020 7791 2855 talktome@positiveeast.org.uk 159 Mile End Road, London E1 4AQ

Community Empowerment Champions

Launch of Empowerment and Self-Stigma 5-day course

Positive East’s new 12-month project – Community Empowerment Champions – aims to help individuals build a positive relationship with themselves, increase self-esteem and develop new skills to live a life free of internalised stigma.  The Empowerment and Self-Stigma courses will be five weekly half-day courses, 4 hours per session.  A certification of attendance will be awarded at the end of the course and an opportunity to become part of the Empowerment support network. 

The aims of the project are to give you:  
  • the opportunity to explore, address and reframe the negative and debilitating impact of internalised stigma;  
  • skills to reduce isolation and seek ways to develop a support network, and 
  • tools to regain power with an understanding of U=U, and how to use it effectively in relationships with self and others.  
The five topics covered in the 5-day course are:
  • Session 1: Understanding what HIV is, U=U and living well with HIV – understand how U=U and scientific and personal experience can be used to empower yourself and improve how you relate to yourself and others.
  • Session 2: Understanding internalised/self-stigma -explore how and why people may feel that they are different because of HIV. Why does having a manageable condition make you feel that you are different, less able to conduct a full positive life, what barriers do you create for yourself?
  • Session 3: Building self-acceptance, self-esteem, and an individual’s sense of power – explore ways and practices that promote self-compassion, healing, and acceptance of what cannot be changed. Learn how to use resilience and skills to increase self-esteem and engage in activities that promotes health and wellbeing.
  • Session 4: Developing skills: including self-advocacy, public advocacy, and ambassador skills -develop skills that will enable others to self-advocate and feel confident about themselves.
  • Session 5: Developing a support network -support people to find, understand and explore opportunities to develop a support network and meaningful friendships.

Next Training Dates

Peer group 1: Women’s Group Dates:
  • 10th of May (10am to 2pm)
  • 17th of May (10am to 2pm)
  • 24th May (10am to 2pm)
  • 7th June (10am to 2pm)
  • 14th June (10am to 2pm)
Peer group 2: African and Mixed Community Group

(Sept TBC)

Peer Group 3: Gay/Bi/MSM group

(Sept TBC)

The workshops are open to anyone living or receiving their HIV clinical care in the East London Boroughs of:

  • Tower Hamlets
  • Newham
  • Redbridge
  • Waltham Forest
  • Havering
  • Hackney
  • City of London

All the workshops take place in person at Positive East

159 Mile End Road, London, E1 4AQ

We will ask that you take a COVID test before each session. We will be able to provide these tests for you. Email Mina for more information.

The workshops will take place at Positive East and will involve a mix of group work and self-reflection. Each workshop will be delivered by people living with HIV, who are considered experts in the field.  Each session will last approximately 4 hours and will involve lunch and your travel expenses will be reimbursed.

The five half-day Empowerment sessions offer a safe and confidential space to help you develop new skills to promote your sense of well-being by:

  • Helping you feel more confident and feel better about yourself living with HIV
  • Develop skills to live a life free of internalised stigma.
  • Know more about HIV and transmission including U=U and what living well with HIV means
  • Opportunity to develop public and self-advocacy skills
  • Be part of the Empowerment Champion support network
  • Get a Certificate of attendance

Please watch our short video where Mina Kakaiya, our Stigma Training Programme Coordinator, explains the course and what to expect.  


For more information, or to reserve your space, please contact Mina Kakaiya

Course Background

Despite all the advances in HIV clinical treatment and care, for many people living with HIV life can be difficult because of the internal and external stigma associated with HIV that can have a negative impact on their mental health and quality of life. HIV stigma is often based on outdated ideas, perceptions and believes made worse by discrimination in other areas like gender, religion, sexuality, or race. People can experience stigma in any areas of their life, such as within relationships, family, at work, or at places where they socialise.

So, what is Internalised/self-stigma? 

It refers to absorbed negative beliefs and feelings about oneself. In this case, it relates to an individual’s feelings of devaluation due to an HIV-positive diagnosis.  The Empowerment and Self-Stigma programme is a Fast Track Cities initiative developed in partnership with the Healthy London Partnership and six other HIV charities including Positive East. The aim of this programme is to contribute to the wider United Nations’ 90-90-90 goals (90% of people living with HIV were knowing of their HIV status; 90% of people who know their HIV-positive status were on treatment; 90% of people on treatment have a suppressed viral load) and to help achieve the 2030 ‘getting to zero’ goals – zero new cases of HIV, zero preventable deaths and 100 per cent of HIV positive people living well.
This is in addition to reaching a ‘zero HIV stigma’ attitude and stamping out stigma and discrimination.