Saturday, 20 September 2008

Cornwall Womens network - First meeting has happend!

The group met and for a first one it was felt to be a good turnout for a first meeting.

We are meeting once a month at the KPS building in Truro and the next meeting is 23rd October 2008 at 11.30 to allow those with children to get back in time to collect them from school.

If anyone else would like to join us you would be very welcome and we would all love to see you.
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I considered not mentioning this at all - but I know as I already said that I would be happening that it would seem strange not to even mention it as I have make it very obvious how important it seems to me that we establish a network of women in Cornwall for MUTUAL/peer support.


I have considered it for a few days - since Thursday - and felt that as long as I only talk about in general and how I found it and stuck closely to what we agreed in the meeting

'That

  • 'everything said, within the meeting is confidential to those who were there' and
  • 'no one identifies in any way anyone who was there, to anyone else not present, by mentioning anything personal about others. i.e such as ages, circumstances, lifestyle, family and children'

Then it will be fine for me to just to say that the first meeting has taken place and my feelings now.

As this blog is about me and my journey and not anyone else or any else's journey through HIV.

So as long as I stick to the confidentiality guidelines above and did not in any way identify or bring anyone else into what I feel then this should be fine.

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On the whole I felt it was positive - a beginning - and something if we do not try we will never know it will be of benefit.

Most areas of the country do now have at least one HIV Womens support group/network but Cornwall did not have up to now and I so hope that this turns out to be positive to others as well as myself.

I did not try to initiate his just for me at all.

Yes - I certainly did want and need peer support from other women living with HIV, especially when I was first diagnosed. And just assumed that there would be a womens mutual peer support group already set up!! But I found there was nothing and that in fact for at least 3 months after my diagnosis I lived in a vacuum when I did not talk to one other woman with HIV

- this was very painful and upsetting to me because I knew they had to exist in Cornwall but there seemed no way of getting in touch with them.

I would have much rather have just attended an existing group and tried to join in as best I could and give others support as well as receive it - but here was not one and while I certainly did not feel up to being involved in starting one in any way - but I basically felt I had no choice.

As I felt that if I felt so isolated and alone I just could not be the only one feeling like this!! And others may come after me and be diagnosed and find they are alone - so I just want a network to exist if they want to access it too.

I think it may be different if someone was first diagnosed in another part of the country where there were already support groups etc and then chose to move to Cornwall 'post diagnosis' knowing that there was no specific support for women with HIV - or even because HIV is so little recognized here and it was felt to be more anonymous and where no one will know or guess your status.

But I have lived here in Cornwall for well over 20 years have many friends and even relatives here and was diagnosed here and felt I needed local, specifically womens HIV peer support.

I do really think it is still possible to live in Cornwall as a woman with HIV and yet unless you want them to, that no one in your local community ever knows this and yet still come to this new womens network meetings at the KPS building?

Which after all is in an anonymous 'safe' building and nothing need go outside the room we have for any womans network meeting.


Anyway as to the meeting.

I felt the turn out was positive for a first meeting and that it is a start. Irene - KPS - counselor seemed to agree.

And some others gave their apologies and said they will try to come in the future.
The meeting went well in that we certainly had a lot to talk about which is a first step!!

If we had all sat around bored with nothing to say to each other - there truly would be no point whatsoever !!!!! -
But it was not like that.

If nothing else we have a lot of views to exchange - and that can only be good?
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