Calling all Gay, Bi, and Trans Men who have SEX with other Men

Think HIV Criminalization is stigmatizing and unjust? Have something to say about it?  We want to hear about it!

With our Think Twice Campaign we are looking for men who have sex with other men to tell their stories and thoughts that challenge the current push towards criminalization of people living with HIV.

  • Have you thought about pressing charges but didn’t?
  • Fucked someone and thought about the shared responsibility?
  • Have you charged someone and wished that you had not done it?
  • Were you charged and want to share your experience?
    Has your friend been charged and you want to speak out?

We will be having a community meeting on Sunday, November 3rd at the 519 from 2-4pm

If you would like to register or find out more about the Think Twice Campaign please contact: Jessica Whitbread at jessicawhitbread@gmail.com or check out our website or facebook page. Download our flyer here!

We will be making an online video campaign with a range of individuals aimed to get people to consider the complexity and uncertainty of HIV criminalization, and the implications for gay, bi and trans male communities. If you identify as a man who fucks other men and want to be involved, we are looking for individuals to be featured in the online video campaign and for technical support in filming and production of the videos themselves.

Posted in Action, Criminalization, Think Twice Campaign | 2 Comments

The Conservative Party of Canada is bad for our health!

The Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) continues to use scare tactics and NIMBY-ism (Not In My Back Yard) to campaign against life-saving, evidence-based health services for people who use drugs. Yesterday the party circulated an email and petition to their supporters stating: “Keep heroin out of our backyards: Add your name if you demand a say before a supervised drug consumption site is opened close to your family”. This follows the launch of the Minster of Health Leona Aglukkaq’s Bill C-65 known as the “Respect for Communities Act” which is aimed at creating massive barriers to stop the opening of new supervised consumption services in Canada. Despite the CPC’s moralistic fear mongering, all evidence states that health programs where people can go for clean drug equipment and to use drugs safely under supervision from healthcare professionals result in reduced crime, saved lives, and improved communities.

Following yesterday’s announcement, there was been wide spread outcry among medical and legal experts across Canada damning Bill C-65, the Minster of Health and the CPC’s actions to counter the health and rights of people who use drugs.

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) issued a press release stating that the “CMA fully endorses the existence of these harm-reduction tools, including supervised injection sites, and believes they should be included in a comprehensive national drug strategy”.

Earlier today the Canadian Association of Nurses in AIDS Care Board Chair, Scott Harrison stated: “we have ample evidence from business owners, community members and residents that a safe injection site is acceptable, warranted and is having a positive impact on the health of the community”.

Yesterday, in a joint release from the Pivot Legal Society, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition responding to the Minster of Health’s actions, the organizations stated it is “unethical, unconstitutional and damaging to both public health and the public purse to block access to supervised consumption services which save lives and prevent the spread of infections.”

Additionally, the Globe and Mail editorial pages accused the CPC of continuing to embrace an outdated War On Drugs mentality.

All of this follows the Supreme Court of Canada’s 2011 decision where they ruled Conservative Minster of Health Leona Aglukkaq had violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by trying to shut down Vancouver’s supervised consumption service Insite.

It is widely known that supervised consumption services promote the health and well-being of our communities, while the CPC and the Minster of Health’s policies are deadly and harmful. The Conservatives are bad for our health!

Support the campaign to open supervised consumption services in Toronto and Ottawa!

 

 

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Minster of Health Continues Attack on People Who Use Drugs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2011, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Minster of Health Leona Aglukkaq actively violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by trying to shut down Vancouver’s supervised consumption service Insite. Despite this ruling, the Minster is at it again. Today Aglukkaq launched Bill C-65 known as the “Respect for Communities Act”. Despite the semantic public relations games being played with its name, the act itself does nothing but attack, degrade and violate our communities. “We desperately need these life-saving services, but Bill C-65 is aimed at making it more difficult for the opening of supervised consumption services that support the health and human rights of people who use drugs” said Zoe Dodd of the Toronto Drug Users Union.

Supervised consumption services have massive amounts of evidence to support their effectiveness in saving lives by reducing drug overdoses and inhibiting the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C. Vancouver’s highly successful Insite has documented the many positive impacts of the service, which has also seen a decrease in crime in the area and overall drug consumption.

