fbpx What’s New? | Regional HIV/AIDS Connection

You are here

Home » Get Involved » Host an Event » What's New

What’s New?

April 19, 2013

Invasive Meningococcal C Outbreak among Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM) in New York City: Recommendations for Travel

An ongoing outbreak of invasive meningococcal disease serogroup C has been occurring among men who have sex with men in New York City. Since 2010, there have been 22 cases reported: one in 2010, four in 2011, 13 in 2012 and four in 2013. Seven men have died, including three of the last five cases. The age range of cases is 21 to 59 years, and 50% have been Black, 27% White, and 18% Hispanic (any race). Twelve cases were HIV-infected, of which five have died. Cases of meningitis have also been reported in MSM in California.

The New York City Department of Health is recommending meningococcal vaccine to the following New York City residents:
• All HIV-infected MSM
• MSM, regardless of HIV status, who regularly have close or intimate contact with other men met either through an online website, digital application (“app”), or at a bar or party
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is not aware of any cases among Canadians related to this outbreak. Toronto Public Health has also not seen any cases related to this outbreak. Please call Toronto Public Health if you think you have a suspect or confirmed case of meningococcal disease to TPH's surveillance unit at 416-392-7411 during work hours (8:30am to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday) or at 3-1-1 after hours.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends use of the quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine (Men ACYW-135 – Menactra or Menveo) to travelers where the risk of meningococcal transmission is high. NACI also says vaccination should be considered for individuals with HIV.

Toronto Public Health recommends physicians offer meningococcal conjugate ACYW-135 vaccine to MSM who are planning to travel to New York City and who are either HIV-infected or who may have close or intimate contact with other men met either through an online website, digital application (“app”), or at a bar or party in New York City. Note that this vaccine is not publicly funded for this group.

More information:
Toronto Public Health Immunization Information Centre:
416-392-1250 or email immunization@toronto.ca
New York City Department of Health alerts:
Canadian Immunization Guide on meningococcal vaccines:

April 2, 2013

We are pleased to post 2 opportunities on our Job Postings page.

March 14, 2013

RHAC is offering a free LGBT film night on Tuesday, March 26. This fun comedy, Adam and Steve, follows two New York City couples - one heterosexual and one gay who explore the peaks and the valleys of their respective relationships.

The film screening starts at 7:00 pm and will be held on the second floor of RHAC - at 186 King St. in London. For more information, contact Kevin Murphy at 519-434-1601 or by email.

February 12, 2013

Want to have some summertime fun in the middle of winter? Sign up for the Memory Walkers Beach Volleyball Tournament! This event will take place at Spike's Indoor Beach Volleyball at 120 Weston Street in London on Saturday, February 23 from 9:30 am until 4:00 pm. The cost is $22 per person and all skill levels are welcome. Bar and food are available at Spike's. All proceeds from this event will go towards the Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life event in September, in support of Regional HIV/AIDS Connection, the John Gordon Home and Camp Wendake.

For more information on the tournament or to register, please contact Donna Bray at 519-455-7814 or Deb Bray at 519-453-0809.


January 10, 2013

There is a new social support group being offered in London for LGBT2Q people, called Survive and Thrive. This social support group is offered to those who have experienced any type of violence or hate motivated behavior because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The group will provide facilitated and trained supports to LGBT2Q survivors of hate crimes, hate incidents, violence, stigma and discrimination which will work to decrease the long term side effects of: 

  • marginalization
  • internalized homophobia
  • shame based trauma
  • PTSD
  • alienation
  • isolation
  • loneliness

The group will take place on Tuesdays evenings at 7:00 pm from February 12 - April 3, 2013 at the Middlesex-London Health Unit (50 King St., London). Survive and Thrive is offered by the HBT Working Group - a group which strives to address issues of Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia in our community.
For more information please visit  www.hbtlondon.ca or contact Dayle Allen at519-645-2348, ext 3718 or email dallan@sohofht.ca


January 10, 2013

Director of Community Relations

Full-time, ongoing
Salary Range - $43,999 - $53,000

Regional HIV/AIDS Connection (RHAC) is a volunteer driven, non-profit, community-based organization serving the six counties surrounding London – Perth, Huron, Lambton, Elgin, Middlesex and Oxford. We are a community-inspired organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for individuals and diverse communities living with, at-risk for or affected by the challenges associated with HIV/AIDS. Our philosophy includes adherence to The Ontario Accord/GIPA (Greater Involvement of People Living with HIV/AIDS), Anti Racism/Anti Oppression, Sex Positivity, Principles of Harm Reduction, Holistic Health and Civil Society.


