Tag Archives: Health care

President Trump’s next target: People living with HIV

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A month into Donald Trump’s presidency, and the ways in which Trumpism is a threat to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender existence are almost too many to count. However, those most vulnerable to HIV will be hit the hardest.

The threat of actually losing health insurance due to the president’s promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act is making millions of Americans so terrified, even his own voters are increasingly warming up to Obamacare.

But the ACA’s death is still a real possibility, and it would take a particular toll on queer Americans. According to a Yahoo investigation: “Before the ACA was passed, only about 13% of people with HIV had private health insurance and 24% had no coverage at all.” Indeed, the ACA has been a lifesaver for many people living with HIV: its subsidies for private insurance and its robust expansion of Medicaid in many states have greatly increased their access to medical treatment. If you doubt the scale of the continuing epidemiological emergency, consider that only about half of African Americans with HIV have access to continuous medical treatment, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

One way the ACA has addressed the crises is by funding the prevention efforts of Aids service organizations. Beyond people living with HIV, this work is helping to keep the transmission of the virus from further harming the most vulnerable communities, such as transgender women of color, or the one in two black gay men the CDC predicts may become HIV-positive in his lifetime unless radical action is taken.

But if “silence equals death”, as the Act Up slogan says, then loud protest is needed to keep people living with HIV from losing access to medication.

Creating swaths of uninsured people living with HIV who will likely lose access to viral suppressing medication (which makes HIV almost impossible to transmit) will also increase the likelihood of transmission to others. We know that when people in prison who are HIV-positive are released with little medication, they often stop taking it altogether when they run out; their viral load then becomes very high and, research has shown, their sex partners are more susceptible to becoming HIV-positive. (And if Republicans failed to keep the Obamacare provisions which allow people with pre-existing conditions to buy insurance without discrimination, it would be even worse.)

Remember: when then Indiana governor Mike Pence presided over one of the worst HIV outbreaks in the history of the country in 2015, he first turned to prayer before then turning to Obamacare to ameliorate the outbreak (the latter worked).

But as vice-president, Politico reported this week: “Pence is helping to lead the Republican effort to dismantle the program that helped him halt the deadly outbreak in an impoverished swathe of Indiana.” Pence wants to end what he knows worked. His horrific HIV record, steeped in heterosexism, racism and Christian supremacy, is going to hurt people living with HIV, queer people, ethnic minorities and the poor the most.

Advocates of science were alarmed when the Environmental Protection Agency was told it could no longer talk to the public because, among other reasons, the EPA protects the public from environmental harm by giving information and guidance. Similarly, LGBT Americans should be very worried that the Trump administration seems to be dialing back on providing information on HIV/Aids and LGBT health to the public. The website for the White House office of Aids policy is now blank, and the office’s future is unclear. A CDC summit in the works to address LGBT youth health (meant to address pressing issues a CDC report exposed such as how “young gay and bisexual males have disproportionately high rates of HIV, syphilis, and other sexually transmitted diseases”) was infinitely postponed after Trump was elected.

In funding prevention programs, the ACA still remains an important channel of government information about HIV/Aids. But if it disappears, the loss may beespecially harmful in states which only teach “abstinence only” sex education.

As an LGBT community (and this applies to our supporters too), we cannot be focused simply on the Trump administration’s conservative stance on our civil rights. We must be vigilant about how HIV/Aids stands to harm the most vulnerable among us first, do all we can to protect the 1.2 million people in the US already living with HIV, and insist that the government keep the epidemic from getting even worse.

Article via US Politics @ The Guardian

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Healthcare Christmas Opening Times throughout Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland

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At the time of year when the entire health system comes under increased pressure, people in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are being reminded to choose the right health service if they or a member of their family begin to feel unwell this winter.

All GP practices across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland will be open until Friday 23rd December. Practices will re-open on the 28th December with normal service as well as 29th and 30th December, between Christmas and New Year. Practices will re- open again on Tuesday January 2, 2017. Where some practices in the city would normally close at lunch time on the Thursday before Christmas, in this case 22nd December, practices will be remaining open for the full duration of the day to provide more appointments to patients before Christmas.

