It has certainly been a busy March at ACAS! Within this past month, we had new staff joining our team, new community report being published, and new PSAs being launched, aside from hosting many wonderful workshops and activities!
ACAS welcomes new Queer Asian Youth program staff:
ACAS would like to extend a warm welcome not just one but two new staff to our Queer Asian Youth (QAY) program: Euan Hwang as our new Youth Education and Outreach Program Coordinator and Gabriel Bacani as the QAY Health Promotion Project Leader. Please say hi to Euan and Gabriel when you are at our office or one of the upcoming QAY workshops and outreach activities!
And as if Euan and Gabriel are not already working hard, they have already hosted their first QAY Meeting on March 13 where our vibrant community of youth members came together and helped plan for QAY events and workshops for the new fiscal year!
ACAS launches new Community Reports for Asian Migrant Farm Worker
Within the past 20 years, ACAS has been a recognized leader in utilizing community-based research (CBR) to explore the issues and needs of the East and Southeast Asian communities. Through partnerships with affected community members, project advisory committees, academic partners, and the utilization of peer research associates, ACAS has meaningfully engaged target population in a number of research studies to investigate issues that are most relevant to the community and produce findings that are impactful and beneficial the community. In March 2015, ACAS launched a new Community-base Research Reports on
Asian Migrant Farm Workers in Ontario: HIV Knowledge, Sexual Practices and Health Care Utilization
From 2009-2012, ACAS implemented the Asian Migrant Farm Workers’ Health Promotion project to provide HIV/STIs and Hepatitis C prevention, education, and outreach to Asian migrant farm workers in Ontario. Our project partners were the AIDS Committee of Windsor, AIDS Niagara, the Thai Society of Ontario, and Justice for Migrant Workers. We were able to outreach to over 500 AMFWs during the 3 year period. At present, ACAS continues to work
with AMFWs by organizing outreach activities, and referral service.
You can access the online PDF version of the report here:
You can also view the community report via ISSUU (flash version) here: http://issuu.com/asiancommunityaidsservices/docs/acas_amfw_cbr_comm_reprt2014_final
ACAS’ Trans Women Outreach Project launches two Asian Girls.likeus PSAs
Asian Girls.likeus is ACAS’ Transwomen Outreach Program and aims to empower Asian transwomen and help raise public education and awareness on how we can become stronger community allies. We would like to thank all the Asian trans women who appeared in the PSAs for being so courageous in sharing their powerful, life changing experiences.
What are some of the challenges you face as a transwoman?
“To tell or Not to tell:
#girlslikeus #asiangirlslikeus #berpoud
Thank you Community One Foundation for supporting ACAS in this initiative.
Spring has sprung, and it’s time to learn all about birds and bees!
Birds and bees? Yes, they are lovely but not necessarily the most effective metaphors when you want to talk about sexual health and healthy relationships. For starters, do you know what makes a good relationship? How do you have one and what can you do to make it better? Do you and your partner know what each other want?
ACAS & VSAR collaborate on workshop at Ryerson: Talking about Healthy Relationships & STIs
On March 9, 2015, the ACAS Men’s and Women’s Program collaborated with the Vietnamese Student Association at Ryerson (VSAR) for a Talking about Healthy Relationship & STIs Workshop at the Ryerson Student Campus Centre. It was an evening of awesome people and fun games where participants learned how to assess whether a relationship is healthy or unhealthy, and a safe space for participants to practice healthy communication with their partners including telling their partners their wants and needs. Thank you Ryan and Cassandra for leading such a wonderful workshop!
ACAS Presentation for U of Toronto Medical Students
ACAS Support Staff Andrew and Jenny and Men’s Program Coordinator Ryan gave an ACAS Presentation for U of Toronto Medical Students on HIV testing and the needs and issues faced by East and Southeast Asians living with HIV on March 9 at the ACAS office. It was truly a great that up and coming medical doctors learnt about the importance of providing culturally and linguistically services to members of the Asian community,
Asian Bathhouse Night – Get lucky!
Every third Thursday of the month, our Men’s Program and our dedicated team of volunteers transform Spa SX into Asian Bathhouse Night (ABN). The event took place this month on March 19, 2015, and some of the lucky fellows who contacted our MSM Outreach Worker, Ly, got a chance to win 50% Discount Locker Coupons for Spa SX! As usual, we had all the great line-up including fun & educational workshops facilitated by our peer volunteers, enjoying a nice sea salt scrub, 50/50 raffles, onsite HIV/Syphilis testing by Hassle Free Clinic, and of course condoms & lube!
