John McCullagh

John McCullagh

John McCullagh is the publisher of PositiveLite.com. 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 PositiveLite.com about his personal experiences of living with HIV and about issues relevant to Canada's HIV and LGBTQ communities.

HIV and aging in the Caribbean context

published: October, 05, 2016 Written by // John McCullagh - Publisher emeritus Categories // African, Caribbean and Black, Social Media, Activism, Gay Men, Conferences, Events, Features and Interviews, International , Living with HIV, John McCullagh

John McCullagh with a profile of David D. K. Soomarie, the face of HIV in Trinidad and Tobago.

HIV and aging in the Caribbean context

On September 24, realize, Canada’s national organization that fosters positive change for people living with HIV and other episodic disabilities — formerly known as the Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation (CWGHR) — held its annual Forum. The subject this year was Coming of Age: Exploring our Collective Response to HIV and Aging. In the past few years, medical science has provided us with the knowledge to drastically improve the health and extend the lives of people livin

The CPPN Wants You!

published: September, 20, 2016 Written by // John McCullagh - Publisher emeritus Categories // Activism, Social Media, CATIE, CATIE - HIV and Hep C Info Resource, Opinion Pieces, John McCullagh

John McCullagh reports on Canada's first network by and for people living with HIV.

The CPPN Wants You!

Ever since the early days of HIV in Canada, local networks of people living with HIV have been the primary drivers of the response to the epidemic. However, Canada has lacked a national network of people living with HIV acting collectively to inform and influence public policies. Until now, that is. Formed in the summer of 2015, and steadily gaining members since, the Canadian Positive People Network (CPPN) aims to respond to the changing needs of diverse communities of people with HIV. “I

Scotiabank AIDS Walk Toronto 2016

published: September, 11, 2016 Written by // John McCullagh - Publisher emeritus Categories // AIDS Walk for Life, Social Media, Community Events, Gay Men, Fundraisers, Current Affairs, Events, John McCullagh

This annual fundraiser took place on Sunday, September 11, 2016, to benefit ACT. Here are some photos of the event.

Scotiabank AIDS Walk Toronto 2016

The ACT team prepare to lead off the Walk In Toronto, 19,000 people are living with HIV, and one person in the city is newly diagnosed every day. The good news, however, is that new diagnoses are going down. The other good news is that treatment advances, new knowledge about the factors that lead to transmission and new prevention technologies allow us to envision a future without HIV. In the meantime, however, care, prevention and support services are still required for those living with, af

How can social workers help people with HIV manage and cope with HIV-associated Neurocognitive Disorder (HAND)?

published: September, 06, 2016 Written by // John McCullagh - Publisher emeritus Categories // Social Media, Aging, Mental Health, Research, Health, Living with HIV, John McCullagh

Read about and watch a video on how social workers and community-based organizations can assist older people with HIV who are concerned about their brain health.

How can social workers help people with HIV manage and cope with HIV-associated Neurocognitive Disorder (HAND)?

There are about 75,500 Canadians living with HIV, according to the latest statistics. And that population is aging. Indeed, it’s estimated that in a very few years half of all people living with HIV in Canada will be 50 years of age or older. This is good news because it shows that effective treatment with combination antiretroviral therapy can allow people with HIV to live a near-normal lifespan. The not-so-good news, however, is that 24% of all new HIV diagnoses in Canada in 2014 were amon

How has an aging population impacted HIV programs and services in Canada?

published: October, 06, 2015 Written by // John McCullagh - Publisher emeritus Categories // Aging, Health, Living with HIV, John McCullagh

The needs of people growing older with HIV are complex. How are community-based organizations and HIV clinics meeting the needs of the older people with HIV that they serve? John McCullagh reports.

How has an aging population impacted HIV programs and services in Canada?

