Bob Leahy - Publisher

Bob Leahy - Publisher

Award-winning blogger Bob Leahy first made his social media mark a decade ago on LiveJournal.com where there are still to this day almost 3,000 entries of his available to be read. He was a featured blogger on Ontario’s HIVStigma.com campaign, along with PositiveLite.com founder Brian Finch.  He joined PositiveLite.com at its inception in 2009 and became it's Editor a year later.

Born in the UK, Bob’s background is in corporate banking, which he gladly left in 1994, after being diagnosed with HIV the previous year.  He has chaired the board of PARN (Peterborough AIDS Resource Network) and has been an executive board member of both the Ontario HIV Treatment Network  (OHTN) and the Canadian AIDS Society (CAS).  He was inducted in to the Ontario AIDS Network’s Honour Roll in 2005.  Bob is currently a member of Ontario’s GMSH (Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance). He also writes for TheBody.com.

In 2012, Bob was honoured with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for his work and commitment to HIV/AIDS in Canada.

Bob continues to write for this site while in the Positivelite.Com editor’s seat, with a particular interest  in HIV prevention, theatre and the arts in general. He is accredited media for a number of Toronto theatres. He lives in Warkworth, Ontario with his partner of thirty-two years and three dogs.

Don’t be fooled: PrEP failures imply nothing about U = U

published: February, 22, 2017 Written by // Bob Leahy - Publisher Categories // As Prevention , Health, Treatment, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Bob Leahy - Publisher

Bob Leahy and the myth that because PrEP very occasionally has failed, the reliability of a sustained undetectable viral load as an effective prevention strategy for people living with HIV needs questioning

Don’t be fooled: PrEP failures imply nothing about U = U

The HIV world was jumping, if not jittery, last week, with a third case of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) failure reported, this time,  at CROI 2017. Notable was that it did not involve drug–resistance, the cause of the previous two widely reported PrEP failures, including one occurring in Toronto. In fact the reason for PrEP failure in this latest case, a 50-year old gay man from the Netherlands, a heavy drug user who was extremely sexually active - and there may be some clues there -

Mr. Gay New Zealand Charlie Tredway talks HIV with Bob Leahy

published: February, 20, 2017 Written by // Bob Leahy - Publisher Categories // Gay Men, Features and Interviews, International , Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Population Specific , Bob Leahy - Publisher

Recently crowned Charlie, a man living with HIV and a passionate advocate, ran on a platform of confronting HIV stigma. Now he takes his message to the Mr. Gay World competition

Mr. Gay New Zealand Charlie Tredway talks HIV with Bob Leahy

Bob Leahy: First of all congratulations. Now I know you ran for Mr. Gay New Zealand because you wanted to talk about HIV. Tell me about that. Charlie Tredway: Right. My only reason was to bring visibility to HIV and to move past the stigma and the (untrue) fact that people living with HIV should be ashamed of themselves, not as good as the wider community. When I moved back to New Zealand from Sydney, the first campaign I did was because they didn’t have any HIV-positive gay males under the

GNP+ makes peace with U = U campaign

published: February, 15, 2017 Written by // Bob Leahy - Publisher Categories // Activism, Social Media, As Prevention , Health, International , Treatment, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Bob Leahy - Publisher

Following intense community reaction to their public statement last week, GNP+ apologizes in a new version stressing common values and the need for more dialogue on global inequities in treatment access. Bob Leahy reports

GNP+ makes peace with U = U campaign

Mending bridges  A dispute between two groups, both representing people living with HIV that was unusual for its acrimony, ended gracefully today with a statement from The Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+) clearly aimed at mending bridges. The new statement  was released by its Amsterdam office this morning, following approval by the GNP+ board. It replaces one posted by GNP+ last week. The previous statement was discussed on PositiveLite.com here.. The first statement had t

When an AIDS group falters . .

published: February, 09, 2017 Written by // Bob Leahy - Publisher Categories // Social Media, Activism, As Prevention , Current Affairs, International , Treatment, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Bob Leahy - Publisher

Bob Leahy on the community uproar that followed the release of the GNP+ position paper demonizing the community led U=U campaign - and why the divisiveness it started must stop

When an AIDS group falters . .

On being kind - and unkind I don’t think that in many years of editorializing for PositiveLite.com I have ever criticized a community-based HIV organization, much less one that has a specific mandate to represent people living with HIV everywhere.  We tend to be kind to each other I want to be kind but this week was difficult. GNP+ was in the news  - and not in a good way. I think they acted badly. It got to me, also not in a good way. Many will not know the GNP+ name. The initials sta

CTAC stages first-class conference on treatment advocacy

published: February, 07, 2017 Written by // Bob Leahy - Publisher Categories // Hep B and C, Conferences, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Bob Leahy - Publisher

CTAC may be struggling to retain its government funding but it proved last week in Toronto that it’s still a highly relevant platform for treatment advocacy work in Canada.

