HIV AIDS Stigma and education

About Us

About Us

The Positive Champions Speakers Bureau is a group of dedicated individuals just like you and me.  Their sole purpose is to heighten community awareness and increase compassion for people living with HIV/AIDS.

The Positive Champions give presentations to schools, health care professionals, businesses, civic organizations, detention facilities and many other groups looking to bring more understanding to HIV/AIDS and put an end to the fear and stigma that surrounds the disease. The Positive Champions presentations are designed to educate the community about HIV/AIDS and tailored to fit the specific needs of each audience.

The Positive Champions Speakers Bureau is empowering our speakers with the effective abilities to do HIV testing and counseling. We are providing prevention and linkage aspects of HIV care. By providing HIV insight to the newly diagnosed and those currently living with HIV, our services offer hands on experience and knowledge of how to effectively disseminate all aspects of adherence, compliance with primary care and how to protect your partners while doing so. While working with the community at large, our current knowledge of the challenges that come with working with populations most at risk for contracting the disease make us a very effective intervention for prevention. The Positive Champions Speakers Bureau Inc. is dedicated to providing compassionate, professional and confidential services such as PEER Navigation to people in Volusia and Flagler Counties in an effort to respond to HIV and AIDS.  Peer Navigators are defined as HIV-positive, medication-adherent role models living with a shared experience and a shared community membership as the populations with which they work. Peers are trained, often paid, professional staff members rather than volunteers. Their work includes case finding and community outreach; routine appointment reminder phone calls; accompaniment to appointments; transportation assistance; referrals and associated follow-up; and adherence education and support.

If you’ve been diagnosed with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) or know someone who has, the need for support and compassion couldn’t be greater.  Too often HIV-positive people become targets of AIDS discrimination. On top of handling new health challenges, they sometimes face rejection by family and friends. They may be forced out of homes, lose their jobs or even become victims of violence.  Enlist a Positive Champion to speak at your next event and help put an end to discrimination, stigma and fear.

So often in today’s society when we speak about HIV, we speak in terms of statistics and forget the faces that make up the epidemic. Having someone share their story engages the audience and teaches us that behind the millions of people living with the disease worldwide, every individual offers a unique story that defies stereotypes, transcends categorization, and reminds us that we are all human.  Positive Champion speakers provide their personal stories about living with HIV and provide answers on the disease. While many of our speakers are women and men living with HIV, some are allies of positive women and men. All of our speakers share unique and personal stories of how HIV impacts them, their families and their communities.

The Positive Champions Speakers Bureau members also get involved individually to help make changes in the landscape of healthcare navigation to eliminate roadblocks to care. This is done by individual members getting involved in local consortias that work on HIV/AIDS planning, Community mobilization on federal rules and changes that require a vote in congress, PEER mentoring to assist in navigating an already confusing healthcare system to obtain maximum healthcare benefits and also maintaining a community support group which enables each person to have a voice and share their experience, strength and hopes. We know that support is needed in so many different ways to help reduce the negative effects on both the person living with HIV AIDS and their families and increase their opportunities.
It is such a joy to see how things have changed over the last 10 years.  People in the community are much more likely to go for testing now as we have worked hard to reduce the stigma associated with living with HIV AIDS.  And this has helped more people to disclose their status and access the help they need.
We have started a support group which is really popular and people find very helpful.  It is an open group for people living with HIV AIDS.  It gives people freedom to talk and they learn the strength they need to live good, healthy lives despite the effects of HIV.  Jim Geary our Education Director facilitates the group and will sometimes start with a topic and everyone loves coming.  This has made a big difference to our community.
One of the many problems of living with HIV AIDs and having to take the ARV’s is food and housing security.  To take the medication needed to live with HIV, you have to take it with food.  This is a big problem for many of the patients we work with.  The people hardest hit living with HIV AIDS are those in poverty and it unfortunately exacerbates poverty.  Many of the patients are unable to access food or able to pay for it, many cannot sustain stable housing which also contributes to issues of adherence, safety and healthy sleep habits.