World AIDS Day

What’s your community organizing for World AIDS Day – feel free to share it here!

Re-define Positive – New Video

I just wanted to share this video that was passed along to me recently – it is a terrific starting point for those wanting to explain HIV to elementary school-aged children:

TAINTED…it was meant to give them life

Hi all,

I wanted to share information on a fantastic play that is coming to Ottawa on October 29th (7:30pm) that is based on the Canadian tainted blood scandal. As the website states, Tainted is “Inspired by the true stories of families who endured the worst public health disaster in our history, Tainted is a harrowing, unforgettable story.”

This will be a rehearsed reading of the play, and tickets must be obtained at the NAC box office in advance. There is no cost to attend the performance.

For more information, please see:

Hope to see you there!

MY HIV Child is Playing With Your Child

A great blog post written by Jenn Mosher – my favourite line comes at the end:

“My HIV-positive kid is playing with your kid, and you have no idea which one she is. And that’s okay.

HIV isn’t scary, but ignorance and stigma are.”

14th Annual Fundraising Walkathon – this Sunday!

If you are looking for a terrific cause to support and an afternoon of fun, please consider joining the 14th Annual Walkathon organized by People to People Aid Organization whose main objectives are to raise awareness for those affected by HIV/AIDS in the Greater Toronto Area and to provide support for those affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Ethiopia.

From their website:

P2P walkathon is an entire day of family-oriented event this year here’s what we have lined up, all day BBQ-ing, family picnic, children’s activities such as face painting, balloon sculpting, an interactive magic show, giveaways and much more…

You may walk as an individual or come together with friends and family, to share the fun and excitement while supporting a worthy cause. Don’t miss out on a fun-filled summer day in the park as we come together to help change a child’s life!!

Here’s how you can support us:

1) For collecting pledges (Pledge forms for collecting funds can be found at the P2P office (1245 Danforth Avenue, Suite 207. Call 416- 690- 8005)
2) For a one-time online donation

Regardless of whether you collect a pledge or not , please don’t be shy. Come out and support!!



Adopting a Child Living with HIV – Information Evening Ottawa

  Learn more about:

– Basic Facts about HIV – treatment, transmission and risk factors

– Parenting a Child Living with HIV

– The adoption process – country/programs, the Citizenship and Immigration Process (CIC) process, how to include HIV in your home study

– Resources and Support in Ontario

– Anti-retroviral treatments including information regarding provincial drug plans, private insurance, etc.  

Presented by: Karyn Bakelaar, HIV+ Kids Program Manager

Guest Speaker: Dr. Jason Brophy, MD MSc DTM FRCPC, Staff Physician, Division of Infectious Diseases with CHEO

When: Wednesday, October 1st, 2014, 6:30 – 8:30PM

Where: Suite 221, Clyde Avenue, Ottawa

For more information and to register, please see:, or contact Karyn at 

Importance of Early Intervention for Children Living with HIV

CABA ECD brochure web

Remembrance of a Pandemic Almost Past

There are all manner of museums in the world, from the heart-wrenching Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and renowned art galleries such as State Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia, to the downright bizarre, such as the International UFO Museum in Roswell, N.M., and the Instant Ramen Museum in Osaka, Japan.

Nicole Ticea, a 15-year-old student from Vancouver, has won the Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada, a prestigious national biotechnology competition. She took first place for inventing a new way to detect HIV infection that is cheaper and quicker than current technology. Now she wants to start her own company.

Yet, there has been no Museum of AIDS, no formal remembrance or commemoration of the worst public-health disaster in history, a modern-day plague that has infected an estimated 78 million people, 43 million of whom have died. (Those numbers are in dispute, but even if the estimates are off by a few million, the impact of AIDS is undeniable; it has scarred Africa as much as slavery did centuries ago.)

But that is about to change.

The Museum of AIDS in Africa is already a travelling exhibit, a pop-up museum that was on display most recently at the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia. Within a few years, it hopes to become a bricks-and-mortar institution, likely in Johannesburg or Durban, South Africa.

