HACO works with the African communities in Medway/Kent to tackle the recognised and evidenced major causes of disparity and improve sexual health by significantly improving access to various support mechanisms, health and sexual health education and services. We are the first Organisation in Medway to set up a support mechanism for African men who are in abusive relationships.
This project aims to bring about a significant and long-term improvement in the sexual health of people from African and other Black and ethnic minority communities in Medway through the achievement of a number of specific and tangible objectives:
- Decreased onward transmission of HIV
- Reduction in the number of people living with undiagnosed HIV
- Improvement in the health of people living with HIV
Long Term Objectives
- Increase in the uptake of health services among the African communities
- Increased knowledge of HIV and sexual health services
- Partnership working with statutory organisations
Working with Individuals
- Providing information and available options to local African people in relation to sexual health and HIV Providing one-to-one support to individuals (e.g. accompanying people to testing clinics Hospital and Prison visits accompany clients to solicitors and MP surgeries to sort out immigration issues).
- Sign posting to other services (e.g. local authority services)
- Attendance at African and other BME based venues and events to carry out sexual health promotion work)
- Contributing to skills development in the local community through provision of comprehensive training for project volunteers.
Working with Service Providers
- Mapping Exercise to find where target population can best be accessed and what services are already being accessed by target group.
- Collaborative working with African and other Black and Ethnic Minority groups around events such as those associated with World Aids Day, Black History Month & Independence Day
- Collaborative working with statutory health services such as Genito-Urinary Medicine clinics [GUM’s] PCT’s and hospitals 2 way referral systems with GUM clinics, Citizens Advice Bureau, Local Authority Housing departments, Immigration services, Prison services and other statutory and voluntary agencies
- Buddy Service – The Buddy service is a one-to-one befriending and support service available to people with HIV
Sign people to the Hardship Fund
People living with HIV are often unable to continue in full-time employment, either because they lose their jobs, or their illness makes working extremely difficult. Therefore, people can find themselves in dire financial need. This project has a particular, though not exclusive, focus on reaching African men with or at risk of HIV, who are more likely to be undiagnosed and are less likely to access potentially available services than women. (WE HAVE A VOLUNTEER COMMUNITY MOBILISER TO DO THIS)
Sexual Health Promotion Work
The attendance plan features a variety of local venues, events and community groups: Social Venues; including churches, pubs, sports clubs and events, markets, African shops and barber shops we organized a seminar in April, Celebrating Cultural diversity in July and we attended a church with African congregation in Chatham on the invitation by the Parish pastor. Staff of Medway PCT had Health Promotion inputs in these three events.
Currently celebrating selected African countries Independence days celebration to bring Africans together to learn more about HIV prevention and Sexual Health. African Groups; The project will collaborate with local African groups such as local networking groups, Kent African women and Kent African Men associations has been inaugurated by HACO
HACO Leaflets and Materials
Leaflets are produced detailing what services and information is provided by each HACO project, some basic information about HIV and contact details of the Sectional Workers. This is widely distributed in Medway.
A range of materials have also been developed as resources to support our health promotion work. Posters on Condom Usage and leaflets on information on all issues relating to HIV and sexual heath.