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Spring 2016
Volume 13, Issue 1


Positive Action (PA) has been providing HIV support services to the local community for more than 21 years and has seen many changes. Whilst we celebrate the fact that medical advances mean that many people with HIV are now living well and for longer, we know that some of those living with HIV still have a range of support needs: both short-term – often immediately following diagnosis – and more long-term.

It is therefore with great reluctance that due to the confirmed loss of some funding and uncertainty surrounding some more, Positive Action has been forced to make some difficult decisions. Those having an immediate affect are:

In-house Citizen's Advice Bureau (CAB) support – Our contract with CAB ended on Friday 8th April. We are unable to continue this service until we receive confirmation of future funding so in the meantime Russell and Marcela – both qualified Social Workers – will assist with welfare benefits, debt, housing, employment etc.

 Aldershot drop-ins – Wednesday afternoon drop-ins will stop immediately, although staff will be available in the office, and appointments with Marcela can still be made for any work day, or outside working hours by prior arrangement.

 Portsmouth drop-ins – will carry on whilst we continue to seek alternative funding, but food and complimentary therapies will no longer be provided.

We apologise for the very short notice which is because of the delay to Positive Action receiving information about our Local Authority funding.

YOUR support, YOUR say!

Survey 2016

Our funding for HIV support services in Portsmouth has already been cut. We are still waiting to learn what will happen in Surrey and Hampshire, and in Southampton from next year.

We want to continue supporting you with the help you need, now and in the future. We are certain that we will be forced to make some more changes shortly so it is only by understanding your experiences and knowing your views on our services can PA guide development of future services that are appropriate to your needs (and potentially all people living with HIV in Hampshire and Surrey).

Please complete our suvey NOW - if you haven't done so already - by clicking here 

It will take 10 - 20 minutes to complete. This is time very well spent. This WILL influence the future of HIV support services in Hampshire, Southampton, Portsmouth and Surrey. The survey closes on 2nd May.

Visit to see more.

Stop the cuts

Dates for your Diary

Diary Dates

Building a Supportive Healthcare Team - an evening workshop for service users, volunteers & professionals.

Wednesday 27th April 6:30-9:00pm

Come along to the Aldershot Centre and join in the panel discussion with an HIV Consultant (Dr Nadarajah), a GP (Dr Peter Robinson) and a Clinical Nurse Specialist. 

They will be happy to answer your questions, and to discuss issues such as:-

  • Who to go to for your healthcare needs?

  • Is it better for your GP to know your HIV status?

  • Are you comfortable with Doctors sharing information about your health?

A light supper will be provided.

Contact Russell or Marcella to book, or to arrange transport.

To know more, and for more diary dates, please visit


In light of the on-going Local Authority funding cuts to HIV support services, we are particularly grateful to the MAC AIDS Fund for their generous grant of £25,000 to continue supporting work which we undertake with men who have sex with men.

We are also incredibly grateful to the wonderful staff who work for MAC in the UK, who have undertaken fundraising initiatives and kindly donated over £5,000 to PA!


SURE Information

The SURE group is made up of service users and we meet every two months with a member of staff at one of the drop-ins.

All service users are welcome to come along and find out what the group do.

Service user representatives:

Aldershot: Robert

Portsmouth: Mike and Jane

Southampton: Morgan

“Joining SURE gave me more confidence within myself, I was able to take control of the part of me that was HIV+ that would normally be put away in a box and ignored. I now have more awareness, knowledge and understanding of HIV services.”

As a SURE member, I was able to pass on information to service users and also get honest feedback from them. This also gave me the awareness and insight of what services PA provides and how difficult it has become to provide those services with all the government cuts that are happening.”

“SURE has helped me come to terms of having HIV. May I say what a tremendous help that SURE has meant to me. It has not only been a great friend and helped me understand the disease, but there is all the support that comes with it and gives out.”

Are you interested in becoming involved with SURE? Would you like to be a service user representative? SURE are a friendly group, passionate about improving the lives of people living with HIV. If you are interested speak to Russell, Marcela or Brian at one of the centres.

Positive Experiences

Our Chair of Trustees - Peter Hellawell - usually writes this item as an opportunity to share his own personal, positive experiences of living with HIV.

In this issue, however, the staff team would like to share some positive news about Peter.

We are sure that you would like to join us in congratulating Peter on the fabulous achievement of reaching the 'Highly Commended' list of Britain's Best Volunteer!

Only 16 volunteers from various small charities - in the whole of the UK! - achieved this recognition behind one winner and four runners up.

Well done Peter, we're very proud of you and we thank you for your tireless efforts on behalf of PA and for people living with HIV.

For more information, visit

Peter carrying the Olympic torch in 2012

Embracing Life with HIV

Despite losing two active members of the group, SURE had a good year and achieved much. Below is a review of SURE's activities and participation in 2015: 

Positive Activism

SURE members attended:

  • the Positively UK “One Voice” conference in London as PA service user reps. We took part in various thematic sessions and were able to feed back our experiences, and spend valuable time networking.

  • the BHIVA Spring and Autumn conferences as a PA service user rep. Both were valuable for gaining scientific knowledge and networking. It has been really useful having Positive Action registered as a community organisation. Two members of a community organisation can apply for free registration and we should aim to take advantage of this.

  • UK-CAB member meetings in London: HIV Cure; HIV and diabetes; and Prevention.

Patient Participation
We rotated the position of SURE rep on the Solent NHS Trust HIV Care and Treatment group and took various issues to the group and fed back concerns from Positive Action service users.

Jane was elected a Community Rep for UK-CAB on the UCL PRIME Study looking at HIV and the menopause. She has also been elected onto the Steering Committee for UK-CAB.

Peer Mentoring
Positively UK has launched Project 100, a programme that aims to train peer mentors in regional centres and London. SURE lobbied Positive Action to sign up and has been spreading the word amongst service users.


SURE has been instrumental in developing the workshop/forum programme. Two were run in 2015 (following on from the Eating Well session in 2014): HIV Treatment; and HIV and Ageing. We are working closely with PA to set the agenda for the spring forum.

We have continued to act informally in our centres, passing on information and sharing experiences.

We produced the leaflet “Well being is more than just a pill” for service users and staff. The next one will be a user-friendly glossary of HIV treatment-related terms.

SURE wrote to Portsmouth City Council to outline the impact the cuts to our service will make on our lives and also brought it to the attention of UK-CAB. Stigma still makes it so difficult for us to get our voices heard.

SURE has played an important role in advising the Solent NHS Sexual Health Services on HIV-related content for their website and updated patient leaflet. We also fed into the Southampton CCG review of services.

SURE members attended PA Board meetings throughout the year and fed back experiences and ideas to the Board.

Social events and fundraising
With Paul leaving SURE, we have lost our social event champion. However, we made a large contribution to the Xmas social with the buying and wrapping of the xmas presents.

At end of year we withdrew from our fundraising role and transferred the SURE pot to the Community Fund, but not after a sterling effort from Paul and Rob in keeping money raised by SURE flowing into the pot – Rob’s Reading Half Marathon raised over £400!

© Positive Action 2016