Awareness campaign: « Today, I’m thinking positively »


Aujourd’hui, j’pense positif

November 26, 2015

MaternitéOn the occasion of World AIDS Day, COCQ-SIDA and its affiliates launch an appeal for a positive attitude so as to end discrimination against persons living with HIV.
Even though scientific and therapeutic advances have reduced the infectious nature of HIV and the risks of transmission of the virus, people living with HIV continue to be subjected to stigmatisation and discrimination.

TravailWork, neighbourly relations, alternative health care, friendship, love, sport and maternity are the 7 themes of this awareness campaign which places emphasis above all on « positiveness » so as to debunk the myths surrounding HIV, which are still deep-rooted.

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Much still needs to be done to match our ambitions!


November 26, 2015

As we highlight the 28th World AIDS Day, the international community continues to work towards achieving the aim of UNAIDS’ strategy, « Objective zero: Zero new HIV infections, Zero discrimination, Zero AIDS-related deaths”. As 2016 dawns, the portrait of the battle against AIDS/HIV is full of hope.

We are seeing a net decline of the epidemic: the number of new cases has been falling for about 15 years and, over the past 10 years, so has the number of AIDS-related deaths.

These results are attributable to a large extent on improved access to treatment. Additionally, anti-retroviral therapy, which today has fewer side effects, is now synonymous with better health and a closer-to-normal life expectancy for people living with HIV. Moreover, when used correctly, treatment reduces the viral load until it becomes undetectable, which can reduce the risk of HIV transmission by 90%. Thus, the progress registered in treatment and prevention, as well as in human rights, opens up real prospects.

However, ending the epidemic by 2030 , as per the objectives of UNAIDS, will still require a great deal of work, mainly with regard to making testing more accessible, enabling the 22 million untested persons living with HIV to be treated, and sustaining and intensifying prevention efforts. This is because a number of challenges still need to be overcome. These include the cost of medicines, which is still too high, taboos linked to HIV and the resulting stigmatisation and discrimination, socio-economic inequalities, the criminalization of homosexuality, which persist in certain countries, and the criminalization of people living with HIV.

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.


Food insecurity and HIV/AIDS closely linked


February 18th, 2015

In a Quebec study* based on a sample of 319 people living with HIV, 58% of respondents reported living with food insecurity. That’s seven times higher than the provincial rate.

Whether it’s due to financial difficulty, physical limitations, or exclusion resulting from stigmatization, households affected by HIV can have a hard time maintaining a healthy, balanced diet (due to access to food, quality and diversity of food, etc.).

Food security on its own affects both physical and mental health, and can have a negative impact on quality of life. In addition, according to some data, by aggravating situations of vulnerability and inequality, a lack of food security can play a role in increasing the risk of HIV transmission, limit access to treatment and care, and is also associated with negative health outcomes for individuals on antiretroviral therapy.

While the negative relationship between food insecurity and HIV is easy to spot, it remains difficult to say whether food insecurity is a cause or effect of HIV.

* “Impact of Food Security on Health Outcomes in People Living with HIV/AIDS Across Canada” Community research carried out in 2013 in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec

Source (French only):


MALI: Gundo-So – The circle of trust


– MALI –
February 18th, 2015

© Harandane DICKO for the Fondation de France

Malian women living with HIV are at particular risk of stigmatization, divorce, repudiation, having their children taken from them, or simply being abandoned. This is because they are often completely dependent on their husbands, both economically and socially. In this context, the decision of whether or not to disclose their HIV positive status can be a dangerous one which can carry serious consequences. The circle of trust, or Gundo-So in Bambara, is a community program created specifically for these women, to give them the tools to make smart, well-thought-out decisions on the subject.

The program involves an assessment interview, as well as ten weekly meetings and an optional group session. Many of the tools used are distinctly born of Malian culture, from stones to estimate the weight of the secret, to wooden sticks to measure the pros and cons of disclosure, etc. Testimonials from women who’ve been through the program make it clear: the impact has been very positive. The program was launched in 2010 by ARCAD-SIDA (the Malian member of Coalition PLUS), and has been implemented in six centres in Bamako, and one in the Kayes region, in the west of the country.

Learn more about Gundo-So



HIV: December 1… And every other day of the yea


November 14th, 2014

FBEvery year around December 1st, HIV takes center stage for a few days in honour of World AIDS Day. The media take part by sharing messages of hope from partners involved in the fight against HIV, through the UNAIDS campaign, “Getting to zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths.”

