My Community Forum for People Living With HIV Launched

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My Community Forum

We’re excited to announce the launch of the new My Community Forum provided by the Terrence Higgins Trust. It’s a free, safe online space for people living with HIV to meet others living with the virus.

Whether you’re newly diagnosed and have questions for those who are further down the path or struggling with the isolation of social distancing and lockdown, everyone living with HIV is invited to join the thriving new My Community Forum.

The forum is now fully integrated, meaning it’s easy to access Terrence Higgins Trust services, including free counselling, advice and volunteering opportunities.

The My Community Forum replaces our trailblazing myHIV forum, which over the last decade has allowed hundreds of people living with HIV to access important information, informal support and sound advice from diagnosis on. But most importantly, myHIV has been a lifeline to many who are unable to talk about living with HIV in their daily lives or don’t know anyone else who’s HIV positive locally.

And that crucial opportunity is the essence of the new name, My Community Forum, as it’s driven by those who use it.

Andrew is one of the many people who used myHIV, and it’s where he learned all about what living with HIV means.

“It was Terrence Higgins Trust’s ‘myHIV forum’ that provided me a safe online community, allowing other people also living with HIV to communicate together about all things HIV related,” he says.

“For two years this would be my secret lifeline: it formed the foundations of my HIV knowledge, I met and made many life-long friends in addition to participating and learning how to become an HIV advocate on many of THTs’ campaign issues. Now nine years later, I smile after receiving an email from Terrence Higgins Trust reading the exciting news of a newly launched My Community Forum.”

We’ve listened to feedback from myHIV regulars like Andrew to ensure our new platform is as useful as possible for people living with HIV, no matter where they are in their journey. We’re now proud to launch our newly improved forum, which is moderated by trained, experienced volunteers around the country who are eager to answer any questions or concerns about living with HIV.

Notable features of our new forum include a private chat option and a video chat feature perfect for live talks.

Paul Boakye, the coordinator of My Community Forum, highlights the importance of the peer support feature for those living with HIV:

“We want the new forum to be a friendly, inviting place, where people feel comfortable and where we can help each other to live more fruitful lives … We know there is still a stigma in society, and we want to create an environment where people can come and discuss that with others who understand what they’re going through.”

Compared to myHIV, our services are better integrated into the new forum – with the majority being delivered digitally due to Covid-19. “Since people are living longer, healthier lives with HIV, it was important that they had a more holistic kind of forum, that handled everything from housing issues to information from health professionals … In order to benefit people with HIV, we needed something more connected to other Terrence Higgins Trust services,” explains Paul.

A concerning impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is that many of our service users are struggling with loneliness and isolation, or worried about financial problems. Paul believes Terrence Higgins Trust’s reinvigorated platform couldn’t come at a better time.

“We wanted to create a hub of activity, not only for those affected by COVID but by the many other things that can be triggered through the Covid experience. We want people to find a place of solace where they can share whatever may be affecting them, such as their mental health concerns due to isolation,” Boakye explains.

“The team is looking at many of the issues people living with HIV are dealing with in lockdown, for instance, those losing their jobs. We are helping a broader cross-section of people through this transition because we are not now limited by our physical location.”

Sign up here for My Community Forum: https://forum.tht.org.uk/

My Community Forum is now up and running. If you’re living with HIV — whether you want to talk to other people living with the virus or access free digital support — we would love you to join the new thriving online community that’s exclusive to people living with HIV. See you there!

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