LASS Free Training Sessions September

All sessions include group discussions and some include guest speakers. Please book using the LASS training booking form and email to

We have introduced some new sessions into the programme this year, as well as including ones which have been requested and successful in the last few years.

Wednesday 9th September: 13:30 – 16:30
HIV and Hepatitis Basics: Facilitated by Celia Fisher of LASS

  • The aim of the session is to provide up to date information and facts about HIV and Hepatitis – locally and within the global context. This session will provide information about the vulnerable communities, globally and locally, what support is available and how we, as workers and individuals, can support and empower people who are living with HIV or Hepatitis
  • The session will be of interest to people who deliver health & related services, such as housing, job & career advice, community development, substance misuse, those who may work with people living with or affected by Hepatitis on a regular basis. The session will benefit individuals and community workers who would like to get up to date with their knowledge

Monday 14th September: 13:30 – 16:00
HIV & Circumcision – what are the issues? Facilitated by Maryan Anshur of Somali Development Services and Celia Fisher of LASS

  • The aim of this session is to provide information about circumcision – for males and females – and to discuss the issues associated with this in the context of HIV and sexual health.
  • The session will consider prevalence of the practice and explore our own and media perceptions and messages associated with circumcision. There will be time and space for discussion.
  • The session will be of interest to people who deliver sexual health & HIV services, those who work with different communities in various settings including schools and colleges.

Wednesday 14th October 17:30 – 20:00
HIV in the spotlight – TV and film. Facilitated by Rhys Davies (HIVE Films)
Light refreshments will be available from 17:00 – 18:00

  • HIV is portrayed in many different ways in TV soaps, documentaries and on film. We will look at the different portrayals and discuss the different information, perspectives, and messages they provide to the viewing audience.
  • This session will be of benefit to anyone who is interested in film, HIV or an interesting social discussion.

Thursday 22nd October: 10:00 – 12:30
HIV and Sex for Money: Perception & ideology – Facilitated and delivered by New Futures

  • The aim of this session is to discuss how and why some people get involved in prostitution / sex for money, to discuss myths and stereotypes of those concerned and why they may remain in the street and indoor prostitution.
  • The session will explore the impact that taking money / favours for sex can have on a person’s sexual health and also self-esteem and confidence.
  • The session will be of interest to people who deliver sexual health and other related services, work with vulnerable people who may be living in poverty, individuals who would like to know more about this topic.

Thursday 29th October 2015 10am – 1pm
HIV in Leicester and Leicestershire – Services, testing, issues. Facilitated by LASS

  • The aim of this session is to provide a local perspective of HIV – including statistics, local services and clinics, issues and views of local people living with HIV. The session will include a time for questions and answers.
  • The session will be of interest and benefit to people who deliver health, HIV or other support services such as housing, job advice, who may work with people living with or affected by HIV. The session will benefit also individuals who would like to get up to date with their knowledge.

Monday 9th November: 13:30 – 16:00
HIV and Culture: Facilitated by LASS

  • This session will be delivered in collaboration with people from different communities in Leicester. We will explore how culture affects people’s perspective and experiences of HIV. The session will look at ways of providing knowledge and empowerment about HIV with different cultural perspectives and considerations.
  • The session will be of interest to people who work with different communities and groups who are vulnerable toHIV or affected by HIV.

Wednesday 25th November: 17:00 – 20:00
HIV Testing. Facilitated by LASS

  • It’s National HIV Testing week this week. This session offers an opportunity to ‘go behind the scenes’ at LASS’ Rapid HIV testing service. What do we teach in the training to become a tester? Why is the LASS service so different to the clinical testing service?
  • We will have a discussion about the different approaches to HIV testing that are now available – Home testing, Home sampling, Rapid testing and the clinical tests. What are the differences between them and why?
  • We are always looking for ways to improve and evolve our Rapid HIV testing service so this is an opportunity to give us your ideas and suggestions.
  • Confidential Rapid HIV Testing is available as well during this session.
  • The session will be of interest to anyone who wants to know more about HIV testing.

Monday 14th December: 13:30 – 16:30
HIV and Cultural and Faith Based Belief. Facilitated by LASS

  • This session will be delivered in collaboration with people from different faith backgrounds. We will explore how faith and belief can affect people’s understanding of facts and the role that is can play in helping people to live positively. The session will look at ways of providing knowledge and empowerment about HIV in the context of different beliefs and faith influences.
  • The session will be of interest to people whose faith / belief plays an important role in their life also for those with an interest in the role that faith and belief have on people’s lives to help them cope or otherwise with a long term condition like HIV.

Please note that sessions will start promptly and late comers may not be admitted depending on the discretion of the facilitator.

We offer a range of bespoke training for organisations, businesses, work places and community groups. Contact us for details

HIV: Specialist clinical care, a UK national review

A new study on clinical care for for people diagnosed HIV is reporting excellent retention in care among UK adults with HIV, but also the high risk of disease progression among non-attenders.

