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New support group launched to eradicate HIV stigma

Jess Glass October 19, 2017

(Photo: MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)

The UK’s leading charity for gay and bisexual men’s health is opening a new HIV support group.

GMFA has launched a peer support group for HIV-positive gay and bisexual men in London.

The support group, which will run for four weeks, will be organised by GMFA and led by HIV-positive volunteers.

GMFA was founded in 1992 and has frequently campaigned on issues of stigma, access to PrEP and anti-discrimination.

There has been promising news recently with rates of new HIV infections falling by 21% between 2015 and 2016.

Earlier this month, Europe’s largest sexual health clinic has reported an 80% decrease in new infections in the last two years.

PrEP
GMFA have called for better access to PrEP

However, there is still a considerable stigma attached to the virus. GMFA have lead multiple campaigns aimed at tackling HIV stigma and hope that the peer group will offer a non-judgemental space for HIV-positive men to discuss their experiences.

Explainer: What is PrEP and how can I get it? Everything you need to know about HIV-preventing drugs

As part of World AIDS day 2016, Prime Minister Theresa May called HIV stigma: “an unacceptable stain on our society.” 

GMFA Outreach and Communications manager Nick Baker, highlighted the importance of support groups, particularly when peer-led.

Baker said: “Peer support is a great way to empower people to deal with issues relating to a new HIV diagnosis or stigma by sharing their experiences in a safe and non-judgmental space, and supporting others in our community.”

The group will explore shared experiences of having HIV, including opening up to family and friends about their status, relationships and looking after their health.

GMFA is organising the group for HIV+ men in South London.

Related: Giving gay and bi men HIV-preventing PrEP on the NHS would save £1 billion, new study finds

The first group will be held in Brixton on Thursday 26th October and will then continue subsequent Thursday evenings between 7-8pm.

If you wish to attend, you can register at: www.gmfa.org.uk/groupwork

 

More: bisexual, Bisexual men, Gay, gay men, GMFA, HIV, Support Group

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