August 2012: Greta Hughson, Sub-editor, NAM / aidsmap.com

Greta Hughson, Sub-editor, NAM / aidsmap.com

Greta Hughson, Sub-editor, NAM / aidsmap.com

I’m an editor for the HIV information charity, NAM, and I love my job!

NAM exists to provide independent, accurate information about HIV. There are complicated issues of stigma and fear bound up in attitudes towards HIV; myths and misinformation are common and our mission is to provide clear, evidence-based information which can be invaluable when someone is diagnosed; telling others about their diagnosis; starting treatment; and at many other key points.

We produce a range of information resources for people living with HIV, including booklets, factsheets and our quarterly publication HIV treatment update.

Supporting people to understand their health and treatment and empowering them to make informed decisions is motivation enough to get out of bed in the morning!

NAM also produces information aimed at professionals providing care for people with HIV. This includes our news service, available through a free iPhone app and online, which summarises latest research from scientific journals and conferences. This year, we are the official provider of online science news coverage for the huge International AIDS Conference, being held in Washington DC.

To help people find clinical and support services and to help professional networking we map services across the UK and around the world through our online e-atlas. We also develop resources and tools designed to help communication between professionals and the people in their care, such as our web-based Talking points tool and our illustrated series The basics.

All our resources are available online, where they reach a global audience, and our print resources are also distributed free of charge in clinics and organisations throughout the UK.

As well as service mapping and information written for people working in resource-limited settings, our international work includes the production of translated resources. Over the last few years, I have been managing a project to create translated editions of our patient information resources in 17 languages, working closely with HIV organisations in other countries, and, during the Washington conference, we will be providing news coverage in six languages.

What I do day to day

I feel very lucky to work on many different projects every year, as we review and update existing content and create new resources. A core part of my role is assuring the quality of our information, so I am involved at various stages of development, such as giving early feedback about structure and language. If I’m not directly involved in writing or reviewing content for a particular resource, my main work then starts towards the end of the process, when I edit text, work with our designer on layout and proofing before sending the resource to print, and/or work on putting the content online.

We publish several email bulletins and as part of this process I build, edit and send these out to thousands of people all over the world. I also write for our blog, and work on our Twitter and Facebook accounts, which we use to engage with existing and new audiences

Among these regular tasks, I work extensively on our website, www.aidsmap.com, reviewing, updating and managing content and I usually have several projects on the go, such as the translation project mentioned above and our In your own words webpages, where we publish personal experiences of living with HIV. I also always have some pet projects I return to when I can, in particular using photography to document and illustrate.

In describing what I do and why I do it, it would be disingenuous not to mention that I love the way the organisation works and I have great colleagues! We’re a small team and we work well together. I feel very fortunate to work with a group of such talented, committed people.

I became a member of PiF in 2011 and subsequently volunteered to act as member co-ordinator for the London region. Representatives from many different sectors, such as voluntary organisations, companies and the NHS are members of PiF, but we all have a lot in common! I’m enjoying learning from the experiences of others, sharing what I know and finding ways to connect members to each other. I feel sure we can continue to develop as an effective and friendly professional network. There’s such a wealth of expertise among our members, and people are generous with their time and knowledge.

Do feel free to contact me by email at greta@nam.org.uk or connect with me through Twitter or LinkedIn.