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.

Being on the same page – and scrapping paternalism!

published: November, 20, 2017 Written by // Bob Leahy - Publisher Categories // Activism, Social Media, African, Caribbean and Black, Gay Men, As Prevention , Youth, General Health, Current Affairs, Treatment Guidelines -including when to start, Newly Diagnosed, Mental Health, Women, Health, Sexual Health, Treatment, Media, Opinion Pieces, Bob Leahy - Publisher

Bob Leahy on the confluence of voices that is saying paternalism towards people living with HIV doesn’t serve us well – and asks how we challenge it

Being on the same page – and scrapping paternalism!

The issue of paternalism – agencies who think or assume they are working in the best interests of their clients and make decisions for them – is in the news this week A word about us: PositiveLite.com has always been a bit of an “alt-left” voice when it comes to HIV. We don’t rely for our continued existence on government funders so that gives us a bit more freedom to report on what we – and often others - are feeling. So what’s the mood? Big Picture? The mood is of optimism,

Review: Five Guys Chillin’ is a brave exploration of sex and drugs

published: November, 18, 2017 Written by // Bob Leahy - Publisher Categories // Social Media, Gay Men, Arts and Entertainment, Events, Performances, Media, Opinion Pieces, Bob Leahy - Publisher

Bob Leahy on the extraordinary play now running in Toronto at Toronto’s Kensington Hall that provides a very explicit, close-up look at the Party n Play (PnP) scene

Review: Five Guys Chillin’ is a brave exploration of sex and drugs

First the explicit: Yes there is a lot of (simulated) sex happening in this play. In fact the five characters interact sexually throughout much of the show. The program warns “you may be uncomfortable’. I wasn’t. Some will be. Secondly; the close-up. This is a small, intimate theatre and you are sitting VERY close to the action It’s hard to know what to make of Five Guys Chillin’ as a conventional theatrical piece, because it isn’t. There is precious little narrative thread in th

The man that got it right

published: November, 14, 2017 Written by // Bob Leahy - Publisher Categories // Social Media, Activism, As Prevention , Current Affairs, Treatment Guidelines -including when to start, Research, Features and Interviews, Health, International , Treatment, Media, Opinion Pieces, Bob Leahy - Publisher

PositiveLite.com publisher Bob Leahy in conversation with Dr. Pietro Vernazza, famous author of the once-scorned Swiss Statement which predated U=U by ten years.

The man that got it right

Dr. Pietro Vernazza being interviewed  in the studio with Bruce Richman in Paris at !AS2017 About the Swiss Statement: Source aidsmap http://www.aidsmap.com/The-Swiss-Statement-and-its-repercussions/page/1746478/ “There is evidence of some groups of gay men knowing, from the late 1990s onwards, that people with an undetectable HIV viral load were much less infectious, and were using this knowledge in sexual decision-making. Public discussion of this became much more high profile after a p

New report from OHESI shows numbers of new HIV infections in Ontario continue to rise - but some good news as Toronto’s continue to fall.

published: November, 10, 2017 Written by // Bob Leahy - Publisher Categories // OHTN OHTN/PositiveLite.com, Social Media, Gay Men, As Prevention , Current Affairs, Treatment Guidelines -including when to start, Mental Health, Research, Health, Treatment, Ontario HIV Treatment Network, Media, Bob Leahy - Publisher

Bob Leahy on the mixed bag of numbers which shows a province struggling to match impressive gains elsewhere. Where is this all heading?

New report from OHESI shows numbers of new HIV infections in Ontario continue to rise - but some good news as Toronto’s continue to fall.

PositiveLite.com previewed the numbers before, but now the preliminary report  is out and it’s a mixed bag. One thing is clear though. Ontario is being left behind by some of its competition. The province’s epidemiology unit, OHESI, housed at the OHTN, confirms that new HIV infections, although down from ten years ago, have been on the rise the last three years. The increase in that time period is fortunately not large but contrasts sharply with good news from other countries, notabl

Another chance to hear Bruce Richman in Toronto

published: November, 02, 2017 Written by // Bob Leahy - Publisher Categories // African, Caribbean and Black, Activism, Social Media, As Prevention , Gay Men, Youth, Current Affairs, Events, Treatment Guidelines -including when to start, Women, Upcoming Events, Health, Treatment, Media, Bob Leahy - Publisher

A November 22 community Forum brings New York City’s Bruce Richman back to Toronto for a don’t-miss community forum on U=U (Undetectable equals Untransmittable)=

