We are delighted to announce a new partnership with the M·A·C AIDS Fund UK. They will be supporting Project Hope as we seek to transform the story of HIV in Migrant-Led churches across Ireland through the training of leaders. These churches are important and positive community supports for many people living with HIV. It is broadly acknowledged though that the experience of those living with HIV within these settings has been mixed in terms of leadership, pastoral support and health promotion.This partnership will allow us to deliver training that will change this and allow these churches to further flourish in the values of faith, hope and love that are central to their existence.
The M·A·C AIDS Fund is the largest corporate non-pharmaceutical donor in the area of HIV. They join with Community Foundation Ireland, the PA Foundation and Dublin City Council by supporting Project Hope. If you want to keep updated on when and where this training will be taking place then click below on “Partner” with “Project Hope” in the comment and we will be in touch with more details.
At the start of 2013, the ACET care team noted a positive attitude among many clients who were seeking to improve in areas of their life, such as adhering to HIV medication, lowering levels of methadone maintenance, giving up smoking and bettering other areas of general health. In line with this, ACET’s staff and volunteers continued to provide practical and emotional client-centred care to 25 families with 63 adult and youth clients needing intensive or medium support, and to 29 families (40 individuals) who needed low levels of support, all affected by HIV, Hepatitis C and poly drug use, among other issues.
The support included:
- 563 home care visits (373 by care staff and 190 by volunteers)
- Accompaniment to 43 clinic and medical appointments
- 64 sessions of bereavement support, crisis intervention and counselling
- Numerous respite days (individual and family) with therapeutic elements
- 22 quilt group meetings
Following the success of a pilot women’s morning in March, we held a second women’s event in July which focused on a holistic look at nutrition and healthy living. The reason behind this focus was a direct result of emerging issues of food poverty and the implications this has on physical and mental health. The good weather during the summer months also provided an opportunity for individually focused and varied respite days for clients. We enjoyed day trips to Dun Laoghaire, Bray, Botanic Gardens and Howth, in addition to making use of local community gardens and parks in the city centre.
The 2013 budget, which came earlier than expected, affected a number of our clients who receive grants such as mobility or dietary allowance. Practically, staff worked alongside individuals on personal budgeting, helping families with back-to-school needs and advocating to have personal grants restored.
In December, the care team completed the Hamper Project, delivering individually-tailored hampers to all the client families in a manner integrated with their overall care plan, taking time to be with people during this difficult season. This is always a positive way to close off the year and we are extremely appreciative of the donations and help towards it.
ACET Care 2013 highlights:
- Continued work around parent-to-child communication and disclosure of HIV status.
- Ongoing goal setting in line with client care plans which saw many individuals committing to adhere to their medication and reduce methadone and other drug use.
- Several new diverse client referrals during the year.
- Client-initiated group respite days which were significant as our clients are rarely in a place to attend group activities.
- Supporting one client to share their story in a public setting of their journey through addiction and of living with HIV.
This is an excerpt from ACET’s 2013 annual report. To download the full report, which includes reports on our education projects, our finances, and Matilda Project, please click on the link below.
Is HIV still an issue in Ireland? Are there still new cases of this preventable infection? Most people in Ireland are unsure how to answer this question. However for the past few years we have had almost one new case per day in this country and this figure is rising significantly. Data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (www.hpsc.ie) shows that in the first 15 weeks of 2014 there were 126 new cases of HIV. That’s a 50% increase on the same period last year. We are waiting to hear from the HPSC on the possible routes of transmission of these cases but we know that Men who have sex with Men and Heterosexual transmission continue to be areas of concern.
Recently Richard Carson, CEO of ACET Ireland, was among the first 12 HIV experts in Europe trained in Succeed, a quality improvement tool developed by Quality Action, the World Health Organisation approved agency tasked with improving quality in HIV-prevention across Europe. At the training Richard heard that “we will not treat our way out of the pandemic” – a statement that reflects that while we are delighted that treatment for HIV continues to improve, we need to continue to focus on prevention. Does the incidence of HIV in Ireland surprise you? How do you think we should respond? We would love to hear your comments.
Make a comment111
Our project working to equip migrant-led churches to promote health and address HIV within their communities has received international recognition through a peerreviewed journal. Richard Carson and Philip McKinley contributed to the paper Increasing HIV Testing Among African Immigrants in Ireland: Challenges and Opportunities which appeared in this month’s edition of the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health. The lead author is Prof. Adebola Adedimeji of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine New York. Staff from University College Dublin and the Mater Hospital Dublin also contributed. The paper looks at some of the barriers that exist in Irish society to addressing HIV among migrants. It highlights the importance of faith communities and the need to deliver training that engages with the theological and social framework of faith community leaders. This is precisely what Project Hope seeks to achieve.
Are you a church leader or do you know faith community leaders who would value training in how to address HIV and other health issues within their settings? If yes then please get in touch with us and SIGN UP for more information. Read the abstract and order the full paper.
Our Family and Youth Support Co-ordinator, Hansi Chisnall, shares news of the exciting plans we have for summer 2014:
We currently offer highly-relational, intentional youth support through activities held in-house and during outings to fun and diverse locations. Ages generally range between 5-18 and each young person is supported based on their individual needs and assessed from a holistic viewpoint.
Activities typically look like trips out to the zoo, beach, cinema, parks, leisure centres and attending workshops that aim to stimulate their personal creativity and offer them a platform for their voice to be heard. In addition, regular family support often happens in the home, working together with each unique family unit through emotional and practical support.
As summer approaches, the aim is to increase the level of youth support in order to offer respite to both themselves and their families, either separately or together. This means more consistent outings, more workshops held in our office, family days out and residential weekends. These activities aim to be used as a safe and therapeutic space and time in order to build on attributes such as confidence, communication and enable their well-being. As we receive feedback from the families we work with, it helps us to tailor our activities and support work around where they are at and empower them to take ownership over their personal involvement.
We hope to soon recruit a small pool of volunteers who are interested and able to help support these young people through positive and encouraging activities and 1-to-1 mentoring.
If you’re interested in volunteering with ACET, please get in touch and we will let you know how you can get involved.
In the context of a significant increase in HIV incidence our Care Project have received an increase in new referrals in 2014. We accept referrals from a variety of agencies and individuals including health care professionals, social workers, drug projects, local community groups, churches and self-referrals.
Referrals are accompanied by a completed form with information relevant to the potential client and their specific care needs. Depending upon capacity within our service an ACET staff member will then meet with the referred person to provide information on ACET’S care services. In the initial stages of the care relationship a client agreement is signed and a care plan established in line with agreed goals. Referrals are currently being accepted. You can download a referral form below or contact the ACET office at firstname.lastname@example.org