The Northern AIDS Connection Society, NACS (formerly the Truro & Area Outreach Project) began in 1996 as an initiative from the Rural Development Conference hosted by the AIDS Coalition of Nova Scotia. Mr. Albert McNutt, realized that there was a great need for education and awareness on HIV/AIDS issues in the community.
The Truro & Area Outreach Project began with a grant from the Community Health Promotion Fund through the Northern Health Region in 1996. This grant helped establish a network of individuals and organizations interested in addressing HIV/AIDS issues. It also helped to develop a small core of people willing to sit on an advisory committee for HIV/AIDS in the local area. Since it’s begining in 1996 the project (now NACS) has continued to provide education, information, support and public engagement on HIV/AIDS. With the closure of the Pictou County AIDS Coalition, the project has expanded to serve the entire northern region of Nova Scotia. After amalgamation, the organization incorporated on June 7, 2001.
The organization serves the northern region of Nova Scotia specifically Pictou, Colchester, Cumberland and East Hants Counties. Many stong partnerships have been formed between the Society and other community groups such as Futureworx, the Nova Scotia Agricultural College (Health Services), Mainline Needle Exchange, Direction 180, John Howard Society Restoritive Justice, local Transition Houses, Youth Health Centres, Schools and individual teachers, Physicians, and other health care professionals.
The Northern AIDS Connection Society (NACS) continues to dream and hope for a world without AIDS. We are committed to act responsibly in meeting the ongoing changes and challenges of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Northern Nova Scotia.
NACS’s mission is to promote the health and well-being of persons living with and those affected by HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C (HCV), Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and other Blood Borne Pathogens (BBPs). NACS offers support services, referrals and education to individuals, families, loved ones, groups and communities throughout northern Nova Scotia. All services are provided in a safe, confidential and judgment free environment.
Values and Guiding Principles
- We are inspired by and honor the past experiences and efforts of the Nova Scotia community-based AIDS movement.
- We believe confidentiality and privacy is crucial to the affairs of the organization.
- We employ and support the GIPA Principles (Greater, More Meaningful Involvement of People Living with and Those Affected by HIV/AIDS)*
- We believe and support positive, safe and respectful communities where HIV/AIDS education and support is everyone’s concern.
- We recognize the impact of stigma, discrimination, homophobia, transphobia, heterosexism and sexism and how these fuel the pandemic.
- We believe that knowledge is vital in promoting individual and collective empowerment.
- We value the contribution of volunteers, staff, community partners, supporters and funders.
- We are committed to a collaborative regional, provincial and national response.
- We support a population health approach as defined by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
- People have the right to make choices that may impact their quality of life.
- We believe in a harm reduction approach which is defined as a set of practical strategies with the goal of meeting people ‘where they are at’ and to help them to reduce harm associated with engaging in risk-taking behavior.
We define the principles of harm reduction as:
We accept that harm be associated with engaging in risk-taking behavior
We do not judge – the behaviors themselves are not neither condoned nor condemned
We respect. Honor and support a person’s ability to make decisions and their fight to do so
We believe in taking a holistic approach to harm reduction.
GIPA means the Greater Involvement of People with HIV/AIDS and derives from a principle embedded in the Paris AIDS Summit Declaration of 1994. At this summit, leaders of 42 nations met together to determine how they could effectively respond to the AIDS crisis.
The Declaration, signed by all nations attending the meeting, acknowledged the central role of people living with HIV/AIDS (positive people) in AIDS education and care, and in the design and implementation of national and international policies and programs, in order to successfully tackle HIV/AIDS. It also acknowledged that, for positive people to take on a greater role in the response, they need increased support.
The Declaration committed governments to develop and support structures, policies and programs to facilitate the greater involvement of positive people. This has since been adopted by UNAIDS as the GIPA Principle.