Only 48 Hours remaining to vote for Well for Living!

LBGcommunityfund

We’re seeking YOUR help in the Lloyds Bank Community Fund.  There are just over 48 hours remaining in the public vote! – More information is available here and over at the Well for Living blog.

Voting closes online, by SMS, and by Twitter at 11.59pm and in branches at the close of business, (times vary locally) on Friday 10 October 2014.

The Lloyds Community Fund believes in helping local communities to thrive. That’s why they’re giving you the opportunity to champion a good cause in your local area and we hope you’re vote for Well for Living!

Earlier this year, the nation nominated over 7,000 community groups across England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and Channel Islands. 1,400 causes in 350 communities were then shortlisted for the Community Fund award.

Four local causes in every area will be awarded funding depending on the number of votes they receive. The group with the most votes will get £3,000, the next £2,000, £1,000 and finally, £500.

Well for Living has been nominated, they support individuals and their communities to be more health aware and health literate through a better understanding medical language, building confidence to ask the right questions. We would use an award to provide workshops for 80 more people, helping people to take steps to be more in control of their own health.

 We’re seeking your help! – You can vote online, by SMS text, via Twitter and in participating Lloyds Bank branches.
  1. To vote online, visit the Community Fund Page and click the on the orange “Vote for Us” box at the top of the page.
    – Complete the details and click “submit” – you will be sent an email from the Lloyds Bank Community Fund to confirm your vote.
    – Please click on the link in the email to confirm your vote, otherwise it won’t count.
  2. To vote via Twitter click on the “Vote for Us” box at the top of the page.
    – Click the “Vote via Tweet” button to auto populate a tweet with our unique hashtag (you may need to login, or create an account if you don’t have one).
    – Your followers can then retweet your message to give us a vote.
  3. To vote via SMS, text VOTE followed by our unique code (VOTE LJP) – also found via clicking on the “Vote for Us” box to 61119 or +44 7860 014 100 if you’re in the Channel Isles or Isle of Man.
  4. To vote in branch, visit one of the branches highlighted on the map and collect a voting token from a member of staff.

Please vote, your entry could make a lot of difference in your local area.  In May 2014, through on-line, paper based and street surveys, Well for Living consulted Leicester City residents about a proposed Well-Being Centre.

A Leicester Well-Being Centre would be in an existing building in the central shopping and business area of Leicester City for use by people living in Leicester City.

It would have a range of services and support inside to help people become healthier and stay healthy – avoiding illness and improving everyone’s quality of life.

Some ideas so far of what a Leicester Well-Being Centre could offer include training courses for people on healthy living; massage and acupuncture; physiotherapy services; counselling; activities to help people stay fit and healthy; financial advice and getting support if you become ill.

It would be in addition to existing NHS and social support services and would be run by trained professionals, working for a number of local community and charity organisations.

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for well-being news and info or follow_THEM-a copy

Late diagnosis of HIV blamed on Coalition’s health reforms

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Health experts are reporting disturbing increases in the number of people being diagnosed late with the HIV virus in England. They warn that healthcare reforms, which, they say, have “fragmented” a previously “seamless sexual health service”, may be a major reason for the delays, and have called for an investigation.

Four in five Aids-related deaths in England and Wales are attributed to late diagnosis. Worryingly, experts say that late diagnosis also means the patient is unaware that they have had HIV for as long as 10 years, when they could have been spreading the virus.

Health charities and the Department of Health had previously welcomed a decline in late diagnoses. Numbers dropped from 52 per cent of overall new diagnoses in 2008-10 to 48 per cent in 2010-12.

But closer analysis of the figures shows that in 14 of the 20 areas in England most affected by late diagnosis, the problem had worsened. Barnsley had the highest percentage in the sample, at 77.1 per cent, up from 61.8 per cent two years earlier.

Jan Clarke, president of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, said the findings were “concerning and would have to be investigated”. She observed that there used to be a “seamless service” from testing to treatment, but that health reforms had disrupted this.

Private companies can now bid to provide NHS services, including sexual healthcare. “If you’re delivering down to price and then up to quality, you might see access [to testing] impaired, with fewer staff and capacity,” said Dr Clarke.

The outsourcing of testing services is an added difficulty. Some consultants complain that there is little incentive for local authorities to invest in additional testing facilities, such as community outreach programmes, at a time of severe financial pressure. More tests would mean a greater number of earlier diagnoses, resulting in fewer cases of acute treatment, potentially saving millions of pounds a year, experts argue.