In addition the following practices in the city will be opening on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve for their own patients only:

GP Practice Date Times
Parker Drive

Manor Medical Centre

Saturday 24 December

Saturday 31 December

8.00am – 1.00pm

8.00am – 1.00pm

Merridale Medical Centre Saturday 24 December

Saturday 31 December

8.30am – 12.30pm
The Practice, Beaumont Leys Saturday 24 December

Saturday 31 December

8.00am – 10.00am

Healthcare Hubs Over Christmas

Patients can get an appointment with a GP or an advanced nurse practitioner at one of the hubs everyday over the holiday period, including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

Patients that are registered with any Leicester City GP practice can use the Westcotes hub from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, or the Belgrave and Saffron hubs, which open weekdays 6.30pm to 10pm and on weekends and bank holidays 12 noon to 8pm.

Healthcare Hub Address
Westcotes Medical Practice Westcotes Health Centre,
Fosse Road South, Leicester, LE3 0LP.
Brandon Street Surgery Belgrave Health Centre,
52 Brandon Street, Leicester, LE4 6AW.
Saffron Surgery 612 Saffron Lane, Leicester, LE2 6TD.

Appointments can be made by calling 0116 366 0560 or NHS 111 from 8am to 10pm, 7 days a week. It is the same number for all the hubs, which are located in three areas of the city. More information on the hub opening times can be found here: https://www.leicestercityccg.nhs.uk/find-a-service/healthcare-hubs/.

The three CCGs across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland want to ensure that people who need healthcare over the Christmas and New Year holidays are able to find the right service for their needs.

Anyone who needs immediate medical attention should call NHS 111, unless it is a life threatening emergency. Trained call handlers will assess any symptoms and direct patients to the most appropriate source of care.

Patients can also visit walk-in and urgent care centres across the city and county which offer quick, professional healthcare and can treat minor burns, cuts and wounds, infections and rashes, as well as stomach ache, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Merlyn Vaz Walk in Centre
Spinney Hill Road
Leicester
LE5 3GH
Tel: 0116 242 9450
Open: Daily 8am – 8pm

Leicester Urgent Care Centre
Balmoral Building
Infirmary Close
Leicester
LE1 5WW
Tel: via the NHS 111 service
Open: 24 hours a day, every day

Urgent Care Centre Loughborough
Loughborough Hospital
Urgent Care Centre
Hospital Way
Loughborough
LE11 5JY
Tel: 01509 568800
Open: 24 hours a day, 365 days a year

Market Harborough District Hospital
58 Coventry Road
Market Harborough
LE16 9DD
Open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 9pm
Saturday and Sunday 9am to 7pm
Bank holidays 9am to 7pm

Melton Mowbray Hospital
Thorpe Road
Melton Mowbray, LE13 1SJ
Open Monday to Friday 5pm to 9pm
Saturday and Sunday 9am to 7pm
Bank holidays 9am to 7pm

Oadby Urgent Care Centre
18 The Parade
Oadby, LE2 5BJ
Open 8am to 9pm
Saturday and Sunday 8am to 8pm
Bank holidays 8am to 8pm 

Rutland Memorial Hospital
Cold Overton Road
Oakham
Rutland, LE15 6NT
Open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 9pm
Saturday and Sunday 9am to 7pm
Open bank holidays 9am to 7pm

Professor Azhar Farooqi, a GP and Chair of Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group speaking on behalf of the three CCGs, said:  “There are many health services available across the city and county. If you feel unwell but not sure which health service to use, call NHS111 whose trained call handlers can give you the right advice.

“Don’t forget your local pharmacy if you have a minor illness over the holidays. They can provide health advice and over the counter medicines conveniently in everyone’s local community.

“It is also important to remember that if you are very poorly, particularly if you are older or have a long term health condition, not to delay seeking treatment or advice. Often at this time of year people don’t want to bother busy services, but we would rather you did seek help to avoid your condition becoming very serious and you need to be admitted to hospital.”

Details of local pharmacy opening times over the Christmas and New Year holidays are available at

https://www.leicestercityccg.nhs.uk/find-a-service/which-service-is-best/your-local-pharmacy/.

