HIV & Hepatitis C Stigma in Health Care

Checklist for Change: HIV & Hepatitis C Stigma in Health Care produced earlier this OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAyear by DABC’s AIDS & Disability Action Program/Wellness & Disability Initiative has just been updated. The second edition incorporates feedback from health sciences students across the province. DABC thanks participating instructors and students from among 141 heath-related programs contacted, including programs such as Audiology & Speech Sciences, Community Mental Health Worker, Dental Hygiene, Health Care Assistant, Medical Radiography Technology, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Rehabilitation Assistant and Social Work.

“The purpose of Checklist for Change is to provide an overview of policies and service provider attitudes and behaviours that stigmatize, sometimes intentionally and often unintentionally. In presenting research results and service provider observations, DABC encourages everyone working with people living with HIV or hepatitis C (HCV) to reflect on their assumptions, judgments and communication skills. …In the words of one care provider interviewed: ‘I think that what happens is that people forget that every person who walks through the door is somebody’s brother, mother, sister, uncle or aunt and doing the very best they can in that moment.’ If you were speaking to your loved one with a health care need, ‘how would you approach them and can you offer the same level of respect for the person who is sitting in front of you?’” (Checklist for Change p. 3)

Checklist for Change is a short, reader-friendly orientation to HIV and HCV stigma within health care environments intended to stimulate discussion and awareness.

Download: Checklist for Change final 2nd edition

Online Connec+: New Group for People Living with HIV in BC

Graphic with triangles and squares reading "online connect" Positive Living BC has launched a new online peer support group called Online Connec+ for people living with HIV (PLHIV). Online Connec+ will provide HIV education, support and community referrals to people throughout the province who might otherwise be unable to access these services.

Online Connec+ will be facilitated by Positive Living BC’s Peer Navigators. A Peer Navigator is an HIV-positive person trained in HIV-specific health issues, self care, safer sex, sexually transmitted infections, and disease progression. Navigators offer a valuable perspective on managing HIV based on their personal experience with the illness, training and their experience working with other PLHIV.

Program leader Michael Crate notes, “Online Connec+ was started as a natural extension of the Peer Navigator program. The group will be an open format meeting. We will talk about what is currently going on for participants in relation to their HIV diagnosis. This might include health, treatment or self-care issues, stigma, isolation, disclosure, or dating. Peer Navigators will be there to facilitate the group, or do one-on-one counseling.” Elgin Lim, Positive Living BC’s manager of programs and services adds, “Living with HIV can be isolating, particularly in smaller communities. Online Connec+ can help people feel less alone, allow people to share experiences, and provide an opportunity to make new connections with other people living with HIV, no matter where they are in the province.”

Online Connec+ is open to anyone living with HIV in BC. All genders, sexualities and ages are welcome. The group will meet twice a month on Monday night from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. For more information or to participate, call Positive Living BC’s toll-free number (1-800-994-2437) and leave a confidential voicemail, or email Michael Crate at michaelc@positivelivingbc.org.

Checklist for Change: HIV & Hepatitis C Stigma in Health Care

DABC’s AIDS & Disability Action Program/Wellness & Disability Initiative has published a new booklet on HIV and Hepatitis C (HCV) stigma in health care environments. Checklist for Change: HIV & Hepatitis C Stigma in Health Care is based on research and interviews with service providers and individuals living with HIV and HCV.

Included in the publication is a checklist to encourage reflection on personal communication practices for individuals working in health care settings. Suggestions for training and effective organizational policies are also included.

You may download Checklist for Change below.

BC Health Care Student Reviewers Invited

BC students studying any area of health care are invited to review Checklist for Change and provide feedback until August 31, 2015. Selected feedback will be incorporated in a revised edition in September. Student reviewers will be entered in a draw for one of three gift cards. To become a reviewer, email Shelley@disabilityalliancebc.org.

Download  Checklist for Change – HIV & HCV Stigma in Health Care