The Positive Council (PC) has been able to continue networking and expand its activities in the last 12 months. Its membership has increased to 17. An impressive 660 hours of voluntary work were performed in 2013. The PC used a retreat to establish its strategy for the coming years.
The Positive Council was also very active in various bodies and committees during its most recent period of activity, representing the interests of HIV-positive people.
Active work and continuing professional development
The Positive Council has continued with active work to a restricted extent: its member Romy Mathys is working intensively on her project “ART (antiretroviral therapy) assessment in immigrants”. The pilot phase of the project has now been concluded successfully and an interim report is available. Further work will be adapted slightly on the basis of experience gained in the pilot phase. Another member has run an EVIVO course for people with HIV. It consisted of six 2½-hour modules and was intended to help the participants find a better way of dealing with their HIV infection.
The retreat: looking back and looking forward
After three years’ work, it was high time to look back and see whether the objectives formulated when we were established had been achieved, and also to set targets for the next three years. This took place at a weekend retreat in early February.
Under the competent chairmanship of Peter Lack, the members established that we were on the right track and that a lot had been done. The membership had been expanded and influential experts brought on board. A vast amount had been achieved, particularly in the fields of networking and representation of people with HIV. Many stakeholders regard the Positive Council as a valuable, reliable partner which can guarantee GIPA (Greater Involvement of People Living with HIV and AIDS) in many projects and contribute the skills of its specialists.
However, it was also clear where there was still a need for action. It emerged from meetings and a previously-conducted survey of investors that partners and sponsors have expectations of the PC which it cannot and does not intend to fulfil, e.g. the complete representation of all HIV-positive people in Switzerland or intensive, active work. Neither has ever been the objective of the Positive Council Switzerland. We see ourselves as an expert committee working on a largely voluntary basis. In future, the PC will have to improve its communication with its partners in this respect.
It was also decided at the retreat that the PC can and intends to be operationally active to a limited extent. Tools and methods for quality assurance and project management will have to be developed further for this purpose. The PC will also be more active in the field of hepatitis C (HCV) and is planning to increase patient representation.