“It’s an odd museum, because the pandemic is still on-going,” said Deirdre Prins-Solani, past president of the International Council of African Museums and a board member of the AIDS museum. “But we think the time is right.”

The time is right because, for the first time, AIDS deaths and new HIV infections are falling, so there may be a faint light at the end of the tunnel. Scientists are now talking seriously about ending the spread of the disease by 2020, and a world without AIDS in 2030.

The retrospection has begun, though history is already being lost as the elder statesmen of the AIDS movement age and die.

The Museum of AIDS in Africa will focus on that continent because it is, by far, the hardest-hit part of the world. The new institution will be in part a science museum that helps educate the public about the medical, social and political history of AIDS. The collection includes the first known sample of HIV, which was found in Leopoldville, Congo, in 1953; the field notes of Belgian researcher Dr. Peter Piot from his first expedition to find HIV in Africa in 1983; and the “HIV Positive” T-shirt sported by Nelson Mandela in 2002 in support of the Treatment Action Council. As well there’s a sample of fabric called Juliana, which was brought to Tanzania by an itinerant trader in the 1970s. Many women who traded sex for the fabric later died of AIDS, a disease still known colloquially as “Juliana” in the region.

But the museum doesn’t want to be a passive repository of artifacts in glass cases; it aims to be an interactive space for dialogue and, above all, remembrance.

“The pandemic has been brutal, and people need to grieve, individually and collectively,” Prins-Solani said.

The centrepiece of the travelling exhibit – which will continue even after the museum is built – is a virtual memorial. Cards are distributed so people can write down the name of a loved one, and a memory.

“The virtual memorial gives people solace,” said Carol Devine, a Canadian writer-researcher who used to work for Médecins sans frontières. “The memories people share are deeply personal and really touching.”

Those stories will be catalogued and kept in digital form, a memorial to some of the millions of people who have died of AIDS.

The museum project actually has deep Canadian roots. It is the brainchild of Stephanie Nolen, a foreign correspondent at The Globe and Mail and author of the award-winning book 28 Stories of AIDS in Africa, and her close friend Ngaire Blankenberg, principal consultant with Lord Cultural Resources, a company that oversees museum projects worldwide.

Early funding and moral support has also come from the Stephen Lewis Foundation as well as the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa and Yusuf Khwaja Hamied, chairman of Cipla, the Indian generic-drug maker that famously brought the cost of antiretroviral treatments down to $350 a year from $10,000, opening the door for millions of Africans to get life-extending drug therapy.

As well, Lewis, the former United Nations special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa and co-founder of AIDS-Free World, is one of the project’s most enthusiastic supporters.

“The museum will give the world in general, and Africa in particular, the kind of riveting presence that will honour those who have died, will embrace those living with the virus, and will stand as a formidable testament against the carnage of infectious disease,” Lewis said. “It will be seen as a citadel of hope.”

Follow André Picard on Twitter: @picardonhealth

Adopting a Child Living with HIV – Information Evening

Coming Soon – The Children’s Bridge will be hosting an Information Evening in Ottawa this fall highlighting the process of adopting a child living with HIV from Thailand, Zambia and Kenya.

Date TBD!

For more information and resources please visit: or

20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014) – Australia

The 20th International AIDS Conference got underway in Melbourne, Australia on the evening of Sunday, July 20th on a somber note as presenters paid respects to the lives of 6 conference attendees who perished en-route in the Malaysia airlines flight MH17 tragedy.

The evening continued with moving speeches by UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibe (full speech can be found at:, and Michael Kirby, who is a well-known human rights advocate and former Australian High Court justice (highlights of his speech have been published by The Body Pro and can be found at:

The Body Pro will be continuing it’s coverage of the 2014 International AIDS Conference which can be accessed at this link:

The Conference Website also offers online coverage, webinars, a mobile app and other multi-media access at: