The OHTN is a network. We bring together people living with HIV, community-base agencies, health care providers, policy makers and researchers. We work to drive positive changes in the lives of people living with and at-risk of HIV by gathering data and evidence that helps us all understand the challenges… and the solutions. We are committed to working together to have a collective impact that improves HIV prevention, care and services in Ontario.

People living with HIV are an essential part of our network, because their knowledge and experience provides a more accurate picture of the challenges and helps us all imagine more effective and feasible solutions. We believe that people living with HIV have the right to self-determination, and to participate in decision-making that affects their lives and health.

The insights of people living with HIV are an important part of the leadership provided by the OHTN Board of Directors. As well, the OHTN hires people living with HIV/AIDS whenever possible, provided that the individual has the skills, and qualifications for the job. This is part of our commitment to help address barriers faced by people living with HIV, but we are also more effective, when staff can share the perspective and passion that comes with the lived experience of HIV.

The OHTN’s GIPA Staff Engagement Program helps all staff to understand and value the lived experience of people with HIV as part of our staff, our network and our communities. At the same time, this program protects the privacy and autonomy of staff living with HIV affirming that all employees, and all people, have the right to decide if, and when, they wish to disclose their HIV status. The GIPA Staff Engagement Program oversees training and support to both HIV-positive and HIV-negative staff to achieve a supportive working environment.

The greater involvement of people with HIV/AIDS (GIPA) is never achieved once and for all; it is a goal and commitment that must be continually renewed. GIPA is a practice, not a project. (Ontario Accord)