People with HIV are now living longer, thanks to combination antiretroviral therapies. But new infections are on the rise among older adults too. This trend will culminate in the next few years with over half of all people with HIV in North America, Europe and Australia being over the age of 50.  For this reason, it is important to know what is out there in Canada in terms of HIV and aging-related programs and services, and how HIV organizations and clinics are meeting the needs of the o

HIVnow campaign will change the conversation during Toronto Pride

published: June, 18, 2015 Written by // John McCullagh - Publisher emeritus Categories // Activism, Community Events, Social Media, Pride, As Prevention , Research, Sexual Health, Health, Legal, Treatment, Living with HIV, Media, Sex and Sexuality , John McCullagh

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

Is PrEP right for me?

published: April, 13, 2015 Written by // John McCullagh - Publisher emeritus Categories // Activism, Gay Men, As Prevention , Features and Interviews, Health, Sexual Health, Treatment, Population Specific , Sex and Sexuality , John McCullagh

In a video interview, PositiveLite.com talks with Ryan Lisk and Mason McColl of the AIDS Committee of Toronto about the agency’s new education campaign to start conversations and share information about the use of Truvada as PrEP in the Canadian context.

Is PrEP right for me?

The evidence is now in. Science has proven that the use of Truvada (a fixed dose combination in one tablet of emtricitabine and tenofovir) as a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a highly effective HIV prevention tool.  Yet, almost three years now after the Food and Drug Administration approved Truvada as PrEP in the U.S., its approval in Canada for this purpose is nowhere on the horizon. While some doctors have agreed to prescribe it to their patients (prescribing an approved drug for a

Webinar: Not Your Typical HIV and Aging 101

published: March, 16, 2015 Written by // John McCullagh - Publisher emeritus Categories // Community Events, Aging, Events, Health, Living with HIV, John McCullagh

We post an ACT webinar exploring the experiences of older adults living with or vulnerable to HIV that includes two case studies and a discussion of programs and policies affecting this population in Canada.

Webinar: Not Your Typical HIV and Aging 101

Concerns about the well-being of older adults living with HIV is an emerging issue in Canada and around the world. Before the introduction in 1996 of effective anti-retroviral therapies, most people living with HIV did not expect to live long lives. This meant that, for the most part, community-based organizations did not have to concern themselves with the needs of older people living with HIV. Now, however, provided they are diagnosed and treated in time, people living with HIV can long, he

GNP+: A global network for and by people living with HIV

published: December, 09, 2014 Written by // John McCullagh - Publisher emeritus Categories // Activism, Features and Interviews, International , Living with HIV, John McCullagh

PositiveLite.com speaks with three of the Canadian leaders of GNP+NA, the North American region of the global network of people living with HIV

GNP+: A global network for and by people living with HIV

(left to right) Trevor Stratton, Rodney Rousseau and Christian Hui  The Global Network of People Living with HIV is the only international network of people living with HIV. I recently sat down with Trevor Stratton, Christian Hui and Rodney Rousseau, three current and/or past board members of the organization’s North American region, to learn more about this network and its work.  John McCullagh: My first question for you guys is, What is GNP+ North America?  Trevor Stratton: GNP+ Nort

Think Twice: The Toronto gay community speaks out about HIV criminalization

published: November, 20, 2014 Written by // John McCullagh - Publisher emeritus Categories // Social Media, Activism, Gay Men, Legal, Living with HIV, Media, Population Specific , Sex and Sexuality , John McCullagh

In a new YouTube campaign, 42 Toronto gay community members and allies say why going to the cops when a sex partner hasn’t disclosed his HIV-positive status won't stop him from getting HIV or stop the spread of the disease

Think Twice: The Toronto gay community speaks out about HIV criminalization

Canada is a world leader in targeting and criminalizing people living with HIV (PLHIV). People are being charged with aggravated sexual assault and thrown in prison for not disclosing their status, even when there was virtually no risk of transmission. Our laws are based on stigma and fear.  “Think Twice” is a campaign by the Toronto-based activist organization AIDS Action Now!  to decrease the number of PLHIV in Ontario facing criminal prosecutions for HIV non-disclosure. 

An interview with Ron Rosenes, C.M.

published: July, 21, 2014 Written by // John McCullagh - Publisher emeritus Categories // Activism, Gay Men, Features and Interviews, Health, Living with HIV, Population Specific , Sex and Sexuality , John McCullagh

Long-time survivor, witness and pioneer Ron Rosenes was recently made a member of the Order of Canada for his contribution to the wellbeing of people living with HIV. In this interview he talks about what the award means for himself and for the community

An interview with Ron Rosenes, C.M.

