The PHA Fund: Supporting Quality of Life

Thanks to the PHA (Person living with HIV/AIDS) Fund, full-time mom Christine Bibeau was able to secure a new laptop and a louder voice against HIV stigma.

“I was lucky enough that they approved me for almost the total of the laptop. It allowed me to connect with other people living with HIV,” said Christine.

The PHA Fund is one of the ways funds raised through the Red Ribbon Walk & Run make a difference in people’s lives. It provides financial support to persons living with HIV in Manitoba for quality of life needs where no other source of income is available.

The fund can provide money for things like work boots or tools for someone who is getting back to the workplace, or for sending an HIV-positive person’s kids to camp.

Christine has received financial supports from the fund in the past, and decided to put in a request to help replace her old, finnicky laptop.

With the approval of her request, Christine was able to start a YouTube channel, speaking out about her struggles with HIV and mental health.

“I guess it all started when Nine Circles started a women’s group and no women showed up. And statistically speaking, there are a fair number of females in Manitoba who are HIV-positive,” said Christine. “I kind of felt like there needs to be a voice, or at least some way to reach out and say ‘hey’ you know? Like, ‘you’re not alone.’”

When Christine found out she was HIV-positive in 2010, she felt exactly that.

“I think when you become HIV-positive, you’re afraid and you’re ashamed and that is when you need people the most. People that care about you,” said Christine. “Sometimes people like, they don’t know, you know? They have these old stigma fears, and so it’s good to educate the public on what HIV is.”

Her YouTube channel, After Red, now has over 160 subscribers. With it, she hopes to help end some stigma, have some fun, and share her life.

Your support helps make the PHA Fund possible for people like Christine. Donate today or sign up to walk/run and collect pledges at www.ninecircles.ca/redribbon.