Health Promotion Newsletter Issue No. 42

6 Jun


Dear Clients and friends,

Summer is right around the corner, despite the weather that is still damp and cool! Keep your spirits up, take a nice stroll and go to see all the beautiful greenery and flowers that are sprouting. For those who participated in the restorative Yoga sponsored by Lululemon, now is a great time to look forward to getting outside and working on all those poses you learned. Be handsome, pretty and pink!!

Pride is almost here, knocking on our door. The parade is on June 23rd! Please come and celebrate the ACAS 25th Anniversary by joining us ON OUR FLOAT! We hope to show strength and pride in solidarity!

I want to give you a breakdown of some of the highlights of Pride events and the upcoming Health Promotion Program Workshops.

  • June 15th is our 8th Annual Pre-Pride Pink Party! We hope to see you all there, ready to party and mingle in your most fabulous pink outfits while enjoying fine BBQ. Please RSVP to your support staff no later than June 12th.
  • June 18th: We will have the AIDS Candlelight Vigil at Barbara Hall Park 519 Community Center starting at 9:00 pm. If you want to have a good spot, show up early. Plus, our one-of-a-kind, Women Support Worker and Winner of the Caring Hand Award from Ontario AIDS Network, our Ms. AMUTHA will be the hostess of this evening. You will be celebrating and remembering the lives of those in our community and enjoying live entertainment.


We have lined up a few exciting workshops in health promotion and events for the summer:

  • Starting July 3rd and July 10th, July 17th and August 7th. Are you ready to challenge yourself to do Yoga in the dark that helps you bring your mind and body together? Please wait for the invitation from your support staff soon!
  • July 5th we will have the Positive Resiliency Workshop by Thomas Egdorf! This workshop will give you the tools to help manage feelings of loss, grief, and sadness. Invitations will be sent out soon so keep your eyes peeled!
  • In the Month of August and September, we will have some practical workshops through our new group the Positive Asian Legend. An intimate group of Asian PHAs over 35 years of age will kick off by developing All Natural self-care products such as room and body spray, emotional-wellness palm sticks. All these products will incorporate Natural essential oils and ingredients. The next workshop will be a shared cook & dine in a healthy living way. Invitations to participate will be sent closer to the dates.
  • Also, stay tuned for an invitation to the picnic and day trip in July and August.


Have a wonderful Pride and enjoy the rest of the summer. Remember to keep hydrated as it begins to get hot.


Sincerely yours,

Kenneth Poon

Health Promotion Coordinator

(647) 278-3835

Health Promotion Newsletter Issue No. 41

15 Mar

year of pig

Dear Clients and friends,

The snow is finally starting to melt, and Spring is just around the corner! As the days get longer it’s time to get out and about again! The year Pig is underway, so it’s time to pamper yourselves a little and indulge in some of the things that make you happy.

The Community Educational Workshops have just begun in this March. It was nice to see you come out and I hope to continue to see even more of you in May.

On March 29th we will have a social gathering with dancing, live performance, and a DJ. Please see below for the program. This is a good opportunity to get out, have some fun, get physical and mingle! Spread the word to all your friends and family. Everyone is welcome!

ETSN training level I is happening at the end of March in case you miss the email from the support staff. It is a very helpful training tool to support yourself and peers and to give you information on HIV. I encourage everybody to seek this training.

Our next workshop in the series will be held in May, the exact date will be confirmed later. The topic will be on Resilience and Coping Skills, and we have a great speaker coming so I encourage you all to attend.

In May, we are staring a restorative massage yoga in partner with Lululemon. This will begin on May 7th and continue every Tuesday from 6-8pm includes dinner, light refreshments. This yoga will help support your physical flexibility, a gentle massage and clear your mind. Lululemon also generally donated some valuable prices for their products for those who sign up for all 4 weeks. Not only are you working with a professional instructor from Lululemon but you are also supporting one of your peers who will be the assistant and has gone through the yoga training.

We are very fortunate that we have secured some funding for The Positive Asian Legend Project for those who are over 40 years of age. There are requests from the older generation for social community events such as shared cooking, self-care on a budget such as preparing shower gel, lip balms etc. While we socialize, we can also learn more about each other. This project will be launched in June.

