Tag Archives: HIV test

Shooting Challenge: Week 4 Winner & Week 5: “HIV Testing Week”

Contrast, by Jenny Hand

 

Congratulations this week goes to Jenny Hand who’s photo this week received the most votes.  As World AIDS Day is approaching, Jenny said she wanted to include the symbol of the day and decided to contrast it against the white of a sperm keyring she has.  Well done Jenny!  Her image will be added to the winners of this and the next 3 Shooting Challenges where an overall winner will be decided and a prize given.

Poisoned Apple, by Zoe Van-De-Velde

Poisoned Apple, by Zoe Van-De-Velde

Our other entrant this week is from Zoe Van-De-Velde, featuring a biblical theme with Eve biting into the forbidden fruit and a green ribbon representing the snake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WEEK 5: HIV Testing Week!

Our theme this week is slightly different, in that we’re not specifying a particular photographic technique to use.  If you’ve been following our shooting challenge you’ll see we haven’t had many entries and that’s ok, it is of course for fun and we feel that some people may be put off by adhering to a photo technique.  So this week, to encourage more entrants, you can use whatever technique you like!  HOWEVER, in keeping with our ever present HIV and Sexual Health theme, we would like you to photograph “HIV Testing”

Nat Tst Wk 2014 GREENIt’s currently HIV Testing Week and LASS are planning a number of events in Leicester to mark it’s third anniversary.

National HIV Testing Week was established by HIV Prevention England in 2012, in a bid to reduce high levels of undiagnosed and late-diagnosed HIV among gay and bisexual men and Africans in England. In 2013, there were an estimated 1250 people living with HIV in Leicester & Leicestershire, one in five of whom remain undiagnosed and therefore more likely to pass the virus on unwittingly.

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:

Simply photograph anything you feel is related to a HIV Test.  You could be literal, conceptual, funny, clever, thought provoking, depressive, emotive, sexy, it’s all about what you can come up with, and who knows, you could win!

THE EXAMPLE

 

by Tom Robson

“I’m Testing” by Tom Robson & Chaz Ram

Clearly, you can see this shot didn’t take a lot of time, there are creases in the background, the colour is very slightly off and not all of the scene is in focus.  Yet you can still see elements of clinical procedure here, perhaps the aftermath of a test, (or failed test as there is no blood in the test tube)*

There’s no technique this week and this example demonstrates you can create a photograph using objects around you.  Sure, at LASS we have the advantage of latex gloves, a test tube, rack and a plaster and we’re sure you’ll be able to find items around the home or provide a much better image than this one so why not give it a try?  Tom & Chaz decided upon and shot this image within 2 minutes to demonstrate it doesn’t take a lot of time to get your picture, once you have your idea.

*(LASS Rapid HIV Tests do not need test tube amounts of blood, it’s a simple finger prick)

THE RULES:

  • Follow the brief
  • Send your best photos by 6PM on Sunday 30th November 2014 with “Shooting Challenge” in the subject to photography@lass.org.uk and we’ll announce the winner on World AIDS Day, (1st December 2014) 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

HIV in the UK: 76% diagnosed, 90% on treatment, 90% undetectable

HIV test

UK achieves two out of three UNAIDS targets, but undiagnosed infection remains a major problem

The UK’s annual epidemiological report, released yesterday, shows that the country already provides HIV treatment to 90% of people attending clinical services and that 90% of those on treatment have an undetectable viral load. But the country has a long way to go in ensuring that people with HIV are aware of their HIV status – only 76% of people living with HIV have been diagnosed. The problem is particularly acute in black African communities, as only 62% of African heterosexual men and 69% of African heterosexual women living with HIV have been diagnosed.

The figures can be compared to the ambitious targets announced by UNAIDS (the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS) earlier in the year: for 90% of all people living with HIV to know their status, 90% of those to be on treatment and 90% of those to have an undetectable viral load. If these figures could be achieved by 2020, the global AIDS epidemic would be over by 2030, UNAIDS said.

The UK appears to have achieved two out of three of the targets, but has a significant problem due to the high rates of undiagnosed infection. Overall, 61% of all people living with HIV in the UK have an undetectable viral load. This contrasts with the 73% that would be achieved if all three of UNAIDS’ 90/90/90 targets were accomplished.

New diagnoses, overall prevalence

Public Health England reports that 6000 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in the United Kingdom in 2013. The overall figure is lower than that seen a decade ago, due to fewer diagnoses among heterosexual men and women born in high-prevalence African countries. Among gay men, the number of diagnoses is as high as ever, with 3250 cases reported in 2013. An estimated 30% of the gay men diagnosed in 2013 were recently infected with HIV (within six months of their diagnosis).

There are now almost 110,000 people living with HIV in the country, including 26,000 who don’t know they have it. This can be broken down into risk groups:

  • Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (43,500 people; prevalence of 5.9%).
  • Black African heterosexual women (25,100 people; prevalence of 7.1%).
  • Black African heterosexual men (13,600 people; prevalence of 4.1%).
  • Heterosexual women of other ethnicities (10,300 people; prevalence of 0.06%).
  • Heterosexual men of other ethnicities (10,200 people; prevalence of 0.06%).
  • People who inject drugs (2400 people; prevalence of 0.7%).

