Programs

HIV/AIDS Support Programs for People Living with HIV/AIDS (PHAs)


1.  Connecting to Care

2. ELAN (for female-identified clients)

3. More than Fiction

Education and HIV Prevention


1. Men’s Sexual Health (Snehithan and Lassi)

2. Women’s Sexual Health (Brownkiss)

3. Gay Men’s Outreach (Dosti)

4. Family Centered Approaches to Sexual Health

Community Development


1. Between the Lines

2. Tease (youth sexual health) Community-based Research

3.  AIM (Access, Identity and Men)

4. Story-sharing for Sexual Health


Our programs focus on fostering a community of care around HIV and AIDS. ASAAP’s

programs translate care into action by facilitating access, empowerment and support in our

communities.

Working with an understanding of how social factors determine individual health, our work often

overlaps with anti-racism, housing, violence, gender equity, mental health and more. We are

always learning, growing and building strong partnerships with organizations and people.

If you have ideas for collaboration or are interested in working with us get in touch

HIV/AIDS SUPPORT PROGRAMS


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Goals:

The C2C program provides health promotion and support services for aging South Asian PHAs.

The main objectives are to increase HIV treatment adherence; and, increase the ability to

effectively manage health by connecting clients to health and social services.

Services:

  • Intake, assessment and case management
  • Peer counselling
  • Monthly support group
  • Referrals
  • Peer navigation to services and accompaniment
  • Workshops and skills development
  • Treatment information
  • Interpretation and translation

Highlights:

  • Multilingual health bulletins on various topics such as nutrition or mental health
  • Monthly support group to facilitate peer connections and share experiences
  • Workshops featuring relevant health topics such as travel planning w/medication,
  • financial planning, Queer Issues 101, Trans* 101
  • Modest financial support available to clients supported by fundraising efforts

Funder: ACAP, PHAC

Contact Info:

Shazia Islam, PHA Support Coordinator, 416-599-2727 ext.223

phasupport@asaap.ca

Sudin Sherchan, Peer Navigator, 416-599-2727 ext.228

peernavigator@asaap.ca

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Goals:

ELAN (Empowerment, Love, and Networking) is a support program for South Asian women

living with HIV/AIDS. The primary aim of the program is to help reduce barriers and gaps in

services for South Asian POZ women.

Services:

  • Monthly support group
  • Case management
  • Group and Individual peer counselling
  • Accompaniment to other clinics and service locations e.g. doctor’s appointment
  • Referrals
  • Home and hospital visits
  • Treatment information
  • Workshop training and skills development

Highlights:

  • Monthly support group provides safe, welcoming, inclusive space
  • Workshops on Trans 101, Healthy Relationships, Sex Toys and Pleasure, Complementary

Therapies, cooking and conversation, and arts & crafts.

  • Catering Certification of peers to develop knowledge and training around food handling
  • Creation of More than Fiction, first anthology written by members of ELAN
  • Connecting members to community engagement opportunities

Funder: AIDS Bureau, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Contact Info:

Chhiring D. Sherpa, Women’s Health and Support Coordinator, T: 416-599-2727 x232

E: womensupport@asaap.ca


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Goals:

More than Fiction: Investing in South Asian POZ Communities is a capacity building and training

project that uses an arts-based engagement model to link South Asians living with HIV to gainful

opportunities. 20 South Asians POZ clients are recruited into a three (3) month capacity building

creative writing program thematically focused on economic security.

Services:

  • Training workshops on creative writing, photo art and design
  • A community anthology authored by South Asians living with HIV in print and online

Highlights:

  • First anthology of its kind released in 2014 featuring 12 authored narratives
  • Spots available for 15 -20 South Asians living with HIV to participate in 8 capacity-buildingworkshops in creative writing and photo voice
  • Participants provided with substantial honorarium/ paid work opportunities

Funder: MAC AIDS Fund

Contact Info: Sudin Sherchan, Project Coordinator, peernavigator@asaap.ca, T: 416-599-2727

x 228

EDUCATION AND HIV PREVENTION


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Goals:

The goal of the men’s sexual health program is to offer culturally relevant and linguistically

appropriate sexual health education and support for South Asian guys who like guys in Toronto.

