LASS has been absolutely delighted to welcome HRH Prince Harry to our project today. During his visit he took time to reflect on the changes for people living with HIV and unveiled a plaque marking the start of LASS’s 30th year. He was able to look at the history of LASS and viewed the panels that were launched by Princess Diana when she visited in 1991.
David Rowlands one of LASS trustees said ‘No one would have been able to predict the huge medical advances that have meant that people living with HIV are now able to live long and fulfilled lives with their condition, however too many people are still diagnosed late and the fear of stigma and discrimination is extremely difficult for people to cope with. Moving forward significant focus and investment will need to be provided to improve education, awareness, prevention, treatment, care and outreach of HIV testing services’
LASS plans to provide community testing in 30 new places in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland during our 30th year. Some of our partner organisations were able to join HRH Prince Harry for a training session during his visit and invited to assist in the planning of this. Jenny Hand CEO said ‘During our 30th year we aim to ensure many more people take a test, know their HIV status, get the support that they need and maintain good health and wellbeing. We could help the health service save lives and money by reducing late diagnosis. Prince Harry’s visit will make so much difference to the confidence of individuals, as well as LASS as an organisation. It helps everyone to be more aware of HIV and will contribute to reducing the stigma that makes an HIV diagnosis so difficult to handle in our diverse communities locally.’
LASS provides information, advice, support and advocacy services for people who are living with or affected by HIV and also raises HIV awareness through training and workshops . We provide free confidential HIV testing in community settings. LASS works in partnership with other agencies to challenge the stigma and discrimination faced by people living with HIV.
His Royal Highness Prince Harry joined volunteers, service users and staff in a discussion about ‘My HIV and Me’ and assisted volunteers in LASS café by serving lunch.