Post my Hepatitis C (HCV) Treatment in 2005, I became an advocate for treatment, care and support of People Living With HIV (PLHIV) and HCV at the Canadian Treatment Action Council (CTAC) and the Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development (ICAD). Elisse Zack (the late former Executive Director of CWGHR) specifically encouraged me to become involved in research, rehabilitation, and healing. Realize is an extraordinary organization that has done exemplary work looking at episodic disability, mental health, physical health, as well as advocacy for services, programs and policies that directly impact the socio-economic lives of PLHIV.
GIPA and MIPA principles i.e. the Greater Involvement of PLHIV and the Meaningful Involvement of PLHIV are central to how Realize works and as such, I have participated in research, along with the Realize team on issues related to mental health and HIV and Aging. Even now, I continue to work on health-related quality of life, access to treatment, care and support and on various research teams. I have also just joined the Board of the International Community of Women Living with HIV (North America). Realize has inspired me to look beyond treatment, care and support and towards healing and wellness.
Currently, not only am I a proud member of Realize, but I’m also an active member of the Canada-International HIV and Rehabilitation Research Collaborative (CIHRRC) Steering Committee. As someone living with chronic disability issues I am so grateful to Realize for advocating and impacting policy for all PLHIV in Canada, as well as impacting my life on a personal level.
Here is a pearl of wisdom that life has taught me: Healing is life long, helping others to heal is the best medicine. It is in helping others and other PLHIV helping me, that I’ve learned to heal and to move forward.
Interested in becoming a Realize member?
We need your voice at the table. Fill out a membership application (Word document or online) via this link or contact us to find out how your membership in Realize can improve the lives of people living with HIV and/or other episodic disabilities – as well as your own life.