Let’s have some fun!
Although March had been rather cold month, Spring officially started on the vernal equinox on March 20! With that said, how can we not have some awesome fun to welcome spring?!
ACAS Support Program Winter Retreat
The ACAS Support Program held its Winter Retreat on Feb 28 to March 1 at the YMCA Geneva Park in Muskoka. Twenty East and Southeast Asian HIV+ service users of ACAS were treated with a two-day-one-night get-away from the city, an opportunity to rejuvenate the spirits, and a chance enjoy winter activities such as cross-country skiing, outdoor skating, snowshoeing across the snow-covered field, and games such as broomball. We would like to thank all our donors and sponsors for making this event possible.
Make Up The Night! – Women’s Social
ACAS Women’s Program held a Women’s Social: Make Up The Night on Thursday, March 26, 2015 where East and Southeast Asian Women and Trans* Women received a free eye make-up lesson and received great tips and advice from a professional make-up artist. As Cassandra, our Women’s Education and Outreach Coordinator, can attest, everyone stayed late as they were having so much fun applying make-up on one another and left looking absolutely breathtakingly stunning!
ALPHA meets for Dim Sum!
Asian Living Proof of HIV Alliance (ALPHA) is a social group set up for Asian HIV+ gay men starte
d by our late Support Program Coordinator, Patrick Troung, and continues to be a thriving group that provides a much needed social space for our service users where they can socialize, have fun, and learn from each other.. This month, ALPHA met for a wonderful Dim Sum Brunch gathering on March 28. ALPHA members gather once every one or two months, and the grouphas been sponsored by ACAS and Pace Pharmacy since 2011
Are you a health nut?
Interested in ways to improve your own health or that of the community? Watch these 3 wonderful videos Understanding Your Bloodwork and Naturopathic Medicine, Healthy Food with a Healthy Heart, and the History of ACAS from the ACAS Support Program Health Promotion Workshops that have just been posted on the ACAS HIV Treatment Information Website in Asian Languages Website. Although the workshops are designed for our Support Program service users, many of the information are relevant and useful for all of us. We would like to thank Dr. Natasha Irons, N.D., Michelle Heighington, R.N., Dr. Joseph Steyr, N.D. and ACAS founder, Dr. Alan Li for presenting at our workshops. We would also like to thank our sponsors, Viiv Healthcare, Janssen, Gilead, and Moss Park Pharma Care for making these workshops possible.
Understanding your blood work & Naturopathic medicine:
History of ACAS:
Healthy Food with a Healthy Heart:
Strength In Unity
ACAS partners with the Strength In Unity Community Participatory Action Research Project to raise community awareness on mental health issues among Asian men in Canada and help build Community Mental Health Ambassadors to fight against stigma related to mental illness. On March 30, 2015, ACAS held an Info Session & Recruiters’ Training for Strength in Unity Project.
More about the Strength In Unity Study:
Have you experienced mental illness and stigma in your community? Have your friends or family faced mental health stigma? Through this project, you will be trained to be a to address stigma.
Strength in Unity is a community-based research project that will build capacity among youth and men from Asian Communities in Canada, and mobilize them to become Community Mental Health Ambassadors. They will raise awareness about mental illness, available supports and services and encourage communities to take up anti-stigma initiatives. A project funded by Movember Foundation Canada.
Strength in Unity is looking for participants and this is your chance to be involved, or contribute to this project by recruiting more participants. Join us and make a difference in your lives and help strengthen our communities.
To be eligible in participating in this project, you have to identify as:
Age 17 or older
From one of the following groups
*Living with mental illness
*Family or friends of someone living with mental illness
*A community member interested in addressing the mental health stigma
If you are interested in joining the study or if you have any questions, please contact:
ALAN LI, FOUNDER OF ACAS AND CAAT, RECEIVES THE OHTN POLICY & PRACTICE LEADERSHIP AWARDS
Congratulations to ACAS and CAAT founder Dr. Alan Tai-Wai Li, and Dr. Colin Kovacs for being awarded the Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN) Policy and Practice Leadership Awards to celebrate their research contributions, and their determination to apply this work to real-world needs. The awards provide up to five years of new funding to help them continue to drive change for people living with and at risk of HIV. Read more at
Until next time! See you in April and watch for some new changes coming to our www.acas.org website!