July Newsletter

Dear YouthCO Members,

We've had a busy June at YouthCO and we're looking forward to all the summery fun July will bring. We had a great Core Training weekend with an amazing group of new YouthCO members. We're gearing up for another summer of outreach, sunscreen, condoms and Pride! (Just make sure you're keeping anything oil-based away from condoms!)

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Trivia Tuesday: Needle Exchanges in Canada

In what year did the first unofficial Canadian needle exchange open?

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Service reductions at the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation

On June 19, we wrote to the Ombudsperson for the Province of British Columbia to ask that recent service reductions at the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation be investigated further. The Office of the Ombudsperson investigates complaints about unfair treatment and actions by public authorities, including the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation.

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Don't release photos of people living with HIV

YouthCO is frustrated and disappointed at the recent news that police in Peterborough, ON and Toronto, ON have released photographs of two separate people living with HIV when criminal charges were laid in relation to HIV non-disclosure. Consistent with our firm opposition to the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure (see our position paper here) and our commitment to challenging HIV stigma, we oppose decisions by the police and media outlets to publish photos of those charged with HIV non-disclosure. The actions of police, media, and those of us who published or shared the photos of these men reveal their private medical information in a society still ripe with stigma towards those of us living with HIV. The use of these men's photos irreparably damages their privacy and presumes their guilt. At YouthCO, we affirm living with HIV is not a crime and that black lives matter.

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Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Vaccines Access

YouthCO believes all youth will benefit from access to the HPV vaccine, including people of all genders and people living with HIV. On April 17, we reached out to BC's Minister of Health, Terry Lake, to advocate for expanded access to the HPV vaccine. 

Read our letter to the Minister of Health about ensuring access for all to the HPV vaccine!



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YouthCO April Newsletter

Dear YouthCO Members, 

The long weekend is coming up fast! Looks like the weather is warming up for spring and everyone is feeling the love in the air! Or maybe that's just allergies...

This month we welcome some new staff, we're excited about a Beyonce art show for PWN and we're searching for another great person to join our Yúusnewas team. 

1. News

Welcome New Staff Members!

We have 2 fantastic new staff members on the YouthCO team! Andre Azzam is our Mpowerment Coordinator and Amber Bedard is our Yúusnewas Outreach Educator. Check out their bios on the staff page of our website and feel free to say hi!

Insite and Bill C-2

Insite received an exemption from Health Canada to keep their doors open for another year! Supervised injection sites are amazing harm reduction tools. Now let's fight Bill C-2, which will make it more difficult for Insite to apply for future exemptions and nearly impossible for other facilities to open. Find more info on Bill C-2 and what to do about it here.

HIV Non-Disclosure #StopProsecutingHIV

YouthCO took a strong stand against criminalization of HIV non-disclosure in June 2014.

Since then, criminalization continues to hurt our communities, and we want action to #StopProsecutingHIV. The folks at Positive Living BC have put together a petition at LeadNow to have Suzanne Anton, BC Minister of Justice consider new approaches to HIV non-disclosure.  Check it out at http://you.leadnow.ca/petitions/stop-the-unjust-prosecutions-hiv-isn-t-a-crime-3.

Hep C Treatment in BC

BC just passed legislation on two new drugs for Hep C treatment that will be covered under Pharmacare.

Think Before You Type

Our friends at the Health Initiative for Men have launched a new campaign asking those of us who hook up online to ‘think before we type’. The campaign aims to start a conversation on how gay + bi guys engage with each other on dating and hook-up sites. Think Before You Type (TBYT) started out as a project during Totally Outright and now has a life of its own online. Join the conversation today! https://www.facebook.com/TBYTVancouver

2. Upcoming Events

FLAWLESS: A Beyonce Inspired Art Show and Fundraiser in support of Positive Women's Network (PWN)

Door tickets will be a sliding scale 8$-20$. No one will be turned away if they cannot afford entry. 

Opening night is April 18, 2015 from 7pm-2am at Studio East. Submissions open until April 12th! 

