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Wayne Bristow

Wayne Bristow

I'm a poz guy, just starting my tenth year living with HIV. I've been blogging here at since March 20th, 2011. I volunteer at two AIDS Service Organizations in my area, ACG (AIDS Committee of Guelph/Wellington) and ACCKWA (AIDS Committee of Cambridge Kitchener Waterloo and Area). I've also been blogging for ACG since November 2010. I am a self-taught social media junkie doing facebook and twitter. I'm a great retweeter. I was recently hired by the OHTN (Ontario HIV Treatment Network) as a Peer Research Assistant. In my spare time I am a hobby photographer; some of my photos show up in my blog. 

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The poz lifestyle column. Guelph, Ontario guy Wayne Bristow on "how I spent my summer vacation."

Thursday, 30 July 2015 Written by // Wayne Bristow - Positive Life Categories // Lifestyle, Living with HIV, Wayne Bristow

Part one: three workshops, canoeing and a wedding . . .

The poz lifestyle column. Guelph, Ontario guy Wayne Bristow on

Wayne Bristow’s summer has seen a mixed bag of activities . Some days were very hot, others were non-stop rain but some were just right which is reflected in the things he was able to participate in.

I attended the ARCH (HIV/AIDS Resources & Community Health) annual client dinner a couple weeks ago. It was sponsored by ABBVIE pharmaceutical and the speaker was Kate Murzin from CWGHR (the Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation) and the subject was HIV and aging.

While sitting at the table waiting for dinner to be served some of my peers started talking about their cats and out came the cameras showing photos and video. I was witnessing Facebook LIVE in HD. I was met with snears and jabs for making rude comments. I don’t hate cats but I wouldn’t have one. No one wanted to see pics of my grandkids; it was all about their cats.

Disclaimer: The above was meant to be tongue in cheek, I harmed no cats in the writing of this blog. Please - no hate male, I mean hate mail. Please send any males daily. (Again: tongue in cheek)

I signed up for some Art Therapy workshops at ARCH as well. The first one went not too bad. We went to a local shop and selected a piece of pottery to paint and spend some time socializing. I chose the guitar-shaped keepsake box. I found out I need a little more time learning this craft - or  perhaps  I’m just not a painter.

And then we move along to the knitting class. I come from a long line of people who knit and crochet, so I thought had maybe a slight advantage. I was wrong; it was a total disaster, even after several restarts. What you see in the photo is as far as I got, a mess of missed stitches, some too tight to get the other needle in. I loved the colour though.

Then finally I attended the actual art workshop. You could tell summer is here and most people had other things to do as I was the only attendee. I had my choice of painting on a canvas or drawing on a sketch pad with pencils or pens/markers so I chose the latter. I had thought about my piece before going and coloured pencil was the better and cleaner choice.

What I chose to illustrate was an ask for the gay community to stop the stigma toward their community members who are HIV-positive. I had seen this vision of the hand/stop the stigma before but it was meant more of a blanket statement. I’m not trying to paint all gay people with the same brush here (pun intended) but I have been subjected to more stigma from the gay community than I have from any other community. I’m hoping to re-create this dialogue  in another medium sometime soon.

Last week we got to go canoeing in downtown Guelph. Near the centre of town we have three rivers that join together - the Eramosa, the Speed and the Grand Rivers. I had canoed one other time with another peer; we took our cameras and did some photography but that didn’t quite work well this time, except with my iPhone. So the photos in this collage are from other trips through town. What I got from this little adventure is a stiff shoulder and a knot in my back no massage will ever remove. UGH!

Then there was the wedding, fortunately and unfortunately not mine, so I am still available. The couple had me  take their engagement photos which turned out really good, so they asked me to be a part of taking the wedding photos. I was really happy to be asked but a little nervous too. I had tried to help my mom years ago, back when there were film cameras and it was a disaster. I didn’t know what I was doing; if the camera worked the way it was supposed to, I could take some great photos. In that moment, the cameras weren’t working.

At this wedding, they wanted me to use their camera so I had to bring it home with me and play with it. Many of the settings were the same as mine but with theirs I had two options for seeing what I was shooting. I could use the big LCD window on the back or use the eye viewer. The eye viewer worked so much better. I don’t have one on my camera, you have to buy it separately; it may be the next addition to my system.

I did much better than I thought I would. Here is a small collage of some of them. I feel confident enough now to actually go out and try to find some other jobs in the future. I may not be ready for the large jobs but people who have a low budget - well I might be able to help them out. 


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