The Mutual Support Group for HIV-Positive, Homeless and Drug-Dependent Persons (GEIPSI)


May 13th, 2015

geipsiSince 1992, the Montreal organisation GEIPSI has been working with highly marginalised persons living with HIV/Aids or Hepatitis C who also have a profile of homelessness, drug-dependence and, sometimes, mental illness.

GEIPSI is a group for mutual aid, support and references. Our philosophy of intervention is founded on a relationship of trust and the conviction that everyone has the potential to act on his/her daily reality. Empathy and respect guide our actions and we work at many levels with participants so as to get them to become aware of their power to act.

GEIPSI fronts a gradual holistic approach that respects each person’s individual progression so as to foster:
— participants’ taking control of their health
— safe drug use habits
— safe sex practices
— social reinsertion
— empowerment

GEIPSI’s mandate also includes defending and promoting the interests and rights of these persons who face multiple odds that result in their social exclusion.
Some of the services it provides include a friendly day centre for taking “break from the street”, psychosocial services for personalised care, educational workshops known as “5 to 7” to learn about and develop safe habits and skills on a daily basis, community activities and dinners to break isolation, as well as Les Sans-Mots journal, which offers an opportunity to take part in a common project. The work of our little team enables us, in this way, to support our participants, minimise the negative impact of the problems they experience and, sometimes, help them to find a new lease on life.
Yvon Couillard, Director

GEIPSI stands for Groupe d’entraide à l’intention des personnes séropositives, itinérantes et toxicomanes.


Bill 20 and its implications for the most vulnerable patients


May 13th, 2015

Projet loi 20The HIV community in Québec will be paying particular attention to news about Bill 20 in the coming weeks.
This bill, whose objective is to improve access to the health system, is mainly about setting patient quotas for family doctors. It requires them to see a minimum number of patients or have their pay reduced by up to 30%.

According to the model envisaged in the bill, a person who is HIV-positive counts as two patients due to the complexity of his/her medical care. However, for people involved in the struggle against HIV in Quebec, this coefficient does not reflect the medical reality of people who, in addition to living with HIV, grapple with other health problems such as Hepatitis C, dependence on drugs, medication or alcohol, or mental problems.

Many fear that Bill 20 actually reduces access to health care and leads to some forms of discrimination that shut out the most vulnerable patients. In a letter to the Minister of Health and Social Services, published in La Presse on 2 April 2015, Thérèse Richer, executive director of MIELS-Québec, aptly sums up the feelings of a good number of family doctors, health care staff, stakeholders and patients: “The focus should be on real life which, in actual practice, does not fit into systematic mathematical calculations.”

ACS/AMO Congo : Access to treatment remains a priority



May 13th, 2015

Photo: © Coalition PLUS Fqsida board member Hélène Legaré with the staff of ACS/AMO Congo’s “BON BERGER “ integrated polyclinic in Kinshasa (DRC), which provides some 2,300 persons living with HIV with anti-retroviral treatment, and medical and psycho-social care.

Photo: © Coalition PLUS
Fqsida board member Hélène Legaré with the staff of ACS/AMO Congo’s “BON BERGER “ integrated polyclinic in Kinshasa (DRC), which provides some 2,300 persons living with HIV with anti-retroviral treatment, and medical and psycho-social care.

The number of HIV-positive persons currently living in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is estimated at one million. Fewer than 100,000 of them receive anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment to fight the infection. This is a human, economic and health catastrophe when one knows that proper treatment enables a person to achieve quality of life and to be healthy enough to work on a daily basis and take care of his or her family, while considerably reducing the risk of transmission of the virus during sexual contact or from mother to child.
Historically, most people who are on ARVs in the DRC received them as a result of the mobilisation of community structures, with the ACS/AMO Congo foremost among them. Coalition PLUS has understood this and has been supporting this association since 2009 by financing the missions of independent auditors tasked with certifying it. Such a level of financial certification, very rare internationally, not only provides our organisation and its donors with a guarantee that the funds it manages are used rigorously, it also enables the member associations of Coalition PLUS to earn credibility with international donors in the fight against the epidemic.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis and post-exposure prophylaxis


May 13th, 2015

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) entails taking regular preventive doses of medication normally used to treat HIV so as to concentrate that drug in the body, thus reducing the risk of infection in the event of exposure.

Post-exposure prophylaxis (PPE) is prescribed for uninfected persons following exposure to HIV. It has been demonstrated that taking PPE within three (3) days after real exposure to HIV can reduce the risk of infection

What is HIV Pre-exposure prophylaxis?


May 13th, 2015

PrEPPre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) consists of administering preventive treatments against an illness prior to exposure to it. This is the case, for example, with anti-malaria treatments begun before travelling to malaria-prone areas.

In the case of HIV, PrEP consists of an anticipated anti-retroviral treatment (with the same medicines used for treating HIV infection) for certain persons who are not infected but have a high risk of exposure to HIV, so as to reduce the risk of infection. The aim of the treatment is to block HIV from multiplying if it enters the body and thus prevent the infection from spreading to the entire body.

PrEP is an additional effective prevention method that is not, however, intended for all types of persons with a high risk of HIV-infection. It is also not meant to be used alone, but together with other methods such as condoms, and in combination with HIV-testing.
Similarly, it is not to be used throughout one’s lifetime, but to be taken during periods in a person’s life (whether short or long, occasional or frequent) where there are real risks of HIV exposure.

When properly followed, PrEP has demonstrated its effectiveness for men and women who face a real risk of HIV infection.
For further information on PrEP consult your doctor.

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