Wednesday 28 January 2015
`I am a fairly recent addition to the Terrence Higgins Trust volunteer team, in Dundee in Scotland, but am loving everything I have done so far!'
I first became exposed to and interested in HIV and healthcare around the time I was 18. I finished school and wasn't ready for Uni, so spent a year living and teaching in a rural town in South Africa with the gap year charity Project Trust.
I had an amazing time, but really noticed huge differences in the deliverance of (and quite frankly, lack of) sex education and knowledge of available contraception and so on, among the students I was working with.
More than anything, I was so struck by the fact that – in a country where 1 in 5 adults is infected – nobody wants to talk about HIV because of the stigma still attached.
After coming home and over the next few year or so, I did some reading about how the HIV pandemic has swept across certain parts of the world over the past 30 years and became really interested in working towards some kind of a solution.
I ended up spending the first 6 months of 2014 back in South Africa, working with the amazing Treatment Action Campaign (known for their t shirts emblazoned with their 'HIV POSITIVE' slogan) in the township of Khayelitsha, just outside Cape Town. The time I spent working with them was so invaluable and made me certain that I wanted to continue fighting towards the eventual 'no more infections' goal.
I joined Terrence Higgins Trust this summer to expand my knowledge about services in the UK and to carry on helping in small ways by spreading awareness and education regarding the virus.
Since joining, I have taken part in so many interesting things, such as Condom Distribution Scheme training, World AIDS Day collections and red ribbon selling, and helped at a Fast Test clinic in Dundee for European HIV Testing Week.
I am learning so much as well as helping get Terrence Higgins Trust's name out there, and raise awareness for HIV and it really is such a pleasure to volunteer with such a positive and active charity!
I really think it is so important for people to be aware of the condition and how it is still affecting so many people across the world, but also in the UK still. Through my Terrence Higgins Trust volunteering it is great to see people actively engaging with us and picking up bits of information they didn't necessarily know before - this is so invaluable in spreading the word and working together towards a cure.
Next year I am moving to London to study Global Health and Social Medicine, and I definitely plan to continue working in any way I can to stay involved with Terrence Higgins Trust.
Why not apply to be a volunteer today?