The LASS Women’s programme is a sustainable project run by women for women, helping them to:
- Understand more about HIV
- Become more involved with (and knowledgeable about) their health care
- Reduce feelings of alienation and isolation
- Receive and give peer support
- Learn new skills and gain qualifications
- Return to (or enter into) the workplace
- Gain an improved quality of life.
Rationale behind the programme
The pressures facing LASS and many other HIV support organisations, were compounded by those facing its service members, many of whom found themselves living in increasingly precarious and difficult circumstances.
LASS were aware of the changing health and social care environment, along with the changing education and employment environment. In addition, budgets have been cut from many of these services, including those provided by LASS. These cuts were even greater than expected, consequently having a far wider and greater impact than initially anticipated. Therefore, LASS took steps to initially concentrate on helping women living with HIV to adapt to the changing environment. Further projects are planned for other groups who are equally affected by these changes.
Leicester has the 6th highest prevalence of HIV outside London in England among people aged between 15 and 59 years. In the UK, people living with HIV are disproportionately represented in the communities of Black African people and gay men
In just one year, 154 women have benefited from this programme, 8 are now in employment, an additional 13 enrolled in college courses and 4 are now delivering sessions to other women enrolling in the programme.
Links with local health care professionals have also been enhanced, so far resulting in a new and improved HIV psychological care pathway.
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