The loss of Evelyn Farha

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The loss of Evelyn Farha
March 7, 2018

The honorary president of the Farha Foundation, Evelyn Farha, passed away on the 18th of January 2018 after battling valiantly for 25 years for people living with HIV/AIDS. She was 92. She had been strongminded to continue the work of her son, Ron Farha, who died from HIV/AIDS in 1993. Very active, she had raised close to 10 million dollars through the marches she organized. This money was then redistributed to 75 organizations that fight against HIV/AIDS.

Known for her commitment and devotion to the cause, Mrs. Farha received many awards throughout her life.

She will receive, posthumously, the Phenicia Society 2018 award. This recognition by the LGBT community will be handed over to her daughters, Nancy, Carolyn and Linda, on the 31st of May, at the 14th edition of the award, which will be held at the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec’s Parquet Room. The Quebec LGBT Chamber of Commerce wishes in this way to pay homage to an extraordinary woman who, for a quarter of a century, succeeded, with courage and humility, in fighting the stigmas and prejudices experienced by people living with HIV/AIDS.

The Fondation québécoise du sida is deeply affected by Evelyn Farha’s passing, which is a huge loss for the HIV/AIDS milieu. Fqsida is determined to continue the fight against stigmatization, and especially to keep up its education and prevention efforts within the population.

Rest in peace, Evelyn Farha. Your work will be carried on. The fight continues!

Passing of Evelyn Farha

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Passing of Evelyn Farha
January 19th 2018
Evelyn FarhaWith profound sadness, we announce the passing of Evelyn Farha (nee Malacket) on Thursday, January 18, 2018. Devoted mother of Nancy (Ali), Carolyn, Linda (Mike), grandmother/tete to Jasmine (Marc), Adam, Alexandra and Matthew, predeceased by her husband Joseph Farha and son, Ronald Farha.

For 25 years, Evelyn Farha served as the Honourary President of the Farha Foundation. She worked tirelessly to carry out the mission of her late son, Foundation founder Ron Farha, by helping Quebecers with HIV/AIDS obtain support and care. Her goal was to see that no other family suffers the same loss as her by educating the community that the disease is preventable.

Evelyn has received numerous accolades for her inspiring efforts. In 2013, she was the recipient of the Médaille de l’Assemblée nationale. In 2002, the Governor General presented her with the Golden Jubilee Medal. During that same year, she was also recognized by the Canadian-Lebanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry, who presented her with the Cedar & Maple Award in the category of Personality of the Year. In 2000, the Governor General’s office bestowed Evelyn with the Caring Canadian Award.

An active member in the Montreal community, Evelyn has assisted local church board members by leading numerous fundraising activities, and through teaching religious studies. She was also volunteered at the Royal Victoria Hospital’s Oncology Department, assisting patients by offering personal care and support.

The family will receive friends at Urgel Bourgie, 1255 Beaumont Ave, Montreal, QC H3P 0A1 on
Sunday, January 21, 2018 from 2:00-5:00 and 7:00-9:00 PM.

Funeral services will be held on Monday, January 22, 2018 at 11:00 AM with viewing from 10:00 AM at The St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, 555 Jean Talon St E, Montreal, QC H2R 1T8

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Evelyn’s memory to the Fondation Quebecoise du Sida (FQS), 1 Sherbrooke St E, Montreal, QC H2X 3V8. Condolences, photographs and memories may be forwarded though www.urgelbourgie.com

Mark Wainberg: a big name in the fight against HIV has left us

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Mark Wainberg
a big name in the fight against HIV has left us
May 18, 2017

Mark WainbergThe world-renowned scientist from Montreal, Mark Wainberg, died in April at the age of 71.

Since the early 1980s, he was actively involved in the fight against HIV/Aids and he made it his fight. He not only devoted his scientific and medical career to it, but also became one of the pioneers of the defence of the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS and of the most affected communities, at a time when the subject was taboo and unpopular.

Dr Wainberg is known in particular for discovering the anti-viral medication, 3TC, in 1989. This was one of the very first effective molecules against HIV. The 3TC helped to change the course of the illness and is still widely used in tri-therapies, thanks to which the infection has become a chronic illness.

Mark Wainberg is also famous for his multiple contributions regarding the virus’ resistance to medicines. With his team, he worked to enhance understanding of the mechanisms and genetic mutations of the virus, and to find ways to counter them.

