New peer-led workshops for people recently diagnosed HIV positive in London

Saturday, June 13th, 2015 in News

Leading peer-led HIV charity are taking a new approach in supporting people to Connect, Learn and Take Control of their HIV early in their diagnosis.

London has some of the highest rates of HIV within the UK.  At the same time the capital is also one of the best in testing and treating people early.  Improving Care, a new report to be published by Positively UK, found that alongside clinical care people wanted access to support from others living with HIV early in their diagnosis.

The Islington based charity, Positively UK, will be holding a series of self-contained weekend workshops for people recently diagnosed with HIV.

Facilitated by Positively UK staff and volunteers who are living with HIV themselves, the two day events will provide participants with the opportunities to: connect with other people living with HIV; learn how to get the support they need; and take control of their HIV.

6,000 people were diagnosed with HIV in 2013. Early intervention and support for people newly diagnosed with HIV improves well-being, enables better treatment outcomes and reduces the risk of transmitting the infection to others.

Marc Thompson, Peer Mentor Project Co-ordinator, stated, “Receiving an HIV diagnosis can be a worrying and confusing time. These workshops will give people the opportunity to connect with others in a similar position, with the same kinds of concerns. These weekend workshops will provide the participants with a deeper understanding of HIV, increased knowledge of treatment and care, and, most importantly, the chance to engage with other people; all of which will help open the door to living well with HIV.”

Over the course of the weekend, participants will be able to ask any questions and receive advice, guidance and support from the workshop facilitators who will share their expertise and experiences of living with HIV. Participants will also get to meet representatives from a range of organisations that provide support to people living with HIV.

The interactive workshops will explore the following:

  • Finding out and coming to terms with our diagnosis
  • Telling others you have HIV
  • How HIV works in the body
  • Starting and taking medication
  • Sex and relationships

DATES

  • 11 – 12 July 2015
  • 22 – 23 August 2015
  • 26 – 27 September 2015
  • 10 – 11 October 2015
  • 28 – 29 November 2015
  • 30 – 31 January 2016

The workshops will be delivered in London.

Some things that people who attended previous workshops have said:

“I’m still amazed by how much my perspective on my diagnosis and future has changed after this weekend. I feel so invigorated.”

“It took me some time to be in a group with people ‘like me’, but after learning from others and sharing I feel much stronger, inspired and looking forward to the future.”

“Before I attended the Recently Diagnosed weekend, I was someone who would suffer in silence.  Positively UK had empowered me to take charge of my life.  I know what service and treatment I should expect and was taking no prisoners!”

Positively UK

Positively UK is the leading provider of peer support for people living with HIV in the UK and has been delivering support for people living with HIV, from people living with HIV for over 25 years. Last year we delivered over 3000 hours of one-to-one support and 110 group support sessions, with 92% of service users reporting an increased ability to manage their HIV and reduced isolation.

This programme of workshops is funded by the Elton John Foundation and 56 Dean Street/ChelWest.

Key Facts:

  • There are 100,000 people living with HIV in the UK – 24% of people are unaware of their HIV infection
  • 6,000 people are diagnosed HIV positive every year in the UK
  • Over 3,000 of the newly diagnosed were gay men
  • Just under 3,000 of the newly diagnosed were heterosexual, mainly from African and other BME communities
  • Nearly half of those newly diagnosed presented late, with symptoms of ill health, and at increased risk of dying

Health Protection England, HIV in the United Kingdom: 2012 Report. London: Health Protection Services, Colindale.  November 2012.