Fast-Track Cities launches six community projects to tackle HIV stigma
On 11 October 2021 we launched a £300K fund for six projects to deliver empowerment training and personal development to tackle the internal stigma that people living with HIV experience. The six winning projects will be targeting a diverse range of communities typically experiencing higher levels of internalised stigma and less likely to engage with services or search out support.
The six contracts have been awarded to the following voluntary and community sector organisations:
4M Mentor Mothers Network and NAM aidsmap
Each project will follow the Empowerment Programme Framework developed by a group of experts from 8 different community and voluntary organisations. The winning projects need to make sure that people completing the empowerment training and personal development programmes have:
- developed a support network
- understood the causes of internal stigma
- understood what HIV is, U=U and living well with HIV
- built self-acceptance, self-esteem and an individual sense of power
- developed skills including self-advocacy, public advocacy and ambassador skills
All organisations will be expected to take part in a community of practice, evaluate their work and create a network of HIV ambassadors.
The plans to tackle HIV stigma and discrimination in the capital were developed with over 100 people and organisations in late 2019 and early 2020. The plans aim to tackle HIV in healthcare and frontline services and in wider society, as well as internalised stigma.
Further information on the six empowerment programme projects:
Will be offering three targeted courses supported by Action Learning Sets. The three groups of people are: women, African communities, and gay men from emerging communities. Positive East will be working with their network of peer mentor volunteers and the training will meet the National Standards of HIV peer support. The training will be in person and aims to:
- Give people the opportunity to explore, address and reframe the negative and debilitating impact of internalised stigma.
- Reduce isolation and seek ways to develop a support network.
- Regain power with the understanding of U=U, and how to use it in relationships with self and others.
- Build a positive relationship with self, increase self-esteem and develop new skills to live a life free of internal stigma.
4M Mentor Mothers Network and NAM aidsmap
Will be targeting mainly African, Afro-Caribbean and migrant women who are disproportionately affected by HIV, and who also face other challenges as well as stigma and discrimination. The charities will take a three-phase approach, which will include women’s voices, experiences and expertise in addressing stigma:
- A pilot to develop a women’s network and virtual training
- Face- to- face empowerment training and work to consolidate the network
- Form a Community of Practice and develop reporting
All work will use participatory, creative, person-centred approaches with a mixture of virtual and face to face interactive methods of training.
Terrance Higgins Trust
Will deliver four cohorts of peer learning sessions. People will have the choice to attend in person or online and will be offered a one-to-one Q&A session prior to starting. Each cohort will be run by people living with HIV. The sessions will consist of understanding stigma/self–stigma, understanding HIV and (U=U/can’t pass it on), building confidence and self-esteem and building resilience for the future. The sessions will include interactive learning, video sharing, break-out groups, sharing experiences and stories, and fun and creative activities. Terrance Higgins Trust will provide a toolkit for ongoing learning and reflection. There will also be the opportunity for people from the first two cohorts to jointly run the second two cohorts, to build on their own personal empowerment journey.
The Love Tank
Will recruit, train and support 12 gay men living with HIV (over-serving migrant men, men of colour, men who don’t have English as a first language). The men will initially take part in a six-session life-coaching programme developed by Life Clubs CIC. This will be followed by monthly facilitated workshops. The men will also work together to develop six online editions of a peer-produced magazine, monthly online events, and regular social media content. Crucially, the programme will encourage men to ‘take-action’ rather than be passive recipients of self-stigma challenging approaches. This might include learning steps for challenging stigma; advocating for better sexual or mental health services; and fighting trans and homophobia, racism and anti-migrant sentiments that impact on the well-being of marginalised men with HIV, and their peers.
Will deliver their training programme in partnership with two HIV clinics (North Middlesex & Homerton). The healthcare team will recruit a group of diverse participants who Positively UK will train in the safety of the clinic environment. They have identified seven topics to dismantling stigma over seven weeks, gradually building knowledge, confidence and connections to promote self-respect, self-acceptance and pride
Metro and NAZ
Will be a creative, audio-visual project that zeroes in on the experiences of three marginalised groups within Latin American communities; trans people, MSM and women. The programme rooted in creative and educational interventions, will result in a series of films and podcasts, which will be shared on social media. The programme will speak to and use key elements of the empowerment rramework. By the end of the project our aim is to achieve the following outcomes:
- Increased awareness of the nature of HIV stigma among participants
- Increased awareness of internal stigma, and how to respond to our individual stigma
- Increased confidence and capacity responding to societal stigma
- Increased knowledge, confidence and capacity around HIV advocacy
- Contribute to a reduction in community stigma related to HIV