Monthly Archives: December 2011

Migrants ‘most at risk of TB and HIV’

Almost three-quarters of reported cases of tuberculosis (TB) in 2010 occurred in non-UK born residents, a new report shows.

The Health Protection Agency’s (HPA) second report on migrant health also reveals that almost 60 per cent of newly diagnosed cases of HIV involved people who were born abroad.

And 61 per cent of cases of malaria in the UK involved non-UK born residents who had travelled abroad to visit friends or relatives.

Overall, the report indicates that the greatest burden of reported infectious diseases affect a small proportion of non-UK born residents, who accounted for about 12 per cent of people living in the UK in 2010.

Dr Jane Jones, consultant epidemiologist and head of the HPA’s travel and migrant health section, said: ‘The majority of non-UK born residents do not have infectious diseases but some are at higher risk than UK born residents because of their exposures and their life experiences prior to, during and after migration.’

The expert pointed out that timely identification of people who are at risk and early diagnosis of infection can help to improve outcomes.

She also emphasised: ‘It is important to remember that risk to non-UK born residents does not end on arrival in the UK.’

The HPA recently advised holidaymakers – including those visiting family overseas – to remember to take anti-malaria tablets when going to countries where the disease is prevalent.

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Canon Gideon Byamugisha

After  Canon Gideon Byamugisha visited Leicester in March 2011 we decided to invite him again – to inform and inspire us and the people and communities we work with.

We had hoped that he would be able to visit in November 2011. However he is waiting for his visa so we cannot arrange a date until that is granted.

In the meantime we do have copies of a DVD featuring Canon Gideon that you can borrow. We can also advise where you can buy the DVD.

We are looking forward to his visit and hope that you will be able to join us whenever that is.

Here is a short clip from his visit in March

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Christmas & New Year Opening Times

Over the festive period, LASS are closing due to Christmas and Bank Holidays.  In addition, some of our staff and volunteers are taking holiday or time out.

CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR OPENING TIMES

For Rapid HIV Testing

We are open for HIV Testing until 11am on Friday 23rd December.  We will be offering Rapid HIV testing on Wednesday and Thursday 28th & 29th December during opening hours of 9.30 to 4.30.

Regular Activities

We are open from 28th to 30th December from 9.30 to 4.30 pm for anyone who wants to use the services. We will be open again from 3rd January at 9am.  We are closed from Saturday 24th to Tuesday 27th December and re-open on 28th December at 9.30 am.

We will be closed over the New Year from 3pm on 30th December until Monday 2nd January 2012.

We will re-open on Tuesday 3rd January at 9am.

EMERGENCIES

There are a number of places that you can turn to for HIV/AIDS related help and advice.  The following web page lists services and support available for HIV, AIDS and sexual health in the UK.

http://www.avert.org/aids-help-uk.htm

If you are in severe pain and need immediate treatment, you should go to the Accident and Emergency (A & E) department at your nearest hospital. A & E is open 24 hours, 7 days a week, including public holidays.  Please remember that A & E is not an alternative to a GP and should only be used in an emergency

PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis)

PEP is a course of HIV medication which you can take if you have been at risk of HIV infection. The course of HIV medication lasts 28 days and, if you start taking it within 72 hours of putting yourself at risk, it may be able to prevent you from becoming infected with HIV.  Further information on PEP can be found from the following links:

http://www.tht.org.uk/informationresources/hivandaids/postexposureprophylaxis

http://www.gmfa.org.uk/sex/hivandaids/pep

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Legal Aid Campaign

Dear Readers,

The following post is sent on behalf of Scope and The National AIDS Trust who are supporting this campaign because they are concerned about the impact proposed legal aid cuts in the area of benefits could have on people living with HIV.

For more information please contact Jamie Robertson, Scope Campaigns Officer.

Legal Aid Campaign

Find out why legal aid is so important and share this with your friends http://bit.ly/lordshelpus

We’re asking for your urgent help to keep legal advice available to all.

Legal aid is a vital lifeline, it helps people who can’t afford the cost of getting legal advice. Last year, thousands of disabled people and people on low incomes were helped by legal aid advisers to overturn inaccurate benefits decisions that had left them struggling without the means to live.

The Government is trying to take it away Yet the Government is trying to close the door of justice by taking away this vital lifeline for all welfare benefits cases. If legal aid advice is removed, people with the highest level of need will be left to navigate their way through a system that requires nearly 9,000 pages of official guidance. At a time of massive change in the welfare system, this means many people won’t get the support they rely on to lead their daily lives.

