Matthew (He/Him) joined ACNS as our Winter Co-Op Intern.
Matthew is in his third year at Saint Mary’s University where he is studying Political Science. He is expected to graduate in 2025.
Matthew enjoys keeping active by skiing, hiking, and going to the gym. He loves music, philosophy and hanging out with family and friends. He also loves traveling and spent a semester abroad living in Ireland, which was a life changing experience.
Olivia (They/Them) is a Health and Wellness Coordinator at ACNS.
Olivia is a non-binary, queer, and white person with a background in non-profits, community health initiatives, scientific research, and youth programming. They have a BSc from Dalhousie University where they studied Biochemistry and Neuroscience and obtained a certificate in Data Analytics. Olivia is passionate about building joyful and inclusive queer community and dismantling health inequities to create safer and more accessible care for Nova Scotians.
In their free time, Olivia loves to cook, enjoy the ocean and lakes around Nova Scotia, and cuddle their cats and dog.
We are announcing Totally Trans Outright! TTOR is a free community leadership and care summit for trans* people by trans* people open to anyone in Nova Scotia.
Our goal is to bring together Trans* folks who are community leaders or want to become one and needs support to learn how to help their community and themselves. This event will take place over the span of 5 days on Kings's campus in Halifax from May 6th to May 10th. If from out of HRM, we can supply transportation or help with the cost of travel.
If you are in HRM and you need support with the cost of travel, this can also be arranged. There are also free accommodations for those coming out of the city and catering for all.
HIV Self Test!
A new and easy way to get free, low barrier, and confidential access to HIV self-test kits at the AIDS Coalition of Nova Scotia (ACNS)!
ACNS is excited to be part of Community Link, the latest HIV self-testing project providing free HIV self-test kits to anyone in Nova Scotia and connecting them to the care they need.
We’re providing pickup and mailout options to make sure we get kits in the hands of everyone who needs them. When you’re ready to explore this exciting testing option, we’ll be right there with you!
What’s an HIV Self-Test?
The HIV self-test is fairly new in Canada, so it’s possible that you’ve never heard of it before now. We’re here to provide you with information to help you decide if this is right for you.
An HIV self-test is a test you do on your own that looks for HIV antibodies within minutes. The self-test needs 2-4 small drops of blood from pricking the top of your finger with a small needle. The self-test is not a confirmatory test. What this means is that it can’t fully confirm your positive or negative result. However, the self-test is 99% accurate in reading results!
The self-test is meant to be included as part of your regular HIV/STI testing, especially if there are long wait times to get an appointment, and empower more people to know their HIV status.
If you’d prefer to see a quick demonstration on how the self-test works before getting yours, please check out this video: https://youtu.be/1G1ia1S7uZo
Get Your Kits from ACNS!
We think it’s great that you’re taking steps to take care of your health. We’re happy to provide a variety of options for you to get your free HIV self-test kits. You’re not alone. We’re here to support you every step of the way.
Info & Resources
Before testing, you can review the following:
After testing, you can review the following:
COVID Vaccines & HIV
3rd Vaccine Shot for PLHAs in Nova Scotia
In regards to people living with HIV, If you have a Cluster of Differentiation 4 (CD4) of less than 200 you’re able to receive an additional dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, and it is recommended that you do so.
From CATIE`s website (see https://www.catie.ca/covid-19-and-hiv for additional info)…
It is important to consider getting vaccinated if you have HIV. Many people with HIV have or are at an increased risk for developing the underlying conditions that increase their chances of developing COVID-19 or severe disease if they become infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. These underlying conditions include high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, lung disease, obesity and so on.
Experts consider COVID vaccines to be safe and effective for people with HIV. Clinical trials with the Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines included a relatively small number of people with HIV, all of whom were taking ART and who were healthy and well. Further studies are needed to determine if the vaccine works as well for people with HIV as it does for the general population.
There is no information yet on how well the vaccine works in people living with HIV who have a compromised immune system. If you are not on treatment and have a very low CD4 count, discuss vaccination with your healthcare provider. Some experts recommend starting HIV treatment first to prevent HIV-related complications and to potentially improve vaccine effectiveness.
COVID Info & Your HIV Meds
Look after yourself and plan…
We encourage our HIV+ members to make sure they have an adequate supply of their HIV medications and all other necessary medications. At this time prescriptions filled by the 6 North Pharmacy (Victoria General Hospital) are ONLY being mailed or couriered. We recommend arranging for refills 3-4 weeks before you are to run out. Be sure to listen closely to the phone instructions when you call the pharmacy and to provide your complete mailing address when arranging refills.
Pay attention to reliable sources of info about the pandemic - like this Nova Scotia Government website and protect yourself: masking, physically isolating yourself and regular hand-washing are "your friends"! Taking your HIV medications daily is always important - and especially so at this time!
Stay tuned for more info and stay well!
Hanley (They/Them) is a Health and Wellness Coordinator at ACNS, and our lead for 2-Spirit, Trans and Non-Binary programs at ACNS.
Hanley is a non-binary activist and community leader in Nova Scotia’s queer community. They have developed and implemented queer youth programs, and done award winning work caring for trans* youth throughout their many years of volunteer service. Hanley is also a musician and has worked to ensure the success of disabled artists as they are one themselves.
Hanley is a big fan of dungeons & dragons with a dice collection the size of a watermelon. They are very excited to do the work that they care about most, protecting and caring for trans* people.
Jordan Parker (He/Him) is the Fund Development & Communications Manager at ACNS. He has a Masters in Investigative Journalism from the University of King's College, and an Advanced Diploma in PR from NSCC Ivany campus.
A freelance journalist and owner of arts and entertainment firm Parker PR, Jordan is an award-winning writer and communicator. He works part-time doing event planning, and has worked on events including the Halifax Comedy Festival and the Halifax Buskers. He has a passion for non-profit and helping the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.
He's a huge movie fan and owns 2,500 DVDs and BluRays. During the NHL season, you can usually catch Jordan rooting on his Toronto Maple Leafs.
Cole (He/Him) has joined ACNS as the Fund Development & Marketing Intern for the summer.
He is a current student at Saint Mary’s University. He will be going into his third year of studies next year and expects to graduate in 2025 with an undergraduate degree in Commerce.
Cole loves to stay active by playing sports such as Hockey and Baseball, and explores nature during walks and hikes.
HIV prevention, testing and treatment have all changed so much.
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