HIV Community Link
Our Story Why We Exist
Our clients are our main focus and the reason we exist. Our volunteers are at the heart of our services. We partner with our community to develop a caring and compassionate society.
Ann found out she was HIV positive in 2011. It took years to figure out what was wrong, because she wasn’t considered to be in a high risk group. A couple of months later, she came to HIV Community Link. “When I got here I was treated very well, there was not judgement, no stigma”, says Ann. Before living on the street, Ann had worked in an office for years. ”I was on the street from 2004 to 2008. I can understand now how it happens. It’s very easy. They say one paycheck away is what a lot of people are at right now from living on the street,” says Ann, who is happy she doesn’t have to be worried about her basic needs anymore. She adds that HIV Community Link helped her with her Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) and housing applications. But the most important part, she says, is “coming and meeting people, people that you didn’t have to be afraid to say you are HIV positive. I use the many services offered at HIV Community Link for people living with HIV including counselling, massage, acupuncture, food hampers, Friday lunches, laundry machines and attending conferences. This helps people to live with their condition and cope with it,” shares Ann, adding that it’s really important to educate health professionals so everybody gets tested, not just those who are considered to be at a greater risk. “HIV is everyone’s disease. Please help in the education, research, and prevention of HIV,” Ann concludes.
Read more stories of some of the people who make HIV Community Link possible and better every day.
Our Impact What We Do
Our story is still being told. Founded in Calgary in 1983 by a group of concerned individuals who made it their mission to make sure that those living with and affected by HIV had their most basic human needs met. This included the need for food, support, connection and most of all –not dying alone.
HIV Community Link is now located in Calgary, Medicine Hat and Brooks. We offer education, prevention and support to individuals and communities affected by HIV and hepatitis C. In 2013, we changed our name from AIDS Calgary Awareness Association to HIV Community Link. Our focus is on health promotion, increasing access to testing, delivering effective harm reduction programs, and reducing the stigma associated with HIV.
- Almost 10,000 people reached in 2015-2016
- 101,247 safer sex supplies and over 230,000 safer injection supplies distributed
- Over 2,200 hours of counselling and support
We promote the healthy choices people can make to reduce the risk of HIV. Let’s make sure the sex we’re having is safe. Let’s utilize harm reduction tools to minimize risk when engaging in injection drug use. Your life, your choices… just safer.
We work to reduce the harmful effects of HIV. We advocate for those living with HIV, facing discrimination and stigma. We partner with our community to develop a caring and compassionate society.
Our Programs How We Do It
HIV Community Link provides Support Services in Calgary, Medicine Hat and Brooks Alberta as well as Prevention and Education Programs.
SUPPORT SERVICES: The HIV Community Link client services team has a comprehensive understanding of what it means to be living with or at risk for HIV. These trained professionals have a thorough understanding of HIV and related issues such as addiction, mental health and harm reduction and provide non-judgmental, compassionate and confidential support for people at risk for, living with or affected by HIV and hepatitis C.
- Telephone Support: Call 403-508-2500 Monday through Friday from 9:00am – 12:00pm & 1:30pm – 4:00pm
- In-Person Support: Tuesday through Friday from 9:00am – 12:00pm & 1:30pm – 4:00pm
- Drop In Centre: A safe space to use the computer, internet, or phone, play cards & board games, read the paper & magazines and have coffee & snacks. Drop in is open Tuesday – Friday: 9:00am – 12:00pm & 1:30pm – 4:00pm.
- Counseling: Case management and support available in person or on the phone. Various groups and workshops held throughout the year.
- Nutritional Programs: Access to nutritious food through the provision of grocery bags, lunch items, and referrals to the local food bank.
- Referrals and Advocacy: Connections to services such as addiction treatment, clothing, food, shelters, housing, employment, and more.
- Overdose Prevention: Provides overdose prevention training to those who use opiates and distributes life-saving naloxone kits. The program also trains service providers to build their capacity to prevent overdose with their clients
- Shift: Uses a harm reduction and rights based approach to support adults currently or previously involved in sex work.
PREVENTION + EDUCATION: HIV is preventable. This is why we collect and distribute current information about HIV and its prevention. It’s also why, through our community outreach and education programs, we take an active role in connecting with diverse at-risk groups and in partnering with others in the community on education and prevention.
- HEAT (HIV Education and Awareness Today): This program delivers HIV/STI education, awareness and prevention to the gay men/MSM community by working with Safeworks to provide rapid HIV testing on site at locations such as the Sheldon Chumir and the local bathhouse. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
- African Communities Program: This project works to address the stigma which is a major obstacle in the response to HIV in Calgary's African communities to build an informed and compassionate response to HIV through education and outreach. Contact email@example.com for more info.
- Strong Voices (Aboriginal Communities): A culturally integrated HIV support, prevention and awareness program led and delivered by and for Aboriginal people. Our goal is to reduce the harm associated with HIV and hepatitis C for all individuals and communities that we serve. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
- VIP (Vulnerable Individuals & Populations): This program educates populations most at risk for HIV and hepatitis C through workshops in local shelters, youth centres and addiction treatment facilities. Workshops cover issues such as safer sex, STIs (prevention, testing), and HIV specific topics (rapid testing, treatment, living with HIV).
Our Requests What You Can Do
DONATE: Donations are critical to HIV Community Link to primarily fund our education and prevention services, allowing us to take our safer sex and other prevention messages directly to the most vulnerable communities.
BECOME AN ADVOCATE: By supporting the development of human rights, progressive health and public policies, innovative medical research, universal access to medicines and adequate resources for community-based HIV work, we can create an environment where an end to HIV/AIDS would be possible. Click HERE to learn how you can become an advocate.
BECOME A MEMBER OF OUR TEAM: As a member, you help guide our future vision by voting for Board representatives and resolutions. We will also keep you informed about what we are doing through a subscription to our newsletter, Red Matters. Contact email@example.com for more info.
HIV COMMUNITY LINK EVENTS: Check out a calender of events including free educational workshops on HIV.
Other ways to support HIV Community Link:
- Hold a community event or fundraiser in support of HIV Community Link. For more info contact Jason at 403-508-2563