Monthly Archives: October 2012

New HIV Test is 10 Times More Sensitive and a Fraction of the Price

Scientists have developed a HIV test which is ten times more sensitive and a fraction of the cost of existing methods.

The test uses nanotechnology which alters chemicals to give a visual result by turning a sample red or blue, according to research from scientists at Imperial College in London published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

Molly Stevens who led the research said “Our approach affords for improved sensitivity, does not require sophisticated instrumentation and it is ten times cheaper,”.

Simple and quick HIV tests that analyze saliva already exist but they can only pick up the virus when it reaches relatively high concentrations in the body.

“We would be able to detect infection even in those cases where previous methods, such as the saliva test, were rendering a ‘false negative’ because the viral load was too low to be detected,” she said.

The test could also be reconfigured to detect other diseases, such as sepsis, Leishmaniasis, Tuberculosis and malaria, Stevens said.
Testing is not only crucial in picking up the HIV virus early but also for monitoring the effectiveness of treatments.

“Unfortunately, the existing gold standard detection methods can be too expensive to be implemented in parts of the world where resources are scarce,” Stevens said.

According to 2010 data from the World Health Organisation, about 23 million people living with HIV are in Sub-Saharan Africa out of a worldwide total of 34 million.

The virus is also spreading faster and killing more people in this part of the world. Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 1.9 million new cases out of a global total of 2.7 million in the same year, and 1.2 million out of the 1.8 million deaths.

The new sensor works by testing serum, a clear watery fluid derived from blood samples, in a disposable container for the presence of an HIV biomarker called p24.

If p24 is present, even in minute concentrations, it causes the tiny gold nanoparticles to clump together in an irregular pattern that turns the solution blue. A negative result separates them into ball shapes that generate a red color.

That sensor used tiny gold stars laden with antibodies that latched onto the marker in a sample and produced a silver coating that could be detected with microscopes.

Stevens and her collaborator on the new test, Roberto de la Rica, said they plan to approach not-for-profit global health organizations to help them manufacture and distribute the new sensor in low income countries.

Original Story via Reuters

HAVE YOU EVER HAD A HIV TEST?

If you’re interested in having a HIV test, we offer a completely free and confidential rapid HIV test and you’ll get the 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 post 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 always necessary, if you would like a test, please contact us on 0116 2559995

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Unsafe Sex in the City

Tonight, BBC3 will go behind the scenes of a sexual health clinic for a new four-part documentary, Unsafe Sex In The City.

The documentary explores the dangers faced by young people who have unprotected sex and follows the stories of patients whose passionate encounters have led to physical and emotional anguish.

The programme goes behind the scenes of a sexual health clinic in Manchester, with staff recounting traumatic stories as well as sharing humorous anecdotes about their efforts to protect youths from sexually transmitted infections.

The show isn’t typical family viewing, but parents of teenagers and sexually active people may want to consider it.  Tonight’s patients include 22-year-old Kervin, who forgot to “strap up” before a one-night stand; a pink-haired 17-year-old who doesn’t believe in monogamy or protection; and a smooth-talking womaniser who’s far less full of himself after being interrogated and prodded by a no-nonsense nurse.

A BBC spokesman added: “BBC3 are excited to have access to one of the country’s busiest sexual health clinics.”
The show airs tonight at 9pm on BBC3, repeated at 12:15am on Thursday morning (25th) – Then again on Saturday 27th at 3:05am – or view it on BBC iPlayer.
 
WE’LL BE WATCHING TONIGHT WITH TWITTER!
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Sharing Our Languages for World AIDS Day 2012

In 2012, our 25th year, we want to celebrate the different communities we work with – raising awareness, testing and working one to one. So this World AIDS day 2012 will be an opportunity to learn some words in a language we don’t know but would like to learn. So we can be teachers and students, learning from each other – to share a message for World AIDS day 2012.

The message is:
“Hello, my name is (insert your name): It is World AIDS Day. Do you know your HIV status? I do.”

How about learning that in French, or Swahili, Spanish, Shona, Gujarati, Bemba, Hindi, Chinese or one of many more languages?

You will be linked up with someone who wants to learn what you can teach / can teach you. You make the commitment to practice – then each one of us will be videoed – so that the fruits of our work will be recorded and there for the next 25 years. We will use the videos on our website and add the complied version to our growing catalogue of short films and adverts.

You identify what language(s) you can speak and which one you would like to learn for this project.

Please contact sexualhealth@lass.org.uk, or phone 0116 255 9995 to get involved.

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Sexual Healthcare ‘at risk from NHS changes’

Many NHS services are being put out to tender – and private companies can bid!

