What does the chaplain do?
For many people, receiving a positive HIV diagnosis can be devastating. The Chaplaincy aims to enable people to accept their diagnosis and live life to its fullest.
Our role is to help those people diagnosed with HIV to understand and manage their condition with confidence.
Our commitment to our clients living with HIV is to support them in living a long and healthy life within community.
Our mission is to try to make life better for people living with HIV.
We aim to enable clients to negotiate the complex contemporary reality of living with HIV and to make decisions that are appropriate and of benefit to themselves.
With appropriate medication people living with HIV can be healthy; we try to support our clients to enable them to regain their lives. We do this by paying attention to all the issues they encounter in their lives. It is widely believed that stigma around HIV is a thing of the past: it is not! Our clients still experience rejection and isolation. However, the advent of combination therapy has, if it were possible, since given rise to something that is even worse where HIV is concerned: indifference.
By focusing on client’s health rather than their entire lives we are encountering a situation where issues around the side effects of medication, social isolation, financial and housing issues are glibly dismissed by faith communities and charitable bodies. It is as if people with HIV were only of interest when they were dying, and charitable bodies could feel good about themselves by being ‘compassionate’. The truth is that faith communities in various measures have a responsibility to make sure that clients not only have full health but also full lives.
That is why we aim to take the issues of the clients back to faith communities. We present them with the consequences of their errors in pastoral care, and offer them the opportunity to develop new theories and approaches to pastoral care of the vulnerable. By exposing the vulnerabilities of clients (with the explicit permission of clients, and ensuring that their personal details are anonymized) we invite faith communities themselves to become vulnerable to the issues concerned.