Here are 10 things YOU could do which would HELP hugely:
1. Read up on women and HIV on the Sophia website.
2. If you have questions you want to ask but feel nervous about asking them, don’t worry, you aren’t alone! You can contact Sophia in confidence at [email protected]: we will do our best to answer your query.
3. Please remember that you have probably already met a woman with HIV without realising it. HIV affects all professions and people from all ethnic groups – making assumptions about who is or isn’t at risk is why HIV has spread so widely.
In your home, workplace and with your friends
4. Talk with ten friends, workplace colleagues or family members about HIV, to help us overcome negative beliefs, attitudes and practices towards HIV and AIDS. Give them our leaflet and encourage them to join us, in spreading the word.
5. Challenge all forms of gender inequality, racism and other forms of social, economic, political and legal injustice in relation to women, what happens to their bodies and their lives – these injustices are all inter-connected and exacerbate the effects of HIV.
6. Write or suggest an article in your in-house or community magazine about how HIV affects women in your sector, either in the UK or around the world – again, if you like, you can contact Sophia to help with the background information for the article.
7. Encourage your HR team to conduct a policy review, if it hasn’t already done so, to confront both institutional strategies and individual behaviours that place women and girls at risk of STIs and HIV infection, for instance do you have condom machines and helpline info in your wash rooms or rest areas? Sophia can offer expert advice if you would like.
Across the UK
8. Ask for our help to invite a positive woman to come and speak to your work colleagues, or to your faith or other community group.
9. Find out what your local AIDS charity is doing to address women and HIV specifically. Put them in touch with Sophia if they don’t know about us.
10. If you just have no free time but would like to help somehow, fundraising or donating money can facilitate in many different ways. Sophia can link you to the work of an array of organisations that work with HIV and women, and can help you decide what you would most like to achieve. Alternatively, it would be wonderful for us if you would like to make a donation to us at Sophia Forum. You can donate online through Virgin Money Giving. Last but not least, take a look at Professor Ruth Merttens’ personal experience of contributing to Sophia in her own area of work – and how she has made a difference.