AIDSPEI in the news - again - and again it is not bad news!

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    Feb 01, 2012 2:33 PM GMT

    was all over the news yesterday - on radio (I did the interview right outta bed at 8:00 a.m.!)
    a tv pretape interview at 1:10; then again at 1:30; a newspaper interview at 7:00 p.m. produced the story at the first link.

    When we got back from the meeting with the Minister, the second newspaper (from Summerside) wanted an interview. I decided to make that one my vice-chair's first phone interview. So chris did it and I listened in and gave him cues to keep him on message. He finished it and said "wow, that is nerve-wracking." It really is So i wanted to be sure he had support (unlike me) when he did his first one. I intend to train him into my job.
    His interview is at the second link.

    The Minister caught the significance when I introduced chris as my vice chair. I explained I was in my second year of my first term as chair, I can serve only two more years as chair, so so I am doing succession planning by grooming him for the chair.

    I just introduced him that way and it worked as I hoped. The Minister commented toward the end of the meetimg, "you have good leadership now" - it was clear he was refering to our troubled history, having prefaced his remarks by reviewing our troubled history, as well as our recovery. He demonstrated he knew who iI was and what had been done since I became chair.

    At the meeting there was the Minister; his assistant at his right, then me. I had my vice chair next, our executive director and Danny. At the Minister's left was the province's chief medical officer, Dr,Lamont Sweet. I had met him once briefly socially. This was our first real meeting in any official capacity, so he now knows who I am.

    chris' interview:
    He is a really cute straight guy who had a a gay brother (who died of a heart condition). He presents a very unexpected face for our organization - an alpha type heterosexual. His chairmanship will have a different character to mine, I imagine. I look forward to it.



    for some reason i cannot make the second link wor, so here is the story.
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    Feb 01, 2012 2:50 PM GMT
    AIDS PEI seeks help to set up in SummersideTopics : Summerside , Charlottetown

    Drug use, stats worry advocacy group stevendepolo/Flickr
    AIDS PEI is worried about IV drug use in Summerside and STI numbers on the Island.
    Published on January 31, 2012

    Published on January 31, 2012
    Stephen Brun

    AIDS P.E.I. is hoping to increase its support services to Summerside in light of some disturbing news from the western capital.

    Representatives from the organization met with P.E.I. Health Minister Doug Currie on Tuesday to open discussions about possible Provincial funding for an expansion.

    AIDS P.E.I. vice chair Chris van Ouwerkerk said talks were spurred following recent reports on the increase of sexually transmitted infections on the Island.

    "The real aim being Summerside at the moment, because of some recent situations and reports. It's very tricky due to confidentiality, but we do have some issues with youth and possible confirmed cases (of HIV/AIDS) in Summerside," said van Ouwerkerk, who added that intravenous drug use among youth has been a concern in the city for some time.

    AIDS P.E.I. ran the Island's first needle-exchange program, which folded in 2009 when the Province opted to start its own exchange.

    Most cases of hepatitis C diagnosed in the province are related to intravenous drug use and sharing of injection needles.

    "Being a youth advocate, I know there have been instances of 15-year-olds at Summerside Intermediate shooting Dilaudid (a strong prescription painkiller) in the bathrooms," van Ouwerkerk said. "We're trying to increase our outreach to support prevention."

    The organization says there is an immediate need to expand its reach into rural P.E.I. communities as well.

    The board is also scheduling meetings with Opposition health critic James Aylward and NDP leader James Rodd.

    It also plans talks with city officials to help identify a space for a drop-in centre in Summerside.

    "We'd be asking for space up there as well as a travel allowance (from the Province) for an outreach coordinator to go up and set up an LGBTQ drop-in zone for youth up there to focus on condom distribution, as well as any resources that we offer here (in Charlottetown) on at least a two-to-three-day basis a week to promote that prevention and outreach," said van Ouwerkerk.

    He added that Currie was reluctant to commit to any funding Tuesday since the provincial government is imposing financial restraints in an effort to balance its books.

    Following some internal turmoil at AIDS P.E.I. in recent years, however, the organizations feels it's stable enough to expand its services outside Charlottetown.

    "We have had well-documented cases in the past of theft from the organization ... but we've been focusing on the positives, and we've been changing things around over these last couple years," said van Ouwerkerk. "We have a strong, stable board of directors that has turned the organization around, dropping over $12,000 of debt that was accumulated through the theft."