Online Connec+: New Group for People Living with HIV in BC

Graphic with triangles and squares reading "online connect" Positive Living BC has launched a new online peer support group called Online Connec+ for people living with HIV (PLHIV). Online Connec+ will provide HIV education, support and community referrals to people throughout the province who might otherwise be unable to access these services.

Online Connec+ will be facilitated by Positive Living BC’s Peer Navigators. A Peer Navigator is an HIV-positive person trained in HIV-specific health issues, self care, safer sex, sexually transmitted infections, and disease progression. Navigators offer a valuable perspective on managing HIV based on their personal experience with the illness, training and their experience working with other PLHIV.

Program leader Michael Crate notes, “Online Connec+ was started as a natural extension of the Peer Navigator program. The group will be an open format meeting. We will talk about what is currently going on for participants in relation to their HIV diagnosis. This might include health, treatment or self-care issues, stigma, isolation, disclosure, or dating. Peer Navigators will be there to facilitate the group, or do one-on-one counseling.” Elgin Lim, Positive Living BC’s manager of programs and services adds, “Living with HIV can be isolating, particularly in smaller communities. Online Connec+ can help people feel less alone, allow people to share experiences, and provide an opportunity to make new connections with other people living with HIV, no matter where they are in the province.”

Online Connec+ is open to anyone living with HIV in BC. All genders, sexualities and ages are welcome. The group will meet twice a month on Monday night from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. For more information or to participate, call Positive Living BC’s toll-free number (1-800-994-2437) and leave a confidential voicemail, or email Michael Crate at

Love on Wheels: A Poetry Workshop Discusses Sexuality and Disability

Sexuality and disability. Beauty and beastliness. These are some of the topics to be covered at Love on Wheels, a free poetry workshop led by Mexican poet Ekiwah Adler-Belendez on October 20th from 1:00-3:00 pm at the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre.

“We will articulate and discover ways that poetry can be a second body to move more freely and communicate with the world,” says Adler-Belendez. “The goal is to raise these questions, to offer support for each other, and to deepen our own curiosity.”

Born and raised in Mexico, Adler-Belendez published his first book of poetry when he was only 12 years old. He has written and acted in three plays and he speaks at universities across the United States and Mexico advocating for the power of poetry and its use in understanding disability. His first name means “warrior” in the Purepecha language.

“What I really enjoy about teaching this workshop is that as a man in a wheelchair, I have no steadfast answers but a tremendous curiosity to exchange information and experiences,” says Adler-Belendez, who has Cerebral Palsy. “We will open a safe space to discuss how our disability defines us and how it does not.”

The event is sponsored by Spinal Cord Injury BC (SCI BC). “Disability and sexuality is not something people are generally comfortable with and it is rarely discussed publicly,” says Chris McBride, SCI BC’s executive director. “We decided to host this event because poetry is a powerful medium that can transcend our normal assumptions about what it means to live and express oneself with a disability.”

Love on Wheels is a free event for all SCI BC members. Non-members can attend for a suggested donation of $10, although no one will be turned away for lack of financial resources. Space is limited so advanced registration is required:

For more information contact:
Candice Vallantin
Communications Specialist, Spinal Cord Injury BC

New ME/CFS & FM Support Group

photo of flower - me-fm group
Starting October 31, 2012

A support group has begun for people living with ME/CFS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and FM (Fibromyalgia).

The main focus of the group is for members to support each other through acceptance, compassion and understanding, around the challenges of living with ME/CFS and FM. They do this through sharing of personal experiences, emotions, thoughts and reflections. Members look to each other not so much for advice as for empathy, connection and recognition of our shared experiences.

The group meets once a month, in the BCCPD Board room. Skype attendance is available for people who are physically unable to make meetings.

BCCPD is pleased to support this new group by providing meeting space.

For details, please visit the group’s website at