LASS SEASONAL OPENING TIMES

We are closed throughout Christmas and New Year.  Our office closes this Friday, (23rd December).  We re-open on Tuesday, 3rd January 2017

EMERGENCIES

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 Leicester and Leicestershire  http://www.leicestersexualhealth.nhs.uk/getting-tested-and-clinics/clinics/

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 link: http://www.aidsmap.com/Post-exposure-prophylaxis-PEP/page/1044883/

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Leicester West MP Liz Kendall HIV patients not helped by NHS shake-up

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MP Liz Kendall with LASS CEO Jenny Hand at the Women’s Health Conference. Photo by Tom Robson

It has been three decades since we first became aware of HIV in Britain. During those dark early years, having HIV was like being given a death sentence.

Fear, stigma, discrimination and ignorance left people suffering in silence and perpetuated the spread of this terrible disease.

We’ve made huge strides forward since the 1980s and organisations such as Leicestershire Aids Support Service (Lass) have led the way.

People with HIV can now expect to live longer, healthier and happier lives. But there is still much more that needs to be done.

Last week, I opened Lass’s conference at De Montfort University, which brought together more than 100 delegates from across the country to discuss the challenges ahead.

First, we must continue to raise public awareness about HIV/Aids because, despite all the progress, it hasn’t gone away.

There are 100,000 people in Britain living with HIV and nearly a quarter of them do not know they have contracted the virus.

The diagnosis rate in Leicester is just over three people for every 1,000 of our population, which is more than twice the national average.

Second, we must redouble our efforts to prevent people getting the disease, including by promoting safe sex, and to encourage more people to get tested.

This means confronting head-on the idea that “it can’t happen to me” and tackling some of the difficult issues around religious belief and stigma. Third, people with HIV need the very best standards of care.

This includes not only clinical treatment but help and advice with housing, employment and personal finances, and emotional support, too.

Unfortunately, these challenges are now harder to address because of the Government’s NHS reorganisation.

Contraception services, testing, treatment and public awareness campaigns have been fragmented.  Responsibilities are now split between national bodies including NHS England and Public Health England and local organisations such as GP clinical commissioning groups and councils.

This does not make sense for patients or get the best value for taxpayers’ money.

The resulting confusion and uncertainty come at the same time as funding for local NHS, council care services and voluntary organisations such as Lass is being cut.

Lass is trying to support people with HIV to better cope with these combined pressures.

Its pioneering women’s programme is helping improve patients’ understanding of their condition and become more involved with their care.

It brings women with HIV together to share their experiences, learn skills, gain qualifications, find work and improve their overall quality of life.

Families and friends are supported, too.

So far, 154 women have benefited. Their relationships with NHS staff have improved, resulting in a better experience of care.

Eight women are now in employment and an additional 13 have enrolled in college courses.

I’m determined to champion the excellent work of organisations such as Lass as a local MP and a member of Labour’s shadow health team.

It’s only by working together that we will address the big health challenges we face, including HIV and Aids.

The LASS Women’s Programme

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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.

For your copy of the report, please click here

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The LASS Women’s Programme

final-womens-report-1

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.

Please click here for a full copy of the report.

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Positive Men’s Support Group

Do you wish there was a support group, specifically for men where you can talk to other guys about the HIV related issues that affect you?

Well, you’re in good company!

LASS are working with HIV positive men to support and address issues that affect them.  We hope to understand the issues properly so we can better educate the various services across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland so more men have better access to health care, information and advice, tailored to meet the needs of HIV positive men.

Our first meeting is today, 12th March between 17:30 – 19:00 at LASS (53 Regent Road, Leicester, LE1 6YF – click for a map).  We appreciate that for some, this is immediately after work so we’re providing food, (Pizza) – vegetarian and Halal options available.

We do hope you’re able to attend, as this is the first group, we’re seeking members to get involved and set the agenda for future meetings so we can support each other and develop support services throughout the county.