PrEP Campaign Planning Meeting 

Come join YouthCO in planning our PrEP Campaign. We'll be meeting on April 10th at 6:30pm at YouthCO :)

3. Jobs & Volunteer Opportunities


Yúusnewas is hiring again! We're looking for a Yúusnewas outreach educator. Check out the link for the full job description.

Camp Moomba Volunteers Needed!

Camp Moomba, a camp for kids living with or affected by HIV, is looking for Camp Leaders and other volunteers. Email info@campmoomba.com for more information.

That's all folks. Have a great long weekend!


Team YouthCO

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YouthCO March Newsletter

Dear YouthCO Members,

It's already March and sunny! We feel super lucky not to be watching snow pile up outside like so many of our friends out east. Afternoon at the beach, anyone? #sorrynotsorry

Jumping right in to all the news, for any of the fantastic new volunteers who participated in Core Training last month, your certificates are ready for pick-up at the office when you have a chance to stop by. Congratulations!

1. News

New Staff Member: Yúusnewas Outreach Educator

We're thrilled to welcome Amber Bedard as our new Yúusnewas Outreach Educator! Feel free to say hello when you're in the office :) You can reach her atamberb@youthco.org


Here are a couple of interesting articles we've come across over the last little while:

Homelessness is one of the most common drivers of youth engagement in survival sex. This can increase vulnerability to HIV and decrease access to testing and/treatment.

"The real challenge of modern sex ed is teaching kids how to safely negotiate their way through today’s cultural and digital minefields..." YouthCO exists to help address these challenges! 

2. Upcoming Events

Speaking of the emerging intersections between being queer, experiencing homelessness and vulnerability to HIV, there's a free evening of film and discussion at the HUB (251 East 11th) featuring Under the Rainbow TOMORROW at 6pm.

Under The Rainbow: Queer Homelessness Film & Dialogue

Under the Rainbow is a short documentary featuring Shawnee Gaffney, a queer high school student facing family rejection, hunger, and homelessness. After being thrown out of home, she finds herself couch-surfing with strangers and living a life of daily insecurity and vulnerability. It is through Shawnee’s story of resilience, combined with insights from service providers and researchers, that we learn of the many root causes that contribute to the high incidence of poverty in queer and trans communities in BC. An inspiring film that provides hope for the future.

Speakers panel and dialogue will follow the screening, featuring representatives of BC Poverty Reduction, Coalition, RainCity Housing and other guests.  Admission is free. 

Please RSVP to slindsay@mpnh.org

Mpowerment "The High Life"

Mpowerment continues its monthly open discussion night with a conversation about the drugs we see in our communities, including booze, pot, coke, and prescription drugs. We will be exploring the High Life campaign that HIM & YouthCO put together. March 10th, 6:30-9:30pm

Check out the website at http://checkhimout.ca/highlife/ 

Mpowerment St. Patrick's Day Party

Mpowerment invites you and your friends to celebrate St. Patricks Day with us! Join us for an evening of food, friends and fabulous times instead of, or on your way to, the bars.March 17th, 7-10pm

Yúusnewas Run Club

Yúusnewas Run Club is still happening! Here's a link to the Facebook page so you can keep up with updates. The club is open to everyone at all skill levels. 

Squamish Safe and Sound

Safe 'n Sound Squamish - a newly created LGBTQ+/straight allies organization in Squamish, BC - is OFFICIAL now with a brand new website and Twitter account. Please check it out at: http://www.safensoundsquamish.com/

There will be a conference on May 9th, 9am-5pm: Someone Like Me

3. Job & Volunteer Opportunities

Acts of Greatness is pleased to announce the official launch of Greatness magazine. The first issue will be available online in May 2015.

Greatness will showcase the freshest art and writing by, for, and about LGBTQ – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer – youth. Greatness invites youth from around the world who identify as LGBTQ to write and create art about the world around them: their dreams, their activism, their work, their worries, their interests, and their humour. 

