Monthly Archives: November 2014

Shooting Challenge: Week 3 Winner & Week 4: Colour & Contrast

Doug Smith

Doug Smith – Winner for Week 3: Perspective

Congratulations to Doug  Smith (again) who has won last week’s shooting challenge! His image will be added to the winners of this and the next 4 Shooting Challenges where an overall winner will be decided and a prize given.

KeeberEstellePerspective

Light at the end of the tunnel by Estelle Keeber

Estelle coveys in her image, the light at the end of a tunnel, after a HIV diagnoses.  By placing a condom over the end of her camera lens then shooting a light source Estelle has conceptually created a ‘tunnel’ using the means to engage in safe sex.  Estelle has said that she enjoys the abstract nature of this image because it invites the question as to what it could be, furthering the debate.

 

 

 

With ‘Infected’ Zoe denotes both pleasure and pain within the same photograph.  She has said, as the disease normally comes from pleasure, then ultimately causes pain she wanted to use the pain to mark herself externally, (something which many people who live with HIV would want to avoid).  By merging sexual bondage and stigma together, HIV looses it’s power to depress as ownership is declared for the condition.

WEEK 4: COLOUR & CONTRAST

Knowing how to use contrast will help you create eye-catching images. Contrast is a tool that photographers use to direct viewer’s attention to their subject. There are two types: Tonal Contrast and Colour Contrast. Tonal Contrast refers to the difference in tones from the lightest tone to the darkest tone, in other words, the difference in tones from white to gray to black. Colour Contrast refers to the way colors interact with each other.  For more examples and further reading on Colour & Contrast, visit: MyPhotoSchool and Photoinf.

You do not need to be a photographer to join into this competition (and if your a student of the art, we’d love to see your ideas and pictures)!  Almost everyone has a camera on their phone, everyone is capable of taking photographs – we’d like to tap into this, get creative with the gear you already have, it’s not about the tech, it’s about YOU!

THE BRIEF:

This week, we want you to use colours and tones in your images, your photo’s could be simple, like our example or impressive like some of the examples in the above links.  As always, there must be some link to World AIDS Day, HIV or Sexual Health.

THE EXAMPLE

 

LASS Panels

LASS Panels

These panels were initially a response to a need felt by volunteers of LASS to visibly commemorate and remember the people they have loved who have died from an AIDS defining illness.  Various ideas were thought of from pigeon holes with photographs in, to a wall hanging that could have ribbons tied to it. These didn’t seem to encompass all that we wanted to represent which was a personal statement and a show of affection to the person who had died, but also a public celebration of each life.

The panels consist of beautiful, colourful and contrasting purses hooked onto a quilted backcloth which is decorated with pearls. Each purse celebrates a person who has died.  The purses are made of any fabric volunteers wish e.g. velvets, rubber, brocade, silk etc.. and can be decorated with badges, beads, buttons, sequins or anything that is special to the volunteer and person they are remembering. Inside is a special memento of that person, something only the person who has made the purse knows about.

THE RULES:

  • Follow the brief
  • Send your best photos by 6PM on Sunday 23rd November 2014 with “Shooting Challenge” in the subject to photography@lass.org.uk and we’ll announce the winner on Monday 24th November as we set the theme for next week’s shooting challenge.
  • Submissions must be your own work.
  • Photos must be taken after the challenge was published; so no existing shots please.
  • Explain briefly in your submission email the equipment, settings, technique used and the story behind the image/images.
  • We will of course credit you so if you have a website or twitter handle, let us know! – If you’re happy for us to use the images elsewhere on our site – do let us know!
  • Save your image as a JPG, and use the following naming convention FirstnameLastnameEasy.jpg
  • Anyone can enter, regardless of camera gear, or location!
  • The most important rule — HAVE FUN!
STAY UPDATED
Follow LASS on Twitter
or subscribe by email
Visit Well For Living
for well-being news and info or follow_THEM-a copy
Advertisements

Casual Sex Encounters? – Read This & Stay Safe!

RobsonTomUnsafe

‘Ready & Waiting – by Tom Robson

Protect yourself while having sex, it’s our number one message and it’s primarily directed around having safer sex in terms of sexually transmitted infections.

What then when meeting new people while out then going home afterwards or online, using a website or app?

