HIVnow campaign will change the conversation during Toronto Pride

Published 18, Jun, 2015
Author // John McCullagh - Publisher emeritus

What is #HIVnow? It’s the HIV awareness campaign Toronto Pride deserves.

HIVnow campaign will change the conversation during Toronto Pride
John Maxwell, executive director, ACT (left)
Christopher Thomas, communications coordinator, ACT (right)
Ryan Lisk, manager of community health programs, ACT (left)
Mason McColl, gay men's online strategy and resource coordinator, ACT (right)
Ty Best, graphic designer of the posters

The AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT) has just launched a bold, new multimedia campaign, HIVnow, that is intended to raise awareness around HIV because the times have changed and HIV is different today. It asks big questions, puts forward honest answers and issues clear calls to action. Hot topics include testing, PrEP, disclosure and viral load. 

Recent changes within the HIV field are challenging the dominant understanding of what it is like to live with and to be at risk for HIV, says John Maxwell, ACTs executive director. Previously, only condoms have constituted good’ HIV prevention, and sex between people with different statuses was off limits. Times have changed. 

The campaign will run throughout Pride and into July. It includes its own website,, in addition to striking posters (see below) in major downtown Toronto subway stations and unique wall murals throughout the Church/Wellesley neighbourhood, home to the citys LGBTQ community. Trained ACT volunteers will be conducting outreach during Pride celebrations, distributing HIVnow condom packs, information and an assortment of swag. 

Look for the campaign on the street, on all popular hookup apps, on social media and at Follow along by using and searching the hashtag #HIVnow and share what HIV means to you.


About the Author

John McCullagh - Publisher emeritus

John McCullagh - Publisher emeritus

John McCullagh is the publisher of He's an HIV-positive gay man who’s been active in Toronto's LGBTQ community since immigrating to Canada from his native Britain in 1975. A social worker by profession, he's worked in government and the not-for-profit sector in both front-line and management positions. His experience includes research, policy analysis, strategic planning, program development, project management, and communications.  

In the early years of the AIDS epidemic, John was a counsellor at the Toronto Counselling Centre for Lesbians and Gays (now known as David Kelley Services), an organization he co-founded and which was one of the first agencies in Toronto to offer professional counselling to those infected with and affected by HIV. 

Now retired, John volunteers with the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT) and is a board member of CATIE, Canada’s national HIV and Hepatitis C knowledge broker.  

John regularly contributes articles to about his personal experiences of living with HIV and about issues relevant to Canada's HIV and LGBTQ communities.