Story via BioMed Central @biomedcentral 

Regular clinical care is important for the well-being of people with HIV. The study sought to  audit and describe the characteristics of adults with diagnosed HIV infection not reported to be attending for clinical care in the UK.

Public Health England (PHE) provided clinics with lists of patients diagnosed or seen for specialist HIV care in 2010 but not linked to a clinic report or known to have died in 2011. Clinics reviewed case-notes of these individuals and completed questionnaires. A nested case–control analysis was conducted to compare those who had remained in the UK in 2011 while not attending care with individuals who received specialist HIV care in both 2010 and 2011.

Among 74,418 adults living with diagnosed HIV infection in the UK in 2010, 3510 (4.7 %) were not reported as seen for clinical care or died in 2011. Case note reviews and outcomes were available for 2255 (64 %) of these: 456 (20.2 %) remained in the UK and did not attend care; 590 (26.2 %) left UK; 508 (22.6 %) received care in the UK: 73 (3.2 %) died and 628 (27.8 %) had no documented outcome. Individuals remaining in the UK and not attending care were more likely to be treatment naïve than those in care, but duration since HIV diagnosis was not significant. HIV/AIDS related hospitalisations were observed among non-attenders.

Retention in UK specialist HIV care is excellent. The audit indicates that the ‘true’ loss to follow up rate in 2011 was <2.5 % with no evidence of health tourism. Novel interventions to ensure high levels of clinic engagement should be explored to minimise disease progression among non-attenders.

To see the full study, visit:

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Annual General Meeting 2015


LASS Annual General Meeting

Thursday 8th October 2015

  • 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

To reserve your space at the AGM, please enter your name and email address below and we’ll confirm your place.  We look forward to seeing you there!


Guest speaker

Tom Addison of Halve It

Halve It is a coalition of national experts determined to tackle the continued public health challenges posed by HIV. Their goals are to: Halve the proportion of people diagnosed late with HIV and to halve the proportion of people living with undiagnosed HIV.

The Halve It campaign calls upon all levels of government and their agencies to ensure that HIV is a public health priority both locally and nationally, they are asking the government to:

  • Fully implement National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) public health guidance on HIV testing.
  • Support the delivery of the Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF) by ensuring that local health organisations are equipped to realise the benefits of early detection of HIV.
  • Offer incentives to test for HIV in a variety of healthcare settings, for example through the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) and Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN) frameworks.
  • Ensure that people diagnosed with HIV have access to any retroviral therapies (ARTs) to prevent onward transmission in line with the joint recommendations of the Expert Advisory Group on AIDS (EAGA) and the British HIV Association (BHIVA).
  • Ensure quality-assured (ie CE marked) self-testing kits for HIV when available, are integrated into local HIV testing strategies along with home sampling kits.

To find out more about the campaign download their position paper here

For more information on our AGM please contact:, or call us on: 0116 255 9995

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Prayer is good, prayer and medication is better!

Pastor Elizabeth was told that prayer was all she needed to fight HIV, she stopped taking her medication after faith leaders insisted she cease taking anti-HIV and life saving drugs.  She wrestled with the decision and is now an advocate for taking medication.  She says “If you are sick, and someone tells you not to take medication, they are misleading you.  Pastor Elizabeth realises this and wishes to share that HIV is simply an illness which requires medication.

At the beginning of the HIV epidemic in the early eighties, some faith leaders preached that only ‘sinners’ contracted the virus, advising that the only solution for those living with HIV was to pray hard for forgiveness. While many faith leaders have since realised that HIV is simply a virus that can affect anyone, unfortunately some haven’t. In fact, a few have gone even further, telling those in their congregations who are living with HIV to stop taking their Antiretroviral treatment (ARVs) and instead concentrate on praying because that’s the only way they will experience emotional and physical healing.

Whether praying to be healed from HIV is being preached in select churches, or some church-goers living with HIV are misinterpreting what their faith leaders are telling them, a number of HIV positive people have died as a result of stopping their HIV medication. What remains unclear is how many people are being converted to this way of thinking. Is this a big problem warranting a global intervention, or are we making a mountain out of a molehill? I personally don’t know the definitive answers to these questions, but what I can say is that where prayer and HIV healing are concerned, I have witnessed and have heard of some pretty bizarre behaviour among people living with HIV, particularly within African communities in the UK and in some parts of Africa.

It was reported in October 2011 that blind faith in prayer claimed the lives of three people who were HIV positive.  At least three people in London with HIV died after they stopped taking life saving drugs on the advice of their Evangelical Christian pastors.

The women died after attending churches in London where they were encouraged to stop taking the antiretroviral drugs in the belief that God would heal them, their friends and a leading HIV doctor said.

HIV prevention charity African Health Policy Network (AHPN) says a growing number of London churches have been telling people the power of prayer will “cure” their infections.

“This is happening through a number of churches. We’re hearing about more cases of this,” AHPN chief Francis Kaikumba said.