Have a wonderful spring and sign up for a great year of fun and knowledge.

Sincerely yours,

Kenneth Poon

Health Promotion Coordinator (647) 278-3835


Upcoming Poz-TO MINGLE Dance/HIV+ Social Event and fundraiser for OPA+


The OPA+ Advisory Committee would like to invite you, members of the Toronto Tongzhi Club, to our upcoming Poz-TO MINGLE Dance/HIV+ Social Event and fundraiser for OPA+. Please kindly share this with your networks and we hope to see you on March 29!

SAVE THE DATE if you want to meet, mix, have a fun time and boogie down with a chill mixed serostatus crowd with energetic beats by DJ Sumation and performance by host Jade Elektra all for a good cause in support of Ontario Positive Asians – OPA+!

PRESENTING THE Poz-TO Mingle #HIV Social Event in support of Ontario Positive Asians – OPA+!


Venue: Buddies In Bad Times Theatre
DATE: Friday, March 29, 2019
TIME: 7pm to 10pm
NO COVER (Suggested donation $10)
Note: Folks already at the Poz-TO Mingle Event will not be charged by the venue if you wish to stay for that evening’s dance event organized by Juicey Moon Productions which starts at 10:30pm.
Facebook event link:

Hosted by Toronto’s very own Jade Elektra with music by special guest DJ Sumation where he will be spinning diverse Asian music and retro tunes and a 50/50 raffle draw, the dance event encourages poz and ally community members to mingle and raise funds for a good cause.

MINGLE is a social event for the #HIV+ Community and their allies. It is also a fundraiser for Toronto’s local HIV/AIDS Services Organizations. Poz-TO & POZPLANET will be partnering with different organizations each month to raise funds and also awareness. We hope these events will help in the fight against the stigma attached to living with HIV and serve as a support for our community. This is a 19+ event.

Ontario Positive Asians (OPA+) is an independent network of self-identified East, Southeast, South and West Asians/Middle Eastern people living with HIV in the Greater Toronto Area and across Ontario. Our aim is to create culturally-safe spaces and promote peer-based learning amongst our members. If you are not an existing OPA+ Member, please complete the following OPA+ membership form:

Please share this with your networks and bring your friends to dance the evening away! See you on March 29 at MINGLE for OPA+!

OPA+顾问委员会在此邀请你们,多伦多同志俱乐部的成员们,来参加我们即将举行的Poz-TO MINGLE热舞 / HIV+社交和OPA+募捐活动。请帮助我们将有关消息在你的社交圈中分享,期待在3月29日与你相见!

如果你想遇见新朋友、与很酷的一群人一起放松、度过一段快乐时光,并享受来自DJ Sumation 和主持人Jade Elektra的精彩表演,请务必留出时间来加入我们,让我们一起支持Ontario Positive Asians(安大略省阳性亚裔社区) – OPA+!

快来参加Poz-TO Mingle #HIV社交活动吧,让我们一起支持Ontario Positive Asians(安大略省阳性亚裔社区) – OPA+!

活动场地:Buddies In Bad Times Theatre
日期:2019年3月29日 周五
备注:已经参加Poz-TO Mingle活动的伙伴们如果想留下参与接下来在10:30pm由Juicey Moon Productions组织的热舞活动,主办方将不再收取费用。

由多伦多当地名人Jade Elektra主持,特别嘉宾DJ Sumation提供音乐。为你带来一场不同寻常的亚洲音乐风暴,现场还会有幸运抽奖!这场热舞活动鼓励阳性及伙伴社区成员参与,为我们共同的美好目标筹集资金。

MINGLE是一个专为#HIV+社区及其盟友们举办的社交活动。它同时也是多伦多当地HIV/AIDS服务组织的资金募集活动。Poz-TO & POZPLANET每个月将与不同的组织合作进行资金募集和推广。我们希望通过这些活动帮助我们抵抗针对HIV的歧视,并对社区服务加以巩固。本活动针对19岁以上人群。


请在你的社交圈中分享我们的这次活动,带着你的朋友们热舞一整夜!期待在3月29日的OPA+ MINGLE活动中与你相见!


