December 2018 Newsletter

December 2018 Newsletter

DEAR FRIENDS OF POSITIVELY UK

On World AIDS Day we honour the 35 million people lost to HIV and AIDS and show solidarity to nearly 40 million people currently living with HIV around the world. Today only in The UK there are more than 104,000 people living with HIV and each year another 4,000 get diagnosed.

The tremendous progress in addressing HIV has made it possible for people with the virus to live long lives when they have access to treatment, care and support. In 2017, the UK met the UNAIDS targets of 90% of all people living with HIV being diagnosed, 90% receiving antiretroviral therapy and 90% having suppressed viral load. Public Health England just published their yearly report: new diagnoses are estimated to have fallen from 5,280 in 2016 to 4,363 in 2017.

But as we celebrate progress in HIV prevention and care, we know that the HIV epidemic is far from over. With stigma and discrimination still preventing HIV services from reaching some of the people who need them most, the community is calling for an increased focus on quality of life and zero stigma. Read our Project 100 trainer James Morris’s blog from AIDS 2018 on this topic.

With view of the new challenges, Positively UK has refreshed its strategic goals. Our new mission and vision were approved during our Annual General Meeting.

Positively UK’s Vision: 

Everyone living with HIV has access to effective peer support to increase their knowledge, confidence and connections, to improve their health and quality of life.

Positively UK’s Mission: 

To share learning and solutions within HIV and across the health and social care sectors so that people living with HIV receive effective care and support, to achieve the best health and quality of life.

Positively UK representatives spoke at the Fast Track City Initiative World AIDS Day event at City Hall

Silvia, Nicholas, Sasha and Isaac shared their experiences of living with HIV in London and why perceptions around HIV need to be shifted. 

World Aids Day – Boyz

Our boyz Garry and Chris tell us how peer support has a role in the elimination of HIV in this year’s Word AIDS Day edition of Boyz magazine .

Read what they have to say here

RED RUN 

Friends and supporters of Positively UK are running at this year’s Red Run – the largest HIV fundraising event in the UK. The raised funds will go towards Positively UK’s hardship fund, acting as a safety net to cover day-to-day living costs of people living with HIV in a crisis. Positively UK is hugely grateful to all supporters, and we want to specially acknowledge our volunteer Nickos Gogolos who has raised thus far over £600 and counting!

Changing perceptions: Transforming the Way People Feel and Think About HIV

Isaac recently the youth support team. Together with Tania they are on a mission to ensure the total wellbeing of young people living with HIV. Isaac provides mentoring for young people and coordinates events and workshops for them so that they can survive and thrive in life in their own unique ways. Ellie is our new fundraiser and communication officer. In her previous roles she has been a bid writer and project coordinator for development organizations in London, Brussels and Jakarta. Being new to domestic fundraising, she is keen to transfer concepts and knowledge applicable to peer support.

>Chris is our new Gay & MSM Project Coordinator. He has been involved in HIV campaigning and activism for many years, so you’ve probably seen his face around. Before joining us, Chris worked as a Clinical Hypnotherapist and Sports Injury Therapist where he has worked with anxiety, depression and a range of phobias as well as coaching and development.

Sexual Freedom Awards
Our Catwalk 4 Power, Resistance and Hope is the WINNER at Event of the Year

WHEN: 10TH OCTOBER, 12:45- 2:30PM WHERE: HOUSE OF COMMONS, TERRACE DINNING ROOM

Reception to launch A Roadmap for Eliminating Late Diagnosis of HIV in England, a Halve It position paper, and to celebrate the achievements of Halve It at the campaign’s final event.

Reserve your place at info@positivelyuk.org

HIV awareness training of care workers

Our Peer navigator Chris (pictured) delivered a HIV awareness training for 12 care workers from the care agency Right at Home. He introduced key messages around U=U and ageing with HIV and co-morbidities. Busting myths and breaking taboos around HIV, the training concluded with a Q&A session with all participants having something to ask. Based on the excellent feedback, Right at Home have already expressed interest in replicating the training on a larger scale.

Peer Support Day

At the end of October we held our annual Peer Support Day under the theme “The fourth ’90’ Through Peer Support”. Over 100 peer mentors attended the peer-led presentations and workshops to discuss issues around ageing, stigma, relationships, quality of life and support in clinics. 

nOSCARS: Our Case Work Manager, Beatrice Osoro was nominated for the Fellowship Award

The nOSCARS Fellowship Award recognizes individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the sexual health sector, working to improve sexual health and wellbeing outcomes in BAME and other communities. Bea is the manager of the Statutory Team at Positively UK and coordinates outreach for peer support case workers in eight London HIV clinics, ensuring people living with HIV can have easy access to speaking to someone else living with HIV. 

On World AIDS Day our Training coordinator and HIV activist Becky shares her thoughts on HIV and stigma

“…I was tempted to say HIV sufferers. But I don’t suffer, not really. I suffered when I was diagnosed I was all consumed by the thoughts of people judging me. What will they think, what can I possibly do to explain? Every time I told someone I felt compelled to give them a list of my sexual history just so they knew it wasn’t me, it wasn’t my fault…..I wasn’t a whore or an addict, just unlucky. If you were diagnosed with diabetes would you be compelled to tell your friends all the fattening and sugary foods you’d been eating? It’s just not the same is it?…”

Read the full text here

Follow Becky on Twitter @poz_woman87

Becky also shares her views and through-provoking life stories on her blog  https://pozwoman.wordpress.com

We are excited to begin the new year with two new projects, addressing the needs of women and ageing people living with HIV

THE SEEDS PROJECT

The SEEDS project is an idea of Positively UK’s volunteer Ms Virginia Cucchi (pictured) who has been volunteering with different organizations over the years and has experienced the positive therapeutic effect of social horticulture. The project will address the needs of aging people through food and nutrition workshops, gardening, yoga and mindfulness sessions and will train peer mentors who will obtain a nationally recognised qualification. The project will be implemented jointly with The Food Chain, The Calthorpe project and YMCA.

We are recruiting for two Catwalk 4 Power Coordinators

In 2019 the Catwalk for Power will create three series of workshops, with three different women’s groups (London, Brighton and Manchester), to look at the roots of stigma towards women with HIV and develop skills and strategies to confront it. The workshops will lead to the performance of three Catwalks 4 Power, where women with HIV will manifest empowerment through their performances and with the outfits they have styled and/or designed. The project coordinators and volunteers will also do outreach in the wider community through local market stalls. Markets are a key place for social interaction between women, therefore each catwalk group will organize two market stalls displaying products produced during the workshops to disseminate information and raise awareness through women-specific HIV resources.

Download the job and project description from here

If interested, please request an application pack by calling 020 7713 0444 or e-mailing info@positivelyuk.org

UPCOMING EVENTS

 

5th December – Treatment update workshop (Brent hub) 

6th December – Festive drop-in (morning and evening sessions)  

12th December – Women’s Room: Christmas Party (dress to impress, games and strutting, MAC free make-up) 

20th December – GayTalk Social (bowling tbc)

5th January – GayTalk (speaker tbc) 

9th January – Women’s Room: Setting our intentions for 2019: following our dreams and exploring our potential 

17th January – GayTalk Social (pub night) 

19th January – Social meal out support group (Brent hub) 

26th  January – Leadership Workshop (Brent hub) 

26th/27th January – Recently Diagnosed Workshop  

30th January – Goal Setting support group (Brent hub) 

Every Monday – Free yoga session at Positively UK