High rates of undiagnosed infection, especially in black African communities

Overall, 24% of people living with HIV are unaware that they have it. The rates of undiagnosed infection are lowest among gay men (16%) and people who inject drugs (10%).

In relation to black African people, it’s worth noting that in previous epidemiological reports the description of a person as ‘black African’ primarily depended on whether they were born in an African country. In contrast, the new report focuses on a person’s ethnicity, so that someone born in the UK to Nigerian parents is considered in the ‘African’ category. As a result of this and other methodological changes, some of the figures for undiagnosed infection are not directly comparable to previous years’ – and paint a more worrying picture.

In 2013, 31% of black African heterosexual women and 38% of black African heterosexual men who had HIV were unaware of their infection. Rates of undiagnosed infection were somewhat lower among heterosexual people of other ethnicities: 27% in men and 23% in women.

The report also shows that rates of undiagnosed infection are far worse outside London, compared to the capital. Outside London, 41% and 49% of African men and women were undiagnosed. In London, 10% and 13% were undiagnosed. There is some fuzziness to these estimates: the true values could be up to 10% higher or lower than the figures given here. But a clear geographic difference would still be observed. This could reflect stronger community networks and more accessible health services, including targeted prevention, in the capital.

Another way to consider undiagnosed infection is to look at rates of late diagnosis – people diagnosed with a CD4 cell count below 350 cells/mm3. Rates of late diagnosis were highest among heterosexual men (62%) and heterosexual women (51%), with black Africans especially likely to be diagnosed late. The lowest rate of late diagnosis was seen in gay men (31%). Across all groups, older people and non-Londoners were more likely to be diagnosed late.

But progress has been made over the past decade – the overall rate of late diagnosis has gone down from 57 to 42%.

A higher uptake of HIV testing, including more frequent testing, is needed to improve the figures on undiagnosed infection and late diagnosis. The report shows that, at sexual health clinics, 86% of gay male patients take an HIV test, but only 77% of heterosexual men and 67% of heterosexual women do so. Whereas guidelines recommend that all people attending sexual health clinics are offered an HIV test, only one-in-seven clinics test at least 80% of their heterosexual patients. Public Health England recommends that clinics review their policies and training protocols.

But while PHE has been able to collect data on HIV testing in sexual health clinics, none are available for testing in GP surgeries, in other medical settings, or in community settings. A significant improvement in the proportion of people living with HIV who are diagnosed is thought unlikely to occur without improved provision of testing in non-specialist settings, as recommended in guidelines. The report notes that less than one in five of the black-African population attended a sexual health clinic in the previous five years.

“Reductions in undiagnosed infection can be achieved through increasing testing coverage in STI clinics, the introduction and consolidation of HIV testing in a variety of different medical services, in addition to further development of community testing, including self-sampling,” PHE comment.

Quality of care for people living with HIV

Considering the next stages of the ‘treatment cascade’ and the National Health Service’s performance in relation to UNAIDS’ targets, the report shows that 90% of people were linked to care within a month of their diagnosis (98% within three months). Moreover, 95% of those who received care in 2012 were retained in care in 2013. Results did not vary according to age, gender, ethnicity, sexuality or geographical area.

Further, 90% of people in care received antiretroviral therapy (up from 69% in 2004). This includes 92% of those with a CD4 cell count below 350 cells/mm3. Of all people taking treatment, 90% had an undetectable viral load, below 200 cells/ml.

Generally there was equality in treatment outcomes, although younger people were less likely to be taking therapy. Moreover, people in both the youngest (15-24 years) and the oldest (over 50) age groups were less likely to have an undetectable viral load.

Guidelines recommend that clinicians discuss treatment as prevention with patients, and give them the option to start treatment early for this reason. Probably as a result, average CD4 cell counts when starting treatment have risen in recent years. In 2013, 25% began treatment with a CD4 cell count between 350 and 500 cells/mm3, and a further 26% did so above 500 cells/mm3.

Article via NAM

For your full copy of the report, click here

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

National HIV Testing Week

National HIV Testing Week is a targeted, high profile, national campaign that encourages England’s key populations most affected by HIV to consider taking an HIV test. These groups include gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men and African people. HIV Prevention England organises National HIV Testing Week and LASS are proud to offer a completely free and confidential rapid HIV test.  National HIV Testing Week is between 22-30 November 2014, however we offer HIV tests all year round.

Leicester is one of the most diverse cities in the UK and the largest in the East Midlands with only half the population describing themselves as ‘White British’.

Alongside English, around 70 languages and/or dialects are spoken in the city. In addition to English, eight languages are commonly spoken: Gujarati, Punjabi, Somali, Urdu, Hindi, Bengali and Polish.

With continuing migration into the city, new languages and dialects from Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe are also being spoken.

This is why our advert speaks in 15 international languages and our message is clear! It is better to know your own HIV status and it’s so easy to get a HIV test at LASS, you’ll have the result within a minute!

