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Ireland - Jan 27th - National Conference for People Living with HIV

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Jim Allen:
On Jan 27 2024, in Ireland is the 5th National Conference for People Living with HIV.
I'll be attending and will update this thread afterwards.

Topics: This year’s conference will include an update on HIV, a presentation on HIV and Ageing (for all ages), and an extended workshop on Love, Sexuality, Relationships, and Staying Positive. A full agenda will be issued in January '24.

Speakers confirmed:

Updates on HIV: Professor Fiona Lyons, GUIDE Clinic, St. James’s Hospital Consultant in Genitourinary and HIV medicine

Workshop: Dr Ray O’Neill, Dublin City University Psychotherapist, and Assistant Professor in Psychotherapy in DCU’s School of Nursing, Psychotherapy, and Community Health

HIV and Ageing – Speaker to be confirmed

Jim Allen:
9:30 – 9:45      Welcome   Sandy Preston (Positive Now) and Erin Nugent (HIV Ireland)
9:45 – 10:30    HIV Update Prof Fiona Lyons 
10:30 – 11:15  HIV and Ageing Dr Jane O’Halloran
11:15 – 11:45  Refreshment Break
11:45 -1:00      Workshop 1 with Dr Ray O’Neill
1:00 - 2:00       Lunch
2:00 – 3:45      Workshop 2 with Dr Ray O’Neill
3:45                 Wrap-Up and Goodbyes

Professor Fiona Lyons

Prof. Fiona Lyons is a consultant in Genitourinary Medicine at the GUIDE clinic, St. James’s Hospital, Clinical Professor in Genitourinary Medicine at the School of Medicine, Trinity College, Dublin, and the national Clinical Lead at the HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme.

Dr Jane O’Halloran

Dr Jane O’Halloran, University College Dublin, graduated in Medicine from National University of Ireland, Galway. She completed Specialist Registrar training in Infectious Diseases and Internal Medicine and did her PhD thesis with Dr Patrick Mallon at University College Dublin on the mechanisms contributing to increased disease in HIV infection.

Dr Ray O’Neill

Dr Ray O’Neill is an Assistant Professor in Psychotherapy in the School of Nursing, Psychotherapy, and Community Health in Dublin City University. He is also a registered practitioner as a Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist with both the Association for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy in Ireland and the Irish Council for Psychotherapy.

Workshop with Ray

‘Love, Sexuality, Loneliness, and Staying Positive’: Intimate, Personal, and Sexual Relationships in the Twenty First Century.’

This workshop aims to open a space at both a personal level and social level for participants to name, share, and locate experiences of love, sexuality, and loneliness in terms of our own personal relationships as individuals living with HIV.

There is an intention to honour lives, hearts, and bodies that may not only be challenged or isolated through HIV status, but through age, race, cultural difference, access, singlehood shame, and ‘coupleism.’ It is intended to be a forum for consideration, exploration, and discussion on the challenges in forming personal and sexual lives both within relationships, and on the ‘dating’ scene. This workshop aims to name and confront potential stigma and isolation for individuals living with HIV around loves and loneliness, exploring how to acknowledge this, challenge this, and have some choice around our acceptance or defiance of the places, particularly within ourselves, where people have been left alone.

Jim Allen:
HIV has never been a barrier to sex, dating or a cause of loneliness for me. The loneliness I can appreciate, certainly, for those living with HIV longer, but dating & sex nowadays it's an emotional or self-stigma issue if you let HIV be a barrier to that part of your life. However, I can still be supportive of others at the workshop.


--- Quote from: Jim Allen on January 22, 2024, 06:26:08 am ---The loneliness I can appreciate, certainly, for those living with HIV longer

--- End quote ---
I think the loneliness has more causes than just HIV. Outside of Africa, the largest percentage of people living with HIV are gay men (MSM men who have sex with men), and that brings it's own causes of loneliness. As a minority, it's hard to find other gay men to date or befriend, especially if you don't live in an urban area. Nor can we discount that a lot of gay men are estranged from their families also resulting in a lot of loneliness. For those of us LTS, we lost a lot of friends and partners in the early years of the epidemic. And as any gay man can attest to, it's quite hard to meet other gay men when you're older.

Jim Allen:
Yeah, I can only imagine that being Catholic & Rural as it is for most in Ireland, it isn't the easiest dating situation for gay men to start with. LTS & a touch of AIDS will certainly not improve things, I am guessing.


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