Our favourite season


September 8, 2016

Community mobilization against HIV knows no summer break! The teams deployed all their optimism and high spirits to prepare the summer activities, often reinforced by volunteers. Here is a small selection.

Journées communautaires Fierté 2016

The ACCM’s booth at Montreal 2016 Gay Pride

Awareness-building and information during the community day at Fierté Montreal 2016, a date not to be forgotten on the agenda of the fight against HIV. Even the downpours were powerless to dampen the enthusiasm of the men and women who ventured out to meet the public. ACCM alone distributed 10 000 condoms there!

We also need to highlight the formidable energy at the booth of the Maison Plein Cœur and its dynamic participation this summer in  various fund-raising activities, each more enjoyable than the other.

As it does every year, Gap-Vies conducted many outreach activities aimed at raising awareness and prevention during popular events in and around Montréal, such as Carifesta, les Week-ends du Monde, and sporting competitions.

For MIELS-Québec, a major activity was testing evenings in meeting places such as saunas and night spots, where anonymous, free and confidential testing was provided by a nurse and a social assistant, both of whom were always on hand to respond to questions.

Many weeks of reflection and work by ACCM culminated this summer in the launch of its new website and visual identity, a very beautiful accomplishment of which the ACCM team can be proud!

Sexe-au-menuSome organizations also relayed the COCQ-SIDA campaign, “Sexe au menu, combine tes ingrédients” (Sex on the menu, combine your ingredients). Here, men who are gay, bisexual, transsexual or who, here and there, like to have sex with other men are invited to rediscover six strategies for protecting themselves from the risk of HIV transmission: pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), post-exposure prophylaxis (PPE), testing, condom-use, considering your viral load and negotiated safety – a campaign with an off-beat humour.

… And the new season promises to be just as active!

MIELS-Québec: An app for free condoms


May 8, 2016

For prevention to be successful, it’s indispensable to keep reminding young people of the importance of protecting themselves. That’s the key message of the Action-Condom campaign in Quebec, which now has a brand new tool: an application enabling young people to get free condoms.

condom QcQuick, a condom!
The Condom-Quebec app allows the quick geolocalization of youth community organizations that distribute FREE condoms.

Created by a group of community organizations to promote health to teens in the Capitale-Nationale region, among which appears MIELS-Québec, this tool also allows a quick search to find an intervenor to answer any questions. It also gives access at any time to sexual health information.

Protection is automatic
The Condom-Quebec app is a concrete tool resulting directly from the campaign. Through two unconventional and humorous video clips, this Internet campaign features young people in living contexts such as playing hockey and tattooing in which protection is automatic. The message? When you become sexually active, the condom reflex is also automatic!

To see the video clips
To download the app
(French only)

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.”

The rubber brigade : prevention by and for youth


July 26th, 2013

The « Rubber Brigade » project, organized by
MIELS-Québec, member of the Fqsida, is a unique way for young people in the national capital region to make a difference in their area through the promotion of safer sex and the prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted blood borne infections (STBBI).

There are many stumbling blocks to a discussion of sexuality. Whether it’s embarrassment, lack of information, or the absence of people to turn to, many young people develop a misinformed idea about sexuality. Because it’s not enough to know how sex works. It’s important to know and adopt safer sexual practices, in order to stay healthy, prevent STBBIs and avoid unplanned pregnancies. There are also barriers preventing young people from using condoms; either lack of information, peer pressure, lack of money, the absence of condom distributors or discomfort with buying them.

The “Rubber Brigade” project, empowers groups of young people to distribute basic information and refer peers to sources of information related to sexual health, as well as the prevention of STBBIs and HIV, sexual orientation, contraception, pregnancy, respectful sexual relations and the prevention of juvenile prostitution.  These young people have prevention at heart, and want to make a difference in their communities. Their mission is to share information on sexual health, and encourage access to condoms in places where young people hang out. They spread awareness among their peers, to help them have safe, fulfilling sex when the time comes for them to be sexually active.

This year a new part of the project was launched: young people wishing to form a brigade have been invited to participate in the “Rubber Brigades take action” contest, where they will develop a prevention project for sexual health in their community. The winning brigade will receive a $500 prize.

Nearly 25 young members of the Rubber Brigades presented their projects in front of 50 health, education and community organization representatives. Discover all six creative and dynamic projects online at labrigade.org.

The “Rubber Brigades take action” contest will start up again in September 2013.

For more information (in French): labrigade.org

M.I.E.L.S.-Québec:Fighting HIV/AIDS for 25 years


February 8th, 2012

The Mouvement d’information et d’entraide dans la lutte au VIH/sida à Québec, MIELS-Québec, will soon be celebrating its 25th anniversary. It was founded in September 1988 as a group initiative in the Quebec City gay community, at a time when nothing was known about this infection and HIV-positive people staggered under the weight of prejudice, rejection, loneliness, powerlessness, and death.

Founding member Pierre Berthelot remembers that time all too well: “One August evening in 1986, on Rue Montmartre in Quebec City, I had my first meeting of what would one day become MIELS-Québec. A microbiologist and infectiologist, Dr. François Auger, was holding an information session on this ‘plague’ that was decimating gay men in cities throughout the western world. The tsunami had reached Quebec City. I remember looking at the 30 or so men there, not with the usual interest of my younger years, but to guess which ones had been diagnosed with this incurable disease that would kill them in 18 to 24 months’ time. Most of them were young and did not look sick. Was this virus really so insidious and treacherous? I was terrified, but the terror gave me a huge burst of energy to help to found an extraordinary organization that has endured, faithful to its values despite the inevitable compromises. (…) My involvement in MIELS-Québec has enriched my life and changed me permanently.”

From the beginning, businesses in the gay community joined the cause, fundraising and showing solidarity. MIELS-Québec has without a doubt helped to build the Quebec City gay community to meet the urgent need to help its own and work for HIV prevention.

In 1988, a plan to open a residence for people with AIDS met stiff opposition, with a city councillor circulating a petition that gathered 1,100 signatures. People in Limoilou did not want people with AIDS in their back yard. In the end, Mayor Pelletier, the Archdiocese, and the Sisters of Charity had to intervene to see the project through, and it opened in autumn 1988. Le Transit, later renamed Maison Marc-Simon, then Hébergement Marc-Simon, continues to welcome people living with HIV/AIDS. Today, of course, people come for support to recover their strength, but at the time they came to die. The name Marc-Simon commemorates two young gay men who died of AIDS in 1987 and 1988, both at the age of 26.

Since the turn of the millennium, the profile of those using the organization’s services has changed a great deal. Today, MIELS-Québec serves people from every background affected by HIV/AIDS. From the seed planted 25 years ago by the Quebec City gay community, MIELS-Québec has grown into a movement for prevention and solidarity with people with HIV/AIDS.

Thérèse Richer,