ARE WE COMMUNICATING ENOUGH?
Since the beginning of the epidemic, experience has demonstrated that significant advances in the response to HIV have been achieved when there is strong committed leadership and more community active involvement. However, leaders are often not those in the highest offices. For example Government, large charities and community leaders.
Leadership must be demonstrated at every level to get ahead of the disease – in families, in communities, locally, regionally. Nationally and internationally. Much of the best leadership on HIV/AIDS has been demonstrated within civil society organisations and individual activists who often challenge the status quo.
It has always been my personal mission is to ensure that this government and policy makers from a parts of the globe to meet the targets they have agreed and mobilize the necessary resources required in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
SO AGAIN, ARE WE COMMUNICATING ENOUGH?
This is a question that constantly eludes us all, service users, patients, clients (whatever). People in the professional models of Health & Social Care like local authorities and health authorities feel they are doing all that they can with the funds allowed. But some people actually work for nothing in other sectors of our community.
For example the voluntary sector (also known as the “Third Sector”). There are even groups of individuals who are trying to ensure that service users and carers are involved in all aspects of health and social care. Health and social care affects each and every one of us and often people living with health and social care issues are often be misguided.
For many years now (approximately 30 years) HIV has continually had much positive and negative media coverage and still people living with HIV are continually treated without respect or dignity.
People living with HIV are also not only suffering discrimination and stigma in our society, they are often informed wrongly that the services of which they seek are there to protect them – this is not often the case.
People living with HIV are people that are not allowed – people living with HIV becoming involved in services at the levels they desire from planning to delivery. The people that are placed in those positions are often there as a token person. Many people living with HIV are often portrayed as been vulnerable, well in many cases this could be deemed true, but some people living with HIV need to be involved.
WE NEED A VOICE – WE NEED TO SPEAK OUT CLEARLY ABOUT OUR NEEDS AND WE NEED TO BE UNITED WHEN WE DO IT. NO SEGREGATION – MORE INTEGRATION -NO TO EXCLUSION – MORE INCLUSION – NO TO ISOLATION – MORE SOCIAL INTERACTION…
WHO CONSTITUTION, 1946 -“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
People living with HIV have been the important catalysts for this to happen. We, as people living with HIV, have united from the beginning and fought for our rights. The right to live productive lives free of stigma and discrimination. Many people are not with us any more to enjoy it, but people living with HIV have revolutionized the world. But there is one struggle standing at the cradle of all of these: the fight for people living with HIV to be involved in decisions that affect their lives.
This is a struggle we are losing, or at least in some parts of the UK and the world. People living with HIV have been instrumental in ensuring the amount of attention — and funding — AIDS is getting now. In many cases, people living with HIV are not included in shaping that response. Increasingly people living with HIV are included in the process only as an afterthought. Evidence shows that the response to HIV is more efficient, less costly and more effective when people living with HIV are included in project development and decision making.
Many projects and authorities use in promotional work often use the term “We are all Positive” and when socially engaging in sex everyone is positive and condoms should be used. Well statistics over the years have shown us that that does not work. Numbers of people living with HIV continues to rise and even with new drugs available people are still dying. Admittedly we are all going to die at some point in our lives. Even an ageing population are now been infected with HIV, we also know that many people don’t even know they may be infected. So where is the communication surrounding issues relating to sexual health and HIV. In my opinion it has stopped, yes not as popular as it was in the eighties.
Everyone is NEGATIVE until tested and we believe that people living with HIV should always ensure that they and other people continue to protect themselves from HIV and all other infections.
With reference to treatment this is also about “rights, responsibilities and respect”. People living with HIV and AIDS need to acknowledge those simple rules and professional service providers must adhere to those simple rules.
Finally, the care of people living with HIV and AIDS is paramount to general health and well-being (the whole person and person-centred approach). So again: No to Segregation – Yes to Integration. No to Social Exclusion – Yes to Social Inclusion. No to Isolation and Yes to More Social Interaction.