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

Consultations3

Consultations with staff team members at the AIDS Committee of Windsor (ACW) are a great way for service providers to stay up to date on best practices for working with populations vulnerable to HIV and Hep C transmission; best practices for working with people affected by or living with HIV or Hep C; and, organizational frameworks and tools to enhance the provision of services.

Through an initial session, we will work together in an effort to identify practical solutions for meeting the needs of the communities you work with. Recommendations can include minor changes to policies and procedures at multiple levels of organizational structure, creating new partnerships, and suggested trainings. Some specific topics could include:

Community Member Advocacy (ACB program only)

People living with HIV/AIDS (PHAs) from the ACB community tend to avoid accessing community supports and care due to the stigma associated with HIV within their respective communities. As a result, these members often cope with their illness in isolation to avoid disclosure of their status within the relatively small ACB community of Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent. It is imperative for ACB PHAs to receive proper support and care, including up to date information regarding treatment, to improve resiliency and lessen the impact of the social determinants of health.

In an effort to work towards this, the ACB Community Outreach Coordinator is available to provide a face-to-face meeting with service providers and ACB PHA clients to identify the needs of the client and work collaboratively to create a plan of action. The coordinator can recommend appropriate referrals, provide a warm hand off to ACW Client Support Services, and arrange for peer support. ACW Client Support Services can provide advocacy, referrals, assistance with transportation to medical appointments among other PHA-specific services. This process helps to ensure ACB PHA clients have access to much needed support and care through community supports that are comfortable to them.

Building Capacity to Respond to Women’s, ACB or MSM’s HIV-related Needs

As service providers in our community, we have one thing in common: our clients. Whether we are providing health, wellness or community services, the best interest of our clients is at the heart of our mission. As a community that recognizes the complexities of client care, we understand the intersection of multiple oppressions that our service users often face.

It is rare for an organization to have the capacity to provide services that meet all the varied needs of their clientele.

It is rare for an organization to have the capacity to provide services that meet all the varied needs of their clientele. Collaborations among service providers are a necessary component to the provision of services, especially in meeting the needs of people living with HIV. Various social conditions, including discrimination intensify the vulnerability of gay, bisexual, transgener, and other men who have sex with men (MSM); women, and; African, Caribbean and Black community members to HIV infection.

We can work together to meet the HIV prevention needs of these communities through organizational development. In doing so, we can identify practical solutions for better meeting the needs of individuals at risk of, affected by or living with HIV from these vulnerable communities.

Integrating HIV/AIDS into current programs, policies, or procedures

A key objective of HIV prevention initiatives in Ontario is to create partnerships to address the social determinants of health (SDoH), which influence an individual’s vulnerability to HIV infection and the quality of life for those living with HIV or AIDS. Many SDoH interact with each other to affect an individual’s ability to access health services and information, as well as their ability to cope with the challenges of daily life that may play a role in their health and well-being.

People living with HIV or AIDS are often an invisible community. Due to stigma and discrimination, it is uncommon for community members to disclose their HIV positive status to service providers (as is their legal right). Being unaware of the clients that might be accessing your services that are HIV positive, organizational policies, intake forms or the language you use when communicating to community members might be unintentionally discriminatory and can be a deterrent for that member accessing much needed services in the future.

As an important access point for HIV prevention, information and care, it’s important to recognize these inefficiencies and make efforts towards positive change. The ACW’s Education and Outreach team can assist your organization with identifying areas of opportunities for development as it relates to implementing an anti-oppressive framework with regards to HIV into your current policies and to the policies that you may create in the future.

Implementing a Harm Reduction Approach to Service Provision

Working from a harm reduction approach involves a range of non-judgmental approaches and strategies aimed at providing and enhancing the knowledge, skills, resources and supports for individuals that engage in risk taking behaviour (usually surrounding substance use), their families and communities to help them make informed decisions to be safer and healthier. As such, the harm reduction model is designed to meet people’s needs where they currently are in their lives. It’s approach to substance use is based on a commitment to public health and human rights. The main features include the focus on the prevention of harm, rather than on the prevention of the risk taking behaviour itself, as well as the focus on people who continue to engage in risk taking behaviour. In doing so, harm reduction at an organizational level, can seek to take action through policy and programming to reduce the harmful effects of risk taking behaviour.

There is no one size fits all in working from a model of harm reduction, since at its core, working from a harm reduction approach requires policies and programming to reflect particular individual and community needs. The identification of specific harms, their causes, and decisions about appropriate interventions requires a thorough assessment of the problem and the actions needed to address them. Redress must not only address specific risks and harms, but must also take into account factors that increase a person’s vulnerability such as age and gender, in addition to others.

Many organizational policies and practices unintentionally create and increase risks and harms for those engaging in risk taking behaviour, which leads to social inequities. We can help your organization to implement a model of harm reduction to organizational policies and programming that is reflective and accommodating to the needs of the clientele that access your services, so that you can truly meet your clients where they are at during service provision.

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