Services:

  • Three (3) support spaces for South Asian, Tamil and Youth guys who like guys:
  • Snehithan: offers a variety of events throughout the year to share and learn from
  • Lassi: peer led service for young men (16-30 years) who like men and has 1 on 1
  • Education workshops and community forums
  • Community outreach

Highlights:

  • The program reaches men across Toronto with a variety language and religious backgrounds
  • Services directly engage over 1000 contacts every year
  • Lassi has connected youth to sexual health information, peer counselling, and referrals
  • Partnership with Catholic Cross Cultural Services for Lassi every second Monday of the month to increase access to services for youth in Scarborough

Funder: Toronto Urban Health Fund (TUHF)

Contact Info: Ramraajh Sharvendiran, menshealth@asaap.ca, (416) 599-2727 x 227 and

Amila Piyathilake: peer@asaap.ca, (416) 599 2727 x 229


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Goals:

The Women’s Sexual health project aims to fill a gap within the South Asian community in

Toronto in providing culturally-tailored sexual health information for women in a relevant and

engaging manner. We provide a space for women of all ages to dialogue about sex, sexuality

and healthy relationships.

Services:

  • Community Outreaches
  • Capacity Building Opportunities for Volunteers
  • Workshop training and skills development
  • Print and Resource Development (including Brownkiss.ca)
  • Annual Forums for IWD (International Women’s Day) and WAD (World AIDS Day)
  • Media Outreaches

Highlights:

  • Over 500 women reached annually through our workshops and outreaches
  • Strong partnerships across Toronto in Scarborough, Rexdale, Crescent town and St. Jamestown
  • Media coverage featured on Tamil Culture, CATIE and Anokhi Media peer support; offers an online sexual health resource focused on providing sexual health information and referrals peer counselling service and a monthly drop in meetingDevelopment of Brownkiss.ca- an online hub for and by South Asian women that uses an intersectional, feminist and an anti-oppression framework to provide holistic sexual health education
  • Utilizes an innovative storytelling model to offer HIV, STIs and testing education in the South Asian community featured in both local and international conferences as an effective way of doing HIV education for diverse communities

Funder: The Toronto Urban Health Fund

Contact Info: Suruthi Ragulan; education@asaap.ca; 416-599-2727 x222

Gay Men’s Outreach


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Program goals:

In accordance with the provincial gay men’s strategy, the men’s outreach program aims to work

with South Asian men who have sex with men, to build knowledge and awareness of available

supports surrounding HIV/AIDS and STI prevention as well as issues pertaining to sexuality

both within the queer and South Asian communities at large.

Services:

  • Monthly social support meetings taking place both in Toronto and Mississauga
  • Pride and Holiday mixers with Snehithan and Lassi
  • South Asian men’s bathhouse nights on the 2nd Thursday of every month.
  • Online support space at www.dosti.ca with weekly updated blogs, events calendar, message, and monthly newsletters
  • One-on-one peer counseling
  • Education workshops

Highlights:

  • Continued growth in Dosti membership
  • Successful campaigns such as Protect your Love, and Brown N Proud
  • Programs and campaigns presented at World Pride Human rights conference, Rainbow Health Ontario Conference, and the Gay Men’s Sexual health symposium
  • Our work has been on various Media outlets such as CP24 and Omni, as well as Our Agenda, towelroad, queerty, tiredbees, and various other well-known blogs.

Funder: AIDS Bureau, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care

Contact: Shazad Hai, mensoutreach@asaap.ca, (416) 599-2727 x 226

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT


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Goals:

Between the Lines aims to build capacity among the South Asian community to effectively

respond to HIV/AIDS through engaging volunteers and service providers in our work and

facilitating an understanding of the social determinants of health.

Services:

  • Volunteer Program
  • The Between the Lines Community Library includes books, reports, zines, and otherpublications that aim to inform, challenge, and engage us in thinking critically and reading between the lines of our lives. From fiction to non-fiction, to documentaries and resources, our collection pushes boundaries and invites us to explore who we are, where we come from, and what we can become. Click here to access the library page
  • Workshops are offered for the public, including community members, volunteers, and partners. These aim to build community capacity in addressing HIV/AIDS.
  • We engage with the media to increase the visibility of HIV/AIDS related issues, trends and services.

