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August - September 2015
2015 to date has been a year of growth for Positively UK and for recognition of the value of our peer support services.  Our gay men’s project is underway with over 20 men attending each support group, our national programme of peer support Project 100 is getting underway and, thanks to a grant from the MAC AIDS Fund our new women’s project will be launching in September.  At both the British HIV Association (BHIVA) and National HIV Nurses Association (NHIVNA) Conferences we received awards for our peer support project with Homerton University Hospital.  Now we have an Early Day Motion for parliament to discuss HIV peer support and I hope you will use this as an opportunity to raise awareness and engage your MP locally.
Allan Anderson - Chief Executive
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Parliamentary copyright images are reproduced with the permission of Parliament

Early Day Motion about Peer Mentoring


Following publication of our Positive Change report, Lisa Cameron MP, has tabled an Early Day Motion for peer support for people living with HIV to be debated in parliament.  The EDM also highlights Positively UK’s national peer support initiative, Project 100.  The Motion has already been signed by over 50 MPs and we want to encourage more to sign.  It’s a great opportunity to get your local MP engaged and raise awareness of the need for support for everyone living with HIV.  You can find out who your local MP is and how to contact them here through writetothem.com.

Positive Change Report


We have published a new report highlighting the existing and new challenges in HIV treatment and care that people living with HIV are facing today. It is essential that people living with HIV have access to and receive good health and social care, have good experiences of care and achieve optimum health outcomes.

In this report we identified six areas for improvement:
  • Access to HIV testing and diagnosis to reduce late diagnosis and improve health outcomes for people living with HIV
  • Patient involvement in decision-making allowing people to make the right decisions for their care, particularly in managing multiple long-term conditions
  • Effective medicines management through co-ordination across specialist and primary care services
  • Access to support from peers in how to manage an HIV diagnosis
  • Care for comorbidities and integration of HIV with other special ist areas such as mental health
  • Provision of high quality care homes and appropriate end of life care for the ageing HIV population
You can read the whole report on our website here...

Upcoming Events at Positively  UK


12th September 2015
One Voice: National Conference of People Living with HIV – The national conference for people living with HIV, organised by Positively UK 


19th September 2015
Between the Sheets – An event for women living with HIV to talk about sex


22nd September 2015
AGM – Positively UK's Annual General Meeting

 

Workshops


1st Wednesday of every month
Women’s Roomgroup support workshops for women.

1st & 3rd Wednesday of every month
Str8 Talkgroup support workshops for heterosexual men and women.

1st Saturday of every month
GayTalkgroup support workshops of gay men/MSM.

3rd Saturday of every month
African Support Groupsupport group for African men and women.

Last Friday of every month
Let’s Talk Babiessocial and support group for mothers from expecting till their child is 4 years old.

 
Welfare benefits sessions available by appointment.

Desmond’s* Story with Positively UK


Our case worker met Desmond on the ward during outreach at hospital in West London.  Desmond is 53 years old and newly diagnosed with HIV and was being discharged to a nursing care home for the elderly with dementia.  As a result of his late diagnosis he had lost his mobility and speech, was confused and communicated by writing down his questions.  In one piece of writing he said he was fed up and did not want to live anymore.  When the peer worker told him she was HIV positive and also in ill health when diagnosed but now 20 years on was doing well on treatment his face brightened.  Desmond then said (through writing) he had never seen any HIV positive person looking healthy.  He expressed he was unhappy being in a care home as if he is an elderly person moreover he never communicates with anyone as the other residents have dementia and he feels isolated being the only HIV positive person.

The peer case worker contacted Mildmay Hospital, a specialist HIV care unit in East London, regarding their referral.  Within 2 weeks of engaging with Desmond he was transferred to Mildmay.  The peer worker visited Desmond; he was now happy and optimistic about life.  He is receiving speech therapy as well as physiotherapy.  He also said he was taking his medication so that he gets physically well like the peer worker is doing.  Three weeks on, this gentleman has said “thank you and you saved my life”.  Peer support is continuing through outreach.
 
*Name changed to protect confidentiality

Women PrEPare


On the 25th July, we organised the Women PrEPare workshop, with the support of AVAC.  This was an opportunity for women living with HIV from across the UK to discuss new directions in Prevention Technologies including Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Treatment as Prevention and Microbicides research.

The workshop was attended by 25 women living with HIV on the day, who have linkages to HIV support organisations and networks of women living with HIV.  During the day we had sessions aimed to improve women’s understanding of HIV and ARV’s, including what PrEP is and how it affects them as women.  We also had a good general discussion on HIV prevention and women.

One contributor said of the day “I am really pleased that we were able to get good messaging about the existence of PrEP out to women based all over the country… It was great to support what I am pretty sure was the first ever national women's workshop on PrEP”.  A full report will be available in the Autumn.

Positively UK at London LGBT Pride


This year, Positively UK marched at London LGBT Pride for the first time!  The aim of Positively UK’s first Pride march is to show the face of HIV in 2015 and challenge the stigma people living with it still experience.  We marched under the theme of ‘We are Positive’ to promote awareness and show solidarity across everyone living with and affected by HIV.

Over 20 volunteers and staff marched on the day, and we got an amazing response from the crowd.  The people watching the march really valued our presence, and the stickers and balloons which we gave out, promoting that we are positive and the message of HIV acceptance.

We were very proud to take part as openly HIV positive group in LGBT Pride.  For many of our volunteers it was their first time marching in Pride; they described the experience as “life changing” and said that it encouraged them to take more action for people living with HIV.

We're Looking for New Trustees


Want to contribute your skills, knowledge and experience to supporting people living with HIV?

Positively UK is looking for new Trustees to help drive forward the organisation’s plans and realise our vision of quality peer led support available for everyone living with HIV by 2020. We are particularly keen to hear from people living with HIV, people with experience in managing finances and accounting; corporate fundraising and policy & campaigning.

For more information contact Allan Anderson, our CEO, by calling 020 7713 0444 or through email on aanderson@positivelyuk.org
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Positively UK is a Registered Charity: 1007685