Incorporating the Unique Contribution of Counsellors to Stigma Reduction and HIV Prevention

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  • Point 1 A deeper clarification and understanding of HIV-related information and can provide a working knowledge base; One-on-one education opportunity Demystifying HIV HIV seen as a manageable chronic illness, Compliance re HIV treatments, risk factors of non compliance Advocate for clients re discrimination and their rights, and working with discrimination within the GLBT community Counsellors have helped establish with clients what to be aware of with safer practices, consent, and person’s safety Education/information pamphlets - explanation of what is incorporated in the pamphlets, process information - clarification Application of therapies to help enhance skills and change thinking processes and to be able to manage their emotions, feelings and symptoms e.g. anxiety, depression. Point 2 An opportunity to support and develop suitable guidelines for individuals around disclosure of both HIV status and sexuality; and Issues with disclosure rejection, abuse, discrimination Person’s safety, Being comfortable with disclosing When it is appropriate to disclose Legal ramifications if not disclosing    
  • Point 3 The leveraging of clients from an emotional space (albeit around loss, fear of rejection, low self-worth, depression and immobilization) to a place of personal agency and self-responsibility . Client self awareness raised re issues and strategies given to help reduce levels of stress Confidence gained in being able to disclose Knowledge of situations that may arise and have the ability to distinguish whether there is an issue to their own personal safety or the other person. Example of how AIDS council counsellors work is listening to the clients story, being non-judgmental, setting boundaries, using different mediums to help clients express themselves art therapy, singing, making film clips, writing, and using psychotherapy and the diverse range of therapeutics techniques to empowering the client to be able to make informed decision with their health and well being. AIDS Counsellors have a wide and varied professional back grounds social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists‘.
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  • Ongoing two-way consultation about the work of each of the programs To let education & campaign teams know about counsellors’ current experiences; trends in presentations; communication about what is being experienced by counsellors on the micro level within the community. Information feeding about the latest trends, presentations and work of each of the programs; Clients accessing counselling services within AIDS Councils and the problems they are presenting with: Mental health, relationship and couple issues, HIV psychosocial problems, Alcohol and Drug, Same sex domestic violence.
  •   Analysis of this data, reflections and lessons learned from counseling observations to be shared with recommendations for future work, structures and planning with educators; and   Due to reporting requirements the various Counselling services in the AIDS Councils they have a comprehensive list of presentations to the service. Examples of the major issues people coming forward with are financial, relationship, same sex domestic violence, HIV – cumulative effects of loss and grief and HIV negative clients and doing HIV prevention work. There has been an increase in number of presentations for relationship and couple counselling and the issue that is being explored is intimacy within the relationship and between the couple and this is being addressed within the counselling process and through groups being run by counselling services. This is an area where future work could happen with education and prevention campaigns. Exchange of ideas around current and short-term plans for education programs and campaigns There has been a past history of AIDS Councils and their counselling services working collaboratively together with health promotion/campaigns and achieve an understanding of where education needs to happen and were ensued, over a period of time this had waned. With the inception of the Counseling Alliance of AIDS Councils and the recognition of similarities of presenting clients this gives an ability to collect data and see where the commonalities are with problems and work towards further reducing the ongoing problems with stigma and HIV transmission by working collaboratively with education prevention campaigns.
  • As seen with the information given the counselling roles within the AIDS councils have a wealth of information and skills base that help engage and improve clients well being. To improve and enhance AIDS Counselling Services the Counselling Alliance of AIDS Councils is working towards developing models and innovative practices to provide clients with better outcomes. The ability to engage and work collaboratively further with AIDS Councils health promotion, campaign work and to be incorporated in policy development.
  • Incorporating the Unique Contribution of Counsellors to Stigma Reduction and HIV Prevention

    1. 2. Incorporating the Unique Contribution of Counsellors to Stigma Reduction and HIV Prevention Presented on behalf of: The Counselling Alliance of AIDS Councils including: ACON; AIDS Action Council, ACT; AIDS Council SA; NTAHC; NZ AIDS Foundation; Sexual Health Service, Tasmania; WAAC; VicAIDS; QAHC.
    2. 3. Building partnerships and working collaboratively HIV education and campaign efforts are more effective when conducted in collaboration with the counselling sector, using its valuable contribution to the process of effecting behaviour change.
    3. 4. Counselling process <ul><li>Counselling work with clients enables: </li></ul><ul><li>A deeper clarification and understanding of HIV-related information and can provide a working knowledge base; </li></ul><ul><li>An opportunity to support and develop suitable guidelines for individuals around disclosure of both HIV status and sexuality; and </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
    4. 5. Counselling process <ul><li>The leveraging of clients from an emotional space (albeit around loss, fear of rejection, low self-worth, depression and immobilization) to a place of personal agency and self-responsibility. </li></ul>
    5. 6. Improving Individual and Community Outcomes <ul><li>There are a multitude of ways in which education and campaign programs can work in partnership with counselling services to improve individual and community outcomes resulting in stigma reduction and reduced further transmission of HIV. These might include: </li></ul>
    6. 7. Improving Individual and Community Outcomes <ul><li>Ongoing two-way consultation about the work of each of the programs; </li></ul><ul><li>Information feeding about the latest trends, presentations and work of each of the programs; </li></ul>
    7. 8. Improving Individual and Community Outcomes <ul><li>Analysis of this data, reflections and lessons learned from counselling observations to be shared with recommendations for future work, structures and planning with educators; and  </li></ul><ul><li>Exchange of ideas around current and short-term plans for education programs and campaigns </li></ul>
    8. 9. Recommendations <ul><li>For consideration to be given to how AIDS Councils and other similarly structured organizations can bridge the divide between the work of education and campaign programs and that of counselling services; </li></ul><ul><li>For organizations, managers and staff from each of the respective programs to think creatively about structures for opening up the channels for ongoing and consistent two-way communication about each other’s work; </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
    9. 10. Recommendations <ul><li>For there to be active informing of each other’s work to enhance the richness and understanding of community individuals from a broader perspective . </li></ul>
    10. 11. Acknowledgments <ul><li>The Counselling Alliance of AIDS Councils including: </li></ul><ul><li>ACON; AIDS Action Council, ACT; AIDS Council SA; NTAHC; NZ AIDS Foundation; Sexual Health Service, Tasmania; WAAC; VicAIDS; QAHC. </li></ul>

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