Greatness welcomes all genres of artwork and writing – including but not limited to nonfiction, essays, memoirs, poetry, short stories, travelogues, flash-fiction, advice, interviews or reviews (books, plays, TV shows, and movies), photography, illustrations – either by or about LGBTQ youth. This call for first-issue submissions is open untilMarch 31, 2015.

Readers will be able to access the magazine’s content at http://actsofgreatness.org/ in May 2015. This link will direct them to the new magazine tab on Acts of Greatness’ website. On social media, Acts of Greatness will also use their existing social media accounts to share content and news specific Greatness. 

For more information or interview requests, please contact: Yiorgos Boudouris at  Yiorgos@actsofgreatness.org

That's all for this newsletter! Until next time,



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YouthCO February Newsletter

Dear YouthCO Members, 

Happy February :) The days are getting longer, if just fractionally, and there is finally some sunshine outside so get on that vitamin D production while it lasts! We have a packed month coming up at YouthCO with Core Training, Speed Dating with Mpowerment, the Yúusnewas run club, and we're hiring an Mpowerment Coordinator. 

1. News

Here are some interesting news articles we've come across. We're going to start sharing a couple with each newsletter to keep abreast of current conversations, debates, and ideas! Keep your eyes peeled for an awesomely nerdy announcement from YouthCO over the next week ;)

2. Upcoming Events

Mpowerment Speed Dating

Tired of how long it takes to get through those repetitive questions asked on a date? Don't care much for making an online profile and waiting for responses? Don't want to deal with bars and nightclubs?

Join Mpowerment for a speed dating evening at YouthCO! 6:30-9:30pm on Tuesday February 3rd

Yúusnewas Run Club

Like running but hate waking up at 7am for other run clubs? Come join our new run club, hosted by Yúusnewas every Sunday at 11am!

At YouthCO we want to promote all aspects of health. We are excited to introduce our new social running group where everyone is welcome! No experience is necessary as we're starting a 10k running program from scratch. No one will be left behind, it is entirely free to participate, just wear some running shoes and comfy gear. 

Check out the YouthCO Facebook page for updates.

YouthCO Core Training

February 7th and 8th from 9:30-5pm. 

You'll get to learn about YouthCO, our values, our programs, participate in training around HIV and Hep C and what your role in the organization can be. We'll discuss how to work to de-stigmatize HIV and Hep C, where to look for accurate information and testing, and how colonization, oppression, and social determinants of health interact with HIV. If you have any questions or concerns please contact Daniella at daniellab@youthco.org

Totally Outright

Totally Outright is a 4-day leadership workshop for young gay, bisexual, trans, and queer guys interested in being healthy, sex-savvy trendsetters. Over two weekends twenty other young men will participate in interactive, thought provoking presentations from community leaders and experts in gay men's health. Topics range from coming out to sex, drug related harm reduction to relationships, and a whole lot in-between.

The program is geared towards any self-identified men who have attraction to other men. We encourage gay, bisexual, trans and queer men to apply.
It takes place on the weekends of February 28th and March 15th in downtown Vancouver, all expenses paid and all food and materials will be provided.

They encourage those outside of Vancouver to apply as well as financial assistance is available for accommodation, food, transportation or another needs they may have.

The application is already open and can be found at their website HERE

3. Jobs & Volunteer Opportunities

YouthCO is Hiring!
We are looking for an energetic and committed individual to coordinate Mpowerment, a peer-led HIV education, leadership and community-building program for young gay, bisexual, queer self-identified men ages 16-29.
Check out the posting for more details!

Research Participants Needed

UBC Nursing is looking for young men from immigrant backgrounds who are between the ages of 15-19 to participate in a study. See the flyer to find out if you're eligible.

Finally, as Valentine's day is coming up... we just want to let you all know how much we love you. Thanks for supporting YouthCO and being such phenomenal members!





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YouthCO January Newsletter

Dear YouthCO Members,

HAPPY 2015! Hope you had a restful holiday season and got to spend some time with your loved ones. At YouthCO we are super jazzed to start off this year with workshops, outreach, another fun Core Training... and writing "2014" on everything until at least March.

1. News

Join the Run Club hosted by Yúusnewas!

