Positive East’s Inaugural Faith Symposium

Positive East Faith Symposium, May 2018

Our Local Activation Partner Positive East reports on the success of their first ever Faith Symposium, held in May 2018 in London.

‘As faith leaders we work to create healthy and caring communities that support people living with and affected by HIV.’

These words spoken by Apostle Segun George, the Cherubim & Seraphim Church, Mount Zion (Jesus-Saves) are testament to the role that faith can play in the HIV response.

In London, HIV in black African people accounted for 51% of all heterosexually acquired cases in 2016. Of this group, 53% were diagnosed late and accounted for 21% of new HIV diagnoses. It is estimated that, in London, 600 black Africans are living with HIV without knowing it.

Positive East, recognising that religion can play a major role in the life of black African people, coordinates the East London Community Faith Forum. They work with faith leaders, who have the reach and influence to fight HIV-related stigma and promote HIV testing. With an aim to tackle stigma and discrimination and promote HIV testing, the Forum suggested Positive East host a symposium for faith leaders talking about HIV themes including ‘hope’, ‘love’ and ‘compassion’.

The inaugural symposium was held on Saturday 12 May 2018. It brought together faith leaders, individuals and drivers of change, those living with and passionate about the fight against HIV, as well as people of faith and representatives of HIV charities.

Highlights and outcomes

Representatives were delighted to hear from a range of powerful speakers. Most notably, Horcelie Sinda Wa Mbongo set a powerful tone to the day ahead by sharing her journey with HIV.

Her story inspired other people in attendance to share their personal experiences, some who had been living with the virus for over 25 years. The event aimed to break the silence around HIV-related issues and this occurred from the outset with testimonies shared of people living well, finding love and being able to have children born without HIV.

Positive East’s African communities’ coordinators had the opportunity to educate the symposium with the latest HIV innovations and up-to-date research, including Treatment as Prevention (TasP) and the global ‘U=U’ (‘undetectable equals untransmittable’) campaign as well as information about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

The event gave an opportunity for faith leaders to reflect on their involvement in HIV advocacy. A poignant moment of the event came when one pastor requested forgiveness, on behalf of all faith leaders, for failing people living with HIV.

Next steps

The symposium recommended the implementation of workshops and training for both faith leaders and congregation members. Events were proposed with a focus around National HIV Testing Week and World AIDS Day.

Positive East is hopeful that the symposium will lead to an increased interest in African churches wishing to work in partnership with them in East London. They aim to continue to build upon the hard work the event generated and encourage more faith leaders to open their doors to the delivery of HIV awareness training and testing in their churches.

If you are a faith leader based in East London or are interested in getting your local faith community involved with Positive East’s work, please contact [email protected]

Download full symposium programme

Register for our PrEP information seminar in Manchester

PreP Seminar in Manchester

Working together with the PaSH partnership, we will be hosting an information seminar on PrEP in Greater Manchester.

It will be free to attend and will be held on Wednesday 14 March at The Landing, MediaCityUK, Salford.

The session will cover:

  • the ongoing PrEP Impact Trial.
  • how PrEP fits into the HIV combination prevention package.
  • the role of health professionals in ensuring adequate access by those in need.

The seminar targets a broad range of professionals including commissioners, HIV and sexual health professionals, community outreach workers, and general practice and pharmacy professionals.

Register now as places are limited.

Watch the National HIV Prevention England Conference

On Thursday 18 May, HIV Prevention England hosted its biennial national HIV prevention conference in central London.

Key highlights of the conference included:

  • Overview of the changes in new diagnoses rates in London and across England; and the part which combination prevention plays on HIV incidence.
  • Update on the state of the upcoming PrEP IMPACT trial set to start in summer 2017.
  • The effect of rapid initiation of treatment on HIV transmission (Treatment as Prevention).
  • Presentation on the current state of investment in HIV prevention and testing services in England

Download the livestream programme [PDF]

If you experience any issues with the broadcast please email [email protected].

National HPE Conference 2017

HPE Conference 2017 - Thursday 18 May 2017

The National HIV Prevention England Conference will be held on Thursday 18 May 2017 in central London.

It will bring together partners in HIV prevention including sexual health commissioners, health promoters, sexual health and HIV service providers, faith leaders working in England and other key figures and influencers in the field of HIV. The conference has the aim of facilitating the dissemination and development of best practice, alongside disseminating learning from the PHE Innovation Fund and other projects.

Download the programme [PDF]

Themes

  • Innovation in HIV prevention
  • Innovation in HIV testing
  • Community engagement/mobilisation and face-to-face interventions
  • Partnership working

Outcomes

  • Engagement with and cooperation across the HIV prevention sector
  • Increased understanding of the latest developments and current issues in HIV testing and prevention in England
  • Delegates can take away at least one new idea for local implementation

Response to past HPE conference (2014)

87 per cent of previous delegates agreed that they would ‘recommend the HPE conference to other people concerned with HIV prevention with at risk populations’.

Three quarters (74 per cent) of delegates agreed they had ‘increased their understanding of the latest developments and current issues in HIV prevention in England’, and 64 per cent agreed they had been ‘inspired to try at least one new idea in their local work practice’.

Register for the event

Report on HPE stakeholder event – Monday 9 May

HPE Stakeholder Event Report 218x300We ran an event on Monday 9 May inviting key stakeholders from across the HIV prevention sector. Attendees were presented with the future plans for the programme and discussed HPE’s future plans for local delivery, including what funding is available and how to get involved. Sixty-three people attended and the afternoon covered:

  • reflections on the previous four years of HIV Prevention England
  • an overview of the national HIV prevention programme going forward, how organisations can get involved and what funding opportunities are available.
  • how the programme can best support local HIV prevention services and add value
  • input on the development of the campaign and the sector development programme.

Yusef Azad from National AIDS Trust presented on the developments in HIV prevention since 2012, and Taku Mukiwa and Cary James from Terrence Higgins Trust presented on HPE’s achievements since 2012 and plans for going forward from 2016.

A report on the event, along with presentations from the day, can be found below: