You’ve seen the pictures—Princess Diana, wearing a pale pink coat and a bright smile, engaging with patients at Toronto’s specialty HIV/AIDS hospital, Casey House. The pictures were taken 25 years ago, when many feared that HIV could be contracted through casual contact with those who are HIV-positive. During her visit, Princess Diana shook hands with patients, kissed them on the cheek, and engaged with them and their families in an effort to dissipate misconceptions around the disease, raise awareness, and show love and warmth towards those affected.
Before Casey House opened in 1988, those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS were being treated coldly at hospitals. “Nurses wouldn’t tend to their bedside; They wouldn’t deliver them food,” says Joanne Simons, present CEO of Casey House, “they were obviously really concerned about contracting HIV themselves and [there was] really a lack of understanding that it couldn’t be transmitted through touch.” The first client at Casey House was “brought in by paramedics and they were fully gowned, top to bottom,” says Simons. But, June Callwood, one of Casey House’s founders, welcomed the client by wrapping her arms around him “to emphasize that fear didn’t need to be there and people needed to be treated with compassion”—a message Princess Diana also sought to elucidate upon her visit to the hospital in October 1991.
“The thing that stuck out in my mind over the years…was how approachable she was,” says Richard Silver, a founding volunteer and former chair of the Casey House board of directors, who was present for Princess Diana’s visit. He recalls that upon her arrival, “the Princess, rather than standing above and bending, bent her knees completely and sat on her heels and chatted with this person, one of our clients, who was there to greet her.” She went from room to room, met with the patients and their families, wearing no gloves or a mask—and this was in a time when there were parents who wanted to be masked and gowned when they went for a visit and wouldn’t hug their kids. Silver recalls, “here was the Princess who…casually talked to people, sat on a bed, chatting with somebody about their families…[it] was so uplifting for the residents and their families.” Her openness and the way she embraced those with HIV/AIDS played a huge role in getting people to “understand the disease and not being afraid of it.”
After her visit, Silver says Casey House received donations that helped them expand to in-home programming and home hospice where people could be cared for where they lived.
Today, Casey House is constructing a 58 000 square foot redevelopment, which will allow them to offer clients a day health program. Simons says, “When we’re up to 100% capacity, we’ll have about 30 000 visits a year from clients.” Clients will be able to go to the hospital two or three times a week for six to nine months, depending on their needs, “and either see nurses one-on-one in a clinic setting, or they’ll be working with mental health therapists, harm reduction case workers, [and] they can access things like massage and rec therapy.” The goal is to create a social community for Casey House’s clients, keep them connected to resources and adherent to their medications, and help them feel as respected, cared for, and supported as possible.
When asked where she hopes to see the hospital 25 years from now, Simons replied, “I hope that it is used for something else.” As today’s tools and resources continue to develop, we can help people maintain their health or not be affected by HIV at all. There are medications people without HIV can take to ensure they don’t contract it if having sex with someone who is HIV positive or coming in contact with needles. But, stigma around the disease, cost for the medications, and access to treatments create barriers to achieving such progress. “In 25 years, there’s no reason why we will not be able to see people living well and healthy, and really slow the infection rate of HIV,” says Simons, “but that will require very assertive effort and focus Canada-wide to ensure that those who are at risk understand what they need to do to be able to protect themselves.”
And so we fight. We fight to de-stigmatize HIV/AIDS, we fight for access to treatment and testing, and we fight to ensure those affected continue to be treated with the utmost care and compassion, as Princess Diana did 25 years ago.
For information on Casey House’s events for World Aids Day December 1, including a candle ceremony in honour of those who have died to HIV/AIDS and the Voices of Hope concert, visit caseyhouse.com.
Dairy-free drinks. Credits: Getty Images: AlexPro9500
We needed help demystifying the seemingly endless list of milk alternatives, so we went to the experts for real talk on dairy-free drinks.
Whether you're lactose intolerant, vegan, or just like the taste, there are plenty of reasons to experiment with adding milk alternatives to your diet. But with more varieties than ever before, how do you know which option is best for you? We asked two registered dietitians, Carol Harrison and Crystal MacGregor, for the skinny on dairy-free drinks.
