Programming Connection

Weekend Wellness Retreats 

Positive Women's Network (PWN)
British Columbia
2011

Challenges

  • Women’s fears about disclosing their HIV status—particularly among those who have recently learned of their status—may prevent them from applying to attend a retreat or may cause them to cancel their attendance at the last minute.
  • Anxiety about leaving their homes and routines to travel may prevent women from attending even if they have applied and been accepted to a retreat.
  • Health issues, both physical and mental, may prevent women from attending a retreat to which they have already been accepted. 
  • Alcohol and drugs are not permitted; for some women, not using these substances for a weekend is not possible.
  • Women with children may find it logistically and emotionally challenging to be away from their children for the duration of the retreat.
  • Despite the fact that a childcare subsidy is provided, women may not be able to find childcare providers whom they can trust.
  • Many doctors will not allow their patients to have methadone “carries” for the weekend, making it impossible for those women who need them to participate.
  • Even with support, filling out the necessary forms can be a challenge for many women, particularly the form that requires visiting a physician.
  • Identifying and engaging professional service providers who agree with and adhere to the retreat values requires time and careful planning.