Health Promotion Newsletter Issue No. 40

18 Dec

Image result for toronto winter

Dear Clients and Friends,


We hope you are all staying warm this winter, we still don’t know if it’s going to be a white Christmas or not! We hope you have a wonderful holidays with family and friends, remember it’s important to take time to cherish your relationships and those in your life. This is also a good time for self-care, try to kick back and relax while you can.

Thank you for coming out this year for Health Promotion! It has been a rather busy year, especially the last months with World AIDS Day and the last 2 workshops on Anal Cancer and Treatment Updates. Your continued support is always appreciated, we hope you took away some good information such as building social connections and staying involved in the community.

All these great Health Promotion workshops would not have been possible without the support from Gilead Sciences, ViiV Healthcare and Moss Park Pharmacy, so I would like to give our sincere thanks to all the sponsors who believe in ACAS and the kind of work we continue to do. I also would like to thank Connie Gilbert, Thanaporn and the Massage Team from Oxford College on their complimentary services in acupuncture, thai massage and massage therapy.

The new Health Promotion Program will be launching in March 2019, starting with a bang on the topic of Aging and Dementia. Please watch out for the invitation by the beginning of March from your support team.

We are so pleased to announce that we have received sponsorship from ViiV Healthcare for a new Innovation Project titled A Sip of C.A.R.E.! We are launching it very soon in the New Year, stay tuned for the details and information. I encourage all service users to apply and to be involved. It is a project under the UNAIDS goal of achieving 90-90-90 and beyond that to the 4th 90 of reaching a better quality of life. This all takes place in the cascade of HIV treatment and care.

Another project we are going to launch is: Positive Asian Legend. It is a social and self-care on a budget group. Details will be provided shortly.

With O.P.A. we still have 2 social gatherings coming up in January and February of 2019, please stay on the lookout for information from Sucre Lee.

There are a few last things I would like to mention. If you RSVP for a workshop and do not show without any advanced notice, I will unfortunately have to suspend you for 1 workshop. There is a demand to enroll in these workshops plus a cost per person which includes meals. We are going to be stricter this year. The same goes for all the acupuncture and massage appointments.

For anyone that would like to know more about Cascade of Treatment and Care, here are some articles for you to enjoy:

Have a Happy and Safe Holiday Season, see you in 2019!


Sincerely yours,


Kenneth Poon
Health Promotion Coordinator
(647) 278-3835

Health Promotion Newsletter Issue 39

29 Oct


Dear Clients and friends,

Fall is well underway, we hope you stay bundled up as the weather gets cooler. Try to get out and enjoy the changing leaves and cozy October atmosphere. Engage your peers and friends and make the most of your time.

Thank you for coming out, it was nice to see most of you at the last 2 educational workshops on Toxicities of HIV medications and HIV & Anal Cancer. If you still want to have a handout of the presentation material, please check with your support staff or myself and we would be more than happy to send it to you.

We have some exciting events coming up that we hope you will join us:

On November 20th, there will be a townhall meeting at 590 Church St. Community Center, starting at 5:30 pm. This will be about Toronto moving towards a fast track city for 90-90-90 and how they are proceeding towards this endgame.

On November 21st we have a social gathering with OPA. Please wait for the invitation from Sucre Lee.

Health Promotion Update:

October 16th, during the Anal Cancer workshop at Lisa Marie Gastropub, we received feedback that there was not enough food for everyone and the start time was a bit late. We have addressed our concerns to the director of operations at Lisa Marie who expressed apologies to all service users. They mentioned that this will not happen the next time and that everyone will have enough food.

On November 26th, we are having a small fundraising event for World AIDS Day. The invitation will be sent out shortly. We hope you can all join us for this special evening. The theme for this year will be: Remembering our History and Building our Future – Moving towards 90-90-90 and Beyond. We will have some of our peers share their stories lived experiences for the first time and I thank them in advance for their bravery and courage. We will be holding this event at Lisa Marie Gastropub again, but don’t worry, there will be no need to eat before coming this time! If you have any guests that would like to come, please share the link with them.

