– AIDS Committee of North Bay & Area - To assist and support all persons infected or affected by HIV/AIDS and/or Hepatitis C and to limit the spread of the viruses through eduction, awareness and outreach strategies.


Shane’s blog

October 9th, 2018 at 9:23 am

Throughout my years as a mental health consumer, as well as a client and volunteer with ACNBA, I’ve come to a real appreciation for what it takes to stay well, and informed, on topics of mental health, sexual health, and safer drug use.  As I have lived in an area previous to being in North Bay, where they did not have an ACNBA office, I had relied heavily on the standard health care system of the area for things such as mental and sexual health, but have truly found out that community focused offices, such as ACNBA, has really improved my life.

Such things as safe drug kits, and knowledge and access to supports regarding Hep and HIV, testing and education should be an integral part of every town, city and population centre.  Perhaps I would’ve been less inclined to get tested for hep c or hiv, if I had left the notion and work to standard health care offices, such as a family doctor, or for worries about what it would mean to me, if I had anything untested.  Perhaps I would have been using dirty pipes for marijuana, or have left out keeping condoms at home.  Perhaps I would’ve lost friends to suspicions of STDs, where truly being educated and tested brought about understanding instead.  Details such as Hep being transferred only through blood contact, but not every day contact, has really opened my eyes to sexual safety, and comfort around friends who may have contracted either one.  Perhaps I’d be more paranoid within myself  about HIV and the how’s and who’s surrounding hep and HIV, without knowing enough to calm my fears.  Perhaps I may have contracted something without having had condoms at home.

When it boils down to one’s physical health and practices of reducing STD transmissions, either contracting or sharing, education is the essential point that can build one’s mental health and confidence levels regarding such topics.  My confidence levels have gone up, my fears gone down, my drug use safer, and as a volunteer myself here at ACNBA, I’ve a more fulfilling life, where I can see efforts turned to results.  So if you’re like me and came from an area that did not have a similar office to ACNBA, please keep in mind the benefits of having our office, as I’ve come to keep so much more practical knowledge, as well as practical supplies, to stay more healthy of mind, body, and lifestyle.

So for myself, I always take time to visit the office, staying both a client and volunteer, keeping up with safety kits, condoms, STD testing, and soon perhaps our attempt to bring clients together in music, as we are currently planning, ACNBA is worthwhile for each of us, and since other areas may not have equivalent services, I remain proud and confident for the staff and resources found here, for my benefit and yours.

Shane G. Ducharme

October Blog by Shay

October 25th, 2017 at 1:39 pm

I’ve found that sometimes in our modern era of information, we can slip up with how it could or should affect our daily lives in our decisions, compared to impulse deciding. What I’m referring to is mostly the information that one could research online, or at the ACNBA office, may be a little far from our decision making process day to day, or not using all the resources of knowledge while performing our lives.

In my life, I’ve found that researching information is far more important than simpy rushing into something like sex, drugs, budget spending and even moral guidance.  I’ve got a friend who may have contracted hepatitis in some form, but in being sexually attracted to that same friend, I had two ways to deal with the problem. First I could’ve just put aside my interest and thought to myself, “to bad, it’s too risky”. But instead, I did some research and here at ACNBA, and I discovered so much more about the transmission of hepatitis, including the knowledge o vaccines, that now I feel more comfortable with my daily contact, as well as potentially sexual contact is not as risky as I thought before researching the truth.

Also, as I’ve been using the clean drug kits here, I’ve been more aware and less stigmatic over truths like sharing smoking pipes, or snorting straws, and so knowing that I am prepared for the times I’m socially using recreational drugs, I’ve already done the precautionary steps and feel so much more comfortable using and doing both. Again, this meant that I’m bringing knowledge to my daily affairs, but of course adding it up is still both knowledge and practice.

As far as budget spending goes, it’s not as complicated as the courses I took in high school, ie) accounting and so forth, but usually comes down to a list of necessary’s , and the recreational remaining monies. So even though that some folks might count on street smarts alone, some very basic commitments to structure can go along way towards both more enjoyment from the money, and a longer forecast of well being from the preparation.

As for the times I’m not sure about a decision on the right vs. wrong scale, I take out my bible, and check the teachings found in the four gospels. It’s not as though I memorize the passage or bible beat others, but I look to see what message comes with Christianity, and therefore I can relax as to what is commonly acceptable within life, from the message.  And again, taking the time to research leads to making a better decision and ultimately leads to a better future for having done both the background check, and using insight in practical ways of daily decision and actions.

So to conclude, using some book smarts with your daily decision path can really put a smile on your face, in knowing that you’ve used the inside and to have resolved already to keep up with a more fruitful journey. Thanks for your attending and time, and since by reading this article, you’ve already done both.

Take care, Shay Milroy Ducharme


Why feel like a minority when you could be number one?

March 2nd, 2017 at 11:43 am

I’ve found over the years that it was sometimes hard to fit in.  I was raised up north, but I wasn’t into hunting or fishing, and team sports like hockey weren’t my best fit past times either.  I had a lot of friends come and go, but being a top student, crossdresser, and still competitive, I really tried to bloom myself instead of fitting in or crowd following.

In our society, we’ve grown so much towards understanding the words, numbers, and language of how we “can” know each other, but really there still remains the challenge of “being” a singularly great person as well.

The reality of knowing that you are in a minority group, is different from thinking the best of your own self, the one individual that can access so much more than titles.  One example is that I can say I fit into the minority of trans-gendered people, a very small number of us in most communities, or I can say I’m a pool player, or I can say I’ve volunteered, or a consumer of the mental health ministry, but really, what do I have to say “for myself”?

