Every Wednesday evening, upwards of 40 women gather at the Sudbury Women’s Centre for its Sisters Offering Support (SOS) program.

The program offers free access to the centre’s My Sister’s Closet program (clothing room), arts and crafts, snacks and a once-a-month bingo evening. But it also has a more serious purpose.

“It’s to be able to talk to other women in the community,” said Sudbury Women’s Centre executive director Giulia Carpenter.

“As you’re doing an activity, you’re more apt to talk about things and maybe be able to help someone else.”

On Wednesday, May 30, there will be a very special edition of the SOS program.

The Sudbury Women’s Centre is partnering up with Réseau Access Network to offer HIV testing and naloxone training. Naloxone is a medication that blocks the effects of opioid drugs. It is administered to patients particularly in the case of an overdose.

“It’s just the idea of breaking down those barriers to women’s access” to these services, said Stephanie Fournier, women and HIV/AIDS community development co-ordinator with Réseau Access Network.

There will also be a free barbecue, bingo, and, as always, access to the clothing room.

The hope is that the event will introduce Réseau Access Network clients to the services offered by the Sudbury Women’s Centre.

“If you’re living with HIV or have systemic risks — if you use drugs — it’s stigmatizing, isolating and hard to build that community,” Fournier said.

Having a “positive space that’s for women, knowing that it’s non-judgmental,” is an important thing for marginalized women, she said.

The SOS program runs at the Sudbury Women’s Centre every Wednesday from 6-8:30 p.m.

Learn more about the Sudbury Women’s Centre on its Facebook page and RéseauAccess Network on its website.