A lot of people use the internet to look for sex and many find it.  We know it’s it’s exciting to meet strangers too for those evenings of passion which you remember for days on end but you must ensure you are safe with new people you have only just met. It would be irrational to say don’t do it at all so here’s a pointers on how to stay safe while hooking up online..

Let a Friend Know What’s Going On

If you’re the type of person who can find a hook-up within a few minutes of logging on, the chances are that you’ve probably got a friend that is equally as friendly as you are. So, why not put that friendship to its best use? Take a screenshot of your next meet’s face pic (because we know you’re not seeing them without one)! then text it along with the address to your pal with a note that you’ll text them as soon as you’re done so they know you’re safe. The bonus is that you’ll have a record of all your online meets, someone to talk to them about and a printable face pic to put on a dartboard in case they end up being a time waster. It’s a win-win situation.

Trust Your Gut

You know that feeling when something isn’t right, when you know that everything isn’t as it should be and you’re second guessing yourself, trust it! Most of us have experienced the sense of knowing things before we know them, even if we can’t explain how. Theories suggest you can “feel” approaching events specifically because of your dopamine neurons. “The jitters of dopamine help keep track of reality, alerting us to those subtle patterns that we can’t consciously detect,” explains Jonah Lehrer, author of the book: How We Decide.

So when chatting to someone on and off line, your instincts can tell you whether or not there’s a “creep factor” that you can’t shake off. If you get even a hint that there is something not right about the situation, don’t go, find someone else, the internet is an ocean with plenty of fish, stay away from the sharks!

Know How To Protect Yourself

If you’re a small frame, and into the big muscle type then you’ve got to be aware that you’re at a physical disadvantage going into the situation. At the very least you should know how to escape a bad situation. A few self-defence lessons from a martial arts centre could make all the difference if you’re ever confronted in the future or worse, attacked by someone in your own home who you’ve just met online.  If you’re interested, here’s some details of Martial Art‘s centres in Leicester: http://dojos.co.uk/Leicester/ It’s another avenue to explore for social interaction while keeping fit and helping to protect yourself! Win Win!

Avoid Anonymous Encounters

It needs to be said, some people are very into the anonymity and fantasy of a total stranger coming in to their home and having sex with no prior discussion and we have to say that this is probably one of the most dangerous things that you can do after looking for sex online. If you think it’s a good idea to have your head buried in the pillow and leave your door unlocked while waiting for a complete stranger to enter your home then get over it. Now.

Engaging in this particular type of fantasy leaves you more open to robbery and sexual assault, and leaves you in the most vulnerable position you could be in. If this is really your thing, engage in it with a trusted friend/meet and make it a part of the fantasy so you can have the good sex with only the idea of the danger.

Have A Regular Online Buddy

OK, so if you’re doing the Grindr & Tindr thing. Obviously there is always going to be the awkwardness of meeting someone for the first time. If the sex is really good and you’re both into making it a regular thing, then why not use the app to reconnect with them? You’ve obviously both passed the chemistry test and since you’re both smart enough not to try to make a ‘relationship’ out of an online meet then you’re left with someone who can be trusted on some level that you have really good sex with.

(And here’s the dirty little secret about getting sex online, most people actually want a regular partner to meet up with, even if they’re not looking for a boyfriend/girlfriend).

So have fun “auditioning” people, and when you find one or two (or ten) that you click with, go ahead and put them in your phonebook. Properly vetted online friends with benefits can nullify the need for all of this advice so keep your eyes open for someone good to add to your black book – It’ll save you a lot of stress in the long run.

Would you add anything to this list? – Let us know in the comments.

 

STAY UPDATED
Follow LASS on Twitter
or subscribe by email
Visit Well For Living
for well-being news and info or follow_THEM-a copy

When HIV is the cure.

cure-for-all-diseases

A man who was diagnosed with an extremely aggressive form of cancer two years ago is now amazingly in remission thanks to a revolutionary treatment that involved receiving an infusion of the HIV virus.

Marshall Jensen of Utah, was one of 30 leukemia patients to undergo a trial treatment at Penn Medicine recently, in which white blood cells are implanted with a harmless form of HIV programmed to target and kill cancer.

