Take the opportunity to develop new friendships, learn about HIV/AIDS & its related issues & gain new skills while helping others.

ACO volunteers include service users, university students, youth, and other community members – by working here, they have the opportunity to learn about HIV/AIDS and related issues, develop relationships with service users and staff, gain new skills and, above all,, they have a chance to make a positive difference.

Volunteer Opportunities Available:

Front Reception

Reception volunteers are an important part of ACO as they are the first point of contact that people have when they enter the ACO space. Reception volunteers answer the front door, answer the main telephone line, and provide people with information and direction upon entering our offices. Reception shifts are 3 hours long, and volunteers are expected to take on at least one regular shift per week.

Harm Reduction

We are currently looking for peer volunteers to provide Harm Reduction services from the ACO office, following a peer engagement model. This can involve providing safer injection equipment in ACO’s confidential and anonymous Tool Shed, working to provide information on safer injection and community supports to members of Ottawa’s drug user community, or campaigning to have a safer injection site opened in Ottawa.


Childcare volunteers help to create accessibility in some of the services offered by ACO, by allowing us to provide free childcare for service users when required. By providing a space for parents, and especially women, to bring their children, ACO can be accessible to people who would otherwise not be able to attend socials and support groups, or access services at all. Child care is currently provided for monthly socials and support groups serving the HIV-affected African and Caribbean communities.

Outreach and Sexual Health Promotion

Outreach is a very important part of the education and prevention work that we do around HIV. Outreach volunteers take on shifts at local bars, festivals, and special events to display and offer free safer sex supplies and information. While on shift, you might strike up conversations, answer sexual health questions, listen without judgment, and try to connect people with community resources that will help them meet the needs they define for themselves.


A hot, hearty, home-cooked meal is prepared by a cooking volunteer for our socials on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Cooking volunteers prepare meals in the kitchen within ACO’s drop-in centre, the Living Room, which allows them to interact with service users, receive suggestions, feedback, and assistance. Cooking volunteers must love cooking (obviously!), be personable, non-judgmental, and open minded, with the ability to working a busy and vibrant environment.

Gay Zone Gaie

ACO is a partner in Gay Zone Gaie, a testing clinic at Centretown Community Health Centre designed specifically for men who have sex with men. Volunteers help to create a welcoming space for people coming to access testing, and assist in the provision of health and wellness-themed programming for the gay male community.

Board of Directors

Join Our Board of Directors:


Please send resume and a cover letter to


The Board of Directors work to provide governance support and structure to the AIDS Committee of Ottawa (ACO).

It is the mission of ACO to empower people living with HIV/AIDS and the PHA (Persons with HIV/AIDS) community in Ottawa through promoting the well-being and quality of life of those living with, or closely affected by, HIV/AIDS. ACO works to reduce the barriers that foster the transmission of HIV/AIDS and is an active partner in the community-wide response to HIV/AIDS.

ACO is committed to adopting and implementing policies that foster the greater involvement of people living with AIDS as well as the meaningful engagement of the people with AIDS, known as the GIPA/MEPA principals expressed in the Ontario Accord.

GIPA/MEPA means:

  • Recognizing the important contribution people living with HIV/AIDS (PHAs) can make in the response to the epidemic.
  • Creating space within organizations and society for their meaningful involvement and active participation in all aspects of that response.
  • Attending and actively participating in obligatory monthly meetings
  • Chairing and participating in committees and projects
  • Participating in Strategic Planning
  • Reporting committee results
  • Abiding by ACO’s confidentiality policies and ideals
  • The work is governance oriented. As a board member you will not be working with the day-to-day operations of ACO and participants
  • Over 18 years of age
  • Legal resident of Canada
  • Available to register for membership with The AIDS Committee of Ottawa
  • HIV positive individuals from high-risk (priority) populations are encouraged to apply. ACO is committed to diversity in the workplace, and we welcome applications from community members who identify as GBMSM (Gay and/or Bi men who have sex with men), Transgender people, African-Caribbean and Black people, Indigenous people and people who use drugs
  • Must not be in undischarged bankruptcy
  • Willingness to undergo a Police Records Check (having a criminal record does not automatically disqualify you)
  • HIV/AIDS knowledge and activist experiences are desirable
  • HIV/AIDS lived experiences are an asset
  • Some familiarity with the GIPA/MEPA principals and the Ontario Accord
  • General skills in problem solving, critical decision making, and leadership are required
  • Specific skills and experience in at least one of the following: communications, healthcare, fundraising, legal affairs, policy and strategic planning
  • Dedicated, Punctual, enthusiastic and flexible
Time Commitment and Place:
  • Monthly board meetings for 2 hours
  • Monthly committee meetings and related work 5 to 7 hours as required per month
  • Members of the board are elected for a 2 year term
  • Meetings held at The AIDS Committee of Ottawa, 19 Main St. Ottawa, ON. Held on a scheduled Wednesday of each month
  • (as long as COVID recommendations are in place board meetings are held virtually on Zoom)
Training and Orientation:
  • Orientation to HIV/AIDS and The AIDS Committee of Ottawa
  • Orientation to Board processes, bylaws, and committee structure, Anti-Racism, Anti Oppression Training, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Training.
  • Positive Leadership Development Institute (PLDI) is an optional program designed to empower people living with HIV/AIDS
  • An opportunity to donate time and skills to The AIDS Committee of Ottawa agency and community
  • Actively participate in the HIV/AIDS movement and know that you are making a meaningful difference in the community
  • Volunteer with a dynamic and committed team
  • Empower and support those living with HIV/AIDS or loved ones and friends that are closely affected

How to Become a Volunteer

  1. Contact Peter Szanto, the Coordinator of Volunteer Resources at 613-238-5014 ex 228, or at
  2. Attend HIV 101—ACO’s volunteer training session that will introduce you to the basics behind HIV transmission and treatment, risk factors, and the social determinants of health.
  3. Meet the Coordinator of Volunteer Resources for a screening interview.
  4. Complete any additional training pertaining to specific volunteer roles i.e. Outreach Training.
  5. Start volunteering!