"The HIV specialist social worker's there to help you."
Our GUM put us through to HIV specific people. We were sent to an HIV specialist social worker. She is not just a counselor and social worker for the clinic: she is specifically tailored towards HIV. Her initial contract was only for two or three years but it was renewed last year for her because of the funding from the NHS. It is changing.
If this kind of social care didn't exist, it would be a lot more difficult obviously. When you are diagnosed, you are made aware she is there to help you; it's a person, a place, a phone number... You know you're not going to be judged because she's chosen to do a job where you are dealing with positive people. If they give you a social services number, its press 1 for childcare, press 2 for this... You don't have the name of a person and your first initial contact is going to be far more difficult. [With the current system] you have the name of someone.
You already think they know what they are talking about, aware of what they are doing. It's far easier than having to go to a blank office for someone unknown.