- Denial, Stigma and Truth
October 29, 2012I am reading an interesting little book called “the Joy Diet” by Martha Beck. I am mostly not into popular psychology but I do enjoy her writing and she does tell very funny stories. At the moment I am reading about “Truth”. Now I do not want to go into a large discussion about truth but she did say, and I paraphrase, denial is a tool we haul out when the truth would rock the our lives. This small little sentence really hit me like a ton of bricks, and the question for me is “what are the truths about HIV that are being denied so that I can live in my safe little world?”. So here, today I am going to try some truth telling for myself.
One of the fundamental truths for me about HIV is that it follows the fault-lines of our society. It finds the marginal, the desperate, the poor and exploits their vulnerability. A good example for me are sex workers. Now, time for confession, I had always thought that sex workers (in my self righteousness I called them prostitutes) were very much below me. They had failed, sinned and were generally worthy of pity. And then, I accompanied a friend to a local clinic for an HIV test. This was in the early 1990′s and ARV’s were not widely available and basically an HIV diagnosis was an effective death sentence. As we sat, chatting and trying not to be nervous she told me that she was sleeping with older men so that she could pay her University fees. I was 18 and very much a prude – I don’t think I could even talk about sex without blushing? What was I to do? I believed I had various options; run from the building screaming, or start quoting religious texts, or simply sit? I must admit I was appalled, but I continued sitting. We talked about why her life had lead to this point, we talked about my shock and my urgent need to run away, we talked about our hopes and dreams after we had finished our degrees. We simply talked. Our lives have taken very different paths and I am not even sure I would recognise her in the local supermarket now but I remember the lesson – this could have been me. I was privileged enough to have parents who could afford my University fees, I lived at home with three good meals a day, I had a car and was able to move around at will. I was surrounded by people who loved and cared for me. I was not vulnerable to HIV transmission and infection.
I think we all have stories like this, when our prejudices and pre-conceptions are confronted by human beings that we know and love. Around HIV these stories are so important because they make statistics, people again. Instead of a “prostitute” I had a friend and together we worked out how to keep her safe from HIV. I ...
- Booth 655 – Global Village (Aids2012)
July 21, 2012INERELA+ booth prep is under way. Come to booth 655 in the Global Village and chat to our members.
- Let’s talk about SAVE
July 21, 2012The INERELA+ SAVE Prevention methodology training is underway at the Interfaith Pre-Conference. Leading the session is lead by Rev’d Fr. JP Mokegethi-Health. Let’s hope they learn and enjoy it.
- Dignity plenary
July 20, 2012Two of our members are onstage preparing to speak about Dignity at the interfaith pre-conference. Swami Adayananda and Rev Fr JP Mokgethi-Heath. Wish them luck.
Go to the INERELA+ group page on Facebook to see highlights from todays events posted by EAA.
- 1 down 2 to go.
July 20, 2012It’s finally the end of the day and I am happy to report that the INERELA+ General Conference, AGM and Board meeting have all been super successful. Amazing vision, stories and reports were shared by INERELA+ members. The spirit of partnership and support is alive and there are plans being made that will really bring the INERELA+ family closer together.
It was an honour and pleasure to be present for this meeting.
The meeting also was the last time that Executive Director The Rev’d Fr. JP Mokgethi-Heath was able to address such a global representation of INERELA+ membership. Much live and support and appreciation was directed toward as he did the closing speech.
I wish to thank everyone who attended for their support, engagement and vision.
INERELA+ members can now focus on being involved and engaged during the EAA multi-faith pre-conference. Let’s hope these next few days are just as amazing.
- It has begun.
July 17, 2012The INERELA+ General Conference is off to a great start. Looking forward to an amazing two days.
INERELA+ is honored to be hosted by the historic Howard University in DC for our 2012 General Conference. We are having our meeting the in beautiful building that is the founders library.
40 of our global members have traveled to attend this exciting event.
While here they will share their stories, best practice for programmes and vision for the future of INERELA+. We are grateful for safe journeys and hope that our time together yields fantastic results.
- INERELA+ meets Don the web guy
July 16, 2012INERELA+ meeting with Don who developed out new and vibrant web site. It’s always lovely when you can meet people fact to face, rather than just chatting over skype. a HUGE thank you to Don for all of his hard work.
- Thanks CIFA for the office space
July 10, 2012We’re so thankful for the office space at the Washington National Cathedral provided by CIFAduring AIDS2012.
- We’re Here in Washington, Getting Ready for General Conference!
July 7, 2012The first staffers have started to arrive in Washington, DC in preparation for the INERELA+ General Conference, as well as AIDS 2012 and all the other affiliated events.
Greeting us is the AIDS Memorial Quilt, a different portion of which is being displayed each day on the National Mall between the US Capitol and Washington Monument.
In fact, a panel from the quilt was blessed by our Patron, Bishop Desmond Tutu before it traveled from Cape Town to Washington.
For more details about the quilt in DC, visit http://quilt2012.org/.
- New INERELA+ Posters for the International AIDS Conference
July 3, 2012Thanks to our friend Dean Russell (dean-russell.co.uk) we have wonderful new posters to display at the International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC. Check them out!
Click here to download a PDF containing all the posters
- Washington, Here We Come!
June 30, 2012In just a few days the team from INERELA+ makes their way to America and to a series of meetings and conferences held in conjunction with the World AIDS Conference 2012 in Washington, DC.
Check out site regularly for blog posts from our trip!