World AIDS Day 2014 :

Commemorating Lives Lost to the HIV epidemic and Celebrating ACAS’ 20th Anniversary

This year’s World AIDS Day marks a very special day for ACAS as marks the official start of our 20th anniversary: 
ACASturns20 Pride
On December 1, 1994, Asian Community AIDS Services (ACSAS) was formed when Gay Asians Toronto’s Gay Asian AIDS Project, Southeast Asian Service Centre’s Vietnamese AIDS Project, and the Toronto Chinese Health Education Committee’s AIDS Alert Project amalgamated as a coalition agency to support East and Southeast Asians living with and affected by HIV. Celebrating our 20th year in existence, ACAS continues to be a leader in providing innovative, community-driven, culturally and linguistically appropriate programming and services to the East and Southeast Asian HIV and LGBTQ communities in the Greater Toronto Area.
As an effort to celecbrate ACAS’ 20 years of community activism, we have asked service users, allies and supporters to let us know what ACAS means to them. These feature will be posted bi-monthly throughout the year.
As the first feature, we have a special piece by Derek Yee, Recipient of the ACAS 20th Anniversary Patrick Truong Award:
Derek ACASturns20 Asian Canadian
I feel very privileged to have been honoured this year, 2014, with the Patrick Truong Award for making a significant contribution in the area of HIV / AIDS and social justice issues.
As an Asian Canadian who has faced stigma and discrimination growing up with HIV/AIDS in Canada, I want to recognize that we as a community now have the opportunity to better support the changing faces of HIV/AIDS.  Through ACAS, I have grow a as an individual with my community, and have moved from an HIV/AIDS victim to become a community champion by learning resiliency.
I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge my involvement with ACAS as a service user and volunteer. Through my participation with the ACAS Support Program, I have accessed support services to enhance my social network, attended many capacity building workshops held by ACAS to gain new skills, and benefitted from professional referrals to other AIDS service organizations to further my education. Through my volunteering on the Board at ACAS, I have learnt communication strategies and strategic wisdom in the course of making a difference and eliminating access barriers. I have learnt how to co-exist with life challenges while improving my health outcomes.
I am proud to be Asian Canadian, a community supporter of ACAS, and someone who openly showcases his lived experience as a survivor, advocate, speaker and an accomplished artist living and celebrating life with HIV/AIDS.
ACAS & Tunes. Beats. Awesome Acapella Group help raise HIV awareness to Toronto TTC riders with red ribbons and music in anticipation of World AIDS Day through Red Ribbon on the Rocket #RROR14
RROR14 Yonge and BloorWAD fb banner
On November 28, 2014, Asian Community AIDS Services (ACAS) outreached to hundreds of TTC riders at the Yonge/Bloor, Wellesley and North York Centre subways stations with red ribboned condom information packages to help raise awareness for World AIDS Day 2014. Riders at the Yonge/Bloor station were treated by the amazing performances by the U of T co-ed acappella group Tunes. Beats. Awesome. We would like to thank our dedicated team of volunteers and staff members for making #RROR14 such a successful event.
If you missed the wonderful performance by T.B.A., you can watch some of the highlights here!
Thank you to OMNI Mandarin TV for covering our event and also to SingTao Daily for the special feature on HIV published on World AIDS Day:
About World AIDS Day
UNAIDS has made “Close the Gap” a theme for this year’s World AIDS Day. Closing the gap means that ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 is possible. World AIDS Day 2014 is an opportunity to harness the power of social change to put people first and close the gap.
Closing the gap means empowering and enabling all people, everywhere, to access the services they need.

  • By closing the HIV testing gap, the 19 million people who are unaware of their HIV-positive status can begin to get support.
  • By closing the treatment gap, all 35 million people living with HIV will have access to life-saving medicine.
  • By closing the gap in access to medicines for children, all children living with HIV will be able to access treatment, not just the 24% who have access today.
  • By closing the access gap, all people can be included as part of the solution.

Ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 is possible, but only by closing the gap between people who have access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services and people who are being left behind.

ACAS joins St. Stephen’s Community Centre and AIDS Committee Toronto in the Red Ribbon Human Link Walk in Chinatown to raise HIV Awareness in the Asian & Portuguese Community

 Red Ribbion Human Link
Aside from #RROR14, ACAS also took part with our community partners St. Stephen’s Community Centre and AIDS Committee of Toronto in the annual Red Ribbon Human Link Walk 2014 in Chinatown and Kensington Market to raise awareness on HIV to the Asian and Portuguese communities. Did you get a red ribbon from our volunteers? Thank you CTV for covering the event.