Reporting to the Executive Director, the Director of Community Relations is responsible for positioning RHAC in the public’s eye, developing and delivering key messages that support the organization’s mission and strategic priorities. The position is also responsible for the support and supervision of department staff whose work includes fund development/fundraising, volunteer engagement and regional expansion efforts. The Director develops and implements the agency communications plans to raise HIV/AIDS awareness and increase community support.  Collaborating with funding, business, academic and organizational partners, the Director evaluates the effectiveness of communications activities, recommending and implementing improvements.

• Provides day to day supervision of department staff to achieve intended outcomes.
• Creates internal and external communications materials including, but not limited to, newsletters, media releases and promotional information.
• Develops and maintains relations with media, monitoring media activity and ensures the agency’s key messages and activities are introduced.
• Represents RHAC at public meetings and committees and directs partnership relationship strategies to advance the mission and fundraising goals.
• Prepares corporate reports, agency profiles, program descriptions and publications that promote awareness of RHAC services.
• Develops and maintains Internet communication platform (website, twitter, YouTube, Facebook, etc.)  
• Develops, implements, and manages department work plans and budgets, approves and reconciles expenditures, maintains financial income and expenditure records.
• Supports special events and fund development activities; cultivates relationships with current and prospective donors; prepares grant applications and proposals.
• Maintains and strengthens existing community partnerships, and actively seeks new opportunities for community partnership and collaboration.
• Revises, develops and monitors policies and procedures relating to communications, fundraising and volunteer programs.
• Participates in management team meetings, identifies and plans for communication needs, assesses and analyzes issues to ensure consistent messaging; advises on communications aspects of management actions and decisions.

• University degree or equivalent with a specialization in communications, public relations or a related discipline combination of education and experience.
• A minimum of three years in developing and implementing corporate communications plans, programs and materials for internal and external distribution and fundraising.
• Excellent knowledge of the methods used in writing (including journalistic style), editing, designing and producing a wide range of communications materials.
• Demonstrated excellence in written, presentation, verbal and interpersonal communication skills.
• Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with a variety of internal and external contacts including developing media relations strategies and public relations projects in collaboration with partners.
• Excellent knowledge of communications policies, procedures and practices.
• Experience in fund and volunteer development and evaluation and knowledge of ethical codes that govern these practices.
• Experience managing human resources, budgets, and complex programs and projects.
• Strong leadership, supervisory and project management skills.
• Sensitive to issues of diversity and a commitment to support the mission and philosophy of RHAC.
•  Demonstrated technical literacy in the Microsoft Office suite of programs, as well as familiarity with databases used for donor & volunteer relations management.
• Creative, self directed, results focused and team player.
• Must be able to work evenings and weekends when required in a variety or social and physical settings.
• Valid driver’s license with regular access to a reliable vehicle for work related duties .
• A satisfactory Vulnerable Positions Screening (Police Check).

Cover letter and résumé may be submitted electronically to hr@hivaidsconnection.ca or in hard copy to #30-186 King Street, London, ON  N6A 1C7.

Application deadline is Monday, January 21, 2013 at 5 p.m.

Regional HIV/AIDS Connection is an equal opportunity employer. We strive to build an inclusive workforce that reflects the rich diversity of the community we live in. To this end, we encourage applications from persons living with HIV/HCV, members of GLBMSMT2S communities, individuals from First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities, members of diverse ethno-cultural communities, and persons with dis/abilities.

We appreciate all submissions, however only those to be interviewed will be contacted.

No phone calls please.

January 3, 2013

The Western Ontario Opening Doors HIV Counseling Initiative is hosting the annual conference in Windsor on March 7 & 8. The 2013 conference, called Opening Doors: Well On Our Way!, will focus on the important intersections between mental and physical health and how we can improve our resiliency. There will be speakers, a PHA panel and wellness activities, as well as socializing, networking and great food!

Registration is now open, both online and on paper. To register online, visit http://wellonourway.eventbrite.com/. Hard copy forms are also available at the reception desk at RHAC. Clients are encouraged to attend, as well as affected friends and family. Service providers and students are also encouraged to register and learn more about the issues affecting people living with HIV/AIDS.

