Monthly Archives: December 2012

‘Tis The Season For Overindulgence ♫

Boxing Day Buffet Lunch Christmas Tree and Log Fir

Many people overdo it at Christmas, celebrating with friends and family, non-stop eating, drinking and late nights can leave us feeling tired, sluggish and quite often, a little poorly if we’ve eaten or drunk too much.  A lot of people with HIV generally have a healthy diet and lifestyle, and may only overindulge once or twice a year, if that’s you, then you’ll have no problems going back to eating sensibly after the holiday season, festive excesses aren’t likely to have a long-term, damaging effect on your health or your weight.  However, the short term strain that too much rich food and alcohol puts on your body can still leave you feeling bloated and out of sorts, when all you need is your body to get back to normal.

The average person can consume as much as 7,000 calories on Christmas Day, (that’s three and a half times the recommended daily intake for a woman.)  As well as dehydrating us and putting a strain on our liver, excessive consumption of alcohol can also make us feel unwell, and ill-equipped to handle a detox correctly.

When the festivities are finally over, there are a few sensible, gimmick-free steps that you can take to help you and your body get back on the road to feeling better.

Get Moving

It’s a cliché, but exercise really is the best way to make your body and metabolism work together so it can make use of the nutrition it’s received over the past few days.  A 30 minute walk is good for your heart, lungs, muscles and bones, as well as improving your mood and giving you a sense of wellbeing.  So instead of watching reruns of Christmas TV, get yourself off the sofa and go out for a stroll!

Be kind to your body

If you’ve over-indulged in rich, fatty, sugary foods with alcohol, if your inclined, your body needs time to recuperate.  You should try to avoid red meats, dairy products and processed foods and opt for lots of fruit and vegetables and wholegrain foods instead.  And one of the best things to drink is water (no surprise there), but did you know that the additional salt and alcohol we consume dehydrates the body, so it’s best to re-hydrate.  If you can’t manage full glasses, frequently just try a glass of water with your cup of tea, coffee or soft drink.  Combined with exercise, you’ll start to feel the benefits almost immediately!

Don’t Forget Protein!

Proteins are extremely important for your diet as they are the building blocks of your cells, muscles, organs, and more importantly, your immune system!  If your body doesn’t get the protein it needs from food, it will start using the protein it has stored up which can result in a weakening of your immune system.  A good rule of thumb for a HIV positive person is 100 to 150 grams of protein per day for men, and 80 to 100 grams of protein per day for women.

Energy & Fat (yes, fat)!

You can rebuild your energy by eating complex carbohydrates, that’s food items such as grains and beans, rice and pasta.  While eating complex carbohydrates, try to focus on foods such as white bread, pasta and potatoes.  These carbohydrates are richer in nutrients and the body absorbs them slower, helping to sustain you while you are between meals.

While carbohydrates help you get energy, fat is what helps the body store energy for later use.  For HIV positive people, doctors recommend a fat intake of less than 30 percent of your daily caloric intake.  Also make sure you are getting the appropriate amounts of fat, sometimes, people with HIV experience an increase in cholesterol because of interactions with medications so it’s important to watch your fat consumption. It is recommended that of that 30 percent, 7 percent be saturated fat from foods like whole milk, butter and fatty meats. The rest of the fat should come from nuts, fish, seeds, canola oil and soy.

If you’d like to know more about HIV and Nutrition, visit Avert, who have comprehensive information and advice on diet, supplements and nutrition.

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Merry Christmas!

As the Holiday Season is upon us, we find ourselves reflecting on the past year and on those who have helped us to shape our organisation. These people are our service users, volunteers and partner agencies. We value our relationship with you and look forward to working with you in the year to come. With appreciation to you all, the staff at LASS wish you a very merry Christmas and extend our best wishes for a happy New Year filled with peace and prosperity.

Christmas Opening Times.

We are unable to provide Rapid HIV tests over the Christmas period because we are closed for some days. You can still get tested at LASS until 21st December as usual, and then from 2nd January 2013. More information about our HIV Testing Service (including opening times over Christmas are here).

Day Date
Monday 24th December 2012 Closed
Tuesday 25th December 2012 Closed
Wednesday 26th December 2012 Closed
Thursday 27th December 2012 Open
Friday 28th December 2012 Open
Saturday 29th December 2012 Closed
Sunday 30th December 2012 Closed
Monday 31st December 2012 Closed
Tuesday 1st January 2013 Closed
Wednesday 2nd January 2013 Open

If you need information or HIV / STI tests over the holiday period please visit the Sexual Health Clinic at Leicester Royal Infirmary, Jarvis Building.  Their opening hours are as follows;

  • Christmas Eve, 24th December from 08.30 until 13.00 hours.
  • Christmas day and Boxing day – Closed
  • 27th – 29th – open normal hours
  • New Year’s Eve, 31st December from 08.30 until 13.00 hours
  • New Year’s day – Closed
  • 2nd January onwards – usual opening hours


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.