Marshall, his wife Amanda and their young son Kezman, had spent two years travelling around the States hoping to find a cure which was diagnosed a year after the couple got married.

They eventually met Dr Carl June at Penn Medicine in Pennsylvania, who has spent 20 years working on a breakthrough experimental treatment using HIV.  Dr June enrolled Marshall onto the trial and the results have been nothing short of miraculous.

As well as Marshall’s fantastic news, of the 30 leukaemia patients who received the treatment – comprised of five adults and 25 children – 23 are still alive and 19 are in remission.

Marshall told local TV news: “We didn’t know how we were going to get out there, what we were going to do, but it worked”

Last Thursday, a healthier Jensen returned to his home town to a surprise homecoming celebration.  The connection between leukemia and HIV was first discovered in 2006, when an HIV-positive man named Timothy Wood was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia.

After receiving a bone marrow transplant from a donor with a rare genetic mutation, Timothy’s cancer went into remission and the HIV disappeared from his system making him the first man to ever be fully cured of the virus.

Since then, Dr June and his team have been working on developing a HIV-based treatment for leukaemia and, this October, published a study showing the therapy’s success on 30 cancer patients.

The patients who received the treatment had billions of T-cells extracted from their body, which were taken to a lab and implanted with deactivated HIV.

The ‘serial killer’ cells are then put back into the body to fight and kill cancer, and remain dormant until the cancer reappears.  While the idea of receiving a dose of HIV may seem scary to some, Dr June says there’s nothing to fear about the stripped-down virus used in the treatment.

He explained: “It’s a disabled virus, but it retains the one essential feature of HIV, which is the ability to insert new genes into cells.”

Seven-year-old Emma Whitehead was the first child to receive the treatment in 2012, and has been cancer-free for two years now.  Dr June and his team are now looking at using the HIV treatment to attack other forms of cancers, and will be starting trials this summer for pancreatic cancer patients.

STAY UPDATED
Follow LASS on Twitter
or subscribe by email
Visit Well For Living
for well-being news and info or follow_THEM-a copy

HIV testing rates surge among gay men in England, following nationwide drive

dt_140626_hiv_blood_vial_800x600

The numbers of gay and bisexual men in England coming forward for HIV testing has surged, following a nationwide drive to encourage those in high-risk groups to test for the virus and reduce the proportion of infections that remain undiagnosed.

Data collected by Public Health England (PHE) showed a marked increase in HIV testing rates among men who have sex with men during the period from 2011 – 2012, the period when Terrence Higgins Trust and HIV Prevention England launched National HIV Testing Week. The week was launched in November 2012 to encourage HIV testing among high-risk groups, in the largest partnership to date between NHS sexual health clinics, community based HIV testing services, and national and local HIV prevention organisations. This year, the third National HIV Testing Week will run from 22nd – 30th November.

Between 2011 and 2012, the number of gay and bisexual men who had an HIV test in NHS clinics in England rose by 13% (64,270 – 72,710). In London, the increase was sharper still, with a rise of 19% (28,640 – 33,980). During the same period, the proportion of gay and bisexual men with HIV who remained undiagnosed fell from 20% to 18%.

Cary James, Head of Health Improvement at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “We have been thrilled by the success of National HIV Testing Week, and particularly the speed and enthusiasm with which people all over the country have picked up the event and run with it.

“The national figures on HIV give us confidence that our ongoing drive to get more gay men testing more regularly is having an impact. Testing rates are up, diagnoses are up, and the level of undiagnosed HIV is coming down. We need to keep this momentum going, so we will be throwing everything we have behind National HIV Testing Week 2014. We want to get the message out there that together, we can stop HIV.”

In the UK, gay men and African communities are the groups most at risk of HIV. Currently, around one in five people with HIV remains undiagnosed and therefore more likely to pass the virus on than someone who has tested and is on treatment. HIV Prevention England’s It Starts With Me campaign focuses on curbing new infections by increasing testing rates and reducing the level of undiagnosed HIV within high-risk groups.

National HIV Testing Week is supported by major public health bodies, including LASS, Public Health England, the British HIV Association (BHIVA), and the British Association of Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH).

STAY UPDATED
Follow LASS on Twitter
or subscribe by email
Visit Well For Living
for well-being news and info or follow_THEM-a copy

Shooting Challenge: Week 2 Winner & Week 3: Perspective.

