Thursday, 11 September 2008

Cornwall Women's HIV Network - first meeting

I wanted to let anyone know who is interested

That the first meeting of the proposed Cornwall Women's HIV Network is next Thursday 18th September at 1.30 at the KPS Resource center in Truro, Cornwall.

If you do not know where that is and want to come to the meeting just email me for the address on

I do hope some of you from Cornwall will come?

I am worried that you may not as I have had some feedback that some women living with HIV in Cornwall may not come along because they are not altogether happy with me!

i.e They are worried about how open I have been about my HIV status and that if they were seen with me 'out and about' in Cornwall, as I have gone public i.e in the newspaper and in a magazine......That this would in essence 'out' them too .

I truly understand as much as is possible to understand another situation and I also understand what a small community Cornwall is. Everyone knows everyone else and it is pretty impossible o keep things secret. If it gets known - everyone knows!!!

Perhaps had I had the opportunity to speak to women in Cornwall Living with HIV I may not have gone so public with my own story and may have understood and taken on board the views and concerns of other women in the county living with HIV?

But unfortunately when I was diagnosed in January I was absolutely desperate to make contact with other women living with HIV who lived in Cornwall. But I was not able to speak face to face to any other woman living with HIV in this county or anywhere for at least 3 months and to his day I have only spoken face to face with three other women

  • One woman I met briefly at a meeting
  • One woman who does not live in Cornwall but at least 100 miles away but who very kindly visited me and had dinner with us ( thank you your visit really helped us both - Barry and me)
  • Lesley who is helping to initiate this women's network with me

However I only met all three some weeks and in some cases many months after I had discovered I had HIV and sometime after I had already gone to the press/media with my story ( they published it some time later not at the time.

So I do understand theses concerns BUT I really beleve that it is possible for women living with HIV in Cornwall to join the network and it not compromise their anonymity despite my going to he press - I am not important I am only one woman.

So I can only apologize if my going to the media has made anyone feel they can not attend the women's network at KPS. If it was not the right thing to do I am truly sorry but it is too late to change it now

However what I want to say is:

  • The Women's KPS network is not being facilitated by me but by the KPS counselor Irene Alford
  • I may have initiated this network to start because I needed peer support with other women in the county living with HIV and when I looked for it I found it just was not there - but - My status in the group/network is only one of participant just like everyone else
  • If anyone does not want to be seen with me in particular or to relate to me in any way in the future I respect this - and you need not - What I am hoping is enough women will come along so you all have a choice as to who you contact and who you relate to among women living with HIV in Cornwall.
  • Obviously just because we all have HIV we are not all going to get along we are vastly different age groups and life styles etc - So the reason for calling this a HIV Women's network and not a HIV Women's Group is so you can all choose who you contact or spend time with , if you contact or spend time with anyone at all?

Please consider giving it a go and come along on Thursday 18th September 2008

If we do not try - we will never know if it will be helpful to us

Veritee XX

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