On November 29th, we will hold our Last Macro Workshop – Update on treatment and medications in HIV. The speaker will be Dr. Alice Tseng from Toronto General Hospital. She is the head pharmacist at the Immunodeficiency Clinic. This is a great opportunity to learn about existing medications and the new frontiers that will be coming soon. The venue will be at Bumpkins Restaurant on Gloucester St. Please wait for the invitation.

Lastly, we have received a Positive Innovation Grant from ViiV Healthcare under the title of A Sip of C.A.R.E.- Confidence, Achieving 90/90/90, Reaching out, Engaging. This project aims to use life coaching skills to engage community members within ACAS to set and reach life goals and improve quality of life beyond just managing HIV. We will start recruiting those interested in becoming peer coaches for training in December. Please look out for the application, and if you are qualified there will be compensation as well.

In the News:

Please find a new article in the news for your interest. The government of Newfoundland and Labrador has taken a novel initiative and brave step in covering PrEP.

Sincerely yours,

Kenneth Poon

Health Promotion Coordinator

(647) 278-3835




Health Promotion Newsletter Issue No. 38

30 Jul

 Image result for toronto

Dear Clients,

I hope you are having a wonderful summer. It’s been a real scorcher but now that the heat wave is over, I encourage you to get out and about while the city is lively.

So far, 2018 has been built upon themes of self-love, self-care and resilience. Just as we learned with our meditation sessions, we hope you remember to take care of your mind just the same as your body.

Your support and enthusiasm has made for a great first-half of the year, but we still have a lot planned. We are one big family after all, and every season we hope to grow with your continued support, energy and loyalty.

At this time, we welcome any feedback you may have on our past workshops. We would love to hear your thoughts, what you enjoyed and things you think we could improve. We are also reaching out for any ideas and input you may have for us. Let us know if you have any concerns or suggestions so we could make our future workshops and events a better experience for everyone.

Our Health Promotion Program is still well underway, and we have several exciting events coming up, with some interesting collaborators:


  • In September, we have invited Dr. Gerson Mobo to come speak about toxicity of HIV medications.
  • In October we have a talk from an expert – Dr. Irving Salit, who is coming to speak about HIV and Anal Cancer. This is a rare opportunity to learn about relevant health information from a recognized expert.
  • In December, we will have a workshop with Drs Anthony Chen and Louie Chen, who as per popular request, will come speak about treatment & prevention as well as transgender health.

In the News:

You will find attached an article that may be of interest. This article details a recent report from CATIE, and shows that Canada has made progress to reach a goal of 90/90/90: 90% of people with HIV knowing their infection status, 90% of people diagnosed with HIV are receiving therapy and 90% of people taking therapy have an undetectable viral load.

We hope you have a wonderful summer and look forward to seeing you at future events.

Best Regards,

Kenneth Poon
Health Promotion Worker

CATIE News, 26 July 2018

Canada makes some progress on HIV but much work lies ahead

  • New HIV estimates were released by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
  • 63% of Canadians living with HIV have achieved an undetectable viral load.
  • Canada exceeds some of the 90-90-90 targets in federal prisons, falls behind in First Nations.

Thanks to anti-HIV therapy (ART), researchers expect that if people are diagnosed with HIV soon after infection, start treatment early, stay engaged in care and adhere to their treatment regimen many will have near-normal life expectancy. Also, studies have found that HIV-positive people who achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load do not pass on HIV to their sexual partners.

These twin benefits of ART—on individual health and transmission—are so profound that the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have issued a global strategy to help cities, regions and countries improve the health of HIV-positive people and end the epidemic spread of new infections by the year 2030. The strategy can be encapsulated in the phrase 90-90-90 and consists of the following targets for the year 2020:

  • 90% of people with HIV know their infection status
  • 90% of people diagnosed with HIV receive ART
  • 90% of people taking ART have an undetectable viral load

This distribution of people across HIV testing and treatment outcomes is called the cascade of care.

