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

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

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.

Key populations

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KEY POPULATIONS
February 15, 2017

In the current dynamic of the HIV/AIDS epidemic at the global level, the communities most exposed to the virus are male and female sex workers, men who have sexual relations with other men and injectable drug users. Because of the discrimination and even criminalization they are subjected to, these persons are, in fact, 10% to 24% more liable to be infected by HIV than the general population. What is at issue here is the limited access to prevention and care when their sexual practices or drug use are condemned by society and even the State. According to the terms of reference of the United Nations these are « key » populations in the epidemic.

Source : Pulsation – June 2016 – Coalition PLUS

The blog « Je suis séropo »

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THE BLOG « JE SUIS SÉROPO »
February 15, 2017

This is a space for words and thoughts on the reality of people living with HIV. The aim of this blog is to help reduce the stigmatization and discrimination against them using a personal approach through which the authors promote the values of mutual respect and solidarity, and positive attitudes towards people living with HIV.

Jacques, spokesman of the “I am HIV-positive” campaign, recently published on the blog a very good post on the question of testing, one which is so intimate and, at the same time, has collective relevance.

Excerpt – « First there was a time when knowing or not knowing had little importance, because the only message that people with AIDS received was: we cannot do anything for you, you are going to die.

Then there was a time when knowing would have made a difference, but we did not know that. We did not know that difference, so we developed approaches for identifying the moment when it was preferable to begin the treatments to help us live longer.

Now, we are at the time when it is clearly established that the earlier we know that we are infected, the sooner we can begin treatment that will yield many benefits for the rest of our lives.”

Read the entire post (in French only) on jesuisseropo.org

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.

 

HIV Info Rights for any legal question on HIV status

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HIV INFO RIGHTS FOR ANY LEGAL QUESTION ON HIV STATUS
November 30, 2016

VIH info droits (HIV info rights) is a service within COCQ-SIDA* that aims to defend the rights of persons living with HIV/AIDS, and provide information and legal assistance devoted exclusively to issues linked to the HIV status of a person. It offers a variety of tools designed to help people make informed choices. It targets persons living with HIV as well as anyone involved in situations related to the former’s rights (care providers, health networks, employers etc.)

For more information, contact VIH info droits: Geneviève Binette – 514 844 2477 ext. 34 or 1 866 535 0481 ext. 34 (free of charge) – vih-infodroits@cocqsida.com

* Coalition of community organizations from Quebec in the fight against AIDS

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.

Together, let’s build a world without AIDS or HIV

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aidsOn the occasion of World AIDS Day 2016, on the 1st of December, COCQ-SIDA* is launching a real rallying message to put an end to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Stressing the importance of collective work, collaboration and solidarity, this key message invites each and every one to learn about the reality of HIV and ways to protect themselves, and to contribute to the fight against the epidemic through donations, volunteering and pressure on public institutions and by fighting against discrimination and stigmatization.

We know now that it is possible to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but there is a long way to go to attain the objective set by UNAIDS for 2030, including in Quebec: invest in prevention, improve access to testing and care, adequately finance grassroot community work, support specialized lodging services etc.

Fqsida has taken ownership of this message so that it can be relayed on a large scale all over Quebec. That is why we are inviting each and every one of you to disseminate it and share it massively on social media in a campaign also aimed at challenging government bodies and elected officials so as to intensify efforts and increase investments.

* Coalition of community organizations from Quebec in the fight against AIDS

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.