On Canada Day earlier this month, self-described HIV “survivor, witness and pioneer” Ron Rosenes was made a member of the Order of Canada for “improving access to health care and social justice resources for people living with HIV and AIDS through his advocacy, fundraising and community leadership”.  One of our country’s highest civilian honours, the Order of Canada was established in 1967, Canada’s centennial year, to recognize outstanding achievement, dedication to the communit

HIV and heterosexual black men

published: May, 26, 2014 Written by // John McCullagh - Publisher emeritus Categories // African, Caribbean and Black, Features and Interviews, Population Specific , Sex and Sexuality , John McCullagh

John McCullagh talks with Winston Husbands of the AIDS Committee of Toronto about the HIV-related needs, challenges and priorities of heterosexual African, Caribbean and Black men in Ontario.

HIV and heterosexual black men

What are the HIV-related needs, challenges and priorities of heterosexual African, Caribbean and Black men in Ontario? To answer this question, I recently sat down with Winston Husbands, the director of research at the AIDS Committee of Toronto. We discussed the results of a recent study that was designed to assist researchers, service providers and policy makers in understanding some of the issues relevant to HIV prevention for straight Black men as well as issues related to the care and supp

The PEP experience — Daniel’s story

published: April, 02, 2014 Written by // John McCullagh - Publisher emeritus Categories // Gay Men, As Prevention , Features and Interviews, Sexual Health, Health, Treatment, Population Specific , Sex and Sexuality , John McCullagh

We conclude our three-part series on PEP by hearing from Daniel, who was potentially exposed to HIV when a condom broke.

The PEP experience — Daniel’s story

This week, PositiveLite.com is focusing on Post-exposure Prophylaxis, or PEP —  medication that can help prevent HIV after a possible exposure. Today, in our final piece in the series, we talk with Daniel, who took PEP three years ago, as he thought he might have been exposed to HIV when a condom broke.  John McCullagh: Thank you, Daniel, for agreeing to talk with PositiveLite.com about your experience using post exposure prophylaxis. I’d like to start by asking you to tell us a

The PEP experience — Raj’s story

published: April, 01, 2014 Written by // John McCullagh - Publisher emeritus Categories // Gay Men, As Prevention , Features and Interviews, Sexual Health, Health, Treatment, Population Specific , Sex and Sexuality , John McCullagh

In part two of our three-part series on PEP, we hear from Raj Singh, a forty-something Toronto gay guy who was potentially exposed to HIV at a sex party.

The PEP experience — Raj’s story

This week, PositiveLite.com is focusing on Post-exposure Prophylaxis, or PEP — medication that can help prevent HIV after a possible exposure. Yesterday, I sat down with Duncan MacLachlan, the Director of Community Health Programs at the AIDS Committee of Toronto, to talk about PEP, its effectiveness and its availability. Join me today, as I have a conversation with Raj Singh, a Toronto gay man, who took PEP a year ago after a potential exposure to HIV.  John McCullagh: Raj, thank

PEP can stop you from getting HIV: A conversation with ACT’s Duncan MacLachlan

published: March, 31, 2014 Written by // John McCullagh - Publisher emeritus Categories // Activism, Gay Men, As Prevention , Features and Interviews, Health, Sexual Health, Treatment, Population Specific , Sex and Sexuality , John McCullagh

A week of personal stories from gay guys who have experienced post-exposure prophylaxis starts with a conversation with the AIDS Committee of Toronto’s Duncan MacLachlan about PEP, its effectiveness and its availability.

PEP can stop you from getting HIV: A conversation with ACT’s Duncan MacLachlan

This week, PositiveLite.com is focusing on Post-exposure Prophylaxis, or PEP — medication that can help prevent HIV after a possible exposure. On Tuesday and Wednesday, two Toronto gay guys with experience of PEP will tell us their personal stories. Today, to kick off the series, I talk with Duncan MacLachlan, the Director of Community Health Programs at the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT), to find out about PEP, its effectiveness and its availability.  John McCullagh: Duncan, let

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