Today is World Aids Day. Brooke and I interviewed Brooke’s friend Jim Billing, who is Volunteer Coordinator for the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT):
1. Can you give us a little history about the AIDS Committee of Toronto?
How long it has been going?
The AIDS Committee of Toronto was founded in 1983 by the gay community
who felt that government and the health care system were not doing
enough to help people with AIDS. ACT started out to be an advocacy
organization. Today it continues to be a community-based organization
committed to advocacy, education and support for people infected and
affected by HIV/AIDS.
2. What sort of things does the AIDS Committee of Toronto do?
We continue to be a voice for those affected by HIV/AIDS when it comes
to government policies and health care issues. Education has become a
major focus with special programmes targeted at women and youth. Our
most recent campaign though has targeted men having sex with men since
there has been an alarming increase in the infection rate in this group.
ACT has one of the most impressive resource libraries in North America.
We also have several support groups for those who have been newly
diagnosed, men who are HIV+ and over 40, men who are HIV-, and those
that are positive but have partners that are negative.
One of our newest programs is Employment Action. This program assists
individuals who are HIV+, have been on disability and are now
considering re-entering the work force. With the new medications and
“cocktails,” those infected with HIV are now managing their health better
and are able to return to work. Employment Action assists with resumes,
interviewing skills, upgrading computer skills and arranging interviews.
For the rest of the interview, including Jim’s personal story, continue reading at Blog Widow.