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.

Trans-inclusive National HIV Testing Week webinar

This year we are putting a spotlight on increasing testing among trans people as part of the National HIV Testing Week campaign.

This is particularly important because globally trans people experience higher rates of HIV prevalence, and are more vulnerable to getting HIV compared to other groups. General health services may not meet the needs of trans people due to lack of awareness of trans health issues or cultural insensitivities. There is also a scarcity of specialist services.

To support a trans-inclusive National HIV Testing Week, we will be hosting an informative webinar for health professionals who provide services for trans people and the general population.

The session will cover:

  • an overview of trans health and HIV issues
  • real-life experiences of trans people
  • clinical perspectives on providing trans-inclusive services
  • practical information on how to promote a trans-inclusive service
  • tools, further information and referral options.

It will be held on Tuesday 7 November from 12.00pm to 1.30pm.

This session will be delivered in partnership with CliniQ, ClinicT, The LGBT Foundation and Yorkshire Mesmac. Special thanks to CliniQ for driving this initiative.

Register now

Presentations from the 2017 National HIV Prevention England Conference

On 18 May 2017 HIV Prevention England (HPE) hosted its biennial national HIV prevention conference in London.

More than 300 professionals were in attendance from all over England and beyond. To date, there have been over 200 views of the event livestream.

If you missed the event or specific workshops, please see all the available presentations on our events page. If you have any questions regarding individual presentations, email us and we will get back to you.

Plenary Sessions

Workshops

  • Combination Prevention [Video]
  • HIV Prevention Innovation Fund: Project Showcase
  • Prevention for Gay and Bisexual Men
  • HIV Testing in Community Settings
  • PrEP: From Trial to Reality [Video]
  • Home Sampling and Self Testing
  • Engaging African Communities
  • Systems Approaches to Testing and Prevention

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].