Elder Shane Pointe welcomed everyone on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish nations. Speaking directly to Oak Tree clients:
“... without your courage, without your commitment to your healing; doctors, researchers can’t move ahead. You are vital.”
They are vital, indeed, without their input and participation in research, advancement in better quality patient-centred care is unattainable.
Local MP Jody Wilson-Raybould celebrated World AIDS Day with the Oak Tree team last December and was unable to attend this year, but sent a message reminding us:
“This year marks the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day, a time for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show support to people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness."
Treatment for HIV has come a long way from a disease that was seen as a death sentence to being managed as a chronic illness. It was a day of celebration and we were fortunate to share in the experience of Shelly’s journey of receiving HIV diagnosis through storytelling and dance in a powerful video series produced by Edmond Kilpatrick.
Clients were treated to performances by Wild Moccasin Dancers, Afro-Queens dance crew and a drum circle co-hosted by Ruth Kenny and Senaqwila Wyss. Catered lunch was provided and was a time to network and socialize with peers, as well as visit various booths for some health info and a bit of pampering thanks to makeovers by Lipstick Project and haircuts from Blended by Amber.
Oak Tree provides specialized, interdisciplinary HIV care for women, children and their families. The clinic is a safe non-judgemental environment that provides trauma-informed care and education for patients and their families about the complex issues of HIV infection in women and children.