So can we draw the reasoning and self-confidence to say more of our selves and sound like less of a label, and more as a free thinking individual?   I guess it starts with something to say.  Without a message from within, than maybe a fitting-in label would work for you, however, in my times I’ve tried to express hope and freedom, individuality.

To have hope is really the feeling that the future is worthwhile, and when one plans a future for themselves, then they stay active, and the feeling of hope is real on the way to the accomplishment.

On the topic of freedom, one has to really be able to back living free.  That might mean being a character instead of a number or desk title.  Again this reflects back to being an individual with talents, or compassion, or as simple as a good natured personality, and these are characteristics we can grow ourselves, out from under the label crusade.  Sure, we can answer surveys and be into the demographics game, but day to day and face to face is still the realistic way we interact.  Living as an example to others without lining up under a tradition, we can really be free in our minds and hearts, and this is where freedom comes home to the ground level.  More than the definition, more than a great income, but in our minds, and proving it day to day to others, that freedom comes first.  This is strength, and comes from the heart.  With both planning and achieving, which provides hope, and freedom of expression towards freedom itself, we can put the categories to the test, and really be a pride to our neighbourhoods.  Being strong from within and nurturing ones character, good nature and good health, is the one ground root of our face to face, day to day, selves.  The planning of projects that may help ourselves and others, underscore the feeling of hope, and with both, we can stand out as an individual with more than labeling and numbering.   This is every ones freedom, to plan, hope and achieve.  At least mine anyways!!

Thanx for reading,   Shay Milroy Ducharme

I can catch a dick whenever I want.

February 27th, 2017 at 10:15 am

“We often see (and are hopefully aware of and actively trying to counter) how society has this sort of dualistic, impossible view of women—the one where women are expected to be virginal (or else they’re “sluts”), yet sexual objects with infinite sexual prowess for our desire and wet dreams; anything in between is shameful or inadequate. I could dig into all my opinions and views on this topic (as I have many), but the reason I bring up this societal issue is because of an almost antithetical ideology I’ve found in the gay community.

I remember the first man I fell for, and how he said I was “too new” and he couldn’t be my first. That happened the first time I fell in love with a man, too. When I was looking to explore my sexuality and date, I was repeatedly shut down and turned away because I had no experience with guys. Sort of like when you’re applying for a job and you’re told you have to have so many years of experience, yet you can’t have any years of experience because no one will give you any experience. Like, what the hell, guys. It seems if you’re a virgin in the gay community, you are not to be touched.

Conversely, and what really bothers me, is the hookup shaming that exists within the gay community. While it seems one shouldn’t be a virgin, a gay man who engages in sex with multiple partners is awful and to be avoided. Not always, but I see the shaming more and more it seems, as pictured:


There are already a lot of problems to be had with hookup shaming, but I find it particularly offensive in the gay community. And I think the reason for that is because the sex lives of gay men have already been ostracized by society (and while it’s changing, it’s still taboo in many social circles).

For some folks, engaging in hookups is the only way to explore their sexuality and identity. I would be willing to say that it wasn’t until I started having sex with men that I really started navigating my identity, and it also wasn’t until I started having sex with men that I really even got to engage with the experiences of other gay men (unless reading stories online).

There’s always the stereotype that men are hyper-promiscuous, and perhaps it holds true. Sex can’t be disassociated from our identity and our culture when the whole reason that we are alienated is based on sex. So while the stereotype exists, I don’t think it should be perceived (or utilized) as a criticism. There shouldn’t be shame.

I feel as though, as gay men, we have to be progressive in our sexual attitudes because our sex is and always will be politicized. So to have folks within our own community—because any gay man, whether he chooses to be or not, is a part of the gay community—shame us for our sex is unacceptable. We can do better, and we have to in order to support those who share our identity.”

Aaron Brown

Shay’s Blog

February 22nd, 2017 at 9:47 am

“In my time as a transgendered woman and mild drug user, I’ve found that the freedom of expression took me some time to get used to, I was a chicken, but it reminded me of why our freedoms have mattered over the years.

It was just last century that women won the rite to schooling, and the vote, and then this century, we’ve had all the language to open the door to sexuality, and so why did it take so long?

The Canadian charter of rights and freedoms is as old as Canada, but we’ve taken a long time towards equal rights across the board.

I’ve found that over the years there has been a lot of stigmatism broken down, from money classes, to status symbol style properties and jobs, to sexual orientation, and even down to the realizations that drug users also need equality too.

ACNBA supports users with healthy supplies, information and facilities for those who use drugs at home, and the users of ACNBA are met with a pool of talent and privacy here, that it can be said to top off the last of the prejudices, aka, at home drug use.

In knocking down prejudices, we can only hope that per individual we each realize the rights we share under the law, and the shared decency of all those we now know about.

Knowing the language of fair schooling, fair voting, fair sexual languages, and of course fair drug and health measures is the essentials of freedom from prejudice.

So before you judge someone who fits into a demographic you weren’t raised in, or don’t fall under, keep in mind there is much more to expanding one’s knowledge than to berating others.

Enriching oneself is essential to a happy life, and that begins with a fair heart, and a mind willing to explore what is on the other side of barriers.  These barriers are of the mind, not in reality, so it’s always recommended to study, accept or actively ask those different from you what their take is on they’re life.  mountains of information is a good start, but to know a transgendered, or an at home drug user, or even to get to know a police officer, or a government official, is to break open the barriers with a hand shake, and some talk, to really get the scoop on why you don’t need to hate people by category, but to accept them on a freedom level, a people level, and or at least to your own level of acceptance.

Remember, the world really is big enough for us all, and to treat others as you would like to be treated is definitely a way to inner peace and wellbeing.  Nobody wants prejudice, but it starts within each of us to square it away.  Good luck and I hope you take the challenge to know more of your neighbours, than their measurements. ”

Shay Ducharme