ACAS Executive Director Noulmook Sutdhibhasilp attends one day exchange meeting with the Thai National AIDS Foundation (TNAF) in Bangkok, Thailand

We would like to thank มูลนิธิเอดส์แห่งประเทศไทย (มอท.) Thai National AIDS Foundation (TNAF) for hosting ACAS Executive Director Noulmook Sutdhibhasilp for a one day meeting to exchange fundraising ideas and strategies while she was on vacation in Asia.

Support Program Coordinator Andrew Miao speaks at the Lourdes Association in Taiwanabout HIV work in Toronto

 Andrew Lourdes
On Nov 20, 2014, our Support Program Coordinator Andrew was invited by Lourdes Association in Taiwan to participate in a knowledge exchange forum to talk about his experience at ACAS and the HIV work in Toronto. On the same day, Andrew also went on a Taiwanese online live radio show hosted by “Poz League”, a volunteer poz group in Taiwan, to share his personal experience immigrating to Canada and becoming involved with HIV community. Thanks Andrew for working so hard during your vacation!

Know about PrEP?

On November 25, 2014, the ACAS Men’s Program held an “All about PrEP” workshop on pre-exposure prophylaxis. The session was facilitated by facilitated by James Wilton from CATIE (Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange).
If you missed it, we covered the basics:
– PrEP is a pill for HIV-negative people to help prevent getting HIV.
– It would be best for people who are involved in “high risk” activities that can transmit HIV.
– And in order for PrEP to be most effective, you should take the pill everyday.
– We also went into details about other PrEP studies, how PrEP works, and how you can get it for yourself.
There is a Toronto MSM PreP 5 Study (CTN 279) looking for gay or bi men to try PrEP for FREE for a whole year/ If you are interested in taking part of the study or have any questions you can contact the Men’s Program Staff Richard, Ryan, or Brian

Q21 & Linked Oppressions present “Sex Positivity”

ACAS’ Women’s Education and Outreach Program Coordinator, Cassandra Dang Nguyen, was invited as a speaker at Q21, a weekly conversation café organized by the U of T Sexual & Gender Diversity Office where she facilitated a workshop on Sex Positivity on November 20, 2014. The event was co-presented with the Equity Studies Students’ Union as part of their month-long Linked Oppressions event series. The topics at the Q21 café are questions the student body wants to talk about in an open and safe manner, whereas Linked Oppressions is an annual tradition of the ESSU at the University of Toronto featuring events that examine how various forms of marginalization such as racism, homophobia and transphobia are articulated, experienced and resisted.

Support Program Health Promotion Workshop:

Understanding your blood work and how Naturopathic medicine can support your immune system

 Treatment Info Support 911 
We would like to thank presenter Dr. Natasia Irons, Naturopathic Doctor at Sherbourne Health Center, for presenting a wonderful and informative workshop on November 13, 2014 at Red Cranberries. It was a well-attended event and over 30 support program service users were able to gain a better understanding of the blood work reports and how to utilize alternative medicine as a way to boost one’s overall health. We would like to thank

Coming Out Circle 

Coming Out Circle
Due to needs expressed by our youth service users, ACAS’ Queer Asian Youth (QAY) program brought back the Coming Out Circles with the first of these events on November 7, 2014. The Coming Out Circles provide a much needed culturally safe space for queer Asian youths to talk about their coming out experiences, listen to stories of others, and provide support for one another.

ACAS Holiday Volunteer and ScotiaRun Fundraiser Appreciation Party

ACAS Brochure Image
Dear Our Dedicated Team of active ACAS Volunteers and ScotiaRun Fundraisers,
As ACAS officially enters its 20th Anniversary on December 1, we would like to invite you to our annual holiday volunteer appreciation party  as a way to thank all your efforts to make ACAS such a special place in the East and Southeast Asian community.

With your help, we made histories and wonderful memories in our community this year. For example, we held the first ever PinkDot Chinatown Pride March with CCNCTO to celebrate Asian Pride in Toronto, had a very successful ACAS CelebrAsian 20th Anniversary Fundraising Gala, raised over $24,800 at the Scotianbank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Half Marathon and 5k Charity Challenge, and most recently held a very successful Red Ribbon on the Rocket World AIDS Day Outreach. Our board and staff members would like you to know that without your help and dedication, we would not be able to carry out many of our program activities and support our many service users.

Please come and join us for an evening of fun, food, and recognition.

  • Event:   ACAS Holiday Volunteer Appreciation Party
  • Where: Holiday Inn Toronto Bloor-Yorkville, Varisty Room, 280 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1V8
  • Time:    Thursday, December 11, 2014 from 6pm to 9pm

Please RSVP to Trisha Steinberg, Volunteer Coordinator at or 416-963-4300 ext. 232 by Monday, December 8, 2014.
We look forward to seeing you!
#ACASturns20 hashtag
We wish everyone a very happy holiday season and a very happy New Year!
Please note the ACAS office will be closed from December 22, 2014 to January 2, 2015 and reopens on January 5, 2015.