Dr. Wainberg, who was close to the Quebec anti-AIDS milieu and the Farha Foundation in particular, stated in 2000, during an interview with the McGill Reporter: “It is incumbent upon us all to be AIDS activists”. A fervent militant for access for all to medication, he is one of the people who enabled marginalized populations and poor countries, especially in Africa, to benefit from the results of research on HIV/AIDS.

Source : Radio-Canada
Yanick Villedieu – April 4, 2017

ABC OF HIV : Primary infection

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ABC OF HIVPrimary infection
May 18, 2017

This is the period immediately after the virus enters the body. At this stage, the virus multiplies quickly and transmission risks are highest.

This first phase can come with flu-like symptoms such as fever, throat pain, muscular pain, fatigue, swollen lymph-nodes and skin eruptions.

These symptoms, which disappear after a few weeks, are not present in all infected persons. Sometimes the primary infection stage goes by unnoticed. It is during this period that the immune system produces antibodies to defend itself against the virus.

Source : L’essentiel du VIH/sida, Portail VIH/sida du Québec, Benoît Lemire

Get involved in the Fqsida board of directors

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Get involved in the Fqsida board of directors
May 18, 2017

Fqsida has taken on a new momentum, particularly since Baya Touré joined its management in February and following our recent merger with the Farha Foundation.

Over the next few years, we plan to carry out many activities aimed at increasing our visibility and momentum, so we need a strong, diversified, motivated, and committed board of directors.

This could be the time for you to make a difference! Many opportunities are open to you: Together

˃ Representative of people living with HIV
• for Montreal (1 year)
• for other areas (1 or 2 years)
˃ Representative of Montreal (2 years)
˃ Expert: with a particular expertise or affiliation (funding, events, development, communication etc.)

Interested? We invite you to send us, before the 29th of May 2017, a brief letter of introduction describing your career and your motivation. Address it to Mrs. Mrs. Baya Touré, General Director, at direction@fqsida.org.

Fqsida and the Farha Foundation join forces against HIV/AIDS

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Fqsida and the Farha Foundation join forces against HIV/AIDS
May 18, 2017
SOLIDAIRES
We announced it last April 4th: the Fondation québécoise du sida and the Fondation Farha merged on the 1st of April under the banner of the Fondation québécoise du sida to better join forces against HIV/AIDS!

“This is excellent news for all the men and women fighting against HIV/AIDS in Quebec!” said Sylvain Laflamme, chairman of the board of Fqsida. “This merger comes at the right time and enables us to promote our joint vision: Together let’s build a world without AIDS or HIV”.

The Farha Foundation spearheads the fight against HIV/AIDS. Over the past 25 years, it has distributed close to 10 million dollars to some 76 organizations in Quebec that provide care and services to people living with HIV/AIDS, along with prevention and education programmes.

We are proud of this alliance and happy to renew, in this way, our commitment to the communities of Quebec. The combined experience of our two foundations will contribute to an even better response to the many issues in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Pre-hiring questionnaires: an illegal but common practice!

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PRE-HIRING QUESTIONNAIRES: AN ILLEGAL BUT COMMON PRACTICE! 
February 15, 2017

Today you can be refused a job after stating in a pre-hiring questionnaire that you are living with HIV or another chronic ailment, even though you do not represent any risk for those around you.

The pratiqueillegale.com web campaign launched by Fqsida in May last highlighted the use, particularly in the Quebec health network, of these discriminatory questionnaires that are clearly condemned by the law.

The online petition calling for the elimination of these illegal questionnaires in the network’s establishments ended on the 31st of January. The signatures were sent to COCQ-SIDA so as to support its efforts to finally end this hiring discrimination and simply have the law respected.

Federal funding : What future for the fight against HIV?

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FEDERAL FUNDING FOR THE FIGHT AGAINST HIV
February 15, 2017

The Fqsida member organizations affected by the federal cuts, together with their Canadian counterparts, are pursuing their efforts to have their funding maintained and to obtain an in-depth review of the way Ottawa funds the fight against HIV.

At a time when ending the pandemic seems technically possible, the Federal Government’s lack of vision is to be deplored.

In this highly precarious context, your support for the fight against HIV in Quebec makes an even greater difference. Your one-time donations are also very precious to us! Thank you!

GEIPSI: WHAT FUTURE FOR THE FIGHT AGAINST HIV?