Why does cow's milk get a bad rap?
Carol Harrison: Some people are worried about hormones or antibiotics in milk. But the truth is, growth hormones are not approved for use in dairy cattle in Canada. As well, The Canadian Food Inspection Agency reports compliance for veterinary product residues in milk is greater than 99 per cent.
Crystal MacGregor: Cow’s milk is a nutritious and safe choice. Non-dairy beverages are actually not suitable for children under the age of two because they do not contain enough calories, protein and fat to support children’s needs.
Which beverage is closest to cow’s milk in terms of nutritional profile?
CM: Soy is the closest to dairy in protein per serving at 7 grams of protein per cup. When possible, choose organic versions, as many conventional soy milks can come from genetically modified soybeans, which may contain higher levels of pesticides and fertilizers.
CH: The only beverages I consider nutritional substitutes for cow's milk are goat’s milk fortified with vitamin D and soy beverages fortified with calcium and vitamin D.
What are some things a person should consider when choosing a dairy-free beverage?
CM: If choosing a non-dairy alternative for a source of protein it is important to note that not all are created equal—most nut milks such as almond, coconut and cashew milk contain less than 1 g of protein per cup.
CH: Aim for 30 per cent daily value calcium and 45 per cent daily value vitamin D. Also choose unsweetened options to curb unwanted added sugars.
Check out our slideshow of popular dairy-free drinks, with pros and cons from our experts.
Pros: Almonds naturally contain vitamin E and minerals such as magnesium. It contains no saturated fats and is typically low in calories.
Cons: Almond milk is low in protein. Look for ones that do not have added oils.
Pros: Cashew milk is creamy, sweet and less nutty tasting than other nut milks. It makes a great addition to oatmeal and savoury dishes like curry.
Cons: Cashew milk is very low in protein and is not suitable for those with a tree nut allergy.
Pros: Great for those with, nut soy, and dairy allergies.
Cons: They are often higher in sugars, and added oils. Look for whole brown rice in the ingredients list.
Pros: Contains healthy natural saturated fats, and is lower in carbohydrates and calories than cow's milk and other plant-based beverages.
Cons: Higher in fat than other nut milks.
Pros: A good source of heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids. The watery consistency makes it a smooth addition for coffee and shakes.
Cons: Low in protein like other nut and seed milks and many are yet to be fortified with calcium or vitamin D.
If you have a hike-loving, 5K-running, canoe- paddling gal in your life, encourage her outdoorsy ways with these nature-ready picks.
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MEC Leatherman Tread Multi-tool, $220, mec.ca.
Shine bright this holiday season with the best sparkly pieces to complete your holiday outfit. Here are 15 jewellery pieces, ranging from $7-$100.
A cute bow with classic sparkly detail makes this the perfect addition to your lapel.
The colour red symbolizes love and passion, so add this fiery little ring to give a little more love to your holiday outfit.
Add a little whimsy to your holiday look with these fun and sparkly candy cane earrings.
This delicately layered necklace will add a touch of sparkle to even the most casual of holiday outfits.
Subtle gold star earrings are festive enough to celebrate the season—but we think you'll wear them well into the new year.
This bangle is a minimal—but eye-catching—addition to your ensemble.
Love Christmas? Then go all out with this seasonally-appropriate reindeer brooch.
Don't over-accessorize! Keep it simple by wearing these minimal stacking rings.
Velvet is the must-have fabric of the season—so adorn your neck accordingly.
Add these shiny studded ear crawlers for a splash of glam this holiday season.
This pearl pendant necklace will reflect all the light at the holiday party and create a rich spark to your whole look.
These glittery crystal earrings look luxurious—but you can't beat that price.
The perfect piece to layer with your other favourite bracelets.
Add these dangling tassel earrings for that extra dose of glam to your holiday look.
Steal the spotlight this holiday season with this bold crystal mesh choker—a scene stealer.