Archive for December, 2012

Ask Anything: Unprotected oral sex – HIV contraction?

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I was getting oral sex from a sex worker. I am really worry about HIV contraction. Please let me know regarding this issue.

I’ll do my best to answer your question, but I’m missing some details that would let me give you a truly accurate response on the risk level for your situation.

Assuming you’re stressed because you didn’t use a barrier (condom or dental dam) when getting oral sex, I can tell you that the HIV transmission rate during unprotected oral sex is not high. There is a risk of contraction for you, but it’s low. Regarding unprotected oral sex, I would be more concerned with the Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, or Herpes contraction, because the transmission of these STIs can be from a skin-to-skin contact.

The best way to lower your anxiety would be to get tested for these STIs.  Something to have in mind before getting tested is that STIs have what’s called a window period. A window period is the time where an STI is alive in your body, is contagious, but is not yet detectable by a test. For example, Chlamydia’s window period is 3 to 10 days, but HIV’s window period is 3 to 6 months.

This means that if you’ve had sex and are worried about having contracted HIV, you have to wait at less 3 months after the sexual incounter that is worrying you to get an accurate test result. In most cases, the test will be accurate after 3 months, but to be sure, it’s important to get tested after 6 months as well.

You can always get tested for HIV (and other STIs) at the Head & Hands medical clinic on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. In the meantime, I would recommend that you use condoms and/or dental dams to make sure that you and your partners are protected.

We made it – thank you!!

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Dear community – thank you!!

The official announcement has just been made – we are finalists in the Aviva Community Fund competition!  Having taken a few days to recover from last week’s big push, we have a few thoughts we’d like to share with you…

“WE MADE IT!!”  (BUT WHAT DOES THAT MEAN, ACTUALLY?)

Thanks to your amazing support, Aviva has awarded us $5,000 and our project is moving forward to the final round of this competition. For this to happen, our project needed to be in the top 10 within our budget category, and after a very tight struggle we ended up in 6th place yesterday when the voting ended!  Again – thanks to Aviva and THANK YOU!!!

In this next round, there will be no voting.  Instead, the top 10 projects in each budget category (small, medium, large) will be evaluated by a panel of judges according to the contest’s scoring criteria.  The Aviva judges will rank projects in each category, and then distribute the $1 Million prize money from their top choices downwards until the cash runs out. By our calculations, 3-5 projects in each budget category will receive full funding… meaning our chances are pretty good!  Decisions will be announced in late January, and we promise to keep you in the loop.

HOW DO WE FEEL ABOUT ALL THIS?

So many emotions!  Grateful, for being part of a community that supports our work with such strength and love. Encouraged, and committed more than ever to bringing this service back.  Humbled, after being told by so many people to “stop apologizing!” for our frenzied outreach, because this cause belongs to the community and we are all in it together!

This competition was a bit of a rollercoaster, but more than anything else it was a demonstration of truly beautiful community solidarity.  There were many moments during the campaign that we felt deeply moved by your gestures of support, and we will carry that forward with us regardless of what the judges decide.

WHAT ARE WE DOING NEXT?

Our efforts to bring Street Work back to NDG go far beyond this program.  We’ve built a prioritized list of potential long-term funders for this program, and we are already engaged in conversations with several of them.  We believe this incredible outpouring of community support is something they should know about, and so we’re inviting you to sign this open letter which we’ll share with potential funders.

Also, if you’re part of an organization that stands behind this campaign, we’d love to get an official letter of support from your team!  Please get in touch with Cynthia if you’re interested: streetwork@headandhands.ca

As always, donations from our community allow us to support thousands of Montreal youth year after year.  If you want and are able to give, we invite you to make a donation of any size here:

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SAVE STREET WORK ONLINE PARTY!

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Dear friends of Head & Hands,

Thank you for joining the SAVE STREET WORK ONLINE PARTY!!!

A bunch of us are at Cagibi (5490 Saint-Laurent, Montreal) tonight between 8pm and 11pm. Join us if you can!

This is it, the semi-finals of the Aviva online competition ends tomorrow, Wednesday Dec 12th, at noon. We have to be in the top 10 of the medium budget category to get to the final. We’re not there yet, BUT WE’RE JUST A FEW VOTES AWAY!

We’re too close. We can’t loose. This is too important. We’ve clicked too many times. We’re gonna get this. JUST LIKE LAST TIME!!!

