PAC Community Program for People of All Ages living with HIV/AIDS or who are HIV-impacted: Program Update, August 2018

Our PAC Community Program for People of All Ages living with HIV/AIDS or who are HIV-impacted continues to provide support for individuals, youth and families living with HIV/AIDS, and responds to front-line needs as gaps are identified. Our most notable trend in client requests in the first half of 2018 is for in-depth, one-on-one supports in terms of counselling, psycho-social supports and agency referrals (for both clients and non-clients).

Program highlights and accomplishments achieved so far this year include:

-A 13% increase in the estimated number of consultation referrals to partner agencies for our clients with HIV in the last six months — reducing barriers to service and care for clients of all ages.

-100% or all the clients supported by our Medication Adherence Program for Youth with HIV have achieved undetectable viral counts, which is the primary health measure and goal of this program. Two youth admitted to this program in March 2018 have moved from risk to stability within four, short months. We celebrate every client whose viral load becomes undetectable with support from our team and partner agencies.

-One of our Case Managers identified School Tutoring Supports for Youth with HIV as a need / gap area to help this group thrive. We have been able to meet the immediate need by privately sourcing youth peer volunteer tutors, reducing some of the risks, stigma and barriers to accessing education for this group.

-PAC’s Volunteer, Training and Outreach Department has also increased the overall capacity to support people with HIV AIDS in the GTA-area in recent months by training a Women`s Peer Group and Men Caregivers for the People with Aids Foundation.

Our primary program challenge is the need for consistent volunteer supports for the community impacted by HIV:

-We have had inconsistent support from our hospice volunteers, who are specially trained / equipped to support adults and youth HIV / AIDS.  Client matching and consistent relationships is a critical and deciding factor in terms of meeting successful program outcome measures for youth with HIV transitioning to adulthood.  Among the youth who were supported by a PAC volunteer for Medication Adherence in 2017:  for the 17% who did not achieve goal viral counts, there was an inconsistency in volunteer availability (i.e., volunteers returned to school, or moved away).  In 2018, to provide needed client supports, clients in our HIV program have been receiving increased support directly from hospice staff, in addition to volunteers.  It challenges our human resources to deliver a program with staff that was intended to be carried out by volunteers, but we have not compromised client care; and, as a bonus, we discovered utilizing professionals for this program does allow us to respond to more complex care needs for clients.

Special thanks to FaithWorks of The Anglican Diocese of Toronto and the MAC AIDS Fund for leadership funding in support of these clients.

Testimonial / Case Study from a volunteer about his client, who has AIDS and is in advanced stages of cancer:
“My hospice client mentioned that PAC has reduced his fear and anxiety for the future of his family. He may be feeling “down” most of the time due to side effects of chemo/radiation, but he feels he has friends at PAC who can help him, people he can turn to and depend on. After visiting him for about eight months now, I have seen first hand how the family’s well being has dramatically improved. This is due to the help from PAC and resources from other agencies working with us. I was touched by the new hope and lively talk in their home as their situation improved.  I am honoured that the PAC team approach can work so well and make such a difference for a family facing an extremely challenging medical situation with very limited personal resources.”

Testimony – PAC Recreational Program Funding for Children and Youth Who are HIV-Impacted: 
Through the PAC Recreational Program Funding for Children and Youth Who are HIV-Impacted, for respite, parents can apply to the Philip Aziz Centre for Hospice Care for a grant towards one year of funding support to send a child to afterschool programs, recreational camp, art / music classes, etc.  One mom shared: “I get funding for music class for my daughter…. At least she can do something she likes…. Financially, it’s a big, big help.  I’m grateful for that.” 

For more information on our HIV program, visit:

http://www.philipazizcentre.ca/what-we-do/pac-community-program-for-people-of-all-ages-living-with-hivaids-or-who-are-hiv-impacted/

For more information on our Volunteer program, visit:

http://www.philipazizcentre.ca/volunteering/