In this week’s Scrubbing Up, Dr Steve Taylor, a sexual health and HIV specialist from Birmingham Heartlands Hospital and Dan Hartland from the HIV awareness charity Saving Lives warn there are unique dangers in allowing them to run sexual healthcare.

Many people may be unaware that one facet of the government’s health reforms allows private companies to tender to provide NHS services – including sexual healthcare.

Traditionally, such services have been paid for using an internal NHS tariff system which covered basic costs, but also factored in associated costs such as contact tracing partners and providing prevention messages.

The tariff does not cover the cost of treating complicated cases, such as secondary syphilis, but ultimately the mix of simple and complex cases balances the books.

However, as of April 2013 things will change.

Many services are being put out to private tender – and will be overseen by GP-led Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).  However, CCGs will not commission sexual health or public health services such as obesity and smoking prevention.

This function will fall to local councils, and elected officials. The directors of public health who will advise on these decisions will need to be strong advocates for the disadvantaged and stigmatised.

HIV services, meanwhile, will be commissioned centrally by the NHS Commissioning Board.

This separation is fraught with difficulties: especially when both sexual health and HIV care are currently provided by the same healthcare professionals on the same premises.

It is similarly unclear who will pay for HIV prevention campaigns.  The reforms are therefore a challenge to the joined-up way of working we currently enjoy.  Over 85% of all people attending NHS sexual health clinics take up HIV testing, with referral and retention rates both excellent – resulting in world-class patient outcomes.

Currently, then, we are able to treat patients, map epidemiological trends [disease patterns in the population] and target our prevention campaigns in a manner which is the envy of the world.

Any private company tempted to bid for a contract from a local council, meanwhile, will have subtly different priorities.

There will certainly be a handsome profit to be made from delivering straight-forward tests for sexually transmitted infections and HIV.  But diagnosis, management and treatment of the more complicated cases or assiduous epidemiological data collection might not be such money-spinners.

Is the private sector willing to provide such expertise, to perform ‘contact-tracing’, the unique NHS service which helps us track the spread of pathogens and identify outbreaks? The worried well are an easy market.

But will private companies really target the hard-to-reach populations who need the services most, such as prisoners, commercial sex workers and intravenous drug users?

The difficulty with splitting HIV service provision apart from sexual health provision will also begin to tell.  Relatively expensive HIV services may become untenable without the staff and stability offered by providing the two services together.

It would be so easy for the 25,000 people in the UK who do not know they have HIV to become 50,000 as a result of non-targeted testing and the demise of contact-tracing.

Now is the time that we should be deepening the links between prevention, research, treatment and care if we are to really make an impact upon silent STI (sexually transmitted infections) epidemics, teenage pregnancies and undiagnosed HIV.

Instead, there is a very real risk that currently joined-up services will become fragmented, with huge variation in service.

We must work with our public health colleagues, who will for the first time be part of local government rather than the NHS, to put pressure on local councils to prioritise high quality sexual health services amid demands from many disciplines for unallocated funding.

But which councillors will want to champion STI and HIV services, when promoting an already stigmatised area of healthcare may not win many votes?

And what will happen in areas where councillors with staunchly religious views are in control?  We need brave advocates amongst politicians, patients and doctors alike.

The current NHS sexual health and HIV services are far from perfect.  But we are sure that the government and the public alike will not know how good they were until things start going wrong.

Original Article via BBC News

HAVE YOU EVER HAD A HIV TEST?

If you’re interested in having a HIV test, we offer a completely free and confidential rapid HIV test and you’ll get the 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 post 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 always necessary, if you would like a test, please contact us on 0116 2559995

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HIV related Fertility Treatment and Child Adoption Study UK

Be part of an important HIV research study looking into parenthood.

  • Are you HIV positive and receiving anti-retroviral treatment?
  • Are you above the reproductive age of 21 years and above?
  • Have you considered parenthood and tried to access fertility treatment or child adoption services?

If you answered YES to these questions, you may be eligible to participate in a parenthood research study.

The purpose of this research is to explore the experiences of people living with HIV in accessing fertility treatment services or adoption services.  Whilst this study may not provide direct benefits to you, it is hoped that your experiences will help inform and influence future policies in the way services are planned and provided to people living with HIV, trying to have children using non biological means

This study is being conducted in collaboration with Terrence Higgins Trust for Doctorate research at the University of Surrey.  The research will take place at Terrence Higgins Trust offices or at a venue suitable for you, telephone interview may also be arrange.

It does not matter about what your background or sexuality is and couples interested may contact Tam Chipawe on t.chipawe@surrey.ac.uk / 07547 453600 or, Blake Smith at Terrence Higgins Trust on 020 7812 1813 for more information.

Confidentiality will be maintained at all times.  This study has received a favourable ethical opinion from the University of Surrey Ethics Committee.

