During the Beyond Consultation project participants from an African women’s group and a group for young African men who have sex with men produced some materials intended to communicate their views, concerns and priorities to NHS staff from sexual health and HIV services.
These posters and short audio and video clips were intended as conversation starters at multi stakeholder events. But they can also be used for professional development for health service staff who work in sexual health and HIV services or come into contact with African service users living with HIV. They can be used to raise awareness and prompt discussion around sensitivity to the lives and needs of African service users.
It is important to remember that these materials represent the views and experiences of African service users rather than being factual statement of what happens in sexual health and HIV services. Even where these are seen by service staff to be misunderstandings of policy or practice they still need to be considered so that communication can be improved to reduce misunderstandings and potentially as a result service uptake might improve.
Some of these materials focus on experiences of services, for example, in the clip, At the Clinic a young African gay man talks about uncomfortable experiences of being tested for HIV. The poster, A visit to the clinic recounts the feelings experienced by one woman on a visit to her consultant.
Other materials address the broader social and structural issues that prevent people from accessing services or from maintaining their health. While outside of the direct remit of sexual health and HIV services these are important to understand the difficulties of accessing services and managing health.
I was born a Leo
A digital story conveys one woman’s experience about trying to find work while living with HIV.
At the clinic
A young African gay man talks about what happens when you go to get tested for HIV. He challenges the appropriateness of some of the questions which he finds discriminatory and can stop African men from getting tested. He explains some of the wider issues that stop African men who have sex with men from going to get tested and goes on to consider some of the issues around stigma and discrimination and how these can be overcome.
These posters were produced by the Beyond Consultation African women’s group as a result of a participatory photography project where the women received some basic camera training and took photographs in their daily lives that related to their health challenges as women living with HIV.
One poster, A Visit to the Clinic details a visit to a consultant and records the woman feelings as she waits in the waiting room, has her consultation and has blood samples taken.
The other posters communicate the wider social issues that impact on these women’s lives and affect how they lives as African migrants living with HIV.