If you would like any further information, please contact Chaz, on 0116 2559995 or by email to: chaz@lass.org.uk

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Big Increase In Repeat Pregnancy Rates In HIV-Positive Women In UK & Ireland

Rates of repeat pregnancies among HIV-positive women in the UK and Ireland have increased substantially since 1997, investigators report in the online edition of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.

In 2009 over a third of all pregnancies involved women who had at least one other pregnancy. Younger age and geographic region of origin were associated with having a subsequent pregnancy.

“A substantial and increasing proportion of pregnancies in diagnosed HIV-infected women are occurring in those who have already received HIV-related care in one or more previous pregnancy,” comment the authors. “The main demographic characteristics independently associated with repeat pregnancies were younger age…and being born in Middle or Western Africa.”

A large proportion of HIV-positive women are of childbearing age. However, mother-to-child transmission can be prevented in most cases with appropriate antiretroviral treatment and care. This low risk of transmission combined with the excellent prognosis provided by modern antiretroviral treatment means that HIV-positive women in resource-rich countries can realistically consider childbearing.

In the UK and Ireland the number of pregnancies in HIV-positive women has increased significantly over the last decade. A significant proportion of these women have experienced at least one other pregnancy while receiving HIV care. Given their often complex medical, obstetric and social needs, the care of this group of women can be complex.

Despite this, little is currently known about the demographics and health status of HIV-positive women who experience repeat pregnancies.

Therefore investigators from the National Study of HIV in Pregnancy and Childhood examined 20 years of data obtained from pregnant HIV-positive women in the UK and Ireland. Data from 1990 and 2009 were included in the study.

The investigators’ aims were to characterise the pattern and rate of repeat pregnancies and to establish the demographic and clinical characteristics of HIV-positive women with two or more recorded pregnancies.

A total of 14096 pregnancies were recorded in HIV-positive women during the study period. Just over a quarter (2737; 26%) were repeat pregnancies. This figure included 2117 women who had two pregnancies, 475 with three pregnancies and 145 with four or more pregnancies.

Outcomes were recorded for 13,355 pregnancies. In all, 11,915 (89%) resulted in a live birth, 121 (1%) in a still birth and 10% in either miscarriage or termination.

Both the number and proportion of repeat pregnancies increased significantly. There were 158 recorded pregnancies in 1997, and 32 (20%) were repeat pregnancies. By 2009, the total number of pregnancies had increased to 1465, with 565 (37%) being repeat pregnancies.

Further analysis of the 2009 figures showed that 28% were second pregnancies, 7% were third and 3% were fourth or subsequent pregnancies.

“The increase in repeat pregnancies over the last two decades is likely to reflect a combination of factors including the accumulation of diagnosed HIV-infected women who have already had pregnancy,” suggest the investigators. “Major improvements in quality of life and AIDS-free survival of people living with HIV, and substantial reductions in the risk of mother-to-child-transmission are also likely to have had an impact.”

Overall, the rate of repeat pregnancies was 6.7 per 100 woman-years.

The median interval between first and second deliveries was 2.7 years, with an interval of 2.3 years between second and third deliveries, with the same interval between third and fourth deliveries.

Analysis of the factors associated with repeat pregnancy was restricted to women who received care after 2000. A total of 11,426 pregnancies in 8661 women were therefore included. Just over a quarter (26%) were repeat pregnancies.

The probability of a repeat pregnancy declined significantly with increasing age (p < 0.001).

Women born in central African countries and West Africa were more likely to experience sequential pregnancies than women born in other regions.

“This pattern is likely to reflect a complex range of cultural, behavioural and migratory factors such as fertility patterns in women’s countries of origin and the demographics of women who migrate from different regions,” write the researchers.

There was no robust evidence that either CD4 cell count or health were associated with repeat pregnancies.

“The number of diagnosed HIV-infected women in the UK and Ireland having more than one pregnancy has increased substantially and is likely to continue to grow,” conclude the authors.

They stress the importance of understanding the characteristics of these repeat pregnancies. “Variations in the probability of repeat pregnancies, according to demographic characteristics, are important considerations when planning the reproductive health services and HIV care for people living with HIV.”

Original Article via Michael Carter at NAM

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