In Canada

Many countries and regions, including Canada and its provinces and territories, are using 90-90-90 to assess how much progress is being made against the HIV pandemic. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has recently released a report on the HIV epidemic in Canada based on data analysed to the end of 2016. PHAC estimates that there were 63,110 HIV-positive people at the end of 2016. According to this report, the Canadian estimates for 90-90-90 for that year are as follows:

  • 86% of people with HIV knew their infection status
  • 81% of people diagnosed with HIV were taking ART
  • 91% of people taking ART had an undetectable viral load

These figures show that Canada is moving forward to reach its 90-90-90 goals. According to these estimates, 63% of people living with HIV had achieved an undetectable viral load in 2016, which is up from 58% in 2014. Furthermore, the estimates for Canada are generally within the range seen for other high-income countries, including Australia, Denmark, Germany, the U.K. and United States.

Saskatchewan—Indigenous people living on reserve

Saskatchewan has the highest rate of new infections in Canada and Indigenous peoples are disproportionately affected. In order to better understand the situation for on-reserve communities, PHAC collaborated with public health and Indigenous authorities in Saskatchewan and produced the following estimates:

  • 77% of Indigenous people diagnosed with HIV were taking ART
  • 75% of Indigenous people taking ART had an undetectable viral load

Collecting and analysing this data is a good first step. Indigenous people in Canada have experienced a legacy of colonialism and racism, which has adversely affected their health, increasing their susceptibility to many conditions. More effort is needed to help all Indigenous HIV-positive people (on and off reserve across Canada) access culturally appropriate HIV testing, care and treatment services and ensure they benefit from ART.

Federal prisons

PHAC notes that “all inmates in federal correctional facilities are offered a health assessment on admission, and in 2016, 96% of newly admitted inmates accepted a voluntary HIV test to know their status. Inmates are also referred for, or can request, HIV testing anytime during incarceration.” In April 2017, among the 170 inmates with diagnosed HIV, their distribution across the cascade of care was as follows:

  • 94% of people diagnosed with HIV were taking ART
  • 91% of people taking ART had an undetectable viral load

New infections

PHAC estimates that about 2,165 new HIV infections occurred in 2016 in Canada—a slight increase from 2014. These infections were distributed among the following populations:

  • 56% – gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM), including those who inject drugs
  • 14% – people born in a country where HIV is endemic (heterosexual transmission)
  • 14% – people who inject drugs, including gay, bisexual and other MSM
  • 11% – Indigenous people

(These figures do not total 100, due to some overlap in categories.)

Distribution of people living with HIV

PHAC states that the 63,110 people living with HIV in Canada are distributed largely among the following populations:

  • 49% – gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men
  • 33% – heterosexual people (heterosexual transmission)
  • 15% – people who inject drugs
  • 23% – women
  • 10% – Indigenous people

(These figures do not total 100, due to some overlap in categories.)

Bear in mind

1. PHAC estimates that of the 63,110 people living with HIV in Canada, 14% are not aware that they have this infection.

According to PHAC, “These people are hidden from the health care and disease monitoring systems, and thus cannot take advantage of appropriate prevention, treatment and ongoing care and support services until they are tested and diagnosed…Innovative strategies aimed at reaching the undiagnosed population and increasing the number of people adhering to treatment could help Canada [achieve 90-90-90].”

2. The PHAC report shows that Canada is generally making some progress in reaching the UNAIDS/WHO 90-90-90 goals. However, HIV continues to disproportionally affect some populations, and PHAC states that this “highlights the continued need for evidence-informed programs that are culturally and gender-appropriate to address the unique aspects of these populations and communities.” PHAC also calls for “ongoing, broad-based prevention education” to help other populations, including heterosexual people.


