The Ally Centre of Cape Breton is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to prevent the spread of blood borne pathogens in the community and to create a supportive environment for those infected and/or affected by blood borne pathogens. In pursuit of this, the Ally Centre uses a community development approach in providing education, support and advocacy on blood borne pathogens and related issues for the people of Cape Breton Island.
Anonymous HIV testing and non-nominal testing for Hepatitis B & C, and syphilis is available on Wednesday and Thursday – 9:00 am-3:00 pm. Trained testing nurses from the Victoria Order of Nurses (VON) are on staff and available for questions. Contact us for more information.
Anonymous testing is also available at the offices in Antigonish and Port Hawkesbury by appointment. Contact us for more information.
S.A.N.E. provides safe injection equipment (clean needles, alcohol swabs, filters, ties) and sharps containers for safe disposal of used needles to Cape Bretoners in need. The needle exchange also provides outreach services, as required.
Needle Exchange is an important preventative program which exists to provide clean needles and syringes for injection drug users. A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in August 1997 provided over 14,000 clean syringes to 275 drug users. The study concluded that providing sterile needles is an inexpensive means of preventing greater health-care costs. The authors of the study estimated the program prevented 24 new HIV infections over five years. This equals huge savings for the health system as the study estimates that the cost of treating HIV and AIDS over a person’s lifetime could total $1.3 million.
The Ally Centre of Cape Breton now has a primary health care clinic for people from vulnerable populations. This includes people living with stigmatized illnesses such as HIV, HCV, mental health and addiction, homeless people, people in trouble with the law, women escaping domestic violence, sex trade workers and people from the LGBTQ community; we embrace both youth and adults in all the aforementioned situations.
The reason we are hosting the clinic is because folks in such situations tend not to seek healthcare because they fear being stigmatized or because their life style is often a barrier. We aim to reduce these barriers by providing primary health care services in a known non-judgemental and caring environment.
In addition, the following health services are also available:
ACCB offers a range of public education to schools, workplaces, community organizations and healthcare providers. We are currently offering the following workshops:
AIDS 101: An interactive introduction to HIV/AIDS including discussion of transmission, safer sex, drug use and the social factors of HIV/AIDS.
Anti-Homophobia: Homophobia contributes to the spread of HIV/AIDS in addition to oppressing members of our community who identify within the queer spectrum. Learn what homophobia looks like and how it can be challenged by individuals and organizations.
Anti-Transphobia: An introduction to understanding gender variance including definitions of terms and identities, a discussion of oppression and steps people and organizations can take towards inclusion.
Intro to Harm Reduction: A presentation on the rationale for harm reduction approaches to drug use. Drug-user health issues, commonly misused drugs and practical ways to reduce harms associated with drug use are the focus.
Hepatitis C 101: This is an interactive session around HCV prevention and treatment.
Queer Health: Queer-identified people have unique health needs that often are poorly understood. This workshop gives an overview of queer health issues and includes discussion of the social determinants of health, queer identities, trans health, oppression and harm reduction.
For more information or to set up a public education session, contact us.
Peer counselling is available for people living with HIV or Hepatitis C. These individuals have identified the need for support services to improve their health. The Ally Centre of Cape Breton offers a food bank, housing support and referrals to other agencies as needed.
As well, treatment information, emotional support and a collection of resources is available for people living with HIV or Hepatitis C and their family and friends.
If you are person living in Cape Breton who wishes to make a donation, please get in touch with ACCB staff.
The Resource Centre provides public access to printed and local resources for LGBT community and their allies. Topics include health and wellness, sexuality and gender identity, with the availability to order in additional material upon request. All presentations are free and available across all of Cape Breton.
In addition, the LGBT Resource Centre provides the following services:
Professional Development: Sensitivity training, workshops and multimedia presentations to businesses and organizations with the goal of increasing awareness and understanding of the LGBT community and reducing homophobia and transphobia.
School Support: Age appropriate presentations on the basics of understanding sexual orientation and gender identity, hate language, anti-bullying, safe sex and ally training. Workshops are available and range in length from one hour to a full day. The workshops can also be tailored for a class room setting or a school assembly. Suitable for ages ranging from pre-school to university.
Gay Straight Alliance (GSA): Support is available for all existing and future GSAs in the form of visits, resource management (online, printed or community based resources).
Extra-curricular activities for youth: Activities include movie nights, social events and community based projects all in a safe and welcoming space.
Transgender Support Group: Weekly meetings, events and support along with additional resources for all non-gender conforming individuals.
ACCB prides itself in being a safe space for all individuals. We operate a drop-in centre from 8:30-12:00 and again from 2:00-4:30 every weekday. Phone and internet access is available and staff are present to answer questions about sexual and drug user health (or to just have a cup of coffee and chat!).
Your donation helps to fund the many services offered by the Ally Centre of Cape Breton. Every little bit helps and you can feel good knowing that every dollar raised helps us continue providing quality support services to those in need, including purchasing program materials such as supplies for the clinic and prevention programs.