In this update we highlight strategies that bring the strengths of our network together to create an integrated and supportive collective of services that can make this the last decade of HIV in Ontario.
1. Reorganizing to increase our collective impact.
The OHTN’s new strategic plan, HIV Endgame, challenges the organization to work with Ontario’s HIV sector “to make this the last decade of AIDS.”
“The next five to ten years cannot be business as usual. The OHTN must focus our efforts and resources where they can have the greatest impact. We must fundamentally re-orient our organization, shifting our focus and taking a more proactive, coordinated approach to driving change based on data and evidence.” (HIV Endgame: OHTN’s Strategic Plan to 2026)
Our response? The OHTN has reorganized around the concept of Collective Impact – the commitment of a group of important actors from different organizations and sectors to work together to solve a social issue. In our sector’s case, our common agenda is to strengthen the HIV prevention, engagement and care cascade, linking people quickly to services and improving the health and well-being of people living with HIV as well as those at risk. This means building much closer connections between ASOs, public health units, clinics, policy makers and system planners to create a network of services that will get us to the HIV endgame.
To that end, the OHTN has created a Collective Impact team that includes:
- The Evidence-Based Practice Unit, which is now known as ASO and Community Initiatives.
- Testing and Clinical Initiatives.
- Policy and System Initiatives.
2. Working with ASOs.
The OHTN will continue to actively support the front line agencies that are at the heart of Ontario’s response to HIV by:
- Operating and maintaining OCHART and OCASE on behalf of the AIDS Bureau.
- Providing program evaluation support and assistance (including a link to this helpful manual).
- Conducting rapid response literature reviews.
- Providing data on HIV in different parts of the province and for different populations.
- Promoting evidence-based practices.
- Working closely with ASOs to address key policy and system issues.
- Helping to build stronger connections between the HIV clinics and ASOs.
- Providing opportunities for education and training through our conferences and education programs (delivered in collaboration with the OAN).
- Funding community-based research projects led by ASOs.
- Working with other provincial HIV organizations to streamline and coordinate the resources, training materials and organizational supports available to ASOs.
With new hope and excitement, we are looking forward to strengthening our relationship with ASOs and other community organizations across the province, as we work to end the HIV epidemic!
3. Rapid Responses
The OHTN Rapid Response Service provides access to research evidence in response to questions from community-based HIV/AIDS organizations in Ontario to help support evidence-informed programs, service delivery and policy. Recent Rapid Responses include:
Nutrition and HIV
Do people living with symptomatic HIV infection or AIDS require a therapeutic diet?
Interventions to reduce stigma among health
care providers working with substance users
What are effective interventions for reducing stigma among health care providers who work with substance users?
Online mental health counselling interventions
What are evidence-informed practices for providing online mental health counselling?