Summary: Estimates of HIV incidence, prevalence and Canada’s progress on meeting the 90-90-90 HIV targets, 2016 – Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)

HIV in Canada – PHAC infographic

90-90-90: An ambitious treatment target to help end the AIDS epidemic – UNAIDS

—Sean R. Hosein



  1. Public Health Agency of Canada. Summary: Estimates of HIV incidence, prevalence and Canada’s progress on meeting the 90-90-90 HIV targets, 2016. Report. July 2018. Available from:
  2. Centre for Communicable Diseases and Infection Control. A summary of the Pan-Canadian framework on sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections. Canada Communicable Diseases Report. 2018;44(7/8):179-81. Available from:
  3. Benoit AC, Younger J, Beaver K, et al. Increased mortality among Indigenous persons in a multisite cohort of people living with HIV in Canada. Canadian Journal of Public Health. 2017 Jun 16;108(2):e169–e175.
  4. Cohen MS, Chen YQ, McCauley M, et al. Antiretroviral therapy for the prevention of HIV-1 transmission. New England Journal of Medicine. 2016;375:830–839. Available from:
  5. Rodger AJ, Cambiano V, Bruun T, et al. Sexual activity without condoms and risk of HIV transmission in serodifferent couples when the HIV-positive partner is using suppressive antiretroviral therapy. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2016;316(2):171–181. Available from:

Health Promotion Newsletter Issue No. 37

20 Mar

Image result for spring

Dear Clients,

Spring is just around the corner even though we are still having some wintery-like weather hanging on! I hope that everyone is doing their best to get themselves physically active and finding happiness in the soon to be changing season.

This year is the Lunar Year of the Dog. The dog’s characteristics are loyalty and honesty — they are truly the most reliable partner you’ll ever need. Since ACAS always believes that our clients are part of one big family, we continuously count on your support, loyalty, and partnership in order to make this relationship thrive. Recently our funding from the government has been decreased in some of our programs, and in light of this, we are asking our family members for their thoughts, feedback, and ideas on how we, as a unit, can move forward. If you have any input whatsoever, please contact your support staff and we will evaluate all input as a whole. Please feel secure in bringing your voice forward in this family as speaking up will not affect you negatively in any of our services.

This year we have lined up an exciting program for the Health Promotion Workshops. ACAS also is building allies with other agencies to broaden the scope of the workshops offered.

  • We continue to have our weekly meditation class on Wednesday evening (until mid-April); 6-7 pm at Casey House (119 Isabella Street). Please register with your support staff.
  • In April, we will have a workshop facilitated by Constantine Carbarios on the topic of Understanding Guilt and Shame.
  • In May, we will have a series of workshops on Holistic Nutrition and Cooking in partnership with ASAAP and OPA+.
  • Pre Pride Pink Party in June will take place.
  • In August, we will have our educational 3-day retreat facilitated by various presenters and practitioners.
  • In September, HPV and ANAL cancer will be the topic of the workshop. It will be facilitated by Dr. Irving Salit.
  • For the month of October, per client request, we will have a workshop on Aging and Sexual Health with REALIZE.
  • In November, the workshop will focus on the most up-to-date HIV Antiretroviral Treatment and Medication.

Our intern nursing student Mr. Andy Zhang will be sadly leaving us in April, but he will occasionally continue to help and provide services in our support program. During his time at ACAS, he provided invaluable efforts and energies into our support programs such as organizing appointments, developing online surveys, providing a presentation to one of our workshops, and funding sourcing. Andy, we wish you well – you will be missed and please find the farewell article provided by him below. We thank you for all your efforts!

Best Regards,

Kenneth Poon
Health Promotion Worker


Image result for emotional health

Emotional Health and Neurocognitive Decline in Aging

By: Andy Zhang, Nursing Student at ACAS
March 20, 2018

What is Emotional Health?

In my opinion, there is no concrete definition for emotional health that applies to all individuals because emotional health may mean different things to different people. For example, emotional health may mean staying in control of one’s life or maintaining a feeling of happiness and fulfillment in life or as simple as having a positive outlook on life in general. In a sense, emotional health is unique and different to everyone.

However, the perspectives on maintaining healthy emotional well-being may differ across cultures. Some cultures may view the expression of feelings as a sign of weakness, while others may fully respect a person’s journey towards achieving a healthy emotional outlook. So, it is important to assess your own beliefs and assumptions about emotional health and how this may impact your ability to effectively manage your emotional health.

Why is Emotional Health Important for Us?

