GUELPH POLITICAST #299 – How ARCH Goes Beyond the “A”

Despite the wealth of healthcare resources in our city, there’s one group that has been dedicated to helping those who have fallen through the cracks for more than three decades now, and their business has continued to boom because of the COVID-19 pandemic. So here, on the eve of this year’s World AIDS Day, we’ll look at how HIV is only where ARCH’s story begins.

We’ve been insanely focused on healthcare for the last 20 months, talking about COVID-19 and its effects, but did you know that ARCH has been doing all sexual health testing and treatment for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph since the start of the pandemic? This is on top of a laundry list of services that ARCH offers including their core mission: Education, outreach, support and clinical services for those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, and those who are at-risk for HIV.

Under the best of circumstances, ARCH is doing a lot of vital work and they have to find much of that funding for themselves, but in the midst of lockdowns and COVID precautions, much of their normal fundraising activities had to be cancelled. Still, ARCH has persevered, as they have for 31 years, assisting clients in Guelph and Wellington County, plus Dufferin, Grey and Bruce Counties, all thanks to a dedicated staff who cover a wide-range of disciplines and talents.

This week, we’re joined by one of those people, Communications & Fund Development Co-ordinator Sonia Preisler. She will talk about the long list of ARCH’s services, and how the pandemic has changed the way they deliver those services. She will also talk about the little discussed pandemic impact on sexual health, and how it’s fallen on ARCH to pick up a lot of the work not covered by other other healthcare orgs. And finally, she will talk about ARCH’s future, and what the significance of World AIDS Day is in the year 2021.

So let’s wrap our Countdown to Giving on this week’s Guelph Politicast!

Today is the start of AIDS Awareness Week, and to learn more about all the events, the Red Scarf Project, and to interact with any of ARCH’s multitude of services, you can go to their website here. If you want to take part in the in-person 100 Candles event for World AIDS Day, you register to attend on Eventbrite.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here, or download them on your favourite podcast app at Apple, Stitcher, Google, and Spotify.

Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.

Photo: ARCH staff members Mindy and Nic from December 2020 courtesy of ARCH’s Facebook Page.

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