On September 19th, 2019 the OAN Board of Directors hosted a very well attended and lively meeting of OAN delegates living with HIV. Delegates were sent by OAN Member agencies to represent their organization at our Member’s and Annual Meeting. It was the best attended meeting in many years.

These are the people that one delegate labelled the “superheroes of the HIV movement in Ontario”. This was just one characteristic that those present told us that they were bringing into the meeting.  In all, there were 37 people living with HIV in the room from 27 OAN Member and Affiliate organizations, including three OAN board members and two OAN staff. There was a total of 743 years of lived experience in the room. Superheroes indeed!

We spent most of the evening reviewing the draft Terms of Reference for a new Advisory Committee of People Living with HIV that will provide guidance to the OAN and its board and ensure that Ontario’s diverse community of people living with HIV meaningfully informs our work. There was unanimous support among those present for the creation of such an Advisory Committee.

Discussion about the draft Terms of Reference was lively, engaged, and thoughtful. Delegates were clear that Advisory Committee members had to be connected to their local agencies and communities so that they can credibly represent the issues impacting people with HIV in their communities. Much of our discussion centred on how members of the Committee would be selected and the need to ensure that the Committee truly represents the diversity of people living with HIV in Ontario.

Nine Delegates volunteered to participate in a time-limited working group that would make recommendations to the OAN board with respect to refining the draft Terms of Reference of the Advisory Committee. We look forward to working with this group, receiving their valuable input and thank them for stepping up to help us better embody GIPA/MEPA, inclusiveness and responsiveness through the creation of this Advisory Committee.