The recent meeting of HIV+ facilitators
In January 2012 a further meeting was held with some of the trained facilitators, who reported on what they had been able to achieve. All were able to tell how they had introduced the Living Well ideas to their own groups, how enthusiastic those people were, and how putting these ideas into practice had helped them deal with challenges such as adherence to medication and reducing stigma.
Most of the facilitators were able to report that not only had they been able to inform and guide members of their own HIV+ support groups, but they had been able to reach out to other groups as well. Up to 10 more groups had been reached in this way, with a membership of up to 300 people, which is great! Challenges remain though- stigma is still a big issue, some local religious leaders are preaching against the taking of ARV drugs, and the continuing poverty works against many of the attempts being made by people living with HIV and AIDS to improve their lives. There are also many more groups yet to be reached.
The meeting concluded with two firm intentions: to visit religious leaders and inform them of the implications of their actions, and to begin running further public awareness events to educate people further on HIV and AIDS- although the disease has been around a long time and ARVs have helped the disease to be more manageable, there is still a low level of awareness amongst the general public.