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Since 2011, this leitmotiv has guided all our efforts, from the biggest organizations right down to the humblest local initiatives. But we also want you to know what’s happening day-to-day, from advances to pitfalls, from victories to disappointments. That’s why Fqsida is now on social media. Our Facebook page will be a place to strengthen our communication with the public, and better share information about this ever-urgent issue, and all its manifold implications: news, Fqsida member organizations’ initiatives, statistics, social progress, new approaches to prevention, testimonials, etc.

We will also use this new platform to thank you for your invaluable support, and highlight the immeasurable impact of your donations.

Ending HIV: The strategy


September 15th, 2014

victoireOf the 35 million people living with HIV today, an estimated 19 million don’t know that they are HIV-positive.

Upon the publication of the UNAIDS Gap Report on July 16, Michel Sidibé declared that, “if we accelerate all HIV scale-up by 2020, we will be on track to end the epidemic by 2030.”

On the margins of the 20th International AIDS Conference, he appealed to the international community to set new treatment goals for 2020:

  • 90% of all people living with HIV should know their HIV status
  • 90% of all people diagnosed with HIV should be receiving HIV treatments 
  • 90% of all people being treated for HIV should achieve lasting viral suppression 

Experts have clearly identified the priorities: close the gap between the number of people who know their HIV status and those who don’t, and between the number of people who receive HIV services and those who don’t.

While applauding the considerable efforts being made to improve access to treatment, the Gap Report also stresses the critical importance of the commitment of the international community, and that of the countries most affected by HIV/AIDS.
It puts particular emphasis on the need to address multiple complex micro-epidemics with specific, tailored solutions, so that people can be reached faster and with better services.

The report also specifies that equal access to quality HIV services will be imperative, both for human rights and public health reasons.

For this to be possible, we must first remedy the lack of data on the people most affected by HIV, combat stigmatization, discrimination, repressive laws, and any obstacles to collective mobilization, and increase funding.
It is estimated that an annual amount of $22-24 billion would be needed to completely fund an effective anti-HIV program.

By putting an end to the epidemic by 2030, we would avoid 18 million new HIV infections, and 11.2 million AIDS-related deaths.

From fiction to reality


September 15th, 2014

Did this projected news story from 2030 sound appealing? After fighting HIV for 50 years, this would be a perfect ending to one of the most murderous epidemics in history.

But did you know that this fictional story might not be so far-fetched? Or at least, that’s the hope of UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé.


2030: A world without HIV


2030: A world without HIV

September 15th, 2014

aidsAs 2030 draws to a close, the latest World Health Organization (WHO) statistics on HIV/AIDS speak for themselves; there have been no new transmissions in the past 24 months!

This is an unprecedented triumph for the entire international community. Prevention, testing, and treatment objectives were all reached thanks to an impressive feat of mobilization by countless players in the fight against HIV.

The most recent UNAIDS report gives particular praise to the synergy between scientific and medical advances, and those in human rights, throughout all five decades of the pandemic.

Additionally, over the past 15 years in particular, the commitment and support of policy-makers worldwide have ensured that the fight against HIV had every necessary resource.

It was a sizeable challenge: ensuring that the people at the highest risk of transmission would benefit from crucial healthcare services. To achieve this,concerted action was needed on all fronts: information and awareness campaigns, targeted prevention campaigns, and increased access to testing, care, and treatment. Equally important was the fight for human rights and against discrimination, criminalization, etc.

None of this would have been possible without the incredible support of donors around the world. Through their contributions to various foundations, they helped fund numerous advances in the fight against HIV, both scientifically and by directly supporting the communities most affected by the pandemic.

Although the infection still has no cure, experts now agree that we can safely refer to the HIV/AIDS epidemic as a thing of the past.

Show your true colours!


April 23th, 2014

couleursEven today, the discrimination and stigmatization faced by many players in the fight against HIV/AIDS as a result of their sexual orientation or identity are some of the biggest challenges to combatting the epidemic. Every year on May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia serves as a reminder of this.

This important day is also an opportunity for Fqsida to highlight the impressive involvement of the gay community in the fight against HIV, as well as the considerable advancements that have been made over the past twenty years in terms of recognizing and respecting the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. However, anti-gay violence continues to exist all around us. Homosexuality is penalized in more than seventy countries around the world. In these countries, social acceptance is still a long way off, and rejection and fear of rejection persist, feeding the epidemic.

It’s time. Show your true colours to fight homophobia – and HIV!