We need to talk about Stigma

One of most damaging parts of an HIV diagnosis is something that isn’t talked about much. The stigma around HIV means that many people become socially isolated. Some feel like once they have been diagnosed, they aren’t allowed to have personal or intimate relationships and find themselves with crippling loneliness which can lead to depression and other mental health problems. …

HIV Testing in the UK

A few thoughts on the latest report on Testing in the UK By Jacquie Richardson, Chief Executive, Positive Life. This morning, the Westminster All-Party Parliamentary Group on HIV and AIDS published a report following its inquiry into testing in the UK. The report is the result of consultation with 36 different organisations and individuals from each of the four UK …

I have a favour to ask…

Until a couple of weeks ago the phrase ‘It’s a sin’ brought memories of disco nights dancing to the Pet Shop Boys 1987 number one hit – yip…I’m really that old! More recently though, it’s left me thinking about the characters of the Russell T Davies mini-series of the same name and reflecting on their experiences – testing; PPE; isolation; …

Sexual Health Clinics are a viable and confidential Covid-19 vaccination setting

Positive Life, the only charity in Northern Ireland for people living with HIV, has called for sexual health clinics to be used to administer the Covid vaccine for people living with HIV as the vaccination programme is set to move into its second stage. Belfast Health & Social Care Trust have begun to issue letters informing people living with HIV …

Why the latest change to blood donor deferral policy is so important

Back in the 1980s the UK Governmentalong with a whole host of other countries introduced a lifetime ban on blood donations by men who have sex with men (MSM) in response to the emergence and fear created around the AIDS pandemic. This blanket ban remained in place in Northern Ireland until as recently as 2016 when the then Health Minister, …

New cases are down, but stigma remains the underlying challenge this World AIDS Day

The latest statistics for HIV in Northern Ireland are in and its really encouraging news. There has been a noticeable decrease in the number of new cases for the 2019-year, some fantastic news to cap a tricky year for HIV support services. During 2019, there were 52 new diagnoses of HIV in NI, down from 84 recorded the previous year. …

Do you talk to your dentist about your sex life?

Do you talk to your dentist about your sex life? At Positive Life we know that a HIV diagnosis is not the death sentence it once was, however, we also know that the uniquely associated stigma and ignorance around the condition is still alive and thriving in Northern Ireland. A recent incident experienced by one of our service users goes …

COVID-19

Over the weekend the reaction to COVID-19 has increased with further statements and decisions likely to be made in the coming days. It is a worrying time for all. On a practical level, we at Positive Life have taken all necessary precautions to ensure that we are providing a safe environment, adhering to health & safety recommendations, including regularly and …

Marking Sexual Health Week 2020

This Sexual Health Week we are calling for greater emphasis to be placed on Relationship and Sex Education in schools, to create knowledge and understanding about sexually transmitted infections such as HIV. More often than not, sex education at second and third level education teaches the basic elements, but fails to place an emphasis on maintaining good sexual health. This …