Another chance to hear Bruce Richman in Toronto

He’s a colleague and a friend so I’m hardly impartial. but I’ve been doing this work for a very long time, and honestly, I’ve never met anyone quite like the Prevention Access Campaign’s Bruce Richman. We first met in Toronto one year ago when PositiveLite.com brought him to Toronto for a community forum in Toronto on what was then a lesser known concept. He preached, with the full weight of science behind him, that people who are virally suppressed – that means on treatment and

Talking about HIV and U=U in Russian

published: October, 27, 2017 Written by // Bob Leahy - Publisher Categories // Social Media, Activism, As Prevention , Current Affairs, Treatment Guidelines -including when to start, Features and Interviews, Health, International , Treatment, Media, Bob Leahy - Publisher

Bob Leahy interviews the Switzerland HIV non-profit organization director Dr. Alex Schneider, an expert on the troubling HIV epidemic in Russia, the largest in the world

Talking about HIV and U=U in Russian

Bob Leahy: Hi Alex, thank you for agreeing to talk to PositiveLite.com. Tell me a little about yourself. You live in Switzerland? Alex Schneider: Yes, I have lived in Switzerland for three years, not far from Zurich. I live here because of my husband and his job. I moved here from Germany. Before that I lived in Russia and USSR (the Ukraine). I’m 38 years old. I’ve been HIV-positive for five-six years and I’m undetectable. How would you describe your profession, because I know you have

Review: Bat out of Hell, the Musical in Toronto

published: October, 24, 2017 Written by // Bob Leahy - Publisher Categories // Social Media, Arts and Entertainment, Performances, Music, Opinion Pieces, Bob Leahy - Publisher

Bob Leahy reviews the Meat Loaf classic turned rock opera, now playing in Toronto’s Ed Mirvish Theatre and declares it plot-flawed but otherwise a vocal and visual blast.

Review: Bat out of Hell, the Musical in Toronto

From time to time, PositiveLite.com explores the cultural references that shape our lives. Some - many - of those lives - have been hard, some less so. We acknowledge privilege where it clearly is a factor in the story being told. This is one such post. Forty years ago this weekend - over half a lifetime - an album was released that had huge impact. Many of its songs became iconic, soaring anthems that were operatic in scope, bat-shit crazy over-the-top marathons penned by mad genius Jim Ste

How we talk about U=U and the importance of precise language

published: October, 19, 2017 Written by // Bob Leahy - Publisher Categories // African, Caribbean and Black, Social Media, Activism, Gay Men, Media, Bob Leahy - Publisher

Bob Leahy on what words to use and what words to avoid when describing risk and ability to transmit applicable to an undetectable viral load – and why that’s important

How we talk about U=U and the importance of precise language

The language of HIV has evolved at an accelerated pace in recent years. It can be a struggle to keep up, to use the right words which are not only precise in meaning but don’t offend. And precision in language has never been more important around communicating that Undetectable = Untransmittable. The campaign's message has now reached over 60 countries around the globe, with endorsements from over 400 organizations. Journalists have covered the topic regularly, from CNN down. But do they a

Ontario AIDS Network’s 2017 Honour Roll Awards impress

published: October, 16, 2017 Written by // Bob Leahy - Publisher Categories // Social Media, Gay Men, Current Affairs, Women, Media, Bob Leahy - Publisher

The OAN recovers after last year’s stumble to announce a full slate of worthy candidates. Bob Leahy reports

Ontario AIDS Network’s 2017 Honour Roll Awards impress

Late last week we heard that The Ontario AIDS Network Board of Directors announced the 2017 Honour Roll Award Recipients. They are: . Adrian Betts and Christian Hui, The Person with HIV/AIDS Leadership Award . Anthony Mohamed and Maureen Owino, The Caring Hands Award . Richard Elliott and Ryan Peck, Social Justice in HIV/AIDS Award Here’s why we are excited. Last year we and others were fiercely critical of the OAN for not recognizing any person living with HIV – there are many who wou

AIDS Bureau gets new head

published: September, 30, 2017 Written by // Bob Leahy - Publisher Categories // Social Media, As Prevention , Current Affairs, Treatment Guidelines -including when to start, Health, Treatment, Media, Opinion Pieces, Bob Leahy - Publisher

