Clinical Services recently offered PLHIV a new and innovative experience interacting with horses and nature.
Mel from Horse Horizons and her colleague Vicky facilitated the workshop, offering their expert guidance and seemingly endless equine wisdom. Conversations were peppered with earthy humour and abundant smiles to warm up the grey skies and keep the rain at bay.
We learnt that horses are prey animals and have a finely honed ability to sense changes in the environment and people’s emotions. They notice nuances in expression and body language and respond accordingly, giving valuable feedback about how we are communicating.
They are straightforward and not capable of being duplicitous; what they show on the outside matches how they feel on the inside. Vicky explained that horses are sensitive to duplicity in humans. If there is a mismatch in what we humans feel and the way we express ourselves, horses will sense this, and feel less able to trust or move closer. This mirroring effect invites us to be more congruent with how we feel and what we communicate. This strengthens our attunement with the horse and with ourselves.
Horses teach us other lessons through their presence alone. Like many of our beloved furry friends, they don’t judge us on our history, appearance or dress sense. They simply let us be.
We explored our boundaries, how to respect our own and those of others. Horses let us know if they need space; they will move away. We too, can show them when they have crossed our boundary, by firmly yet non-aggressively nudging them away. We may also expand or soften our boundaries, inviting the horses with our outstretched palms to come closer.
All up this was a truly moving experience, topped off with a yummy lunch and homemade scones with jam and cream. Thanks to Mel’s Mum, we were extremely well fed and left with our bellies as full as our hearts.
What the attendees had to say…
'The whole experience of being with horses was extremely good for body and soul'
'Amazing day with animals, Mother Nature and fantastic people. Very safe space to let your emotions go free’
‘Being with horses made me aware of my personal boundaries, and helped me to assert them more’.
‘My first experience with horses…it was a beautiful space to connect, beautiful set up and comforting energy'…
'What a wonderfully uplifting experience, I can't speak highly enough of it. I would encourage anyone who was too ‘in their heads’ or a little stressed to give it a go’…
‘The experience was deeply moving and I felt I was able to be myself and be seen’
The PozQoL Survey is asking People Living with HIV (PLHIV) about quality of life, in order to improve community & health programs in Australia. The survey is run by the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS) at La Trobe University. It has been developed in consultation with a variety of community groups and is conducted in partnership with National Association of People with HIV in Australia (NAPWHA) and ViiV Healthcare Australia. They want to hear from PLHIV over the age of 18 in Australia, including people of all genders & sexualities. By completing the survey you will get a chance to win an iPad! Please fill in the online survey before the 15th May - www.pozqol.org.au.
ViiV Healthcare have teamed up with NAPWHA (National Association of People With HIV Australia) to produce MyLife+, a mobile application that empowers people with HIV to take control of their health and wellbeing, and manage their overall quality of life.
The app uses trackers and tools for blood results, medication, and quality of life tracking. The app includes a journal and is intended to facilitate better conversations with health professionals.
The Community Forum for People Living with HIV (PLHIV) in Western Australia is taking place on Saturday 22nd October from 10.30am-12.30pm
This provides an opportunity to have your say, discuss current issues and network with other community members.
The Program Includes:
- PLDI Musings - Ryan Oliver
- Ageing and Aged Care - Neil Buckley
- Staying in the Drivers Seat - Susan Herrmann
- Presidential Q&A - Cipri Martinez
- WA AIDS Council Update - Andrew Burry
- A Way Forward - Paul Baines
Date: Saturday 22nd October
Venue: To be advised on RSVP - see below RSVP information.
RSVP essential: Email firstname.lastname@example.org
By Lisa Tomney, Manager, Clinical Services
The WA AIDS Council Annual Treatments Forum provides a space to share information about current developments in HIV treatment and an opportunity for people living with HIV to stay connected with others in the community.
The 2016 event took place in early September with funding from sponsors, Gilead, Janssen and ViiV Healthcare supporting a sit down two course buffet dinner. The event was a sell out with 45 People Living with HIV attending the forum as well as Pharma Representatives and support staff.
This year the format included two presentations. Adam, a member of the WA AIDS Council Health Promotion Team presented on AIDS 2016 ‘Access, Equity & Rights Now’. This was the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016) which Adam attended on 18-22 July 2016 in Durban, South Africa. Find out more about the Conference here.
President of the National Association of People Living with HIV Australia (NAPWHA) Cipri Martinez presented on the HIV Cure Website. Developed by NAPWHA in association with the Doherty Institute and the Alfred Hospital, the website aims to collate latest research news and scientific developments in real-time so people living with HIV in Australia can be educated, engaged and gain access to progress being made in this space. Visit the website here.
A survey undertaken after the event identified that 93 per cent of participants agreed or strongly agreed that they had gained a good understanding of the community benefits of the NAPWHA HIV Cure website by the end of the night.
The focus on community driven treatment themes from both presentations left attendees feeling involved and positive with take-home messages including ‘More community direct involvement and participation is essential if we desire a cure.’
Earlier last month, we held a special morning tea to farewell Positive Peer Educator Liz Walker who has been with the organisation for three and a half years in an unexpected career change.
WATCH: Liz reflects on her journey at the WA AIDS Council