Interested in running but don't like the 8:30 start times? Want to try it out with a group of other fun youth? Come join our new run club every Sunday at 11am! Everyone is welcome :)



New Program Director

Please join us in welcoming our new Program Director, Sarah Chown. Sarah has a wealth of experience and general awesomeness and we're really excited to have her on the team. If you need to be in touch with her, you can reach her at sarahc@youthco.org or drop by to say hi!

Dr. Julio Montaner appointed to Order of Canada

YouthCO would like to say a huge congratulations to Dr. Julio Montaner, Director of the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, for being appointed to the Order of Canada for his contributions to HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention. 


2. Upcoming Events

Coming Back to School: In the Closet and Out 
Tuesday January 13th, 6:30-9 @ YouthCO Office

Mpowerment’s weekly drop-ins continue with our discussion on being gay in school. Were you in the closet? Out? Did you have experiences of bullying or any awkward sexual encounters with straight male friends? Feel free to share your stories in a judgment free environment or just come and hang out.

YOU-nique Youth Conference

Saturday January 24th from 10-5. FREE Youth Conference at Britannia High School! Join us for a day of workshops, lunch, and a feast/ performance. Call 604-718-5828 to register and for more information. YouthCO will have a booth at the info fair!

YouthCO Core Training

Our next core training will run from 9:30-5pm on February 7th and 8th, 2015. Please RSVP on our website and let us know if you'll be coming. Email daniellab@youthco.org if you have any questions or dietary restrictions.

3. Jobs and Volunteer Opportunities

YouthCO is Hiring!
We're looking for a usnewas Program Outreach Educator  Closing Date: Wednesday January 21st, 2015

Are you a young person who understands the interconnectedness of historical oppression and health?
Do you have an interest in changing the stigma that surrounds sex, sexuality, and HIV?

Are you a creative peer who wants to share knowledge with your community about safer sex and harm reduction through arts-based learning?

If yes, this job may be for YOU!

And, as the internet gives us very useful things, please enjoy this dog with eyebrows: 

That's all for now, folks! Have a great week.


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Happy New Year!

Dear Members, Supporters, and Friends of YouthCO,

We are so fortunate to have the strong support of individuals and community partners, like you, who see value in sexual health and harm reduction education for young people. The work YouthCO does to raise awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding HIV and Hepatitis C is an essential component towards achieving our collective goal of an AIDS-free generation.

This past year, YouthCO’s programming reached over 5000 youth, and we were thrilled to offer scholarships for the first time to four amazing young people living with HIV. Please help us end the year with a bang and consider making a final 2014 tax deductible donation here.

To show our appreciation I would like to invite you to Resolutions this Saturday January 3rd 2015 8pm at the lounge at Five Sixty, 560 Seymour Street. Big Roger Events is beginning the New Year in the spirit of giving by throwing a community appreciation event in support of YouthCO. For event details click here.

In 2015 we will continue to work in youth communities most affected by HIV and Hep C, and integrate advocacy, support, prevention and skills-building into all of our activities. By providing youth-driven opportunities we are supporting the next generation of resilient leaders.

With thanks, and wishing you a happy new year, 


Jesse Brown,

Executive Director

(on behalf of the entire YouthCO team!)

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YouthCO's office is located on the unceded traditional territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and Tsleil-Waututh people. Our programs take place on unceded, ancestral, and traditional territories of many Indigenous nations across what is now called BC.

YouthCO believes that all youth have the right to accessible and affirming information about our health. We also know each of us has a unique relationship to our bodies, sex, sexuality, substance use, and harm reduction. For many of us, the words other people use for our bodies and their functions are not the words we use for ourselves. Throughout our website, YouthCO uses words for bodies and sex that we know will not reflect the full diversity of our communities. We have tried to, where possible, be as expansive with our language as we know how to while being as specific as possible. As youth leading the HIV movement, we too are learning about the best words for our experiences and do not do this perfectly. We invite any feedback about the language used on our website to help us move forward in the best ways for all youth in our communities!