My current work consists of three strands:
Journalism and information work
· Writer and reporter specialising in HIV and AIDS issues, writing both news-based journalism and longer information pieces. I am ex-Editor in Chief of the UK’s HIV magazine Positive Nation and am now its Treatments Editor.
· For NAM Publications I edited and largely rewrote their AIDS Reference Manual in 2005 and again in 2007. The HIV prevention section of this was published as a separate book in 2006 and the second edition is published summer 2008. I also wrote the second edition of the NAM Directory of Complementary Therapies. I recently contributed their entire conference coverage for the EACS and Microbicides conferences and was one of their correspondents at the CROI and BHIVA conferences.
· I also contribute regular features and news pieces to POZ Magazine in the USA and Aidsmeds.com, for whom I wrote a Special Report from the microbicides conference. I also wrote the test of their 'Just Found Out?' section, a guide for the newly diagnosed.
· Reports and policy pieces written include ones for the National AIDS Trust and the European AIDS Treatment Group, for whom I have written a Policy Paper on HIV prevention. I wrote a series of information leaflets for the newly and longer-term diagnosed for the UKC.
· Internet content: contributed HIV treatment content to the Terrence Higgins Trust and a series of pages for the newly diagnosed for POZ. I was content editor for www.connectedscotland.co.uk, a new HIV portal for gay men with HIV in Scotland.
· I supplied a weekly rolling HIV news service (since 2002) and an advice column for the UK portal of Gay.com website. The HIV E-News went out as a weekly newsletter to 30,000 subscribers. Owing to the closure of their European operations this service ceased in July 2007. So of my advice pages are published here.
Training and advocacy
· I am a partner in the UK Health Training Agency Restorego Ltd. Training sessions on HIV and general health, patient advocacy, new prevention technologies, mental health, complementary therapies and drug access. Clients vary from Coca-Cola Africa and Boehringer Ingelheim to The London East AIDS Network, and audiences range from company CEOs to asylum seekers.
· I am an accredited trainer for the Positive Self-Management Programme and in the process of accreditation for the Chronic Disease Self-Management Programme. These are 6-7 week courses, originally devised by Stanford University, that aim to help people live better with HIV and other chronic medical conditions. The PSMP and CDSMP are subsidised by the National Health Service in the UK as part of its Expert Patients Programme and in London the PSMP is managed by the HIV organisation Living Well – see www.livingwelluk.com
· I am a Trustee of the British HIV Association in my role at Patient Representative on the Executive Committee. I am also on the Audit and Conference subcommittees. I was a member of the team that wrote the BHIVA clinical standards document in 2006 and helped co-ordinate workshops and focus groups as part of that process.
· I serve on various committees and campaigning groups including the UK Campaign for Microbicides, the Expert Patient Reference Group of the London Specialist Commissioners’ Group, and the HIV Drug and Treatments Subcommittee of the London HIV Commissioners’ Consortium.
· I have presented numerous training and advocacy workshops on aspects of HIV prevention and on living with HIV from bodies ranging from the National AIDS Trust, CHAPS, the AHPN, Waverley Care and various other NGOs in the UK to IAPAC (the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care) and the Ministry of Health/Taipei University Hospital in Taiwan.
· I am a member of the European AIDS Treatment Group and the European Community Advisory board and have contributed internal reports and policy papers to those organisations.
· I am a member of the Steering Committee of the Global Forum on MSM and HIV.
Counselling and psychotherapy
· I am a counsellor and psychotherapist of 13 years’ experience, working currently in an expanding private practice and formerly for the Uganda AIDS Action Fund and for the lesbian and gay mental health support agency PACE. For more information on this aspect of my work see www.ferguscairns.co.uk .
· I have a Diploma in Body Psychotherapy and am accredited by the UK Council for Psychotherapy. I also have a Diploma in Humanistic Counselling and Supervision. My private psychotherapy practice supervised by my training institute, the Chiron Centre for Body Psychotherapy, 26 Eaton Rise, London W5 2ER. Tel. 020 8997 5219.
· I have in the past been a facilitator of the gay men’s group at London Lighthouse and am an accredited trainer for the Positive Self-Management Programme.
PREVIOUS RELEVANT EMPLOYMENT
May 11 1998 - 3 March 2004 EDITOR IN CHIEF, POSITIVE NATION MAGAZINE (Deputy Editor from 1998 to 2001)
From 1992-1998 I was not in salaried employment owing to symptomatic HIV infection. This period included, however, the following relevant voluntary and freelance experience:
1991-1998: HIV COUNSELLOR, PACE, 34 Hartham Road, London N7. Tel. + 44 (0)20 7700 1323.
· A volunteer post with a client load of about four client-hours per week. Long-term, short-contract, couple, and crisis counselling. I also set up a private practice with a client load or five to six client-hours a week. I have no resumed this work.
1995-1996: GROUP FACILITATOR, LONDON LIGHTHOUSE, 111 Lancaster Road, London W11. Tel. + 44 (0)20 7792 1200.
· Running the gay men's support group at Lighthouse. Stopped due to illness.
1997-1998: HIV EDUCATOR, CHRISTOPHER WINTER PROJECT
· The Christopher Winter Project was a sexual health and HIV education project run by the City and East London Health Authority. Freelance HIV education workshops and education sessions in schools and colleges in east London.
· During this period I was also involved in the personal growth workshops and residential weeks run by the Aids Mastery, Positively Healthy and the Edward Carpenter Community. For the ECC I facilitated and devised several residential weeks at Laurieston Hall in SW Scotland from 1993, culminating in the Week of Wonders shamanic week and Vision Quest in 1999.
My 'pre-AIDS' career was as a social worker with homeless adolescents, though I also got involved with HIV as soon as it appeared:
1986-1988 & 1990-1991: ADVISOR AT NATIONAL AIDS HELPLINE, 0800 567123.
· I was a sessional worker at NAH almost from its start.
1985-1991: PROJECT WORKER, CENTRAL LONDON TEENAGE PROJECT
· CLTP was a pioneering project run by the Children's Society. It was the first Safe House for underage runaways (age 11-17) set up in the UK. Its groundbreaking work with young people under 16 who were running from abuse, family problems etc.,was in the early days challenging UK law which at the time gave parents absolute rights over the guardianship of their child unless it was removed by a court. The CLTP project led directly to a change in the law enshrined in the UK Children Act of 1989, whereby it was stated that the interests of the child were paramount.
· I cared for, counselled and acted as advocate for the young people and was involved in liaising with families, social workers, and the court system.
1983-1985: NIGHT SHELTER AND HOSTEL WORKER, CENTREPOINT SOHO
· This involved shift work managing a team of volunteers to look after the nightly intake of homeless young people in the West End of London. I also did freelance work as a relief hostel worker in longer-stay hostels run by Centrepoint and other homeless organisations.
General skills and interests
· Advanced language and presentation skills. As well as writing I am also an experienced trainer, public speaker and media spokesperson. In addition HIV writing I have written opinion columns and fiction for various publications
· Psychology and counselling experience.
· Music: singing, songwriting. Films and cinema. Fiction and poetry. Cooking and eating out. Theatre and dance.
· Outdoor activities: I am a keen scuba diver and hill-walker/mountaineer: I recently climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for HIV/AIDS.