As Taylor (2013) suggests, “living with HIV can be emotionally challenging” (p. 9). We often forget or neglect to take care of our emotional and mental well-being, which often leads to negative coping, emotional instability, distress, and/or burnout. Emotional health constitutes a balance between multiple areas of one’s life, including your physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and sexual health (Taylor, 2013). So, it is important to think about emotional health as it can potentially influence other aspects of your thinking, behaviours, or overall well-being.

Moreover, our minds and our bodies are intimately connected. The mind and body interact in harmony to make sure we are healthy. However, if this “mind-body connection” (Taylor, 2013, p. 4) is somehow disrupted, it may lead to negative outcomes in our lives. For example, consistent feelings of anxiety may negatively affect our performance on daily tasks and may also contribute to heart disease. As such, it is important to maintain a healthy balance between the two.

How can Emotional Health Impact Neurocognitive Decline?

It is important to sustain emotional health throughout the process of aging. In a study on successful cognitive aging in individuals living with HIV, researchers suggest that “acute affective distress is negatively associated with successful cognitive aging” (Malaspina et al., 2011). In other words, emotional distress may inhibit successful cognitive aging. This finding further suggests that emotional health is an integral aspect of maintaining cognitive health in aging.

Poor emotional health may become a barrier to doing all the things that are suggested to prevent or mitigate neurocognitive decline. In a study on adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) in persons living with HIV, researchers found an indirect relationship between emotional avoidance and treatment adherence (Berghoff et al., 2018). Specifically, those who tended to avoid their emotions were more likely to have poorer relationships with their healthcare providers, which had a negative impact on ART adherence. Consequently, these individuals demonstrated poorer ART adherence (Berghoff et al., 2018). Although this study is unrelated to cognitive decline, it still gives valuable insight into the potential consequences of poor emotional management on an individual’s health behaviours. As demonstrated, individuals who cannot effectively manage their emotional health may have trouble with adhering to certain treatments. So, it would be useful to consider how emotional health may have an impact on an individual’s ability to practice the many strategies that are suggested to lessen neurocognitive decline.

Maintaining healthy emotional-wellbeing may not have a distinct, obvious, or direct role in preventing cognitive decline. However, it is still crucial to consider the impacts of emotions on all levels of our being as well as our behaviours and treatment adherence.

Strategies to Enhance Emotional Health

The following strategies to enhance emotional health is from the resource “HIV and Emotional Wellness” by Taylor (2013) from CATIE:

  • Recall and collect positive moments
  • Practice forgiveness
  • Self-expression (i.e. conversations, art activities, journal writing, etc.)
  • Learn how to cope with negative thoughts
  • Treat yourself!

Additional Resources for Emotional Health

HIV and Emotional Wellness:

7 ways to practice emotional first aid:

Aging and Emotional Wellness:

Behaviour and Emotions of Aging:

Emotional Health:


Berghoff, C. R., Gratz, K. L., Portz, K. J., Pinkston, M., Naifeh, J. A., Evans, S. D., . . . Tull, M. T. (2018). The role of emotional avoidance, the Patient–Provider relationship, and other social support in ART adherence for HIV+ individuals. AIDS and Behavior, 22(3), 929-938. 10.1007/s10461-017-1745-2

Malaspina, L., Woods, S. P., Moore, D. J., Depp, C., Letendre, S. L., Jeste, D., . . . The HIV Neurobehavioral Research Programs (HNRP) Group. (2011). Successful cognitive aging in persons living with HIV infection. Journal of NeuroVirology, 17(1), 110-119. doi:10.1007/s13365-010-0008-z

Taylor, D. (2013). HIV and emotional wellness. Toronto: CATIE

Health Promotion Newsletter Issue No. 36

10 Oct

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Dear Clients,

Finally autumn has arrived, despite that we are still getting amazing above average temperature.  I hope everyone can benefit from getting out and enjoy any social activities while you can.

What about the flu shot?  Toronto Public Health has stated that this year we will be experiencing one of the worst flu season based on the evidence from Australia.  On the flip side, the flu shot is one way to prevent getting a flu-like symptom for this Fall/Winter.  Please check with your physician or pharmacist to find out when the flu shot is available.

