All posts filed under: Support

New LGBT addiction peer support group in Belfast

New LGBT addiction peer support group launches this Thursday in Belfast by @TRPNI


Talking can help your mental health

Every single one of us can experience a mental health problem. It is simply part of the rollercoaster of life. But as with HIV, there is a quite a large amount of stigma surrounding it, particularly in Irish society. It does not have to be this way, there are things that each one of us can do to make it better. This is why I am supporting the Green Ribbon campaign. It is likely that you, or someone you know, will go through a tough time at some point in their life. Talking about it can help, and we all can learn how to support one another. You don’t need to be an expert to start talking about mental health or have all the answers. Sometimes the most helpful thing you can do is to let someone know that you are there for them and simply listen. Although you can’t solve someone else’s problems, knowing the basics about how to support someone can really help you – and them. Find out more from

Updated: Response from Bailiff of Jersey over #WAD collection

All around the world people are using World AIDS Day (1 December)as a time to raise funds for HIV charities and to raise awareness of HIV in their communities. However this is not going to happen on the Channel Island of Jersey. I have been told that the Bailiff of Jersey has said that Only collections for Christmas charities are allowed to collect in December. I have sent an email to the Bailiff seeking clarification of this ruling. I will update this blog when/if I get a response. UPDATE: Response from David Filipponi, Chief Officer, Bailiff’s Chambers, St Helier, Jersey: Dear Mr Campbell, Thank you for your email addressed to the Bailiff concerning collections and World AIDS Day. Over the years, permission has been granted to ACET to collect for World AIDS Day as near to the 1st December as is requested by that charity. This year, ACET collected on Saturday 28th November. This arrangement allows the collection date to be ‘shared’ with the Joint Christmas Charities Appeal which also collects at this time of …

Thank you Troy Michael for helping me to tell my story too…

Earlier this week, Troy Michael, Mr Gay Iceland told Gay Star News about being raped when he was 12 by a friend of his older brother. For some reason, I only saw it this evening. I was not sure that I wanted to read the article, but I persevered and did so. You may well wonder why I would not want to read his story? Well, it is for a simple reason – it is far too close to my experience for comfort… and it is time for me to tell my story too. 

HIV support in Gibraltar?

This afternoon I am meeting with Felix Alvarez OBE and others from the Equality Rights Group group to talk about provision of support services for people living with HIV in Gibraltar. I have missed the regular support from Positive Life back in Belfast, and hope that we can find a way of making something work for all of us here in Gibraltar. I feel sure that my experience as a Trustee of The HIV Support Centre may be useful here.  

The best possible care for those living with HIV in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland’s only HIV-specific support organisation, Positive Life is carrying out a survey on HIV patients’ experiences in hospital settings with the aim of getting the best possible care for all living with HIV here in Northern Ireland. The research is to gauge if individuals with HIV are treated differently in a hospital setting due to their condition. A number of advocacy issues have been raised by clients of Positive Life with regard to this topic with some concerned that health professionals on the ground have poor knowledge—awareness around Health and Social Care Trusts’ HIV policies and that some Trusts do not appear to have a specific HIV policy. This survey asks a number of questions with regard to experience of hospital settings, treatment by hospital staff as well as policies and training around HIV for hospital staff. The information gathered through this research will be confidential. It will be used by Positive Life to lobby each HSC Trust to ensure that each has an appropriate policy of which staff are aware and that staff …

An awful day…

Friday 22 November 2013 was an awful day for me. I started off not too badly, not feeling particularly well, but decided that it was probably best to stay in bed for as much of the day as I could. Looking back, this was where the day began to go wrong, but at the time it seemed the most logical solution. You see, I was not feeling well. The day before (Thursday 21 November 2013) had been a very good day. That morning I had been out to visit the BBC with the CIPR Northern Ireland group. Then in the afternoon, I had been into Positive Life where I heard more about what is happening in the days leading up to World AIDS Day 2013. And in the evening, Andrew and I attended an event with Accepting Sexuality. So, I think that all of those activities tired me out, making Friday not a brilliant day. Back to Friday, I stayed in bed. Andrew brought me glasses of Diet Coke, and so began the long day …

Welfare reform: how will it affect me?

All of us who are living with HIV are concerned at how the reform of the welfare system which has been initiated by HM Government at Westminster is going to affect our lives. For those of us in Northern Ireland there is a bit of a delay as the Northern Ireland Assembly has yet to pass the relevant legislation (Welfare Reform Bill 13/11-15 sponsored by the Minister for Social Development. Information evening at Positive Life Positive Life is hosting an evening for people living with or affected by HIV wanting to know more about this issue. The guest speaker is Mary Bartolo of the North Belfast Advice Partnership. If you would like to attend, please contact Positive Life: by telephone on 028 9024 9268 or email

Complementary therapies – releasing the tension

Northern Ireland’s only HIV-dedicated support organisation, Positive Life, has recently launched a research report highlighting the positive benefits that complementary therapies can have on the physical, emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing of people living with, or affected by, HIV. The research, carried out by the Institute for Conflict Research shows that complementary therapies can have a clear benefit to mental health, helping people feel better able to challenge the negative thought processes they may have regarding living with HIV. “…in the immediate days after my treatment I feel my thoughts are clearer and it’s only after coming here that I realised my condition is not a death sentence.” As those of us living with HIV can attest, the stigma still surrounding an HIV diagnosis can have a significant, detrimental effect on someone’ mental health. One interviewee explained, “you feel untouchable and ostracised from society.” Complementary therapies can help to break down and reduce the impact of both the external and internal stigma that individuals affected by HIV can experience. For some individuals, their aromatherapy or …