HIV group needs help

HIV group needs help

A new support group for men living with HIV in the Canterbury area has started and is looking for men interested in joining as well as some support from the wider community.

The City of Canterbury and District Support Group for Men Living with HIV was started six weeks ago by a local, Alexei Schmmidt, with assistance from Canterbury Council, which has provided a subsidised space for meetings and a cheque for $1,000.

Schmmidt said that while the group is grateful for this support, they are in need of further assistance and are seeking funds and promoting the group so that more people will take advantage of the opportunities it offers.

Schmmidt started the group when a friend of his decided to take his own life after contracting the disease, an instance which irrevocably changed his life and made it clear that more services were needed for people in areas outside of the city.

We’re not just there for people with the illness, we’re also there to support the family, loved ones and carers who are also affected by the illness, he told Sydney Star Observer.

The group has been set up specifically to help men in our area because for some reason men still seem to have difficulties talking about their health issues and seeking help.

There is a real lack of services for people with HIV in this area. I have seen statistics from this area which show that a lot of people are having to leave the area where they live to get HIV services that they need.

So we’re hoping that this service will provide some assistance although at this point in time it’s still difficult. We’ve been having difficulties with letting the public know that we exist and, as of yet, the group is still small.

The other major problem facing the fledgling group is a question of money. Schmmidt said that while the $1000 grant from Canterbury Council is an excellent start, more help is needed.

We’re planning to put that money towards buying a second-hand computer that we can use as an organisation as well as enable people who come to the group to use, he said.

We’ve had a lot of support from organisations like ACON and the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation who have been kind enough to offer us some information resources but we are still kind of in need of some assistance if we are to keep this going.

info: To get in touch with Alexei about joining the group or making a donation, phone 9642 7881.

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