Community Support Agencies for HIV/AIDS

There are several agencies in our local region with a mandate to assist and support those who are living with HIV/AIDS. They can offer information, support and other resources that will help you make important choices about your care and treatment. Click on the links below for a description of the agencies and how to contact them.

For information about treatment for HIV/AIDS: click here

To find out where you can be tested for HIV in your community: click here

 

Meet Our Community Agencies

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Central Interior Native Health SocietyWelcome to the Central Interior Native Health Society (CINHS), a primary health care clinic in Prince George, BC.

We deliver team-based integrated primary health care to the community of Aboriginal people and people who live on, or close to the street, and all people living with HIV. When a person becomes a patient of our clinic, we enter into a comprehensive, longitudinal primary care relationship with them until they no longer need our services. To use a more familiar term, we are their “family doctor”.

What makes CINHS different?

Everyone who visits the CINHS clinic, or who works here or who has a temporary learning position knows that the clinic is a very different and very special place.

There are some important commitments that set the CINHS clinic apart:

  • We put Aboriginal culture, practices and values at the heart of our work;
  • We are committed to learning together;
  • We recognize and work on the social determinants of health; 
  • We understand and work to redress the impacts of colonization and its tools - such as residential schools;
  • We see social justice as both a process for and an outcome of, the health and well-being of Aboriginal people;
  • We are committed to breaking down professional silos to provide integrated patient- centred care; and
  • We are committed to staying current, considering the evidence and engaging in continuously improving quality of care.

The clinic and its staff pay attention to these commitments every day. More importantly perhaps, they make sure they take scheduled time every week to meet and review the work, the challenges and the needs of the clinic and the patients as a team.

The CINHS clinic is also committed to being part of an enhanced broader community. We strive to be champions for improved access and services both inside and outside of the clinic; to be partners with other leaders; and seek changes and improvements for the health of Aboriginal and vulnerable people. The clinic works extensively with sympathetic and visionary professions in the health community to improve access for vulnerable people.

For more information on CHINHS visit: www.cinhs.org/ 
 

First Nations CoalitionWelcome to the Northern BC First Nations HIV/AIDS Coalition.  We have a mandate to work to improve services to Aboriginal persons and their families in Northern BC who are diagnosed with and/or affected by HIV/AIDS.

The Coalition (formerly known as the Task Force) consists of Aboriginal community leaders; elders; and youth; Aboriginal people who are living with HIV/AIDS; representatives from Aboriginal agencies; and health service providers; federal, provincial, regional and local government members; the RCMP, and other health professionals. Coalition members meet quarterly: twice on-reserve and twice in Prince George.

Background

On June 4 and 5, 2005, Carrier Sekani Family Services organized a meeting with the Northern BC First Nations Chiefs, Health Leads, Governments and Aboriginal HIV/AIDS service organizations regarding the findings of the Cedar Project’s research. The research demonstrated the alarming rate of Aboriginal people being newly infected with HIV/AIDS. The research also indicated that the rates were comparable to those in the Vancouver Downtown Eastside.

After meeting and discussing the issue for two days, it was decided that the meeting attendants would sign a declaration for action on June 5, 2005, in Prince George, BC. The mandate was provided by the Chiefs and Health Leads from the North West, Northern Interior, North East and Williams Lake areas. They wanted a new Task Force to develop a strategic action plan that encourages community-driven approaches, regional partnerships and extensive networks in an effort to strengthen individuals and communities to combat HIV/AIDs and the Hepatitis C Virus.

Our vision is that Aboriginal people in Northern British Columbia will achieve and maintain strong, healthy and fulfilling lives, free of HIV/AIDS and related issues.

Our mission is to support meaningful, lasting efforts for Aboriginal communities in Northern BC to address HIV/AIDS and related issues in a culturally relevant manner.

Underlying Principles of the Task Force:

  • First Nations control;
  • Cultural appropriateness; 
  • Youth and elder involvement;
  • Involvement by Aboriginal people living with HIV/AIDS; and 
  • To be cognizant of health and social determinants.

For six years, the Task Force provided various education learning opportunities for youth and health staff and leadership to learn about HIV/AIDS. We also completed a successful two-year project, including verification of the data through five regional sessions including Leaders and Health Leads from September 2009 to November 2011. The report is available online or can be requested by our office.

On Thursday, February 17, 2012, the Task Force was renamed the Northern BC First Nations HIV/AIDS Coalition and was given a renewed mandate by the First Nations Health Council —Northern BC Regional Health Caucus Session, consisting of both First Nations Chiefs or Proxies, and Health Leads. A resolution was passed to develop a strategic plan with a proposed five-year budget for review. For the 2012/2013 period the Coalition received funding for administration and to hire an HIV/AIDS Educator.

Our staff consists of:

  • Emma Palmantier, Chair;
  • Bonnie Cahoose, Administrative Assistant; and
  • Colette Plasway, Program Coordinator.

Contact Emma Palmantier at (250) 561-1271 Ext. 107, or via email at Emma@csfs.org for more information.
Our facebook page is www.facebook.com/HIVCoalition.

Positive Living North

Positive Living North: No khēyoh t’sih’en t’sehena Society (PLN) has been a solid and reputable not-for-profit, community-based HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) service organization since its incorporation in 1992.

PLN provides a wide array of programs and services designed to raise public awareness, prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS/HCV, reduce stigma and discrimination, and support people living with, affected by, or at risk of HIV/AIDS/HCV. Through our expertise and commitment, we are well situated within the region to effectively support individuals, service agencies and professionals, and at-risk populations in initiating and implementing strategies to stem the further spread of this virus. 

With approximately 90 per cent of our members being of Aboriginal ancestry, we strive to provide our services in a culturally-appropriate manner to both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal clients and members and, to that end, legally became an Aboriginal organization in 2003. As an Aboriginal organization, we provide services through an Aboriginal lens and our service delivery approach resembles the holistic concept of the medicine wheel. We believe that effective support cannot be limited to any specific focus, but must be all encompassing of the individual.

However, our service delivery is not confined to the Aboriginal population. We also provide programming and services to anyone who is living with, affected by, or at risk for HIV/AIDS/HCV, regardless of race, creed, gender, or sexual orientation. This unique approach in service delivery for all clients ensures that the social determinants of health are supported and accessible for greater health improvement.

PLN provides programming and services to all Northern BC residents in the areas of:

  1. Member Services - includes peer support, referrals, case management, crisis intervention, and therapeutic activities to people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS/HCV.
  2. Education - includes prevention/awareness activities, workshops, and events targeting risk groups, schools, correctional facilities, etc.
  3. Prevention - includes a street-level HIV/AIDS/HCV prevention and support program, the Fire Pit Cultural Drop-In Centre, which is grounded in the philosophy that culture and healing are critical components in reducing the risk for HIV/AIDS/HCV. 
  4. Remote Management - consists of a satellite office managed in Smithers, which offers Member Services Support, Education, Prevention Support, and Harm Reduction services.
  5. Administration - providing support services to staff, Board, members, and volunteers.

For more information on our programming and services, please visit our website at www.positivelivingnorth.ca.

HIV101.ca is sponsored by the STOP HIV/AIDS pilot project which is funded by the Government of British Columbia supporting Northern Health, Vancouver Coastal Health, the Provincial Health Services Authority, Providence Health Care, and the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. The STOP HIV/AIDS project aims to expand HIV testing, treatment, and support in British Columbia.
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