For information on the event, please contact Jennifer Gritke by email or phone (519-434-1601).

December 18, 2012

Season's Greetings from all of us at RHAC.

We wish you healthy and happy holidays! RHAC will be closed December 24-26 and January 1. We will be offering Needle & Syringe Program services only  via our north entrance from 9 am-5 pm December 27 & 28 and from 9 am-3 pm December 31. All other agency services will resume Wednesday, January 2.

December 13, 2012

2012 Honour Roll Recipient, David Feeney

David Feeney has given seven excellent years of service to RHAC. During that time, he exhibited integrity in his approach to the work, showed true leadership with the Board and demonstrated a genuine commitment to RHAC’s mission. He also demonstrated caring, concern and unwavering dedication.

In David’s words, “For many years I avoided becoming involved in the AIDS movement because I didn’t want
to reflect upon the terrible illness that had robbed me of friends. Eventually, I internalized the old adage “you are either part of the problem or part of the solution,” and joined the board with the goal of trying to make a difference.”

David Feeney definitely became part of the solution. He carried forward the history, the struggle and the courage and, in fact, made a difference.

Thank you, David.

December 3, 2012

The following message from RHAC Executive Director, Brian Lester, appeared in The London Free Press on Saturday, December 1, 2012 - World AIDS Day.

HIV/AIDS –Which Story to Tell?

December 1st is World AIDS Day and I have been debating which HIV/AIDS story to tell. Shall I share the good news UNAIDS report of a 50 percent reduction in infections across 25 countries? Should I note the promising phase one results of the first and only preventative HIV vaccine developed by Dr. Chil-Yong Kang and his team at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry? Should I mark this moment with the fact that with early access to treatment people living with HIV can anticipate a life span similar to their HIV negative brothers and sisters? 

Such developments in the fight against HIV/AIDS indicate strong signs that we are on a promising trajectory toward a cure. Each of these good news developments will help move the world toward the UNAIDS goal of zero new infections and zero deaths. But what about their goal of zero stigma!  In the context of “getting to zero stigma” the other HIV/AIDS story must be told. It’s a story that reveals stigma’s profound negative impact on those living with this virus. HIV stigma could be the single most powerful deterrent to reaching the 2015 UNAIDS goals.

A 2102 report funded by CIHR Social Research Centre in HIV Prevention entitled “HIV and AIDS in Canada: A National Survey Summary Report” indicated the following facts;

• 16% of Canadians “feel afraid” of people living with HIV
• 18% would be somewhat or very uncomfortable working in an office with someone living with the illness
• 23% expressed discomfort shopping at a small neighborhood grocery store owned by someone living with HIV/AIDS
• 35% would be somewhat or very uncomfortable if their child was attending a school where one of the students was known to be living with HIV
• 54% would be somewhat or very uncomfortable with a close friend or family member dating someone with HIV

Such statistics are a clear indicator that after 30 plus years many people in Canada continue to hold irrational fears on the subject. These fears drive stigma and challenge HIV/AIDS work on many levels. Stigma is defined as “a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person”.  There should be no disgrace in living with HIV yet in 2012 stigma continues to deter people from accessing care, treatment, testing and support. Because of this fact the consequences of HIV stigma can be deadly.

This leads me to reflect on the recent passing of an individual who found his way to our services this past year.  “James” was a 39 year-old man, who over the past 10 years, could not seem to find his way through HIV stigma to seek out life saving treatment. He couldn’t make the call for help. He couldn’t acknowledge his status to others for fear of losing his family, friends and employment. He couldn’t disclose because of the paralyzing fear caused by HIV stigma! When he became sick he finally contacted us - but it was too late. His HIV/AIDS related illnesses had advanced to a stage where treatment was not viable. He passed away in a few short months.

The passing of James and others like him offers a stark reminder that even with such hope on the horizon, HIV/AIDS continues to be a serious illness with life altering and even life ending impacts. If only there was medication or a vaccine to treat or cure HIV/AIDS stigma? On World AIDS Day and every day Regional HIV/AIDS Connection continues to stand in solidarity with those living with, affected by, or at risk of HIV/AIDS. The hopeful story of a cure is on the horizon but until then the story of HIV stigma needs to change.