The HIV prevention organisation GMI Partnership are celebrating their 10th birthday this year, so we asked the three organisations which make up the Partnership – METRO Charity, Spectra and Positive East – to tell us more about their important work.
Who is GMI Partnership?
We celebrated the 10th birthday of the GMI Partnership this year. Our partnership between METRO Charity, Spectra and Positive East has delivered HIV prevention services to gay and bisexual men throughout that time. We are proud that we broke the mould in our approach, shifting the focus of HIV prevention to one-on-one support and outreach work.
What does GMI do?
GMI draws on the expertise of the three longstanding charities established and trusted by their communities. The charities have a long history of successfully delivering HIV prevention services and brought that experience and expertise to the GMI Partnership. Today GMI is commissioned by London’s Local Authorities to implement outreach and HIV testing services on behalf of the London HIV Prevention Programme and the “Do It London” campaign. GMI works in over 50 venues across London and is the major provider of MSM (Men who have Sex with Men) community-based HIV testing and other HIV prevention services including the free “Do It London” condoms you find in venues.
We also offer at venues:
• STI screening (chlamydia, gonorrhoea, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and syphilis) through our collaboration with the NHS.
• Information on PrEP to clients at risk of HIV through our work with Prepster and Public Health England.
• Extra pop up HIV testing clinics at particular times of the year such as National HIV Testing Week in November, as part of HIV Prevention England.
Top GMI Facts From The Last 10 Years
◊ Delivered over 4,040 sessions in more than 150 venues and key events
◊ Engaged with more than 350,000 people during outreach sessions
◊ Talked to over 176,000 men regarding HIV and sexual wellbeing related issues
◊ Assessed more than 17,000 MSM following up with one-to-one support, where needed and referral into partner agencies’ services and those of other London providers
◊ We started HIV testing in 2013 and have conducted over 3,500 tests to date
Where can GMI services be found?
We are really grateful to venues and are proud to have such amazing support allowing us to deliver services in their spaces. This means you can meet the GMI team all over London in:
• Saunas, bars, and clubs
• Fetish shops
• Large club nights
• Special events (Pride in London, UK Black Pride, London Fetish Week)
“We work in partnership with GMI because we want gay men, to know about PrEP, to know about HIV testing, to help people to get HIV testing…GMI Partnership does a really important job. We need it. The community needs it and they are doing it great.” Benedetto, Clonezone
“GMI really stands out from other organisations because of their professionalism but also the friendliness that they bring to what they do… people feel confident and comfortable to be able to just come in and get tested without feeling like they will be sitting for hours or be judged.” Nigel, Fetch
“The GMI outreach team here is wonderful, they are very approachable, they are very friendly, and they are always ready to hear and help… and if you need anyone to talk to they are always there as well… to be able to get a test done somewhere that is local, somewhere that’s relaxing, and then they come down and have a pint afterwards…” Thomas, Duke of Wellington
“They always come here prepared, very professional and they are always organised. As soon as they enter here they enter with a big smile on their faces. They do a really good job. It doesn’t matter where you come from or who you are, they will always be here for you.” Oz, Rupert Street Bar
What makes GMI so special?
Our greatest strengths include our collaborations with partners such as Freedoms as well as strong community roots delivering high-quality HIV and sexual health services. We currently support gay and bisexual men and trans people. We aim to serve all of London’s diverse communities, by bringing services into the community and delivered by the community.
“Great info…help[ed] me to know about available options… I hope that PrEP becomes available on the NHS… Great work guys.”
“Just wanted to say thank you, you guys were so supportive. I’m sure many others felt very comfortable and relaxed, with the screenings, you are doing an amazing job and you all should be proud of yourselves…. thank you GMI.”
“Hi, we are offering HIV testing and sexual health information
at Ku Bar in Frith Street, would you be interested?
Hi, had my tests this week and collected my PrEP today.
Thanks for the invite and all you do to spread awareness.”
People do not always ‘live where they play’. Sometimes our clients live in outer London and visit venues in different parts of the capital.
“While I live in outer London I party in Soho or Vauxhall. It was great to see you at Chariots. I just wanted to say thanks. Let’s face it, I was bricking it but you made it so straight forward, you were calming and a pleasure to talk to. Thank you very much. You’re an absolute super-hero mate!!”
Volunteering with GMI
Our fabulous group of over 40 volunteers come from many different communities and walks of life. The Partnership has rigorous and ongoing training so that our people have the ability to do their job well. We simply could not achieve the huge reach we deliver without our venues and our volunteers.
“I love to volunteer with GMI Partnership because it is a really good place… I really love to help people through GMI.” Arif, Volunteer
“I started volunteering for GMI because I felt that I wanted to do something for the community… I really enjoy it and I am always looking forward to a shift.” Massimo, Lead Volunteer
Would you like to be a GMI volunteer?
See our 10 Year Anniversary video for a taste of what it is like to work with us gmipartnership.org.uk. Email us for details at [email protected]
We are really excited about the future of GMI. The three charities want to use what we have learned over the last ten years to develop, innovate and expand our services to reach even more communities who align with our new vision.
‘A London where people’s health and wellbeing is valued and championed regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity’
National HIV Testing Week (17-23 November 2018). Please drop by any of our venues for a free HIV test – no appointments necessary. Check the events page of our website to see when and where we will be; see gmipartnership.org.uk/event. If you have any questions or need additional HIV prevention and support information, please feel free to ask our friendly and expert team!
Four important take home messages on HIV prevention from GMI:
◊ Get tested regularly: Early diagnosis means early treatment and a healthier life
◊ U=U: Undetectable means Untransmittable. People with diagnosed HIV, who are on medical treatment and with an ‘undetectable viral load’, cannot pass the virus on to their sexual partners. The virus is still present in the bloodstream. But being undetectable means being uninfectious to other people
◊ PrEP: If you take PrEP as directed, it can provide you with an additional layer of protection against HIV infection
◊ Condom: By consistently and correctly using a condom, you can protect yourself against STIs, including HIV. Condoms will also help prevent you passing on an infection if you have one