CTAC stages first-class conference on treatment advocacy

CTAC executive director Shelina Karmali, award winner Francisco Ibanez-Carrasco and board chair Terry Pigeon The three-day CTAC (formerly known as Canadian Treatment Action Council) 2017 Treatment Access Conference held  in Toronto last week was particularly strong on PrEP and Hepatitis C (Hep C)  treatment advocacy, What struck me most though was its well-defined activist roots and embracing of community mobilizing, community engagement and grass roots advocacy. Both presentations and disc

Need more care for ASO staffers with mental health issues

published: February, 02, 2017 Written by // Bob Leahy - Publisher Categories // Mental Health, Features and Interviews, Health, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Bob Leahy - Publisher

Bob Leahy talks to Toronto’s Ed Argo about the mental health issues that plagued him while working in AIDS Service Organizations (ASOs) and why he feels more needs to be done for those in similar situations.

Need more care for ASO staffers with mental health issues

Bob Leahy: Hi Ed. Why don’t I start by asking you why you contacted me? Ed Argo: Many reasons. I’m a person that has lived and lives with mental health issues such as chronic depression, acute anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder and I’ve been thinking about how this connects with GIPA (greater involvement of people living with HIV) and people living with HIV working in AIDS Service Organizations (ASOs). I’m a great believer in Ontario’s Positive Development Leadership Institu

PositiveLite.com: 13 in the world?

published: January, 23, 2017 Written by // Bob Leahy - Publisher Categories // Social Media, Health, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Bob Leahy - Publisher

The social media hub Feedspot has just placed PositiveLite.com high in its “Top 50 HIV Blogs and Websites on the Web” list. And that's globally. Bob Leahy explores what this means

PositiveLite.com: 13 in the world?

Let’s get this out first. We were thirteen in the list. That puts us just behind CATIE at number 11, so we like that. Feedspot says their process has resulted in  the most comprehensive list of best HIV blogs amongst many on the web, with rankings based on the following criteria:  Google reputation and Google search ranking Influence and popularity on Facebook, twitter and other social media sites Quality and consistency of posts. Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review  H

How U = U came to Canada: the inside story

published: January, 18, 2017 Written by // Bob Leahy - Publisher Categories // Activism, Social Media, As Prevention , Health, International , Treatment, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Bob Leahy - Publisher

Bob Leahy has been with the Undetectable = Untransmittable campaign in Canada from the beginning. Here he tells the remarkable story of how a movement led by people living with HIV changed the HIV message forever.

How U = U came to Canada: the inside story

“The “fabulousness” of this news cannot be understated. With or without a condom, if you’re undetectable you won’t pass along HIV! This is an absolute game-changer and those who live with HIV can proudly share this information” Laurie Edmiston, CATIE’s executive director. It was the domino effect. Once CATIE signed on to U = U, others quickly scrambled to do the same. Swamped, the small group of people living with HIV running the U = U campaign – more on them later – could h

BC’s YouthCO talks to PositiveLite.com about its decision to back U = U

published: January, 17, 2017 Written by // Bob Leahy - Publisher Categories // Activism, As Prevention , Youth, Features and Interviews, Health, Treatment, Living with HIV, Sex and Sexuality , Bob Leahy - Publisher

Bob Leahy talks to dynamic YouthCO executive director Sarah Chown about how and why she led her agency to say what few others would then say: that if you are undetectable you can’t transmit the virus.

BC’s YouthCO talks to PositiveLite.com about its decision to back U = U

YouthCO, a Canadian youth-led HIV and Hep C AIDS Service Organization that seeks to reduce stigma related to HIV and Hep C throughout British Columbia  through peer education and support, produced this graphic promoting U=U  Bob Leahy: Thank you for talking to PositiveLite.com Sarah. The obvious question I have to ask you is why? What made you decide as an agency to support the Prevention Access Campaign messaging about the impact of an undetectable viral load? Sarah Chown:  Well we have

Disclosure fallout

published: January, 12, 2017 Written by // Bob Leahy - Publisher Categories // Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Bob Leahy - Publisher

This article by Bob Leahy first appeared in 2013, a follow up to a controversial column in which he which said poz people needed to come out or we’d never end the epidemic. The reaction was mixed. The topic is still relevant so we're reposting it today