Mark Lawton, a senior sexual health and HIV consultant in Liverpool, where late diagnosis is nearly 71 per cent, warned: “We’re concerned that fragmentation of services could lead to poorer outcomes. A clinician might spend Friday working for a company doing HIV and Monday to Thursday working for another company on sexual health services. What about HIV testing on those days?”

Luciana Berger, who speaks for Labour on public health, said: “It is highly regrettable that under this Tory-led government’s unwanted reorganisation of the NHS, sexual health services have become fragmented and disjointed. The separation of HIV services from other sexual health services in some areas has disrupted clinical care, reduced the quality of the service and put HIV patients at risk.”

Health minister Norman Lamb chalenged criticism of the coalition’s HIV treatment policy. “In areas where there are delays in diagnosis then that needs to be tackled by organisations in that area,” he said. “Many parts of the country are delivering good time periods of early diagnosis and there is pressure on every other area to achieve the same.”

WOULD YOU LIKE A FREE RAPID HIV TEST FROM LASS?

For our Leicester readers, we know you may not wish to travel all that way to get a HIV test, did you know we offer offer a completely free and confidential rapid HIV test (results within 60 seconds from a simple finger prick test)!  We use the Insti HIV test produced by BioLytical laboratories. The test is 99.96% accurate from 90 days after  contact for detecting HIV 1 and 2 antibodies.  We also have a mobile testing van which is often out in communities providing mobile rapid HIV tests. Appointments are not necessary, call us (0116 2559995) we’re here to help.

 

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Approximately 4.2 million over 50s are now living with HIV

wiser-hands

Persuasive new data showing the ageing of the global HIV epidemic have been published in the online edition of AIDS. Using UNAIDS prevalence figures, investigators estimated that 4.2 million people aged 50 years or older were living with HIV in 2013. Prevalence among older people has more than doubled since 1995. Comparison with alternative data sources suggested that the UNAIDS figure was generally reliable.

“The number of people living with HIV aged 50 years and older is increasing,” comment the authors. “This trend is evident in the most recent UNAIDS estimates and is confirmed in national household survey data.”

There are number of possible explanations for the ageing of the HIV-positive population, especially the success of antiretroviral therapy and a high rate of new infections among older people.

An accurate understanding of the extent of the epidemic among the over 50s is needed so that appropriate medical services can be planned. This is especially important because living with HIV has been associated with an increased risk of diseases associated with old age.

Investigators from UNAIDS therefore analysed their own prevalence data to estimate the total number of older people living with HIV in 2013. They also examined long-term trends in HIV infections among older people and used national household surveys to see if their estimates were accurate.

The UNAIDS data showed that an estimated 4.2 million people aged 50 and older were living with HIV in 2013. The region with the largest number of older HIV-positive patients was sub-Saharan Africa (2.5 million people).

There was a steady increase in the number of people living with HIV aged 50 and older between 1995 and 2013, with the total number increasing more than two-fold between these years.

Since 1995, prevalence increased steadily in all five-year age groups aged over 50 years. Prevalence more than doubled in the 50-54 group, increased by a third in the 55-59 group and by a quarter in the 60-64 group.

Household surveys were generally in agreement with the UNAIDS estimates. Among men aged 50-54 years, estimated prevalence was approximately 10% lower than that revealed in the UNAIDS survey, with prevalence 27% lower in the 55-59 group. However, the investigators acknowledge this latter comparison was not robust because of a small sample size. For women, household surveys placed prevalence to within 2-10% of that suggested by the UNAIDS estimate. Four countries had household surveys for both men and women, and their results had prevalence within 10-15% of that suggested by UNAIDS for persons aged under 60.

UNAIDS data and household surveys were in agreement that there had been sharp increases in the number of older people living with HIV in recent years.

The authors believe their findings have three important implications: (1) services need to expand to address the often complex needs of people living with HIV; (2) more attention needs to be given to HIV prevention for the over 50s; (3) more needs to be done to collect accurate data about the epidemic in older people and to understand the impact of HIV on these individuals.

Article via AidsMap

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Annual General Meeting 2014

AGM-2014

LASS Annual General Meeting

Thursday 9th October

  • Doors open 6pm
  • Refreshments at 6:30pm
  • Meeting 7pm – 8:30pm

At Warning Zone: 30 Frog Island, off North Bridge Place, Leicester, LE3 5AG (Location and how to get to Warning Zone).