Joanne Lush moves into the position long held by recently retired Frank McGee

 AIDS Bureau gets new head

It was announced last week that the AIDS Bureau - not its official title but the one most commonly used - has a new head. It’s Joanne Lush. This is good news. Joanne steps up to the position previously held by Frank MvGee, who recently retired. (We reported on that here.) Joanne is no stranger to much of this work, having worked at the Bureau since 2003. Prior to that she was the Executive Director of what was then called Peterborough AIDS Resource Network (PARN). I was chair of PARN’s b

GIPA takes a hit

published: September, 20, 2017 Written by // Bob Leahy - Publisher Categories // featured, Social Media, Activism, As Prevention , Current Affairs, General Health, Treatment Guidelines -including when to start, Health, Treatment, Living with HIV, Media, Opinion Pieces, Bob Leahy - Publisher

As funding starts to slow, engagement and involvement of people living with HIV is often the first to go. Bob Leahy on the politics of inclusion, exclusion and how people living with HIV are fighting back

GIPA takes a hit

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times: said Charles Dickens. “It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity." That was about Paris in 1869. It could have been written about Canada in 2017 and the state of our response to HIV. The best of times? Many feel we are approaching the end of the epidemic with 2030 set as the target date by UNAIDS. We are closing in on 90-90-90 targets which means more people li

Frank McGee, Ontario’s controversial AIDS Bureau head, is gone

published: September, 18, 2017 Written by // Bob Leahy - Publisher Categories // Social Media, Activism, Current Affairs, Health, Media, Bob Leahy - Publisher

McGee, a formidable voice in Ontario’s HIV community, retires after a long career in public service.

Frank McGee, Ontario’s controversial AIDS Bureau head, is gone

It was announced late last week by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care that after a successful recovery from a lengthy illness, Frank McGee is retiring from the Ontario Public Service. “Frank has been at the forefront of Ontario’s response to HIV” it said. “His contributions have helped Ontario become a leader in HIV/AIDS in Canada.” His retirement comes at a difficult time; new HIV infections in the province have risen in each of the last three years on record, where other ju

Interview: Measuring Ontario’s performance on the HIV Care Cascade

published: August, 31, 2017 Written by // Bob Leahy - Publisher Categories // OHTN OHTN/PositiveLite.com, As Prevention , Mental Health, Features and Interviews, Health, Treatment, Living with HIV, Bob Leahy - Publisher

The Ontario HIV Treatment Network’s epidemiology unit has just released a report on how Ontario people living with HIV are doing on engagement in care, on treatment and viral suppression respectively. Bob Leahy interviews James Wilton and Abigail Kroch .

Interview: Measuring Ontario’s performance on the HIV Care Cascade

Read the full report “HIV care cascade in Ontario: Linkage to care, in care, on antiretroviral treatment, and virally suppressed”  Bob Leahy: Thanks for talking to PositiveLite.com. Tell us about the good news that’s contained in the report. OHTN: There’s lots of good news in the report! First of all, the report represents the first large knowledge exchange product released by the Ontario HIV Surveillance and Epidemiology Initiative (OHESI). This is a new collaboration responsible

No exit?

published: August, 23, 2017 Written by // Bob Leahy - Publisher Categories // Aging, featured, Activism, Lifestyle, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Bob Leahy - Publisher

Bob Leahy on HIV advocates who eschew retirement to keep on going . . and going . . and going.

No exit?

I want to talk about the life cycle of those who engage in HIV work, because it’s bothering me. It bothers me from a personal perspective because as an older adult I am nearing the end of that cycle. But it also bothers me that as community we seem kind of impervious to the consequences of not only aging but becoming aged. And as HIV advocates who stick up for minorities, accommodate those who need accommodation, we seem to have hit a blind spot.  To put this in a wider context, discussion

One year ago today, PositiveLite.com endorsed the U=U campaign

published: August, 10, 2017 Written by // Bob Leahy - Publisher Categories // Activism, Social Media, International , Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Bob Leahy - Publisher

A wild ride: Bob Leahy looks back at what’s happened since PositiveLite.com became the first Canadian organization to sign on to the Undetectable = Untransmittable (U = U) campaign

One year ago today, PositiveLite.com endorsed the U=U campaign

I don’t remember how I first heard about Bruce Richman but it was surely on social media. It was the summer of 2016. Bruce had started cropping up everywhere. He seemed charismatic, passionate, informed. I asked him for an interview. He obliged and we talked for an hour or so by phone. I posted the resulting interview on August 10, 2016  under the title “Bob Leahy talks to Bruce Richman, the man behind Undetectable = Uninfectious.” The same day we also published an editorial “Positive

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