HIV/AIDS Connection is happy to offer a new charitable ticket offer in partnership with Victoria Playhouse Petrolia. This offer provides a great way to enjoy a trip to the theatre and give back to the community—a perfect way to make the most out of the remainder of the summer!
To book tickets using this promotion, just follow these 2 steps:
Step 1: Make a donation of $50 to Regional HIV/AIDS Connection (RHAC) and receive one complimentary ticket to an applicable performance (donations can, of course, be of a greater value).
Step 2: Call the VPP Box Office (1-800-717-7694) and let the staff know you are booking the ‘Charitable Performance Offer’.
There are 400 tickets allocated to this special offer so patrons are encouraged to act quickly to book their seats, as they are sold on a first come/first served basis!
Remaining shows for the 2019 Summer Season include:
THE NEW CANADIAN CURLING CLUB: August 6-25
HOGAN’S HOEDOWN: September 3-22
DRACULA: A CHAMBER MUSICAL: October 12 – 27
For any questions, feel free to email Zena Currie at firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure to book your tickets today and thank you for your support!
August 5, 2019
Regional HIV/AIDS Connection is pleased to announce that starting August 5th, the Carepoint consumption and treatment service—formerly TOPS (Temporary Overdose Prevention Site)—will operate daily, including on statutory holidays, from 9:30 AM to 9:00 PM.
The Needle and Syringe Program Counterpoint hours will remain the same (9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.) but we will now be providing 5 kits (safe injection supplies) from 5-9pm Monday to Friday, and 9:30am-9pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Since opening in February 2018, this vital service has supported more than 20,000 visits and reversed 125 overdoses, while providing hundreds of client referrals to supports in our community.
Learn more at: www.hivaidsconnection.ca/carepoint
August 2, 2019
Please note that Open Closet is cancelled tonight on August 2, 2019. We apologize for any incovenience and look forward to seeing you next week!