Andrew Heslop is the Senior Health Promotion and Peer Navigation Manager at Positive Life NSW. This relatively new role incorporates Treatments, Peer Navigation and Health Promotion, and community support is at the heart.
“The job is all about treatments information, peer support and decision making that meet the emerging health and well-being needs of people living with and affected by HIV in NSW,” Andrew says.
“Positive Life NSW’s range of programs for all people living with HIV regardless of gender or sexual orientation includes social inclusion, health promotion, peer support, equitable access to care, and more. At the end of the day, it’s all about community connecting with community and doing what we can to support your quality of life.”
In March 2022, Andrew will be in Western NSW and Nepean/Blue Mountains, on the first of four regional visits. These visits offer community members in these regions a chance to sit down and talk with someone else living with HIV, and share what it’s like living with HIV in regional and rural areas of NSW. It’s also an opportunity to talk about issues of managing health care in the regions, getting prescriptions, social isolation and socialising, privacy, confidentiality, and more.
“People living in regional areas have been left behind, in decision making, in having their health needs met, in getting health information,” he says. “It’s been very difficult to get to the regional centres in the past two years, because of COVID.”
“Now, we want to engage with community to provide education and support. All of this has as its core element the needs and wellbeing and quality of life of the NSW Body Positive.”
After five years with NUAA (the NSW Users and AIDS Association), where his role included blood borne virus (BBV) Peer Outreach Lead, Andrew is excited to explore his rural and regional contacts to benefit all people living with HIV across NSW.
Andrew is hoping that as many people as possible take advantage of the regional meetings.
“We understand that you might be travelling some distance to meet with us. You can get in touch through your regional Sexual Health Clinics or wherever you get your meds and bloods done, or give us a call here in the office on (02) 8357 8386 or 1800 245 677 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
More detail about regional visits is on the Positive Life NSW website at www.positivelife.org.au/services/regional-and-rural/
Published in Talkabout #201 February 2022