SmithDougWeek2

Doug Smith – Negative Space

Congratulations to Doug  Smith  who has won last week’s shooting challenge! His image will be added to the winners of this and the next 5 Shooting Challenges where an overall winner will be decided and a prize given.  Doug visited LASS last Thursday with a group of photographers who were using the building to shoot  fashion photography.  Doug wore a red ribbon throughout and has said he used this as a basis for a pattern stamp.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Zoe Van-De-Velde – Safe Sex

Our other entrant is Zoe Van-De-Velde who is symbolising and commenting on safer sex, how far do people go to be safe and does having HIV mean that you have to give up sex, refrain form sexual desire or stop enjoying.  Zoe has said this shouldn’t be the case and that’s what her photograph preperents.

 

WEEK 3: PERSPECTIVE

Do you always take photographs from eye level? You’re not alone, many people fall into the bad habit of shooting everything we see from eye-level. We are walking around, something catches our eye, and we take a picture right from where we are standing. If you want to make an immediate impact in your photography, you need to change your perspective and get out of your ‘eye-level rut’.

You can change your composition by zooming in or out but if you want to change your perspective, you are going to need to move. Don’t let your feet root you to the spot, bend, turn, walk or climb.  Start working with perspective in photography and your images will thank you for it.  For more information and examples on perspective, visit Picture Correct or Tuts+.

You do not need to be a photographer to join into this competition (and if your a student of the art, we’d love to see your ideas and pictures)!  Almost everyone has a camera on their phone, everyone is capable of taking photographs – we’d like to tap into this, get creative with the gear you already have, it’s not about the tech, it’s about YOU!

This week, we want you to change your perspective from the norm and incorporate this into your photograph.  If you’re unsure what this means, quite simply, if you were to take a photo of something, completely change your position and that of your camera too and still create a stunning photograph!

THE BRIEF:

Use a different perspective when composing your image. & Ensure it relates to HIV, World AIDS Day or Sexual Health.

You could photograph a red ribbon in a new and unique way, you could show us a completely different view of an object.  You could be conceptual or literal, arty, or documentary,  It’s up to you!

THE EXAMPLE

RobsonTomPerspective

Adherence – Tom Robson

“Adherence” “Obedience” “Allegiance”

Adherence to a HIV regimen gives HIV medicines the chance to do their job: to prevent HIV from multiplying and destroying the immune system. Poor adherence to a HIV regimen increases the risk of drug resistance. Drug-resistant HIV no longer responds to the HIV medicines that suppresses HIV.  (For more on Adherence, visit our archive)

This could have been a shot of someone taking medicine, or a single bottle of medicine placed on a table. Instead, by changing perspective and getting close to the subject, multiple bottles reinforces the repetitive need for Adherence when taking HIV medicine.

Image Details: f/6.3, 1/60 sec ISO 1600, 1×1 crop.

THE RULES:

  • Follow the brief
  • Send your best photos by 6PM on Sunday 16th November 2014 with “Shooting Challenge” in the subject to photography@lass.org.uk and we’ll announce the winner on Monday 17th November as we set the theme for next week’s shooting challenge.
  • Submissions must be your own work.
  • Photos must be taken after the challenge was published; so no existing shots please.
  • Explain briefly in your submission email the equipment, settings, technique used and the story behind the image/images.
  • We will of course credit you so if you have a website or twitter handle, let us know! – If you’re happy for us to use the images elsewhere on our site – do let us know!
  • Save your image as a JPG, and use the following naming convention FirstnameLastnameEasy.jpg
  • Anyone can enter, regardless of camera gear, or location!
  • The most important rule — HAVE FUN!
STAY UPDATED
Follow LASS on Twitter
or subscribe by email
Visit Well For Living
for well-being news and info or follow_THEM-a copy

Positive Art Exhibition

Apex Art Exhibition Poster

Positive Art is a celebration of artistry focusing on World AIDS Day, HIV and Safer Sex.  As we know, World AIDS Day is celebrated globally each year on 1st December the exhibition will highlight and publicise the stigma which accompanies living with or being affected by HIV. The work on display will represents an artistic view on HIV and it impact in daily life.