Everyone is welcome to our AGM; you can bring your family & friends

We look forward to seeing you there!

The AGM (Annual General Meeting) is a public meeting where LASS Trustees report back on the management & finances of the organization for the previous year. Trustees are elected & re-elected for the forthcoming year and members have the opportunity to put questions to the board & vote on decisions and for Trustees.  It’s also a great opportunity to meet our staff and volunteer workforce. This year members are voting on incorporation.

Guest speakers:

Alastair Hudson – Reporting on the 2014 International HIV Conference in Melbourne, Aus.

Dr Iain Stephenson – HIV consultant at the Leicester Royal Infirmary.

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For more information please contact: Reception@lass.org.ukMitchell@lass.org.uk or telephone us on: 0116 255 9995

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HIV pandemic was created by ‘perfect storm’ of factors, study reveals

A “perfect storm” of factors that came together in colonial Africa early last century led to the spread of Aids in the human population and eventually a full-blown pandemic infecting more than 75 million people worldwide, a study has found.

A genetic analysis of thousands of individual viruses has confirmed beyond reasonable doubt that HIV first emerged in Kinshasa, the capital of the Belgian Congo, in about 1920 from where it spread via the colonial railway network to other parts of central Africa.

Scientists believe the findings have finally nailed the origin of the Aids pandemic to a single source, a colonial-era city then called Leopoldville which had become the biggest urban centre in Central Africa and a bustling focus for trade, including a market in wild “bush meat” captured from the nearby forests.

The study, based on analysing the subtle genetic differences between various subtypes of HIV, found the human virus had evolved from a simian virus infecting chimps which were hunted for food by people who had probably carried HIV with them into Kinshasa.

Rapid social changes, such as an increase in commercial sex workers and the re-use of dirty syringes, aided the transmission of the virus which was also carried to distant parts of the Congo by the millions of passengers who used the newly-built railway network, the scientists said.

“For the first time we have analysed all the available evidence using the latest phylogeographic techniques, which enable us to statistically estimate where a virus comes from,” said Professor Oliver Pybus of Oxford University, a senior author of the study published in the journal Science.

“This means we can say with a high degree of certainty where and when the HIV pandemic originated. It seems a combination of factors in Kinshasa in the early 20 Century created a ‘perfect storm’ for the emergence of HIV, leading to a generalised epidemic with unstoppable momentum that unrolled across sub-Saharan Africa,” Professor Pybus said.

Previous research had suggested that HIV was first transmitted from chimps to humans and that the pandemic probably originated in central Africa in the first half of the last century. However, the latest research provides the strongest case for it emerging at a definite time and place – namely Kinshasa in 1920.

“We have managed to integrate spatial information to see where the virus emerged and how it spread to become a full-blown pandemic. Kinshasa at that time was growing fast, it was the biggest city in central Africa at that time and was very well connected to the rest of the Congo,” said Nuno Faria of Oxford, another member of the team.

“Data from colonial archives tells us that by the end of the 1940s over one million people were travelling through Kinshasa on the railways each year. Our genetic data tells us that HIV very quickly spread across the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country the size of Western Europe,” Dr Faria said.

Further social changes brought about as a result of independence in 1960 helped the virus to “break out” from small groups of infected people into the wider population, including immigrant workers from Haiti who then carried their infection back home from where it would eventually be transmitted to visitors from the US.

“Our research suggests that following the original animal-to-human transmission of the virus, probably through the hunting or handling of bush meat, there was only a small window during the Belgian colonial era for this particular strain of HIV to emerge and spread into a pandemic,” Professor Pybus said.

“By the 1960s, transport systems such as the railways that enabled the virus to spread vast distances were less active, but by that time the seeds of the pandemic were already sown across Africa and beyond,” he said.

Previous studies have suggested that the initial transmission of HIV from chimps to humans probably occurred in the south-east part of Cameroon not far from the border with the Belgian Congo, Dr Faria said.

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Schools under fire for offering STD tests during lessons

chlamydia-test

Schools have come under fire for offering children tests for sexually transmitted diseases during lessons.

Parents criticised teachers in East Sussex for not alerting them to plans to give swabs to 15 and 16-year-olds, who were left “humiliated” after being asked to test themselves in school toilets.

