Testing, Awareness, Integration

This project emerged from ACET’s 10-year history of working with migrant-led faith communities in Ireland.

Following a successful Research Phase, the project has three components which we are now upscaling:

“As a Pastor, I know that testing for HIV is safe, free, fast and gives me and my wife peace of mind. Thank you for showing us where and how we can test.”

  1. HIV testing. Rapid HIV testing, with immediate results, is offered in culturally significant settings for people of ethnic minorities. This is offered in:

a) Community Chaplaincy settings where vulnerable migrants, affected by isolation, poor mental health and poor integration to health services, are provided supports within high levels of peer trust.

b) Migrant-origin faith communities are a primary community and diaspora support for many people of migrant background in Ireland

c) Ethnic associations are also an important and culturally relevant setting of support.

 

“This is amazing news. I did not know {of how HIV has changed]. We need to tell everyone” – Pastor in North County Dublin.

2.  HIV  Awareness – our research demonstrated that it is essential that, when promoting testing, legacies which associate HIV with death or with stigma, whether in the memories of people of African descent or any other background,  must be challenged with the reality of U=U and the positive health impact of ART. This awareness is delivered at the aforementioned venues but also through targeted media settings including:

a)Faith-based media through print, radio and online

b)Migrant-based media through print and TV

c) Medical-based media through print – this is largely to support health professionals in understanding the cultural barriers for many of those from a migrant background in accessing health services, including in HIV.

 

“I have learned more in 3 hours about my local community than I have in 8 years. This integration meeting has shown me so much. When are we doing it again?” – Local faith leader in Dublin.

3.  Integration – we look to work with people of all ethnicities and backgrounds, particularly local leaders in catalysing the mutuality of integration in which we all learn from one another. Much of Ireland is eager to see those new to our country integrate into health supports and other areas which society can provide, as barriers such as language and access are overcome. But our real challenge is to form relationships of mutuality through which we integrate with one another, recognising that whether it is in the sphere of faith, or health, or local community development or anything else, a sustainable future is impossible while integration is only in one direction. Indeed integration based only on moving them closer to us is subverted from the outset. It loses even when it wins – indeed it loses because it wins. We believe we can achieve this through relationships marked by listening, learning and support whether based around local development, health, faith or anything else.

AIDS Care Education & Training Ireland