Funder: AIDS Bureau, Ministry of Long-Term Care

Contact: Shriya Hari, Volunteer and Community Development Coordinator,

volunteer@asaap.ca T: 416 599 2727 x 225


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Goals:

The Herat to Heart project takes a family centered approach to sexual health and aims to gain

knowledge of the needs of South Asian youth and families with regards to sex education,

comfort levels, subject content and methods of engagement.

Services:

  • Development of a needs assessment with South Asian youth and parents to gain insights on family-centered approaches to sexual health education within the community
  • Engagement opportunities to participate on project advisory committees for youth and parents
  • Presentation of the report through a forum targeting community partners and members
  • Utilizing the findings to pave the way towards improved sexual health awareness resources for South Asian youth and parents.

Highlights:

  • An innovative one (1) year needs assessment project involving youth and parents in discussions on family-centered sexual health education approaches
  • New community partnerships with organizations working with South Asian youth and parents within Toronto’s priority neighborhoods

Funder: Toronto Urban Health Fund, City of Toronto

Contact Info: Jaspreet Kaur Soor​


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Goals:

ASAAP initiated the Tease Project, to use arts to engage South Asian youth on sexual health,

HIV/AIDS, and leadership development. Tease provides a space for youth to learn about health

and sexuality, develop their artistic skills, and speak to their experiences by leading HIV

Prevention campaigns.

Services: Service cycles are complete however, program resources are available here

Highlights:

  • A network of partners including Planned Parenthood Toronto, Flemingdon Health Centre and South Asian Women’s Rights Organization
  • 32 training sessions with 59 newcomer youth in the Crescent Town and Thorncliffe neighbourhoods.
  • Launch of The Collection; a booklet documenting our journey and the all the artwork the youth have produced during the project.
  • Exhibited our work at the OHTN Research Conference in 2013, the Research Symposium on Youth, Sexuality, and Sexual Health in 2014 and We Do Belong: Story-telling Youth Forum in 2015
  • Launched It’s About More Than A Condom, a campaign exploring everyday scenarios that affect South Asian youth’s relationships, sexuality and health
  • Featured on Positive lite and Tamil Culture

Funder: Ontario Trillium Foundation

Contact Info: Nedal Sulaiman/youthhealth@asaap.ca/ 416-599-2727 x 230

COMMUNITY-BASED RESEARCH

AIM (Access, Identity and Men)

Program Goals:

The objective of the research was to explore the sexual behavior patterns of South

Asian MSM in Ontario, and identify how culture, identity, risk, access, and STI

knowledge affect the way they navigate their individual sexual health.

The results are being used to help fill the current gaps in research while also informing current

support

programming geared towards South Asian MSM.

Highlights: The Study reached thirty-nine (39) South Asian MSM, and nine (9) service

providers who work

with South Asian Communities. The study was the first research initiative lead by ASAAP, and

built fostered in-house research capacities within ASAAP.

Funder: Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN)

Contact Info: Ramraajh Sharvendiran, menshealth@asaap.ca, (416) 599-2727 x 227

Story-Sharing for Sexual Health

Goals:

As a Community-Based Research study, Story-sharing for Sexual Health explores the

effectiveness of storytelling as a culturally relevant model of HIV education for South Asian

communities. The study uses a mixed methods approach to assess storytelling tools developed

and used in ASAAP’s current programs.

Methods and Findings:

12 focus groups were conducted with 77 South Asian women between the ages of 18-60 across

the GTA recruited through ASAAP’s networks and word of mouth. Half of the study participants

received culturally relevant stories designed to convey HIV and STI risk, transmission and

treatment information while the other half received traditional HIV and STI fact sheets.

Preliminary findings comprise of data gathered from questionnaires completed by participants

and refer specifically to changes in knowledge of HIV and/or STIs and changes in perceptions

or attitudes towards sex, sexual health and People Living with HIV/AIDS

Story sharing participants demonstrated more positive changes in perception in comparison to

fact sheet participants in key stigma indicators

Highlights:

As a community driven research project, a large emphasis of the study was placed on building

our collective capacity as South Asian and racialized women to meaningfully lead research.

Community capacity was developed through the recruitment of eight (8) project Peer Leaders

who underwent extensive 4-day training.

Peer Leaders facilitated all of the focus groups sessions and built critical skills in leadership,

facilitation and research development

Funder: Women’s Xchange program at Women’s College Hospital

Contact: Shriya Hari, volunteer@asaap.ca or ed@asaap.ca