BLITS: Sexe-Cité, a different approach to sex for 15- to 25-year-olds



February 16, 2016


SEXE-CITE – A world of pleasure, communication and safety
• To approach sex differently
• To discuss sex today
• To know more about safe sex

An increase in sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBI) among 15- to 24-year-olds, the « hypersexualisation » of society, the absence of sex education from school curricula in Quebec (since 2005) … Our young people do not always find answers to their questions. Parents and educators often feel inadequate.

Born of this harsh realization, BLITS’ Sexe-Cité is a sex-education initiative that aims to develop the empowerment – the ability to take action – of 15- to 25-year-olds using the notions of pleasure, consensus, security and sexual health.

The aims of the Sexe-Cité workshops are to:
• Stimulate the emergence of a critical awareness with regard to stereotypes, pornography and sexual messages, which are omnipresent in our society;
• Update young people’s knowledge of STBBI, modes of transmission and prevention;
• Foster active participation (communication, consensus, mutual respect);
• Increase self-esteem and self-confidence, and enhance awareness of one’s own needs, values, desires and limits with regard to sex.

The workshops, designed for same-sex groups of six to 15 participants, are conducted free of charge in requesting organisations. They consist of three sessions of about 90 minutes each.

Sexe-Cité is also a microsite for young people, with videos and awareness-building quizzes.

Visit (French only)

Volunteers: Key actors on the community scene


February 16, 2016

Volunteering, the cultural cornerstone of the community movement, is essential to the daily functioning of organisations.

Petites mainsAgainst today’s trend of disengagement by governments from major social sectors such as education or health, to mention the most evident ones, the role each individual can play within his/her community appears all the more crucial. Evidently, it is not a matter of substituting collective or individual social initiatives for the functions of government bodies, but volunteers have long understood the role they can play so as to help shape the new face of our society.

The commitment and altruism of these men and women take, in fact, very many forms and the expression « giving of one’s time » seems a gross understatement when placed against the tremendous contribution they make. Volunteers participate in the democratic decision-making process (boards of directors, executive councils, etc.) of organisations and associations. They offer their services to people so as to foster the improvement of their quality of life while maintaining them in their natural environment. They lead support, self-help, artistic-expression, meditation and other groups. They become the faces of causes by sharing their experiences or being their spokespersons. They offer their professional skills (accounting, law, massotherapy, psychology, etc.) for free.

Volunteers invest their time, energy, skills and good humour! Just like you, dear donors, they make a difference each day towards a society with greater solidarity, a more balanced society.

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.

Visit (in french)

CASM: the HIV/AIDS organisation by and for women


November 26, 2015

CASMThis year’s launch of the new website of the Centre for AIDS Services Montreal (Women) – CASM – is a beautiful opportunity to introduce to you our organisation, the only one in Quebec devoted exclusively to the specific issue of women dealing with HIV/AIDS.

The Centre’s mission is to provide women infected and affected by HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBI) along with their families, with education and prevention activities, support and accompaniment services, and representation to defend their interests.

These actions, which prioritise in particular the specific needs of women and their families living below the poverty line, are aimed at enhancing their ability to act on their circumstances and improve their quality of life.

The Centre began its activities in1990 in order to make up for the lack of resources and services for HIV-positive women in Montreal. At the time it was made up of a group of female volunteers who offered their services to women infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. Since then more than a thousand people have benefited from the Centre’s services! Volunteers continue to be the pillars of our organisation, participating actively in its functioning and in all spheres of our action on behalf of women and the general population. Most of our volunteers are peer assistants because the principle of women helping women is at the core of our interventions; it is the reason why we exist.

Marie Niyongere, Director

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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.

Prevention campaign: In my bag


August 19, 2015

Dans mon sacFor some years now, Quebec has experienced an increase in the number of sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBIs), such as chlamydia. Women have not been spared, and there is a need to raise their awareness on the importance of preserving their sexual health.

COCQ-SIDA, a partner organisation of Fqsida, has therefore developed its first campaign to promote health and the prevention of HIV and other STBBIs among the women of Quebec. The “In my Bag” campaign, launched on 6 July last, promises a healthy, fulfilling sex life free from STBBIs.

The website provides factual information focusing on the notions of pleasure, discovery and conscious, not subjected, sexuality.

Although certain women present increased risk factors, vulnerability to HIV is not a fixed state: at different moments of her life, a woman can face situations that increase the risk of HIV infection.

The campaign presents the bags of four women with different profiles:
– Lyne, in her fifties, newly separated, seeks new partners;
– Rosa, a young migrant woman, is trying to develop ties in her host country;
– Audrey likes partying and multiple encounters;
– Julie, a young mother, is unaware that her husband unfaithful.

Among the some fifteen organisations that are working together on this initiative, we would like to highlight the participation of ACCM, CASM and Gap-Vies, members of Fqsida.

Visit (french ang english)


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.”

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

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):