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young man in baseball capChris helps others coping with HIV/AIDS

"I work at the Hassle Free Clinic, doing client intake for our Enhanced Testing program, which offers anonymous, rapid HIV testing, at three satellite locations, including at the Augusta Centre. It’s the busiest clinic and has a high rate of positive tests which leads to earlier treatment.

“Ten years ago, I went to Hassle Free to test for HIV. The results came back positive. It was the most devastating experience I’ve ever gone through. The counsellor who did my test was compassionate and kind, and answered all of my questions. He guided me to information about medications and doctors to help manage my HIV. I never felt alone during the entire process.

“Years later, after I had time to process my diagnosis and get into a routine with my healthcare, I reached out to the same counsellor and asked about volunteering here. I wanted to help others with similar experiences, and contribute to an organization that had been so helpful to me during that difficult time. Shortly after becoming a volunteer, I accepted my current position with the Enhanced Testing program.

“Sometimes, when a client thanks me personally, I think back to where I was and who I am today, and I feel wonderful.”