The Aging workshop video is available on line by Ms. Kate Murzin from REALIZE  Based on the responses, we are going to have another workshop from REALIZE focusing on aging and sexual health early next year.

Our upcoming Macro workshop will be presented by Dr. Sean Rourke, Neuropsychologist from St. Michael Hospital on Friday, October 20, 2017. The topic will be “HIV, Mental Illness and Cognitive Health”.  Please check with your support worker if you did not get the invitation yet.

Recently I find this article from quite interesting and I like to share with you.  I truly believe we all need to remember to speak up about those being left behind. I am curious what your response will be to this article. Enjoy reading!


Best Regards,

Kenneth Poon

Health Promotion worker



Image result for life

May 22, 2017

Life expectancy for a person living with HIV who is on antiretroviral therapy increased by about 10 years between 1996 to 2013, according to a new study

Analyzing data from Europe and North America, the study, which was published in the Lancet HIV, looked at data from over 88,000 individuals who started HIV treatment with three or more drugs between 1996 and 2010, and who were followed for at least three years.

Overall, the researchers found that life expectancy in 20-year-old individuals starting HIV treatment in 1996 versus 2010 has increased by about nine years for women and about 10 years for men, and nearly matches the general population average of 78 years.


Within the history of HIV treatment, 1996 was important because it marked the beginning of the combination antiretroviral therapy era after studies presented at the International AIDS Conference supported the use of triple-drug regimens. Since then, medications have continued to improve, with regimens getting better at suppressing HIV, being less toxic and less prone to drug resistance, as well as offering reduced pill burden (taking fewer pills each day) and fewer side effects.

“Our research illustrates a success story of how improved HIV treatments coupled with screening, prevention and treatment of health problems associated with HIV infection can extend the life span of people diagnosed with HIV. However, further efforts are needed if life expectancy is to match that of the general population,” said lead author Adam Tricky, Ph.D., according to the study press release.

Study Methods

The researchers analyzed how many people died during the first three years of antiretroviral therapy, causes of death, viral loads and CD4 counts, and whether HIV transmission occurred because of injection drug use. Based on their analysis, the researchers found that fewer people who started treatment between 2008 and 2010 died within three years, compared to individuals who started treatment between 1996 and 2007.

The number of AIDS-related deaths also decreased between 1996 and 2010. The median CD4 count after one year of treatment also increased from 370 in 1996-99 to 430 in 2008-2010. The percentage of individuals with viral loads below 500 also increased from 71% in 1996-99 to 93% in 2008-2010.

Despite the good news, some communities are left behind from these improved life expectancy outcomes. ” [I]individuals who are not white, have a history of injection drug use, or began [antiretroviral therapy] with low CD4 cell counts have no reduction in mortality or improvements in life expectancy,” writes Ingrid T. Katz, M.D., and Brendan Maughan-Brown, Ph.D., in a comment in The Lancet HIV.

“The concern is greatest in the world’s most vulnerable populations, which include people who inject drugs in Europe and North America, and individuals living in resource-constrained settings globally, where access to early [antiretroviral] initiation has been limited,” Katz and Maughan-Brown add.

Life Expectancy Still Trending Up

While some groups and areas still need attention, the life expectancy estimates for those on treatment continue to rise. Last month, a study in HIV Medicine also found that life expectancy is on the rise for people with HIV on treatment, though it was lower for low-to-middle-income countries, and the overall estimates did not match the general population as closely as this latest study.

Last year, the Swiss HIV Cohort Study also found that life expectancy had increased between 1996 and 2013, from about 41 years to about 75 years. The development of combination antiretroviral therapy certainly played a key role in increasing life expectancy, but just having treatment is not enough.

“Since modern treatment is highly effective with low toxicity, deaths in people living with HIV are unlikely to be reduced by further development of drugs. Now we need to focus on the issues surrounding drug adherence, late diagnosis of HIV, and diagnosis and treatment of co-occurring conditions. In drug users we must promote therapy and improve access to therapy to treat addictions as well as increasing access to hepatitis C treatment for people with both infections,” Trickey concluded.

Warren Tong is the senior science editor for and