Posts Tagged ‘sexual health’

Hormone free birth control: allow me to introduce the “FemCap”


by Jos, Health Services Coordinator


As the Health Services Coordinator here at Head & Hands, I regularly get asked in my job, “Are there alternatives to hormonal birth control? I just don’t like how I feel on the pill.” Hormonal birth control works great for some, but it isn’t for everybody. It can be costly, cause side effects, and has to be prescribed by a doctor. Non-hormonal methods are out there, but sometimes we just don’t know where to look. So today, allow me to introduce one non-hormonal method: the Femcap!

The FemCap is a fabulous barrier method that we think more people should know about. It’s a variation on the cervical cap, but it doesn’t have to be fitted by a doctor and you don’t need a prescription! It’s a silicone barrier that you insert over the cervix before having sex. It’s reusable, latex-free, has no side effects, can be used with or without spermicide, and is controlled by you! It costs about a hundred bucks (you’ll need access to a credit card to order it online). Read more about it at or give me a call at 514-481-0277 and we can talk about it and your other options!

You can order the FemCap in Canada via these websites: (ships from the US) (ships from Canada)

Moving Forward – Together


Dear community,

The official announcement has just been made – unfortunately, we did not win one of the grand prizes in Aviva’s online competition. However, we did win $5,000, and you can rest assured that we will use it to bring Street Workers back to NDG as soon as possible!!

Although we are sad to hear the news, overall participating in the Aviva competition has been a rewarding experience. In just a few weeks, we managed to gain 4877 supporters and over 11,000 votes from people and organizations who believe, as we do, that NDG’s at-risk youth deserve to be supported. We are extremely grateful to be part of a community that is so fiercely dedicated to youth health, and who supports our work with such strength and love.


We are working hard to carry the momentum created by all of you far beyond this competition.  We have received letters of endorsement from multiple community organisations who supported us during the competition and can’t wait to work side by side with our street workers again.  We’re excited to share these letters alongside our funding applications that are already in progress for a range of promising government and foundation grants.  We are happy to announce that we recently secured our first successful “save street work” grant of $15,000 from the Silver Dollar Foundation, which means that a quarter of the first year’s budget is already covered!

Although we’re doing the best we can, grant-based funding alone might not be enough to bring this program back as quickly as it is needed.

Head & Hands has always believed that social services are strongest when they are offered for the community, by the community.  If you are able to contribute any amount towards restoring this essential service to NDG, please click the link below!  Write “save street work” as an instruction with your donation, and we will designate your gift specifically for the return of this program. If you prefer to give “offline”, please check out other giving options on our website. 




Another great way to contribute is by organizing a fundraising event!  If you have time and energy to help us in this way, please get in touch so we can share some tips and guidelines:

Again, thank you so much for the amazing support you’ve already shown us.  Together, we will put street workers back in this neighbourhood and ensure that our community’s most vulnerable youth get the support they need!

Why I’m voting for Street Work: Ralph


“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: Gina


“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


“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: Neil


“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!

Head & Hands in an online race to save Street Work Program


December 4, 2012

Press Release for Immediate Distribution

Many young people have fallen through the cracks in Montreal, ending up overlooked and on the streets – it’s a public health issue that youth-focused community organization Head & Hands has witnessed first-hand through its unique Street Work Program. Funding for the essential program was cut last year, but Head & Hands has never given up on Street Work and the youth it supports. Throughout the next week, the organization is in tight competition for $87,000 in funding from the Aviva Community Fund – all they need is to get the word out so as many people as possible can vote online every day for the Street Work Program.

After getting almost 4300 votes from 1410 supporters in two weeks, Head & Hands has moved on to the semi-finals. The voting round is fast and furious – it ends on 12 Dec, so there’s no time to waste – thankfully, voting is easy and fast!

Forty years ago, Head & Hands began with a small Street Work program and over the years has expanded to offer numerous other health, legal and social services to youth in NDG and across the city. At the heart of the Street Work Program are youth at risk, from all walks of life, struggling to meet basic needs like housing, income stability, food security and health care. The usual support systems don’t work, but Street Work does. Street Workers connect with youth where they are – in the community, on the streets – to really support them in making healthier choices. They also provide essential HIV and Hep C prevention with clean needles and condoms, as well as safer-drug use and safer-sex education. Aviva funding will help get the program running again almost immediately, also allowing Head & Hands to build relationships with more funders, such as government agencies, private foundations and individual donors.

Since helping youth stand up for and speak for themselves is a huge part of what Head & Hands strives for, what better way to do that than with a video made for the Aviva campaign: in it, two former Head & Hands Street Work clients talk about their experiences, while Montreal Street Workers and Head & Hands staff address what new funding for the program will provide. Watch the video at For more information and to vote, check out Head & Hands Street Work campaign competition page at

Contact: Cynthia Beaudry, Save Street Work Campaign Coordinator, , 514-481-0277

Click here for a PDF version of this press release. 

Ask Anything: When to get tested?


Do you have to get tested after every time you have sex? If not, how often?

I wouldn’t recommend getting tested after every time you have sex. First off, for some people or at certain times in a person’s life, this would mean getting tested many times a week…which could be time consuming! Secondly, and most importantly, there is a technical aspect related to getting accurate test results.

A lot of STIs have what’s called a “window period”. This relates to the amount of time between the transmission of the STI (when someone is infected) and when a medical test would be able to detect the STI. To state it simply, the window period is the time where an STI is alive in your body, is totally contagious, but is still undetectable 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 3 to 6 months to get accurate test results (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).

So in general, when you are sexually active, you should get tested for STIs every 6 months even if you use protection – that way, you cover all the window periods of the different tests. People sometimes choose to get tested every year, or even less often, if they have one partner and they’ve agreed on a monogamous relationship.

You can also download are bilingual STIgma Zine to get more information on different STIs, safer sex and communication with partners about these things!