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:

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Farewell Spencer


Spencer Cox, one of the world’s most prominent AIDS activists and a highly respected “citizen scientist” has passed away.

Spencer Cox, the pivotal AIDS activist who co-founded ACT-UP and TAG (Treatment Action Group) and was featured in David France’s recent documentary How to Survive a Plague, has died at Columbia Presbyterian of AIDS related causes, France writes in a note:

 As a very young man fresh from Bennington, where he studied Theater and English Literature, he arrived in NYC after finishing just 3 years. He was diagnosed with HIV soon thereafter. By 1989, at age 20, he had become spokesman for ACT UP during its zenith through the early 90s. A member of its renowned Treatment & Data committee, and later co-founder of TAG (the Treatment Action Group), he schooled himself in the basic science of AIDS and became something of an expert, a “citizen scientist” whose ideas were sought by working scientists. In the end, Spencer wrote the drug trial protocol which TAG proposed for testing the promising protease inhibitor drugs in 1995. Adopted by industry, it helped develop rapid and reliable answers about the power of those drugs, and led to their quick approval by the FDA.

Even before ACT UP, he began work for amfAR (Foundation for AIDS Research), first as a college intern, eventually going on staff as assistant to Director of Public Affairs, responsible for communications and policy).  He left there to co-found the Community Research Initiative on AIDS (now the AIDS Community Research Initiative of America, ACRIA) with Dr. Joseph Sonnabend and Marisa Cardinale (Marisa Cardinale <>). At ACRIA, he ran public affairs and edited all publications.

From 1994 to 1999, he was Director of the HIV Project for TAG, where he did his ground breaking work in drug trials designs. He designed the drug trial adopted in part by Abbott as they were developing Norvir, the first Protease Inhibitor to head into human trials. It had an “open standard-of-care arm,” allowing people on the control arm to take any other anti-AIDS drugs their doctors prescribed, versus the arm taking any other anti-AIDS drugs plus Norvir. It was this study that showed a 50% drop in mortality in 6 months. Norvir was approved in late 1995. Though the results were positive, the proposal sharply divided the community, many of whom thought it was cruel to withhold Norvir on the control arm. Spencer defended himself in a controversial BARON’S coverstory that made him, briefly, the most-hated AIDS activist in America. Ultimately he was vindicated.

Writing for Poz in 2006, Cox wrote:

“Some of my friends lived for almost 20 years through a flood of death, illness, fear and sadness. And when effective treatment came along and the dying slowed—at least in much of the developed world—everyone assumed that things had gotten better, that we didn’t need to think about it anymore.  But I don’t think that’s true. I think those of us who were in the middle of it were deeply affected by what we experienced and that it affects the choices we make today. I wonder if that’s not partly why the depression rate among gay men is about three times higher than among straight men.

“Because of my memories of those times, I try to appreciate life and the people special to me. But I can also see that I have to fight off an ongoing fear that things could go suddenly, terribly wrong, that the worst-case scenario is also the most likely.”

“What I learned from that is that miracles are possible. Miracles happen, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. I wouldn’t trade that information for anything. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know what’d going to happen day to day. I don’t know what’s going to happen next year. I just now, you keep going. You keep evolving and you keep progressing, you keep hoping until you die. Which is going to happen someday. You live your life as meaningful as you can make it. You live it and don’t be afraid of who is going to like you or are you being appropriate. You worry about being kind. You worry about being generous. And if it’s not about that what the hell’s it about?”

Farewell Spencer, and thank you for all your hard and contribution


Spencer Cox
1968 – 2012

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Information about the effort and influence surrounding HIV/AIDS prominent activists is available here.

Rapid HIV Testing – Seasonal Opening / Closing times


We are unable to provide Rapid HIV tests over the Christmas period as we are closed for some days. You can still get tested at LASS until 21st December as usual, and then from 2nd January 2013.

Just walk in for an appointment or you may phone in advance to book one.

If you need information or HIV / STI tests over the holiday period please visit the Sexual Health Clinic at Leicester Royal Infirmary, Jarvis Building.  Their opening hours are as follows;

  • Christmas Eve, 24th December from 08.30 until 13.00 hours.
  • Christmas day and Boxing day – Closed
  • 27th – 29th – open normal hours
  • New Year’s Eve, 31st December from 08.30 until 13.00 hours
  • New Year’s day – Closed
  • 2nd January onwards – usual opening hours

LASS Rapid HIV Test Times from 2nd January 2013

We offer a confidential Rapid HIV testing service at LASS (53, Regent Road, LE1 6YF). You can phone to make an appointment (0116 255 9995) or drop in for a test during any of the following times:

Day Times
Monday 09:30 – 16:30
Tuesday 09:30 – 16:30
Wednesday 09:30 – 16:30
Thursday 09:30 – 16:30
Friday 09:30 – 11:30

Unfortunately we are unable to offer testing at weekends.