But it is well known that the conservative government does not develop policy using scientific evidence. Rather they implement regressive policies based on moralistic ideology.  And this new bill does just that. Bill C-65 is consciously aimed at limiting access to life-saving services and will only result in more death and disease across the country.  “A real “Respect for Communities” act would be one that supports the health and human rights of people in Canada, not one that further marginalizes and criminalizes” said Alex McClelland of AIDS ACTION NOW! “This act continues the conservative government’s systematic attack on the health and rights of people who use drugs.”

The new bill is seeking to only allow the opening of new supervised consumption services if politicians, police and residents in the potential communities feel that they are warranted. This means that the health and rights of people who use drugs will be in hands of conservative residents associations, business associations, and police officials  – all groups who have already been known to often ignore, sacrifice and oppose the rights of the most socially and economically marginalized residents in their communities.

The recent Toronto and Ottawa Supervised Consumption Assessment report illustrates the desperate need for the opening of new life-saving services to support drug users across Ontario. The report asserts that supervised consumption services are not only necessary for the welfare of individuals who use drugs but also promote a higher quality of life in the communities in which they are located.

We need to end stigma, marginalization, death and disease. We need supervised consumption services now!

Support the campaign to open supervised consumption services in Toronto and Ottawa!

Learn more about Bill C-65!

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DRUGS: A Community Dialogue with Dr. Gabor Maté

Everybody uses drugs. Whether alcohol, antihistamines, or heroin, all of us put substances into our bodies to make us feel better sometimes. Join us for a community dialogue with Dr. Gabor Maté, members of the Downtown East community who have experienced poverty and homelessness, and service providers, on topics ranging from trauma, well being, and self medication; stigma, discrimination, and criminalization; poverty, gentrification, and services; and harm reduction.

 

When: Saturday June 8th from 12pm Sharp to 2pm

Where: All Saint’s Church, 315 Dundas E

Space is limited and will be first come first serve. Priority will be given to people who are home- less, under-housed or experiencing poverty. Space is wheelchair accessible. Food, refreshments, and childcare will be provided. This is a FREE event.

Download the event poster!

 

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Toronto Needs Supervised Consumption Sites! Blue Jays Baseball Banner Drop!

Sunday, May 26th, 2013 – At Sunday’s Toronto Blue Jays vs. Baltimore Orioles baseball game at the Roger’s Sports Centre, AIDS ACTION NOW! (AAN!) led people living with HIV, and their allies in a banner drop action. The AAN! banners were dropped during the 7th inning and drew attention the needs of drug users in Toronto to provide a counter discussion due to the recent media firestorm around Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s alleged crack-cocaine use.

Fourteen demonstrators dropped two signs, which read: “We need a safe injection site NOW!” and “End Austerity NOW! People are dying of AIDS!” as an effort to reorient the recent media attention being paid to drug use in the city toward a discussion of how to support the lives of drug users living with HIV and the relationship between global austerity economics and the effects that austerity has on welfare of the most vulnerable in our community.

AAN! organizer and HIV activist Jessica Whitbread stated, “With these recent allegations against Ford, AIDS ACTION NOW! is calling attention to the real needs of people who use drugs in Toronto. We are sick of this one sided dialogue. Ford has consistently fought against services aimed to support drug users. We need programs in place that work. Supporting harm reduction measures benefits everyone.

The recent allegations of Mayor Rob Ford’s use of crack-cocaine, demonstrates that stigma is a massive barriers to progressive discussions on drug use. Ford has long stood against the creation of supervised injection and consumption services in Toronto.

While recent discussions of drug use have centered on the Mayor himself, they too are laden with the moralistic understanding of substance use with which the Mayor has approached the topic during his mandate—an understanding that transforms a matter of health and wellness to disproportionate moral and social crisis putting the well-being of many at marginalized people at risk.

The recent TOSCA report (Toronto and Ottawa Supervised Consumption Assessment) however asserts that supervised consumption services are not only necessary for the welfare of individuals who use drug but also promote a higher quality of life in the communities in which they are located, making life for many in Toronto more liveable.

Toronto is home to 17, 000 people living with HIV with 75% of them living in poverty. Of the 73,000 people living with HIV across Canada, 14, 200 have been infected through injection drug use.

Show your support for a supervised consumption site in Toronto! Like the “I support a supervised injection site in Toronto” Facebook page!

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