Community Sexual Health Awareness Program (Peer Educators)

Community members are recruited and trained to raise awareness on Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) e.g. HIV The course content include: Epidemiology & Prevention, HIV Transmission, Local HIV Support/Services, Treatment Update, Diet/Nutrition volunteering, the need for care Care/Support for those living with AIDS related diseases.

Care & Support

Community members are recruited and trained to raise awareness on Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) e.g. HIV The course content include: Epidemiology & Prevention, HIV Transmission, Local HIV Support/Services, Treatment Update, Diet/Nutrition volunteering, the need for care Care/Support for those living with AIDS related diseases.

Community Outreach Program

Community members are recruited and trained to raise awareness on Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) e.g. HIV The course content include: Epidemiology & Prevention, HIV Transmission, Local HIV Support/Services, Treatment Update, Diet/Nutrition volunteering, the need for care Care/Support for those living with AIDS related diseases.

Health Trainers

In addition to the existing 30 active NHS Health Trainers, CHAT has recently (October 2010 – March 2011) trained 30 local residents from South Kilburn to attend both levels 2 and 3 qualifications making a total of 60 Health Trainers being managed to deliver community health awareness services in the Borough of Brent. Out of the 60 health trainers, 14 have been trained to City & Guilds level 3 standards (8 by NHS and 6 by CHAT). Health Trainers are a resource which has been utilised by NHS Brent in reaching the diverse range of communities for addressing health inequalities within the borough of Brent. Combined, Health Trainers speak over 18 local languages and range in ethnicity from South Asian, West African, Somali, Caribbean and Chinese, and in age from 22 – 75 years old. All the Health Trainers are well equipped with required health knowledge and skills to advise and guide community members on various health inequalities including healthy eating, physical activity, sexual health, diabetes, smoking cessation, mental health etc.

The Link project

The aim of this project is to link acute and community HIV care and support services in order to improve the quality of life for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWH) through the provision of culturally appropriate support for adherence to HIV treatments, educating communities on how to support people living with HIV/AIDS, empowering to live healthy lifestyles and develop back to work attitude and initiatives.

Support Group meetings

These meetings are held for people living with HIV/AIDS to share information on specific topics  that concern the group or individuals as such as:

  • Understanding your medication and treatment options
  • Immigration or asylum issues
  • Understanding benefits, finance, housing/homeless
  • Goal setting and motivational skills
  • HIV status disclosure
  • Relationships and starting a family
  • Newly diagnosed support
  • Ageing well with HIV
  • Isolation and job prospects
  • Benefit issues
  • Casework and support work on any of the issues above

The benefit of these sessions include:

Having the opportunity to sharing health experience and feelings with people who have similar problems. It assists individual members to agree a common approach to solving such problems such as medication side effects, common experiences or problems with health professionals etc. It also enable building bonds among members and to become emotional connected, particularly as many of the group members are living alone and isolated or secluded from friends and family members due to HIV stigma. The group creates a welcoming, trusted and safe environment filled with reassurance, understanding and compassion and lessening any stigma linked to their HIV related condition. Members of this group develop special bonds through sharing their honest feelings knowing well that their health concerns, feelings and personal experiences are genuinely listened to and receive positive response with action. Moreover, through sharing losses, humor and past accomplishments, members also develop emotional connections to each other. They become friends for life. Any arising differences are dealt with by themselves in a way for the group to grow rather than to tarnished.

Coping skills

One of the strengths of our Support Group is to create the opportunity of drawing on the collective experiences of people. Individuals who have already experienced a certain positive  conditions or interesting experience in their life time share it,  use it as advice or tips for coping with similar condition for other group members. Sharing these ideas often inspire more coping skills and ideas for members. For example, exchanging information regarding medications assists them to see the way other people are handling side effects. Through learning the way others have dealt with similar issues, members enhances their own surviving abilities and develop new coping mechanisms for their particular situations. Groups members also provided members accurate feedback every time they try out or consider new coping approaches. In this group meetings members share knowledge, the availability and benefits of local resources as well as opportunities such as jobs, education opportunities etc. Debate sessions raise awareness on many community issues such as the benefits of employment and disadvantages of living too long on dole or benefits.

Inspiration

CHAT’s Support Group also provide motivation, hopefulness and positive reinforcement. Over the years our experience revealed that having this group has inspired beneficiaries to put more effort towards recovery. We have noticed that sharing such personal health experiences with people who understand and share the same health condition have contributed to assisting other members to become motivated to accomplish goals such as aspiring to look for job, enter into further education etc rather than staying at home idle. With backing from the Support Group, members take active roles in their treatment which helps to support adherence to treatment for improvement of their health. In these meetings, professionals such as Doctors, Psychologists, Lawyers etc are invited to discuss special related topics with the group to enhance deeper understanding of specific issues affecting the group/individual.