Meet our community partners series:
ep.1: Positive voice, the greek association of people living with HIV/aids
Hello everyone! Last week, I announced the launching of our new blog series dedicated to Ecce Homo’s community partners, that is, all those non-profit LGBTIQ+ organizations around the world that are proud members of our Corporate Social Responsibility program! Keeping my promise, this week we are going to meet Positive Voice, The Greek Association of People Living with HIV/AIDS, and we are going to learn more about their history, their initiatives, and the community spaces they create around them. Such a gesture is part of Ecce Homo’s long-term engagement to promote the visibility of our community allies’ initiatives by taking up the role of media sponsor. In addition, it represents a great opportunity to keep informed our customers of the activities of the organizations they support via their purchase, ensuring this way both their active engagement and the non-negotiable transparency of our CSR program.
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? The Greek Association of People Living with HIV, ‘Positive Voice’, was founded in 2009 with the purpose of fighting against the spread of HIV and the minimization of the latter’s social and financial impact in Greece. According to their articles of association,
‘Positive Voice aims at securing better prevention and counselling practices, healthcare services, and social care to seropositive persons and groups vulnerable to HIV. Also, they work towards social acceptance, solidarity, and support of the abovementioned groups in order to tackle violations of their human dignity and rights.’
In 2016, they were awarded by the European Parliament the European Citizen's Prize which recognizes initiatives that contribute to European cooperation and the promotion of common values, whereas they are members of many highly esteemed international forums, such as the AIDS Action Europe and the HIV Europe.
The main axes along which they enfold their initiatives are the following:
⦁ the strategic advocacy for the rights of persons who live with HIV/AIDS, especially those who belong to vulnerable social groups, such as gay men, drug users, prisoners, migrants, and sex workers
⦁ providing information on sexual health via health counseling sessions, free testing, and their street-work program
⦁ the promotion of any type of research that concerns the HIV/AIDS
⦁ providing their members and their beneficiaries with information in order to be equipped with the cognitive and psychological skills necessary for their active involvement in the shaping and development of health policies
⦁ raising awareness against the discriminations and fear that the people who live with HIV/AIDS face in their everyday lives in order to battle stigma and social exclusion
To achieve these goals, Positive Voice undertakes the following initiatives:
⦁ they collaborate closely with the state in order to ameliorate the living condition and the medical care of people who live with HIV/AIDS
⦁ they draw and freely distribute information materials
⦁ they organize nationwide prevention campaigns and campaigns against social exclusion, stigma, and discriminations
⦁ they record and report cases of abuse of rights
⦁ they organize support groups for the empowerment of people who live with HIV/AIDS
⦁ they take part in conferences, committees, and other bodies regarding HIV/AIDS
⦁ they conduct research on HIV/AIDS themselves
Two of the most important initiatives of Positive Voice worth mentioning are the Check Points and the Red Umbrella. The two Check Points in Athens and Thessaloniki are testing and prevention centers. During the appointment, the beneficiaries have the chance to get tested for HIV and hepatitis B and C, by giving a single drop of blood from their finger, and the results are ready in just one minute. It is reliable, confidential, and free of charge. The beneficiaries are also free to discuss anything that concerns their mind regarding their sexual health and sexual practices. They will be informed about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, such as how they are transmitted and how to prevent them.
Furthermore, the Mobile Unit approaches populations that live outside of large urban centers and that don’t have access to testing and counseling services for sexual education and health, whereas it is used by the street-work group. On the other hand, the Red Umbrella Athens is a vibrant meeting spot for the sex workers of the Greek capital committed to addressing and reducing the stigma that falls upon their shoulders and promoting their health and their rights.
Ecce Homo has joined forces with Positive Voice, and in the context of this alliance, we have already manufactured and distributed via the latter’s street-work infrastructure free face masks to the LGBTIQ+ community of Thessaloniki, the co-capital of Greece, and more specifically to LGBTIQ+ sex workers on whom the Covid-19 pandemic, and the financial and social crisis that has left in wake, has taken a heavy toll.
For more information on Positive Voice, please visit: https://positivevoice.gr/ (available in Greek)