Health/Health Advocacy (8)

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It's World AIDS Day!

By Michelle Reid On December 01, 2011 | 0 Comments

I love December 1st, not only because it's the day when men all over Canada shave off their terrible (but philanthropic) moustaches, but also because it's World AIDS Day. World AIDS Day ribbon

It's a cause close to my heart- I spent a summer in the Cook Islands interning with the Pacific Island AIDS Foundation and have worked, volunteered or researched for various HIV/AIDS projects and organizations.

This World AIDS Day, I encourage you to check out It's Different Now, a great new BC campaign advocating for routine HIV testing. If you've ever had sex, you should know your status!

Here are some sobering facts about HIV/AIDS in Canada:

  • As of 2009, there were approximately 65,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Canada
  • More than a quarter of them (26%) are unaware of their status
  • Aboriginal Canadians comprise 11% of new diagnoses, but are less than 4% of the population.
  • Prior to 1999, women represented 12% of all positive HIV tests in Canada prior to 1999; as of 2009, they are 26% of positive HIV tests.**

Those numbers can be frightening, but the truth is the vast majority of HIV tests are negative. And in the unlikely possibility that your test was positive, HIV is more like a chronic illness than the death sentence it was in the 1980s. There are effective treatments and therapies, and more being developed all the time. When it comes to your health, it's always better to take action.

I had a rapid HIV test during a recent UBC Sexual Health Fair, and even though I'm low-risk I felt a twinge of nervousness: What if the test was positive? What would I do? How would I react? Fortunately, there were kind and informative nurses to talk me through the process, and the relief I felt on seeing my negative test result outweighed my nerves. It's gratifying to know that I am informed about my health.

If you've never had an HIV test, get inspired by World AIDS Day! It's Different Now has a map of drop-in clinic sites. Talk to your friends about testing. Talk to your parents! During Pap Awareness Week we encouraged you to make a Pap test into a bonding experience and encourage the women you love to go to the Pap clinic with you. On World AIDS Day, we'd like you to take a friend to get an HIV test. You'll be doing the responsible thing and educating yourselves.

** Statistics from AIDS Committee of Toronto

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Michelle is a freelance writer and anthropologist with a Master of Public Health from UBC. Her passions are promoting health and building community. She's worked in grassroots community organizations in Vancouver, Victoria and Oceania.

Pleasure Files: Part 2

By Bella Sie On September 21, 2011 | 0 Comments

Pleasure is always on our minds at Hello Cool World, which is why we're titilated to bring you Part 2 of the Pleasure Files. In this installment, Katherine Dodds has a chat with Hello Cool World's Research Associate and the creator of, Cindy Masaro. 

Cindy is a nurse and UBC PhD candidate who has launched an online survey to determine how new communication technologies influence new relationship development, and how that in turn affects sexual behaviour. Keep reading to learn more about the survey!

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Orgasm Inc. Comes to Vancouver's Cinemateque

By Katherine Dodds On June 01, 2011 | 1 Comments

Orgasm Inc. is a fine and funny film about a subject that in 2011 shouldn't be shocking, but that still is. The shock factor, for me, was not in any explicit sex scenes, but in the revelation that after Kinsey and decades of feminism, not to mention South Park,  too many women and men still  have no idea how to find the clitoris! What should be shocking, but is intead business as usual, is how big pharma preys upon our desire for desire in order  to pitch us more pills. Orgasm Inc. is playing in several cities this June - including Vancouver's Cinemateque. For details on upcoming screenings click here.

I went to to the film with friend and research associate Cindy Masaro when it was part of SFU's conference "The Medicalization of Sex". Then I caught up with director Liz Canner to do an interrview with her. We'll be posting clips of the interview as part of our Hello Cool World Vlog series. We'll also be talking to Cindy about her research and thoughts on the film. For more about the film, links to the trailer etc. read on...

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Katherine Dodds AKA "Kat" is the founder of Good Company Communications and Trained in renegade advertising & branding through her work with Adbusters in the '90s, Kat's early induction into the possibilities of the web-world was inspired by the term hypertext, which she immediately found comforting. She is dedicated to cause-related communication and to the development and use of tools that promote democratic processes.

This weekend, Vancouver puts on her finest leather miniskirt for the SlutWalk

By Michelle Reid On May 09, 2011 | 0 Comments

Picture from the SlutWalk Vancouver Facebook PageOn January 24th, 2011, a Toronto police officer enraged sexual rights advocates around the world when he told a group of middle school students that women should "avoid dressing like sluts" if they didn't want to be victimized. The response was a SlutWalk, where more than a thousand women and men marched through downtown Toronto in provocative outfits, holding signs that pointed out clothing does not equal consent. The phenomenon has taken off, with SlutWalks springing up all over North America. And on May 15th, we'll be celebrating our own SlutWalk here in Vancouver.

While many are praising SlutWalks for seizing on our zeitgeist of humour-as-political-weapon, I've read a lot of responses to the first SlutWalk that distressed me. Critics are have drawn comparisons that go a lot like, "I wouldn't leave my car unlocked with the windows rolled down in a bad neighbourhood if I didn't want it to get stolen, so don't wear a short skirt if you don't want a man to rape you." This is a bad analogy for a lot of reasons, the least of which is not that my body is not a car.

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Sexibition 2011

By Bella Sie On April 28, 2011 | 0 Comments


Bella and Michelle came down with a table full of goodies to attend the Opt Sexhibition, a part of the Opt 50th Anniversary Celebration. We chatted with some lovely attendees about our sexual health campaigns, including LACE, Around the Kitchen Table, and I Have Immunity. Then we thought we would make a little video to share with everyone!

PS - We know our video text is backwards but we did that deliberately. Just to be interesting.

Want to see who else was at this event? Read more!

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This website & blog is a space to showcase our Sex Ed clients and reflect on our work and philosophy around sexual health and advertising. It's a portal to campaigns, but it's also an exploration of our process, as well as our beliefs around what works to promote safer sex, healthy relationships & sexual rights, and why we think the key to being effective is to address "the pleasure deficit" in sexual health education.



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