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Living Well with HIV program: A review

By Lisa Tomney, Clinical Services Manager

Reflecting on the latter half of last year, I can say it was a very busy period for Clinical Services. Not only was support and advocacy provided on a one-on-one basis for people living with HIV (PLHIV), but a diverse range of workshops and networking events were carried out during this time.

Across ten events and activities held, attendance reached over 220. The annual Christmas community BBQ at Loton Park Tennis Club proved to be the most popular event on the calendar followed by the number of bookings for our Living Well Complementary Therapies Program which offers clients massage, Acupuncture, Reiki and Reflexology. Find out more about this Program here.

The annual Treatments Forum gathered a strong crowd focussing on Treatment as Prevention (TasP) and Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), as did the August Mini Series. Held over four weeks, this series covers a range of topics for PLHIV to discuss, debate and share information.

From workshops and events held within the WA AIDS Councils walls, we headed to the natural surroundings of Perth Zoo for a family day outing. Quality time was spent with family members, and of course with creatures’ great and small including a lunch in the beautiful outdoors. An exclusive Make Up and pamper session for PLHIV titled ‘Good Spirits Day’, held by MAC Cosmetics annually on World AIDS Day experienced the highest attendance on record.

Other events held included the ‘Str8 Up’ dinner, a networking event for heterosexual PLHIV; ‘Planet Positive’ a social networking space for sharing experiences and mutual support for Gay men and Men who have Sex with Men (MSM); a ‘Dating & Disclosure’ workshop explored disclosing HIV status to family, friends and sexual partners; and ‘Beyond Positive’ explore a range of topics for HIV positive Gay and MSM.

During this period, over 230 face-to-face appointments regarding advocacy and support were provided by our team of seven. Appointments varied with support for people who had been newly diagnosed with HIV; housing; hospital and clinical appointments; mental health; and drug and alcohol dependency. There were 46 occasions of access to financial support via the ‘HIV Assistance Fund’, and distribution of 70 food hampers.

We have hit the ground running this year, with the completion of the March Mini Series, ongoing booking requests for the Living Well Complementary Therapies Program and the recent commencement of the Beyond Positive workshop series with more participants involved than the previous. So far, so good!

This article was featured in April's eNewsletter.
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About WA AIDS Council Clinical Services

The Clinical Services team provides a range of health enhancement programs for people living with HIV. Practical and emotional support are offered via counselling, peer support, workshops, social networking activities, forums and complementary therapies. Clinical Services are sensitive and responsive to the needs of a broad range of communities, including diverse backgrounds and sexualities.

For more information about upcoming events, workshops and actitivies for PLHIV contact Alli Paterson via email apaterson@waaids.com  or via phone 9482 0000.

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To minimise the impact and further transmission of HIV, other blood borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections. To reduce social, legal and policy barriers which prevent access to health information and effective support and prevention services.