Home > News & Activities > News > Let Women Talk — Sarah Feagan & Melinda Hassall

In this video episode of Let Women Talk, HIV community advocate Sarah Feagan speaks with Melinda Hassall — Clinical Nurse Lead at ASHM (who are a provider of continuing professional development for health professional working in the field of HIV, hepatitis B and C, and sexual health). Melinda presented at the 2019 Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference held in Perth on 17-19 September, about the Removing Barriers website which offers targeted online training to healthcare professionals for addressing stigma and discrimination in healthcare settings against people affected by HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C.

  • Download the interview transcript [PDF]

Find out about Removing Barriers

Removing Barriers is a website inviting all health care professionals to change what we say, and change what we do — that is, to understand, recognise and remove barriers in their practice that affected people with HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C. When people experience stigma and discrimination, they are less likely to seek health care in the first place delaying diagnosis and treatment or don’t return to health care for follow up and monitoring. The website contains targeted online learning training for receptionists, practice managers, nurses and medical students. There are also two general modules: one about the importance of complete data and the other about the stigma and discrimination experienced in health care settings by people who inject drugs. These are open to any visitor to the website.

“No one likes to think their work practices may be stigmatising or discriminatory. However, we all come to our professions with our own set of values, attitudes and perceptions, and there are times we could be challenged by people that we care for,” said Dr Elizabeth Crock, ASHM Board Member and Nurse Practitioner. “Removing Barriers has been designed to make all participants—regardless of the health-setting they practice in—reflect on our own personal and workplace practices by examining and reflecting on where stigma comes from, and the role we can play in eliminating it.”

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Find out about Let Women Talk

Let Women Talk is a NAPWHA community-led health literacy initiative where HIV community advocates incorporate their rich perspectives and diverse lived HIV experiences back into strengthening community health responses — where women design and develop the health content and interventions that they want to see and hear. The initiative is one of many activities forming part of the HIV Health Literacy Framework Project, a NAPWHA project supported through the funding of ViiV Healthcare Australia.

Above: Video content in the Removing Barriers online training contains first-hand accounts of the stigma and discrimination experienced by people with blood-borne viruses.

Hear other video episodes

In this series, Sarah Feagan reports back from the 2019 Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference aiming to translate research back into community practice.

Who’s in this interview?

Melinda Hassall is the Clinical Nurse Lead at ASHM — develops and delivers education, training, resources and conferences to support the HIV, viral hepatitis and sexual health workforce, from introductory to advanced levels.

Sarah Feagan is a queer women who has been living with HIV since 2008. She is the previous chair of Positive Women Victoria and has recently joined the team at Living Positive Victoria as a Peer Navigator. She also the Vice President of NAPWHA. Sarah is a co-facilitator of Phoenix for Women and the Positive Leadership Development Institute (PLDi). Sarah has unique approach to her advocacy and is inspired by the lived experience of the body positive to inform her practice. Sarah’s advocacy spans the from the grass roots all the way up to high level governance. She has a global outlook with a local focus to bringing the community along with her.

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