Disclosure fallout

Let’s face it. That column was pretty blunt.  By equating coming out with bravery, and some would say, equating non disclosure as cowardice, that was a bit “finger pointy”, even for me. I said, for instance, if you weren’t part of the solution, you were part of the problem. That’s a bit trite, and on some simplistic level there is truth in it, but it’s really too accusatory and not inclusive enough of people’s individual circumstances. If you sensed then that it was part hear

No guinea pig

published: January, 11, 2017 Written by // Bob Leahy - Publisher Categories // Gay Men, Research, Health, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Population Specific , Bob Leahy - Publisher

Bob Leahy is one of several thousand participants in the Ontario Cohort Study (OCS), a years-long project to find out more about people living with HIV in the province that is now also contributing to Canada’s 90-90-90 effort

No guinea pig

193 Yonge Street Toronto, the study site I want to write about a research study that isn’t the first I ever participated in - I was a participant in the clinical trial of saquinavir, the first ever protease inhibitor back in 1996 – but certainly the longest running. I’ve written about this before, but it’s due for an update.  Why? Because it strikes me as important for people living with HIV to understand how and why they are researched, what it feels like - and because research opp

Festive dessert time: How to make a really good trifle

published: December, 22, 2016 Written by // Bob Leahy - Publisher Categories // Food, Nutrition and Recipes, Lifestyle, Bob Leahy - Publisher

Bob Leahy shares his mother’s recipe for a dessert that will wow guests, visually and otherwise, the old fashioned way

Festive dessert time: How to make a really good trifle

Bob’s homemade trifle  Trifle; definition: 1. a thing of little value or importance 2. British: a cold dessert of sponge cake and fruit covered with layers of custard, jelly, and cream. If ever there were two definitions of the same word that are contrary to each other, trifle is that word. Dessert is seldom unimportant and when trifle is on the menu, it most definitely isn’t. I don’t think there can be many desserts so simple to create – anyone can do this - with such a high w

Happy holidays from all of us at PositiveLite.com

published: December, 19, 2016 Written by // Bob Leahy - Publisher Categories // Social Media, Activism, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Bob Leahy - Publisher

Happy holidays from all of us at PositiveLite.com Bob Leahy checks in with greetings and a personal view of what the year meant for Canada’s most influential HIV news source

Happy holidays from all of us at PositiveLite.com

Every year, I share my own Christmas card here. The message inside this year’s says “Merry Christmas and happy new year. May your 2017 be filled with happiness and success.” Substitute “happy holidays” if that works better for you. But here's what's important The good wishes remain the same and we send them out to all of you. You are the reason for our success. Our Ruby and Dudley, the two bassets pictured here, wouldn’t want it any other way. I'm sure. They like people, but the

The science-based U=U message is everywhere - but some aren’t biting.

published: December, 12, 2016 Written by // Bob Leahy - Publisher Categories // Activism, Social Media, Gay Men, As Prevention , Current Affairs, Treatment Guidelines -including when to start, Features and Interviews, Health, International , Treatment, Opinion Pieces, Bob Leahy - Publisher

Bob Leahy: Are organizations passing up on the chance to end HIV stigma and inform people living with HIV who are durably undetectable that they can’t transmit the virus? What people are saying

The science-based U=U message is everywhere - but some aren’t biting.

The images accompanying this article are from campaigns around the world informing people living with HIV that if their viral load is durably suppressed, they can not transmit the virus to others. There were no Canadian images used because no such campaigns exist in Canada.  It’s getting heated People living with HIV have never played a greater part in designing and implementing prevention messaging. In just a few months, the U = U message from the Prevention Access Campaign, arguably the

Long term survivors speak out: The Graying of AIDS interviews Bob Leahy

published: December, 08, 2016 Written by // Bob Leahy - Publisher Categories // Activism, Social Media, Aging, Gay Men, Photography, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Bob Leahy - Publisher

PositiveLite.com's Bob Leahy shares his thoughts with The Graying of AIDS, a project which documents the lives of those aging with HIV in words and pictures, about what surviving the plague years feels like and what older HIVers bring to the table.

Long term survivors speak out: The Graying of AIDS interviews Bob Leahy

While in Durban at the International AIDS Conference this past summer. I stopped at a booth in the Global Village. A series of stunning black and white images caught my eye. The booth was the work of The Graying of AIDS http://www.grayingofaids.org/ the photos by Katja Heinemann the Project Co-Director (above)  and a visual journalist. Later I sat down with the project’s Naomi Schegloff for an hour-long interview. I came back later and my portrait, seen here, was part of the exhibit.. Won

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