Welcome to our new
Executive Director,
Shannon Ryan!

“It’s clear that the OAN has many challenges to face over the coming months and years given the funding and political environment. I look forward to working with you all to face them and to build on a strong OAN legacy.”

HIV Diagnoses Up in Ontario

Do you know what you need to know about trends in HIV diagnoses in Ontario? Check out the Ontario HIV Epidemiology and Surveillance Initiative’s (OHESI) new report titled “New HIV diagnoses in Ontario, 2017”. The report describes, updates and expands on the trends in HIV diagnoses in Ontario over the past decade (2008-2017) with a focus on new HIV diagnoses in 2017. It presents information by sex, age, race/ethnicity, geographic location and priority populations who are at higher risk for HIV.

The report also indicates that there were 916 new HIV diagnoses in 2017 and that new diagnoses have increased every year since 2014. It also tells us that about 1 of 5 of those diagnosed in 2017 are female, and that 1 in 4 are African, Caribbean or Black. It also tells us that gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men still represent the majority of those diagnosed. To learn more about recent developments in Ontario’s HIV epidemic download the report here.

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Annual Meeting Registration Reminder

If you’ve not already done so, please register for this year’s Annual Meeting. (The registration link has already been emailed to Executive Directors to be shared with their delegates)

This year’s Annual Meeting will include several  opportunities to engage with the OAN. We’d especially like to remind you about the meeting of delegates who are living with HIV. We have a number of important updates for delegates at this meeting and look forward to sharing a new model for engaging leaders in our sector who are living with HIV. This includes the establishment of 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 PLWHIV community meaningfully informs our work.

This year’s Annual Meeting will include:

  •  HIV+ Delegate’s Meeting – Thursday, September 19th from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
  • OAN Member’s Meeting – Friday, September 20th from 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
  • OAN Annual Meeting – Saturday, September 21st from 9:30 am – 3:00 pm

Please register no later than Thursday, September 12, 2019. Please note that the final Annual Meeting package, including 2018 Annual Meeting Minutes, proxy forms, final agenda, etc. will be distributed on August 27, 2019 via email.

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Gilbert Centre Supports LGBTQ2 Seniors

On August 12, the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Seniors,  announced more than $3 million in new funding through the New Horizons for Seniors Program to support the Gilbert Centre to reduce discrimination and increase social inclusion of LGBTQ2 seniors in Central and Northeastern Ontario. Check out the announcement here.

Over the next five years, the Gilbert Centre will work with the AIDS Committee of North Bay & Area and Reseau Access Network to develop coping strategies, engage LGBTQ2 seniors, help them develop strong social networks in their community and provide them with access to appropriate LGBTQ2-friendly services and support.

Congratulations to Gilbert Centre, ACNBA and Reseau!

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It’s Time for Self-Testing in Ontario

A significant number of people living with HIV in Ontario have not been diagnosed and self-testing could represent a meaningful opportunity to address this. The Reaching the Undiagnosed INSTI HIV Self-test Study will raise awareness, educate and engage with key priority populations about the importance of testing to help improve Canada’s HIV diagnosis rates and reduce new HIV infections among key priority populations. This is also the first study of its kind to allow for HIV self-test devices to be licensed for use by the public.

The study is jointly funded by CIHR Centre for REACH 3.0 and CANFAR and will include 1,000 participants from key priority populations in Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Victoria over 12 to 16 weeks. Sites in Toronto include Hassle Free Clinic and Women’s Health in Women’s Hands. If the study results are successful, self-testing devices could become more accessible.

To hear more about the study go here.

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Welcome, Hope! So long, Ryan!

The OAN is excited to announce that following a recruitment process that saw more than 25 applicants and interviewed four highly qualified folks, we’ve hired Hope Ramsay as our new Manager of Communications and Member Development. 

Hope brings a depth of experience in our sector and has held positions at Black CAP and the OHTN; she is also a nurse and has served in HIV-related clinical roles in the Caribbean throughout the 1990s. Most recently, Hope was the Manager of Prevention Programs at 360 Kids. She also brings significant experience as a professor, trainer and adult educator in a range of settings.

As Ryan Kerr’s last day at the OAN was yesterday, we wish him well as he assumes his new role at OHTN as the Lead, Toronto to Zero, supporting the Toronto to Zero project and other Collective Impact initiatives beginning later this month.

Ryan came to the OAN at a time of significant internal change and has delivered highly innovative and creative programming over the last year and a half. Working closely with Acting ED Wendy Pinder and with the new permanent ED Shannon Ryan, he helped to reinvigorate the Skills Workshop Series, created and launched our new Skills+ program (register here!) and was the creative force behind this bi-weekly newsletter.

We have no doubt that Ryan will again work his magic in his new role and we wish him all the best. We welcome Hope in her exciting new adventure here beginning September 3, 2019.

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The OAN Outpost

The OAN Outpost is distributed to our email list of OAN Member and Affiliate agencies, Board members and friends of the OAN.

The Newsletter contains actionable items and events that offer an opportunity for our readers to engage with other organizations and initiatives.

To be included in the OAN Newsletter, items must be:

  • Relevant to the friends/Members of the Ontario AIDS Network
  • Timely: within the last 2 weeks or part of a new story within the last 2 weeks
  • Informative – this usually means it links elsewhere to an existing or shared resource – especially if it re-directs to information on our website
  • Promotion of a special event

Ultimately, the curation of items for distribution falls to the Manager of Communications. To submit an item for inclusion in the next OAN Newsletter, email rkerr@oan.red.