Thanks to your AMAZING support, we have come SO FAR in this competition. With more than 3806 supporters and 8705 votes, we are SO CLOSE to getting 5,000$ and having a chance to win $87,000 to bring 2 Street Workers back to NDG for 1 year!!!

Until government budget cuts stopped the program last year, our Street Workers went out into the community to support vulnerable youth, distribute basic essentials, provide clean drug-use and safer sex supplies, and help make connections to other services. THEY REACHED YOUTH WHO ARE FALLING THROUGH THE CRACKS LIKE NO ONE ELSE CAN.

For more info on why this is SO IMPORTANT and to vote: http://www.avivacommunityfund.org/ideas/acf16385

SO LET’S PROMOTE THIS COMPETITION TOGETHER TONIGHT LIKE THERE’S NO TOMORROW AND WIN THIS THING!!!

Here’s how you can help us rock this competition:

  • Send a mass email to your contacts. Use our template email.
  • Share the link http://www.avivacommunityfund.org/ideas/acf16385 on your Facebook timeline. Urge people to vote today and tomorrow before noon!
  • Send a chat message to your online Facebook friends asking them to vote. Keep a list of names to make sure that you don’t message the same person twice. You can do the same with Google Chat or other chat platforms!
  • Do you know anybody who knows a lot of people (e.g. celebs, social media personalities, etc.)? Ask them to promote our campaign in social media tonight and tomorrow!
  • Do you have direct access to any list serves? Use our template to send a message on the list serve. 
  • Do you know any organizations that would support this cause? Write messages on their social media.
  • Tweet about the competition. Use these hashtags: #rockaviva #savestreetwork #cdnndg
  • Share our Why I’m voting for Street Work photo testimonials.
  • Make your own “Why I’m voting for Street Work photo or video testimonial. If you’re at Cagibi tonight, come join us at the Speakers’ corner! We can help you create one. Share it on Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, etc.
  • Share this informative video with testimonials from past Street Work clients and H&H staff on why Street Work is SO IMPORTANT.
  • Share this funky music video, inspired and endorsed by Peaches!
  • Share this cute little video, inspired and endorsed by Austra!
  • AND DO WHATEVER ELSE YOU CAN THINK OF TO ROCK THIS COMPETITION!!!

***If you’re at Cagibi tonight and you’re running out of ideas, come see us at the brainstorming corner!***

You can also use our media coverage to spread the word:

THANK YOU SO MUCH, WE LOVE YOU!

The Head & Hands Team.

Why I’m voting for Street Work: Ralph

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“I’m voting for Street Work because it helps me connect to the youth on the street and understand their needs, to be able to provide adequate support.” Ralph, Head & Hands Legal Coordinator

Vote for us every day between December 3 and 12 to help us win $87K and bring back Street Work!

Why I’m voting for Street Work: Jon

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“In many ways, street work is the essence of why Head & Hands exists – we *need* this program to support the youth in our community who get the least help from others.” Jon, Head & Hands Director

Vote for us every day between December 3 and 12 to help us win $87K and bring back Street Work!

Why I’m voting for Street Work: Gina

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“Street work has been a crucial part of Head & Hands since its inception in 1970. Since then, street workers have played a variety of roles in our community: conducting outreach and making youth aware of our services, running prevention and education programs, and extending the reach of essential services beyond our doors to reach youth in greatest need. Researching this history has made me realize how vital this program is for NDG youth; it is essential that we bring back this service to our neighborhood! “ – Gina Metallic, Master of Social Work Student Intern

Vote for us every day between December 3 and 12 to help us win $87K and bring back Street Work!

Why I’m voting for Street Work: June

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“I’m voting for Street Work because I think every youth should be valued and supported, no matter what challenges they face.” Juniper, Head & Hands Fundraising and Development Coordinator

Vote for us every day between December 3 and 12 to help us win $87K and bring back Street Work!

Why I’m voting for Street Work: Rhonda

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“Without the Street Work team, I have lost contact with many very important clients and have not been able to reach out to others who do not know I exist.” Rhonda, Head & Hands Counselor

Vote for us every day between December 3 and 12 to help us win $87K and bring back Street Work!

Why I’m voting for Street Work: Neil

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“Our Street Workers are our eyes and ears on the street that outreach to the people, to be one with the people. We are not getting a certain influx of the youth that might cross the path of Street Workers. We want them back.” Neil, J2K Coordinator, our teen drop-in centre in NDG.

Vote for us every day between December 3 and 12 to help us win $87K and bring back Street Work!