Positive Youth Outreach (PYO) is one of the longest running programs in Canada that provides support to young people living with HIV. In 1990, two HIV-positive young people recognised the need for services that would deal with their issues and needs. Initially, they organized a 12-week support group and soon after, PYO was formed. We continue to be run by-and-for HIV-positive young people!
Over the first five or six years, PYO received support through various agencies, including the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation and the Youth Substance Abuse Program, with whom PYO briefly shared office space. A volunteer advisory committee was established. The agency ran a few support groups and offered seminars on peer support for poz youth, but eventually moved in a more social direction. In 2000, the agency established its own office at 790 Bay Street.
In 2001, PYO became a program of ACT. The advisory committee, made up of at least 60% HIV-positive young people, continues to provide support for PYO.
Over the years, PYO has been providing practical tools to equip HIV-positive young people to make informed decisions and develop leadership skills.
PYO programming provides spaces that create feelings of safety, acceptance, and belonging. Our programming nurtures resilience by supporting the assets and strengths that all people have. Through safe spaces and asset based programming we create a stronger and empowered community.