A spokesman for Brighton and Hove Council, which is running the scheme in nine schools, said the work was “entirely consistent with Government guidelines” which aim to reduce rates of chlamydia, the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Last night health officials were unable to say how widespread such schemes are.

NHS guidance published in 2012 states that under-16s should only be offered such tests without parental knowledge if children cannot be persuaded to tell their parents.

The mother of one teenage girl at Blatchington Mill in Hove criticised the initiative, and said her daughter refused to do the test, because she felt uncomfortable about it.

She said: “I didn’t know anything about it beforehand and I think the school should have let us know as parents that our children were going to be asked to do this.

“I know the tests were done by the students in the toilets but I think it is humiliating to ask teenagers in class to do a test for an STI.”

Ashley Harrold, the school’s deputy headteacher, said children were spoken to about STIs in a “personal and social education” lesson and offered the swabs.

He said: “It is an NHS strategy where, to demystify the test, they can have one to take away and try.

The school said it had received one complaint, which it took seriously.

A statement on the school’s website says: “As part of the session all learners are offered the opportunity (no one is made to do it) to do a Chlamydia test during the lesson in an effort to normalise taking a Chlamydia test.

“It is not anticipated that a great number of these will return a positive result, it is more an exercise to demonstrate how easy and painless doing one is and to reinforce in their minds how and where they can do the test should they need to in the future.”

All secondary state schools in Brighton and Hove except for one Catholic School have signed up to the initiative.

Tina Daniels, 44, from Brighton, said she was shocked when her daughter told her tests had taken place at Patcham High School.

She said: “I am all for educating our youngsters on sex education issues and for some teenagers these clinics could be beneficial. But I think it’s important for parents to be made aware that these facilities are available for their children.”

The council said the sessions were part of the National Chlamydia Screening Programme, which aims to reduce rates of the infection, which can cause infertility.

More than 200,000 people a year test positive for the infection in England, with 64 per cent of diagnoses among those under 25 years old.

Story via the Telegraph

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Champion Well for Living, a cause in your local community

LBGcommunityfund

The Lloyds Community Fund believes in helping local communities to thrive. That’s why they’re giving you the opportunity to champion a good cause in your local area and we hope you’re vote for Well for Living!

Earlier this year, the nation nominated over 7,000 community groups across England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and Channel Islands. 1,400 causes in 350 communities were then shortlisted for the Community Fund award.

Four local causes in every area will be awarded funding depending on the number of votes they receive. The group with the most votes will get £3,000, the next £2,000, £1,000 and finally, £500.

Well for Living has been nominated, they support individuals and their communities to be more health aware and health literate through a better understanding medical language, building confidence to ask the right questions. We would use an award to provide workshops for 80 more people, helping people to take steps to be more in control of their own health.

 We’re seeking your help! – You can vote online, by SMS text, via Twitter and in participating Lloyds Bank branches.
  1. To vote online, visit the Community Fund Page and click the on the orange “Vote for Us” box at the top of the page.
    – Complete the details and click “submit” – you will be sent an email from the Lloyds Bank Community Fund to confirm your vote.
    – Please click on the link in the email to confirm your vote, otherwise it won’t count.
  2. To vote via Twitter click on the “Vote for Us” box at the top of the page.
    – Click the “Vote via Tweet” button to auto populate a tweet with our unique hashtag (you may need to login, or create an account if you don’t have one).
    – Your followers can then retweet your message to give us a vote.
  3. To vote via SMS, text VOTE followed by our unique code (VOTE LJP) – also found via clicking on the “Vote for Us” box to 61119 or +44 7860 014 100 if you’re in the Channel Isles or Isle of Man.
  4. To vote in branch, visit one of the branches highlighted on the map and collect a voting token from a member of staff.

Please vote, your entry could make a lot of difference in your local area.  In May 2014, through on-line, paper based and street surveys, Well for Living consulted Leicester City residents about a proposed Well-Being Centre.

A Leicester Well-Being Centre would be in an existing building in the central shopping and business area of Leicester City for use by people living in Leicester City.

It would have a range of services and support inside to help people become healthier and stay healthy – avoiding illness and improving everyone’s quality of life.

Some ideas so far of what a Leicester Well-Being Centre could offer include training courses for people on healthy living; massage and acupuncture; physiotherapy services; counselling; activities to help people stay fit and healthy; financial advice and getting support if you become ill.

It would be in addition to existing NHS and social support services and would be run by trained professionals, working for a number of local community and charity organisations.