In the mid 1980s, Waterloo Region saw its first cases of AIDS. People living with HIV/AIDS (PHAs) faced discrimination at the hands of the health care system, testing and treatment were inaccessible, and AIDSphobia fueled misinformation and stigma. Residents of KW gathered to create an agency to meet the growing need for education, advocacy, and support. In 1987, ACCKWA was formally incorporated as an AIDS Service Organization, establishing support groups for PHAs and offering anonymous HIV Testing and a Needle Syringe Program several years later.
Over thirty years later, we still run support groups, host a weekly testing clinic, PrEP Clinic, a HealthCare Hub, and ARCH Clinical Services, and deliver Harm Reduction Services. We have evolved to offer targeted prevention and outreach through the African & Caribbean Strategy, the Women & HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Gay Men’s Sexual Health program, the Youth Sexual Health program, and our Support and Peer programs.
We have satellite offices in Waterloo and Cambridge, and we collaborate with incredible community partners who help us bridge the gaps in prevention and care. We receive funding from the Ontario Ministry of Health & Long Term Care, The United Way of Kitchener-Waterloo & Area, and the Public Health Agency of Canada, and rely on funds raised through agency events, third party events, individual/corporate donations and corporate match programs to allow us to continue to provide important free and confidential services throughout Waterloo Region.
We honour our history of advocacy, support, education and outreach, and commemorate the bright lives lost to HIV and stigma. We are dedicated to supporting people who are infected, affected, and at risk for HIV/AIDS and strive to increase awareness about HIV/AIDS in the community.
ACCKWA recognizes the important contribution people living with HIV/AIDS (PHAs) can make in the response to the epidemic.