SUPPORT & EDUCATION FOR HIV, HEPATITIS & STIs

      Programs

The Physical ACNS Office 

Is Closed At This Time

 

Our Staff Are Working From Home …
New province-wide restrictions have been put in place in response to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia. These restrictions will remain in effect until at least May 12, 2021.

Our physical office is closed until May 12 ...
In light of the developing COVID-19 situation we have closed our physical office effective immediately to minimize risk to our member clients, the communities we serve and our staff. We plan to reopen on Wednesday, May 12th, 2021 – this is subject to change, as restrictions may remain in place. Please feel free to contact us and we will respond to inquiries as soon as we can.

Our virtual office is open…
While our office is closed, ACNS staff are still working from home at this time, and will be remotely checking both email and phone messages regularly. See Staff Directory below for contact details.

Client Support …
Even with the office being closed to the public, we will continue provide you with contactless support and services by phone, text or email, based on the circumstances and your needs. For Client support please contact Dylan Samson, our Programs and Support Coordinator. He can be reached at pc@acns.ns.ca, Cell: 902-403-7841 (voice + text) or 902.425.4882 ext 225 / 1-800-566-2437 ext 225.

Some programs and services will not be available during this shutdown, such as our CATS program, while others will remain available to our clients. The Making Ends Meet program will continue running via contactless delivery. To arrange for a delivery, contact the Support and Programs Coordinator, Dylan, at pc@acns.ns.ca, Cell: 902-403-7841 (voice + text) or 902.425.4882 ext 225 / 1-800-566-2437 ext 225.

 

Cell Phones For Clients

Reaching us without a phone is hard right now so...
ACNS has a limited supply of prepaid cell phones for our HIV+ clients who need a phone.* Contact Dylan at 902-403-7841 and let him know how / when / where she can get a phone to you.  Or leave a message at 902-425-4882, ext 225.  If you know of an ACNS client who needs a phone please let us know.

* Funding for the ACNS Client Phones program has been provided by: 1) the Gov. of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund and the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia; 2) by the joint effort of the Atlantic Compassion Fund, the Gov. of Canada’s New Horizons Seniors Program, Nova Scotia Power, EfficiencyOne, the Province of Nova Scotia and many generous corporate and individual donors; and 3) by two Positive Action community grants from ViiV Healthcare.

 

COVID Vaccines & HIV

From CATIE`s website (see www.catie.ca/en/covid-19-faq for additional info)
It is important to consider getting vaccinated if you have HIV. Many people with HIV have or are at an increased risk for developing the underlying conditions that increase their chances of developing COVID-19 or severe disease if they become infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. These underlying conditions include high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, lung disease, obesity and so on. 

Experts consider COVID vaccines to be safe and effective for people with HIV. Clinical trials with the Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines included a relatively small number of people with HIV, all of whom were taking ART and who were healthy and well. Further studies are needed to determine if the vaccine works as well for people with HIV as it does for the general population.

There is no information yet on how well the vaccine works in people living with HIV who have a compromised immune system. If you are not on treatment and have a very low CD4 count, discuss vaccination with your healthcare provider. Some experts recommend starting HIV treatment first to prevent HIV-related complications and to potentially improve vaccine effectiveness.

 

COVID Info  & Your HIV Meds

Look after yourself and plan…
We encourage our HIV+ members to make sure they have an adequate supply of their HIV medications and all other necessary medications. At this time prescriptions filled by the 6 North Pharmacy (Victoria General Hospital) are ONLY being mailed or couriered. We recommend arranging for refills 3-4 weeks before you are to run out.  Be sure to listen closely to the phone instructions when you call the pharmacy and to provide your complete mailing address when arranging refills. 

Pay attention to reliable sources of info about the pandemic - like this Nova Scotia Government website and protect yourself: physically isolating yourself and regular hand-washing are "your friends"! Taking your HIV medications daily is always important - and especially so at this time!

Stay tuned for more info and stay well! 

Chris Aucoin,
Executive Director

Staff Directory
Chris Aucoin, Executive Director: ed@acns.ns.ca, 902.425.4882 ext 227
Dylan Samson, Support and Programs: pc@acns.ns.ca, Cell: 902.403.7841 or 902.425.4882 ext 225
Andrew Thomas, Support Services Intern: gmhc2@acns.ns.ca, 902.425.4882 ext 225
Mitch Hill, Health & Wellness Educator: gmhc@acns.ns.ca, Cell: 902.403.7805 or 902.425.4882 ext 222
Joyce Sseguya-Lwanga, Fund Development Intern: fund@acns.ns.ca, 902.425.4882 ext 226
Ned MacInnis, Program Support: ps@acns.ns.ca, 902.425.4882 ext 2244

 

ProgramsBlack Lives Matter

 

June 5, 2020

The board and staff of the AIDS Coalition of Nova Scotia stand with activists across Canada, the United States and around the world fighting against anti-Black racism and police violence. 

We stand in solidarity with activists, individuals and communities who are impacted by the deaths of George Floyd (Minneapolis), Tony McDade (Tallahassee), Regis Korchinski-Paquet (Toronto) and others. We support the call for an independent inquiry into Regis Korchinski-Paquet’s death. We support the call for charges to be dropped against Santina Rao. We support the call for the implementation of the African Nova Scotian Policing Strategy.

This week ACNS has made the decision to pause our usual social media content in support of prioritizing Black voices and promoting racial justice.

Anti-Black racism is a pervasive and systemic problem in Nova Scotia that causes harm in many ways. We have seen this in our own work, as systemic racism in Canada has created inequities that leave African, Caribbean and Black Canadians more vulnerable to HIV infection. We have seen anti-Black racism in the disproportionate policing and criminalization of African, Caribbean and Black people by police forces in Nova Scotia, and we know disproportionate incarceration rates have a compounding effect on the risk of HIV and hepatitis C infection.

Anti-Black racism has long been entrenched in our education, healthcare, political and legal systems. It is also entrenched in the work of not-for-profits and charities. Earlier this year ACNS began a process to create an intersectional and anti-oppressive framework to address how our board and staff work with and for all members of the priority communities regarding HIV – including African, Caribbean and Black Nova Scotians. 

Beyond this week, ACNS is committed to ongoing education and dialogue within our own organization, and in the broader HIV and sexual health sector in Nova Scotia to confront anti-Black racism. We invite our allies in Nova Scotia and beyond to join us in this important and ongoing work.

Black Lives Matter

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