Persuade Peers that they should throw out this plan From 20 December 2011, the House of Lords will begin the next stage of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill debate, which contains this shocking proposal. If you believe that the right to justice should be available to everyone, please show your support by taking your seat in our virtual House of Lords now.

Take action now!

If we can demonstrate that there is widespread public support by filling our virtual House of Lords, we stand a good chance of persuading the real House of Lords to call a halt to these plans when they debate them in the New Year.

Take your seat in our virtual House of Lords and help maintain access to legal advice for tens of thousands of disabled people and others who rely on this vital lifeline.

Posted on behalf of Jamie Robertson
Scope Campaigns Officer

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HIV stigma divides and fragments gay communities

A review of research studies has identified a growing division within gay communities, in which HIV-negative gay men associate mainly with other HIV-negative men, and vice versa. Moreover stigma has negative impacts on the health of both HIV-positive and HIV-negative men, say the authors, writing in the online edition of AIDS Care.

Stigma has been defined as ‘‘a process of devaluation of people either living with, or associated with, HIV and AIDS’’. The majority of the research literature on stigma deals with the attitudes of the general population, but the authors wished to draw attention to and pull together reports concerning the stigmatisation of HIV-positive men within communities of gay men.

They describe this literature as “fragmented and largely anecdotal” – and call for more empirical research – but have identified multiple references to stigma that affects gay and bisexual men.

  • Seven out of ten gay male respondents to a Dutch survey had experienced stigma on the gay scene.
  • HIV-positive men perceive a ‘‘rift’’ based on HIV status within their gay community.
  • Fear of rejection by potential sexual partners is widely reported and causes long-lasting harm to the self-confidence and self-esteem of men with HIV.
  • Older men with HIV feel particularly under-valued, believing that they are at the “lowest rung” of the “gay social hierarchy”, resented for supposedly being dependent on social benefits that are no longer available to younger men with HIV.
  • Body fat changes and other physical manifestations of HIV and its treatment are regarded as unattractive. Men with such symptoms report a loss of intimacy and the avoidance of particular social spaces because they feel self-conscious or fear rejection.
  • In the United States, black gay men are perceived to be at higher risk of having HIV compared to men of other ethnicities, and are sometimes avoided as sexual partners for that reason.
  • Stigma has a considerable impact on mental and emotional well-being, leading to anxiety, loneliness, depression, thoughts of suicide and avoidance strategies such as social withdrawal.
  • Men who only disclose their HIV-status to a limited support network often feel socially isolated.
  • Some gay men with HIV report keeping social and sexual distance from other HIV-positive men, feeling that being associated with HIV-positive sexual spaces (either online or offline) would compound stigma directed against them.
  • HIV-positive men who identify as ‘barebackers’ tend to report greater stigma, gay-related stress, self-blame and substance abuse coping.
  • Men reporting discrimination from sexual partners and breaches of confidentiality are less likely to adhere to their medication.

The authors note that stigma has negative effects on the health of HIV-negative men too. HIV-negative men who rely on trying to avoid sexual contact with HIV-positive men as a way of avoiding HIV infection put themselves at risk – due to infrequent HIV testing, undiagnosed infection and non-disclosure of HIV status.Moreover stigmatising beliefs are associated with lower rates of HIV testing and poorer knowledge about HIV transmission.

They say that effective strategies, validated by research, to reduce stigma are urgently needed. “Such initiatives should foster a renewed dialogue about living with HIV as a gay man, create opportunities to share understanding and experience among HIV positive and HIV-negative men, and aim to reunite gay communities by reducing stigma and offering integrated medical and social support.”

Original Article by Roger Pebody at NAM

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Leicestershire Community Calendar 2012

LASS’s Social Enterprise Well For Living launched a new initiative to help raise funds and awareness for Community Organisations and Charities.

Twelve different organisations, came together and developed a Community Calendar designed to encourage community involvement and help raise funds in this difficult climate.   The calendar also highlights important dates for the sector, such as Volunteers Week.

All Charities featured work to improve the lives of people living in Leicester and Leicestershire, and all are featured together in a calendar to display their good work throughput the year.

Read more about it at Well For Living.  http://www.wellforliving.co.uk/

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A Special Message From Canon Gideon

As you know, last Thursday, 1st December was World AIDS Day.

The following is a message from Rev Canon Dr Gideon B Byamugisha, Goodwill Ambassador on HIV & AIDS, Christian Aid Convener, Global Working Group on Faith, SSDDIM & HIV explaining the SAVE message and encouraging others to join the SAVE Campaign.

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