SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH
We empower individuals to take control of their sexual and reproductive health through accurate information, advice and guidance. We provide safe, judgment-free and inclusive platforms for community members to discuss and engage in activities that promote healthy lifestyle choices.
HIV PREVENTION AND TESTING
In the UK, while over 103,000 people are living with HIV, at least 20,000 of those are unaware of their status. Early HIV testing and diagnosis is paramount to ensuring people living with HIV have access to monitoring and treatment to avoid developing illness and infections. We are able to disclose their status to their sexual partners, lower their viral load through treatment, and advise them on how to adopt safer sex practices in order to prevent secondary transmission.
AAF operates with with three community-based organisations under the SAFER HIV Partnership to raise awareness about HIV/STIs and increase access to testing. We work with at-risk groups within the African and Caribbean communities across Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham through 1:1 advice, information, counselling, and small group work.
We also deliver a specific work stream to engage African Muslim faith communities in sexual health promotion. We work with Imams and Islamic faith centres to reduce stigma and other barriers to HIV/STI awareness and prevention and promote early testing and treatment.
AAF works in partnership with Metro Charity to deliver HIV Prevention England's (HPE) national "It Starts With Me Campaign" across Greenwich, Lewisham and Corydon. We provide information, distribute free condoms and carry out rapid HIV testing within the community as well as at our Catford Centre.
SUPPORT FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV
We appreciate that an HIV diagnosis can be a traumatic and daunting time that brings a plethora of questions, challenges and new responsibilities. AAF delivers a number of services that can ensure people living with HIV feel confident in their ability to achieve health and happiness. Although a positive diagnosis can be difficult, it is important to remember that with proper treatment its impact on lifestyle can be negligible.
AAF is running The Access Hub in partnership with Metro Charity. It is designed to be an inclusive social space for people living with HIV to gain information about the various HIV and non-HIV related support services available, to be referred to these services; and to share knowledge, ideas and advice about how to live well with HIV.
NEWLY DIAGNOSED WORKSHOP
We know that often people who have been recently diagnosed with HIV, or indeed who have been living with HIV for a long time, can be lacking in knowledge concerning their condition. We know that this can feel extremely disempowering and disabling. We run a Newly Diagnosed Workshop covering a range of HIV-related topics, including how HIV affects the immune system; the meaning behind routine tests and results; the function of various HIV drugs, how to maintain physical, sexual and emotional health; the rights afforded to people with HIV; and confidently communicating with healthcare professionals.
WEEKLY HIV PEER GROUP SUPPORT
Our weekly Peer Support Group is a friendly and vibrant group for people living with HIV. Participants have the opportunity to engage in open and frank discussions about the everyday practicalities of living with the condition; to share experiences and advice; and to help each other to develop coping strategies for living well with HIV while enjoying a happy and fulfilling life. We also invite expert patients and healthcare professionals to deliver presentations and engage in question and answer sessions. A hot delicious meal is provided before each session and the group is open to women, men, and people of all ages, ethnicities and sexualities.
FAITH SPECIFIC PEER SUPPORT GROUP
AAF deliver a monthly session for people living with HIV from the Muslim community; since we understand that people may require specific social, cultural and faith-based support.
POSITIVE PEER MENTORING PROGRAMME
We appreciate that sometimes people living with HIV prefer to seek peer support on a one-to-one level; and our Positive Peer Mentoring Programme is an opportunity for a volunteer living with HIV to provide person-centres support to another person living with HIV. You will be given the opportunity to discuss a range of topics, including dealing with disclosure, navigating healthy relationships, treatment literacy and adherence, and developing coping strategies. All of our Positive Peer Mentors attend a training day that offers the skills to be an effective support system for others living with HIV.
CONTRACEPTION ADVICE AND TRAINING
We want to ensure that women’s reproductive rights are upheld through access to accurate information, the opportunity to self-determination and the provision of resources. We are working with Public Health Lewisham to improve knowledge, accessibility and use of contraceptive devices to help lower the prevalence of unwanted pregnancies in the borough. Our projects include producing and distributing accessible contraceptive-based information, facilitating group discussion, inviting contraceptive and sexual health nurses to speak with women about their options and training community members to provide outreach support to women.