Call in and get yourself tested – put your mind at ease.
If you live outside Leicestershire visit Do It Right to find a testing site close to you.

If you are interested in finding out more about Rapid HIV Testing in community settings we do run training courses. Contact us to find out more.

Heather Alcock, policy advisor for the All Party Parliamentary Group on HIV & AIDS joins LASS.

Heather Alcock at the LASS AGM 6th October 2011

Heather Alcock presenting certificates to volunteers at the LASS AGM 6th October 2011

Heather Alcock, policy advisor for the All Party Parliamentary Group on HIV & AIDS has agreed to join the LASS Board of Trustees as a co-opted Trustee.

This is great news for us and will give us a good profile nationally as well as influence with local MPs.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on HIV and AIDS is a backbench cross-Party group of MPs and Peers in the UK Parliament at Westminster.

MPs and Peers who have joined the Group have done so because they are concerned about both the devastation that HIV and AIDS are causing in developing countries and about their impact here in the UK including in our constituencies.

They believe that as parliamentarians they should play their part in addressing the HIV epidemic. In particular they say they have an important role in ensuring that laws and policies are respectful of human rights and promote public health.

On their website, you can read reports published by the Group, see examples of where we have raised issues about HIV and AIDS in Parliament and find out how to stay in touch with their work.

They say;

We value very highly the advice, guidance and support that we get from people living with HIV, NGOs and professionals outside Parliament. We hope that this website not only increases the information people can obtain about the Group, it also increases the dialogue between politicians and the people who are coping with the reality of life with HIV.

Please join us in welcoming Heather Alcock to our Board of Trustees.

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Related articles

The Need for A HIV Strategy


By the end of 2012 it is estimated that there will be 100,000 people living with
HIV in the UK.  HIV diagnoses remain stubbornly high.  The two communities most affected are gay and bisexual men and African men and women.

Approximately one in twenty gay and bisexual men and one in twenty African men and women in the UK are living with HIV. In 2010, 3,000 gay and bisexual men were newly diagnosed with HIV; this is the highest number of gay and bisexual men newly diagnosed with HIV ever reported in a single year.

In the same year, half of all people diagnosed were diagnosed late; people diagnosed late have a ten-fold increased risk of death within one year of HIV
diagnosis compared to those diagnosed promptly. And still nearly a quarter of people living with HIV in the UK are unaware of their status. This is of real
concern given that the majority of transmissions come from people who are themselves unaware that they have HIV.

Advances in treatment have seen enormous improvements in quality of life and life expectancy for people living with HIV. In 2010, 85% of people on treatment had an undetectable viral load within a year of starting medication, a marker of
successful treatment. However, this success in treatment has not been matched by improvements in social support for people living with HIV. Many still  experience stigma and discrimination, live in poverty and cannot access the psychological support they need.

Although HIV remains one of the most serious infectious diseases affecting the UK, public understanding and knowledge of HIV is poor and getting worse. Recent Ipsos MORI research commissioned by NAT revealed that only one in
three adults were able to correctly identify all the ways HIV is and is not transmitted from a list of options, with almost a fifth mentioning one incorrect
method such as spitting or sharing a glass. One in five were unaware that HIV is transmitted through sex without a condom between a man and woman.

The research also showed a link between poor knowledge about HIV and negative and judgemental attitudes towards people living with HIV. There is
clearly still a need to improve awareness among the public, both to prevent the spread of HIV – each new infection costs the UK over a quarter of a million
pounds in direct lifetime medical costs alone – and to prevent misconceptions which fuel stigma and discrimination.

Despite this situation, there is no strategy for HIV in England – the last national strategy for sexual health and HIV came to an end in 2010. Over 90% of people living with HIV in the UK live in England, and yet England is the only country within the UK not to have a strategy.

Would you like to know more? Read the National AIDS Trust HIV Strategy.

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FREE Training: HIV & Culture


Delivered in collaboration with people from a wide range of communities and cultures in Leicester, we will explore how culture affects perspectives and experiences of HIV.

  • Date & Time: Thursday, 13th December between 13:00-16:30 hrs.
  • Venue: The Michael Wood Centre, 53 Regent Road, Leicester, LE1 6YF.

The session will also look at ways of providing knowledge and empowerment about HIV to people with different cultural needs.”

Spaces are very limited, (only 10 available).  If you would like to attend, please contact us on 0116 2559995 and speak to our team who are happy to help.

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