Yvon Couillard is the general director of GEIPSI, a Montreal organization working with a highly marginalized clientele: people living with HIV/Aids or the Hepatitis C virus and who present a profile of homelessness, drug abuse and, sometimes, mental illness. The interview he gave us casts a worrying light on the future of the fight against HIV in Canada.
Federal funding represents 45% of the budget of GEIPSI. For Yvon, the priority is clear: the day centre must be maintained. However, the loss of federal funding would mean eliminating one of the two practitioner posts, reduced services and shorter opening hours.

For now Yvon is waiting for a response to his request for a transitional budget, which, when granted, enables the organizations concerned to keep receiving funding for a year, after which their directors have to present their strategic funding plan. The cuts planned by Ottawa are in no way called into question and the organizations are asked to find for themselves the money they need for their activities!

The situation is particularly worrying since Ottawa does not seem to have any vision on the fight against HIV and Hepatitis C. In Quebec, for example, organizations working with injectable drug users (who are among the key population groups), homeless persons or women (other than sex workers) are mostly threatened by the federal cuts. There does not seem to be any strategy to replace the services threatened by the cuts!

Yvon knows he can count on the mobilization of the community movement for the fight against HIV to obtain federal funding for 2018-2022 for the threatened organizations. However, he does not hide the concern of his team and his beneficiaries.

 

Member organizations threatened by federal funding cuts

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SEVEN OF FQSIDA’S SEVENTEEN MENBER ORGANIZATIONS THREATENED BY FEDERAL FUNDING CUTS
November 30, 2016

Canadian government blows hot and cold on financing the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Justin Trudeau certainly blew hot when he announced in May a 20% increase in Canada’s contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, then confirmed it in September.

However, the enthusiasm of the Canadian HIV/AIDS community did not last long! From 29 September, just two weeks after the Global Fund’s replenishment conference in Montreal, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) blew freezing air on organizations fighting HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C and other blood-borne and sexually transmitted infections. As a result of new funding rules at the PHAC, some organizations had their funding purely and simply scrapped. Many more suffered cuts representing up to 70% of their budgets.

Quebecois organizations, including 7 members of the Fondation québécoise du sida (Fqsida) have taken a direct hit from these measures, which jeopardize the existence of many of them. They are now denouncing a two-phased process of consultation and allocation of funds that lacked transparency from its inception and is out of sync with realities on the ground. They are urging the PHAC and Ottawa to suspend the process, maintain the status quo based on previous funding, for a year, starting before 31 March 2017, and do an in-depth review of the way it collaborates with and funds communities.

Centre des R.O.S.É.S. is one of the 7 organizations threatened by federal funding cuts

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CENTRE DES R.O.S.É.S. IS ONE OF THE SEVEN ORGANIZATIONS THREATENED BY FEDERAL FUNDING CUTS
November 30, 2016

visuel_angOne of the main actors in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, the Centre des R.O.S.É.S. strives to prevent the transmission of HIV and provide support to people living with HIV in the huge territory.

The new rules for the allocation of funds by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) stripped the Centre of its eligibility for any federal funding, and the Centre found out in early October that its budget would be cut by 64%. This will evidently have disastrous consequences for the organization, which will be obliged to cut back drastically on its activities. Its general director, Brigitte Laliberté, says it will have to close its offices in summer and reduce its opening times for the rest of the year. Layoffs and scrapping prevention activities in the remotest areas are also not to be ruled out. People living with HIV will necessarily be affected, especially the most isolated ones since services and travel are very expensive in such a vast territory.

The directors of the affected organizations are revolted by the lack of clarity and coherence of the new funding-allocation process. While it was still a draft, many groups had denounced the fact that it took insufficient account of their specific realities. Its implementation has confirmed its limits. For example, the application form leaves little space for describing the project concerned. However, the reason given for refusing to finance the Centre des R.O.S. É.S. was precisely a lack of precision in the description. How is precision possible when the space allocated for it is so small? Moreover, the project was considered insufficiently innovative and inclusive, whereas these criteria had not been initially mentioned. Can they then become criteria for exclusion?

Pending possible responses to these questions and perhaps a reassessment of the applications, the Centre des R.O.S. É.S. prepares to weather the storm, like the six other members of Fqsida and the many community groups throughout Canada that have been hit by the federal cuts.

Now, more than ever, your donations and your support make a difference.