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Young Carers Affected By HIV Share Stories, Help Launch Resource

Most people don’t realise that there are between 15,000 and 20,000 young carers in families in the UK affected by HIV. Over the past year, Chantelle Lindo, Development Worker at the Childrens Society had the chance to lead on the Change for Families project at their Include programme.

Funded by the Elton John Aids Foundation, the project aims to improve the support and services for children and young people caring for family members affected by HIV across the UK.

The culmination of the project is an online resource hub built in consultation with young carers affected by HIV and professionals. The hub is open to all practitioners who may come into contact with young carers in families affected by HIV.

(While the term ‘affected’ can mean ‘uninfected or untested’, some children and young people with HIV are affected by having caring responsibilities for family members who may be living with HIV themselves.)

Sharing tools with practitioners

They officially launched at the resource at events in York, Sheffield, Manchester and London. Across the country professionals fed back that the website has a good flow of information, is easily read and incorporates the views of young people as well as professionals.

They also asked professional to look at where we could develop the resource and they highlight the potential for a page which is specifically for young people.

Young carers address MPs

At all events they received great responses from attendees and were especially proud of their final event, which featured 20 young carers at the House of Commons.

The parliamentary event was chaired by Pamela Nash MP and chair of the all-party parliamentary group for HIV and Aids. Nash pledged to support young carers affected by HIV by writing to the prime minister to highlight the issues faced by young carers affected by HIV and ask what he will do to help.

Chief Executive Officer, Matthew Reed also spoke eloquently about the importance of the young people’s voices being heard at the heart of Parliament.

The young carers shared their experiences and key messages to a room packed with MPs, commissioners and policy makers. The young people read a speech that they had written and showed a film, which they had created as part of a previous event.

‘Make a pledge to continue to support young carers affected by HIV’

Dame Philippa Russell, chair of the standing commission of carers sent a message in support of the young people:

‘I hope that everyone here will make a pledge to continue to support young carers affected by HIV and they will think through what that pledge might be. My own pledge will be to ensure that you (and other young carers like you) are high on the agenda of my own standing commission on carers. We also have a role in educating professionals and reminding them of your unique and important contributions.’

Call to action

All of the young people we have worked with nationally over three years have fed into three key asks of the government:

  • Specialist HIV and young carers training sessions for all teachers, education professionals, social care and health professionals.
  • Lessons in schools about HIV and the impact on family members and young carers.
  • Raise awareness of young carers affected by HIV all the time not just on World Aids Day

Chantelle will be following up the pledges and working with the team to look at how they can take this work forward. In the meantime, if you work with or know young carers affected by HIV, please take a look at their new toolkit.

By Chantelle Lindo, Development Worker at our Include programme

Read more and take action

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Doctors are ‘missing HIV signs’

Many doctors are missing the signs that patients could be infected with HIV, researchers said after they found that one in four people with the disease could have been diagnosed at an earlier stage.

The British HIV Association (BHIVA), the body that represents HIV care professionals, said that patients with HIV are being denied longer life expectancies because they are being diagnosed too late.

A quarter of patients missed an opportunity for their HIV infection to be detected earlier because they were not offered a HIV test, according to BHIVA’s audit of HIV testing and diagnosis in the UK.

Researchers said late diagnosis of the condition is a growing problem.

People who are diagnosed with more advanced HIV have a tenfold increased risk of death in the first year compared to those diagnosed with earlier stages of infection, they said.

The author of the report, Dr Ed Ong said: “Our data shows one in four people living with HIV could have had their condition diagnosed earlier.

“This is a serious wake-up call, and shows we need a pro-active and widespread testing programme which is tailored to those people who are most at risk.”

BHIVA chair Professor Jane Anderson added: “Late diagnosis is the single biggest cause of death from HIV in the UK. It increases the risk of HIV related ill-health, of HIV being acquired by others, and significantly increases the costs of treatment.

“HIV is treatable, and if diagnosed in time, people with HIV can expect to have long and healthy lives. Sadly, opportunities for longer life expectancy for people with HIV are being thrown away by late diagnosis.”

The research, which examined the records of more than 1,000 patients at HIV treatment centres in the UK, was published today in the Clinical Medicine Journal.

Original Article via the Telegraph

HAVE YOU EVER HAD A HIV TEST?

If you’re interested in having a HIV test, we offer a completely free and confidential rapid HIV test and you’ll get the 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 post contact for detecting HIV 1 and 2 antibodies. We also have a mobile testing van which is often out in communities providing mobile rapidHIV tests. Appointments are not always necessary, if you would like a test, please contact us on 0116 2559995

STAY UPDATED
Follow LASS on Twitter
or subscribe via email