On display will be a broad range of styles, from sculpture to painting, from photography and craft work. This is Leicestershire AIDS Support Services’ first Art Exhibition curated by Chaz Ram from both established and neophyte artists.

Core messages will include that art can be a powerful tool for social change and public debate, we will showcase our historic art, unlocked from LASS’s basement. Other messages remain to be getting to Zero, Stigma & Discrimination and how art has featured within HIV historically.

The exhibition is located at Apex Works Gallery space and will be open from 1st December 2014 until Wednesday, 17th December where it will close with the results of the Shooting Challenge.

Shooting Challenge

The shooting challenge is a photography competition open everyone, and features weekly here on this blog (click here to see the posts)

SC

Each Monday, we’ll set a theme and ask for entrants to the photography competition.  We’ll consider the photographs and pick that week’s winner, while announcing the next week’s theme. Everyone is invited to participate in the competition.

Part of ‘Positive Art’ will focus on photography and participants in the shooting challenge are invited to exhibit their work at the exhibition. There is no need to frame or mount images as we shall do this on your behalf.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Stigmata – Zoe Van-De-Velde

STAY UPDATED
Follow LASS on Twitter
or subscribe by email
Visit Well For Living
for well-being news and info or follow_THEM-a copy

Second European PrEP study closes placebo arm early due to high effectiveness

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In an extraordinary development, a second European scientific trial of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has had its randomised phase closed early due to high effectiveness, just two weeks after the UK PROUD trial did exactly the same thing.

The investigators of the IPERGAY trial, which has six sites in France and one in Canada, announced today a “Significant breakthrough in the fight against HIV and AIDS” because IPERGAY had successfully demonstrated the effectiveness of its PrEP regimen.

IPERGAY’s early closure is significant not only because it adds confirmation that PrEP can be highly effective, but because it was testing an innovative, intermittent (“on-demand”) PrEP regimen. In this study, participants did not take PrEP daily, but only when they anticipated having sex. The regimen involved taking two pills of Truvada (tenofovir + emtricitabine) in the 24-hour period before anticipated sex and then, if sex happened, two separate one-pill doses in the two days following sex.* This extends the versatility of PrEP and provides an alternative regimen to daily dosing.

IPERGAY was run by the French national AIDS research institute, ANRS, and began in February 2012. It randomised gay men at high risk of HIV infection to the Truvada regimen or to a placebo – a protocol that caused some controversy among activists who felt studies such as iPrEx had already demonstrated that PrEP worked. All participants were also offered a package of measures including “personalised and frequent” counselling, repeated HIV testing, screening and treatment for other sexually transmitted infections, hepatitis B vaccination, condoms and lubricant. At the time of closure of its randomised phase, the trial had approximately 400 participants.

Following the decision taken by the PROUD study investigators to give daily Truvada to all its participants, ANRS urgently contacted the IPERGAY trial data safety monitoring board (DSMB) for a review. The DSMB examined the unblinded data and found a significant difference in incidence between the two groups with a “very significant reduction” in the risk of HIV infection in the PrEP group, which a press release describes as “much higher than the one observed in the IPREX trial” (as is the case with PROUD). The DSMB therefore recommended that all trial participants were offeredTruvada, taking it “on demand” as in the trial.

As with PROUD, no actual effectiveness figure or other quantitative data were released, pending full analysis of the figures. The full results should be available early in 2015.

The trial will continue in non-randomised form for at least a year, as will PROUD, because of the need to demonstrate that “on demand” PrEP can have long-term benefit and to gather data on safety.

Principal investigator Professor Jean-Michel Molina said, “The biomedical concept of on-demand PrEP at the time of sexual exposure, in a broader prevention framework, is validated. We owe this to all trial volunteers without whom we could never have achieved these results”. He adds that “condoms remain the cornerstone of HIV prevention. Combining all prevention tools that have proved to be effective will certainly allow us to better control the HIV epidemic.”

Professor Jean-François Delfraissy, Director of ANRS, commented, “This is a major breakthrough in the fight against HIV. The results of the ANRS IPERGAY trial should change national and international recommendations for HIV prevention”.

STAY UPDATED
Follow LASS on Twitter
or subscribe by email
Visit Well For Living
for well-being news and info or follow_THEM-a copy