Every so often an opportunity presents itself and there’s no chance of turning it down. Since my own HIV diagnosis in 2009 I’ve wanted to improve the lives of people living with HIV, and empower those with the virus to believe that they can achieve anything they want to. And whilst it took a couple of years to gain the confidence to speak out publically about my own status it was worth the nerves and uncertainly in the run-up to doing so. I’ve not regretted it for a single second. And now I am tremendously thrilled and excited to be going one step further; joining an organisation which cares and fights for the rights of people living with HIV each and every day – Terrence Higgins Trust.
Whilst there was no way I was going to turn down the role it was very hard to say goodbye to my colleagues at The Co-operative after spending more than 8 amazing years working in their Insurance business. I’ve grown and learnt a lot from my time there and made some amazing friends. But one thing that will always make me smile from ear to ear was the incredible reaction and support from colleagues regarding my HIV status. I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome, I’ve felt nothing other than “normal” when it comes to my health whilst working there.
HIV is something I am extremely passionate about, it’s one of the very few conditions that faces such widespread stigma and ignorance from all different spectrums of society including the very groups that the virus is statistically more likely to impact. THT do amazing work highlighting the issues faced by people living with HIV, offering support to those who require it and providing advice to those in need. I’ve had a brilliant experience volunteering for them through the myHIV Community Forums and really enjoyed being involved with the Fundraising Team for the Friends Dinner back in June.
I’m super excited to start my new role as Membership & Involvement Officer this week and can’t wait to engage with the HIV community in a brand new and thrilling way.