Whether you believe in religion or not, there is absolutely nothing wrong with prayer to help you with HIV, however there is everything wrong with discontinuing medication in favour of prayer.  Take time to consider the different mechanises to combat HIV.  Prayer may help the soul and medication will help the body.  There are a lot of people of all faiths in within research and development who would hope you look after your body too.

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Fragmented sexual health system is failing users


The reorganisation of sexual and reproductive health and HIV services in England that occurred when the Health and Social Care Act 2013 handed over commissioning responsibility to local government has led to lack of accountability in a complex, fragmented system that is having a direct, negative impact on patients, according to an all-party group of MPs. Their inquiry has found a lack of proper oversight of the quality and outcomes delivered by commissioners, and a lack of national direction on training and development.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sexual and Reproductive Health in the UK – chaired by Baroness Gould of Potternewton and supported by FPA, the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare and the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV – called yesterday for clarification about national accountability, better data linkage, a single funding mechanism across all services, ongoing ring-fenced public health funding, adequate staff training to be specified in contracts and mandatory sex and relationships education in all primary and secondary schools. Baroness Gould said: “A common theme throughout the inquiry was the lack of clarity identifying who is ultimately responsible at a national level for these services, and what powers they have to drive up standards and outcomes across the country.”

The APPG took evidence from the government, Public Health England, Department of Health (DH), Local Government Association, and representatives of royal colleges, charities and NHS trusts across the country. It reported:

  • Structural divisions in commissioning between the NHS, public health and social care had a significant impact on commissioning responsibilities for sexual health, reproductive health and HIV.
  • There is insufficient national coordination to enable local commissioners to work together effectively in sexual health, reproductive health and HIV. The Health Secretary should clarify and publish a clear accountability structure for sexual and reproductive health and HIV services ‘as a matter of urgency’.
  • Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), local authorities and NHS England need to be accountable for improvements delivered by the service providers they commission for sexual health, reproductive health and HIV.
  • Directors of public health and health and wellbeing boards need to work together to improve integration between services commissioned by the NHS (including general practice) and those commissioned by public health.
  • Commissioners should use a single funding mechanism, either the tariff or a block contract, across all services to avoid income-driven incentives leading to distortions in provision unrelated to patient need.
  • Short-term procurement reduces the incentive to properly train and develop staff and encourages providers to only deliver services to the letter of the contract. Provider contracts must make ongoing education and training mandatory.
  • GP data should be linked with other data in sexual health, reproductive health and HIV, to provide a full picture.
  • Local authority budget cuts for public health will lead to reductions in the service they commission and create knock-on costs for the NHS. The DH should extend the period of the ring-fence for public health as part of the autumn Spending Review.
  • Sex and relationships education should be statutory for all schools including academies and free schools.

Baroness Gould commented: “In transferring commissioning to a local level, it was anticipated that there would be integration and opportunities for joint working – all focused on the specific needs of local communities. In some places these aspirations are being realised and we heard evidence of good practice and successes but, in many areas, these structural changes have created a complex and fragmented system that is not in the best interests of the people who rely on these services.”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu will ‘be home in a day or two’ after hospital treatment, says daughter


Image: © Danie Nell

Story via


Desmond Tutu’s daughter says the former Archbishop of Cape Town will be home again in “a day or two”, after being admitted to hospital.

Archbishop Tutu is staying in a hospital in Cape Town, where he is being treated for a “persistent infection.”

The Archbishop, who rose to notoriety fighting apartheid in the 1970s, has retired from public life, although he continues to be an iconic figure around the world for his work with the United Nations, the Catholic Church, and in peace movements.

The Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, a charity based in South Africa, released a short statement, in which his daughter, the Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu, said she hopes Tutu will be home again in the near future.

Details of the Archbishop’s condition remain unclear, although well wishers have been heading online to wish him a speedy recovery.

The 83-year-old was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1997, subsequently becoming a patron on the South African Prostate Cancer Foundation.

As a baby, Archbishop Tutu survived and illness thought to be polio, and in his teenage years battled tuberculosis.

Although he retired from public life in 2011, making the announcement on the day he turned 79, he continues to travel and make occasional public appearances. 

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Farewell Celia,


LASS is preparing for more change as Celia Fisher plans to leave us in September.

Celia has provided LASS with the benefit of her excellent knowledge, skills, commitment and belief in our work for almost 11 years having joined LASS for a 3 month temporary part time post in 2004.

Our organisation and work have grown around her and she has made a huge difference to our profile locally, regionally and nationally.

Her training courses, community development, research and delivery and development of our community testing service and prisons work are just some of the excellent initiatives she is leading on here at LASS.

She will be greatly missed and a very hard act to follow, we are currently looking at how we might replace her so please stay turned to this blog for further information about this.

We know Celia plans to travel and will visit some of the people who LASS know who are now abroad.  We hope to capitalise on some of her travelling experiences to continue to develop our work in future, so we don’t intent to let her escape too far!

On behalf of all of LASS; Past, Present & Future – farewell Celia and safe journey!