Our team of volunteers have specialist training to provide a free and confidential test, we also have a fantastic support team to provide after-care and further information if required. We also have established network links so we can refer to more specialist agencies all around Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland so you can be sure to get expert advice for your needs.

We also have a support group “LhivE”, a group of people from Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland who are living with HIV. Living with HIV brings a whole set of its own issues and LhivE demonstrate that people living with HIV can lead fulfilling and safe lives with choices.

We hope you like our advert and hope that you’ll feel comfortable to contact us if you would like a free and confidential test. Please visit: lass.org.uk for further information.

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 offered at Berkshire library and other public buildings

time-to-test-logo

A sexual health charity is to offer HIV tests at a public library in Berkshire.

Thames Valley Positive Support (TVPS) is offering tests at Bracknell library and at community buildings in Wokingham and Newbury.

The move comes after the success of its Time to Test project, which began offering tests at Tesco Extra in Slough.  The charity said it decided to offer appointments in public places in order to “normalise” HIV testing.

Jessica Harding, deputy chief executive of TVPS, said: “It has been hugely successful. We weren’t actually anticipating the overwhelming demand we had.

“We had people travelling from all over the country to see us.”

‘Huge fear’

The scheme will begin on Tuesday in Bracknell. Tests will be held on Wednesdays at Broadway House, Newbury, and Thursdays at the Salvation Army centre in Wokingham.

Ms Harding said: “It is definitely normalising testing – also there is a huge fear from quite a few people that they will be recognised if they go to a sexual health clinic, so this takes away that barrier.”

The twice weekly testing at Tesco, which originally ran as a six-week trial, has now been extended until December.

Story via BBC

DO YOU LIVE 100 MILES NORTH OF BERKSHIRE?

WOULD YOU LIKE A FREE RAPID HIV TEST FROM LASS?

For our Leicester readers, we know you may not wish to travel all that way to get a HIV test, did you know we offer offer a completely free and confidential rapid HIV test (results within 60 seconds from a simple finger prick test)!  We use the Insti HIV test produced by BioLytical laboratories. The test is 99.96% accurate from 90 days after  contact for detecting HIV 1 and 2 antibodies.  We also have a mobile testing van which is often out in communities providing mobile rapid HIV tests. Appointments are not necessary, call us (0116 2559995) we’re here to help.

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

Family, Faith & Football Day (12th July)

Familyfaithfootballday flyer

Family, Faith & Football Day
Featuring LASS “Know your HIV Status” in partnership with the African Development Project

Men’s football tournament & Womans Walking Challenge.
Saturday, 12th July 2014
10am – 8pm
At the Emerald Centre (Map)
Gypsy Lane
LE5 0TB

Music, Food and much more from 12:30
Bar open from 12:00 noon
(No alcohol to be brought onto the site)

Health Stalls
Football starts at 10:00am – final: 4:30pm

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

Going to Hospital? – How about a HIV Test?

Ch4Test

A London NHS trust is offering all hospital outpatients an HIV test, regardless of why they are there, to tackle the fact that a fifth of people in the UK with HIV are unaware of their infection.

Click to view Channel 4 News video (3:21 min, opens in a new window)

Patients coming in to six hospitals across in east London this week for anything from follow-up appointments to routine blood tests will all be offered an HIV test.

The initiative is part of a national drive to get more people in the UK tested. Around 100,000 people in the UK have HIV, (About 1,300 are within Leicestershire) but experts estimate that around one fifth are unaware of their diagnosis because they have not had a test. This means not only that their condition can become more advanced and harder to treat, but also that they could unintentionally infect others.

Thousands of patients pass through NHS hospitals every day – but at the moment, HIV testing is limited to only a few specific areas.

Dr Chloe Orkin, HIV testing lead for Barts Health NHS Trust, said:

“We are used to seeing health messages all the time in hospitals about stopping smoking, or having a flu jab. Messages encouraging HIV testing should take an important place amongst them.

We are used to seeing messages about stopping smoking. Messages encouraging HIV testing should take a place amongst them.”

Dr Chloe Orkin, Barts Health NHS Trust

The trust aims to test 2,500 outpatients across six London hospitals this week, including the Royal London, in what is thought to be the biggest testing campaign of its kind ever in the UK. It wants to remove the stigma of an HIV test.

HIV infection remains one of the UK’s most important communicable diseases, according to Public Health England. And the problem is worse in some areas, including east London – where people are three times more likely to have HIV than elsewhere in the UK.

But a positive diagnosis is a long way from the “death sentence” that it used to be seen as in the 1980s. Medical advances mean that people diagnosed promptly can expect a near normal life expectancy.

‘I felt let down’

Alan, a 70-year-old Londoner, spent 12 months of illness recently without a diagnosis because none of the doctors who saw him thought of offering him a HIV test.

“Nobody thought to test me for HIV. When I was finally asked if I was willing to be tested I immediately said: ‘Yes, by all means, let’s get that out of the way,'” he said.

“Having been found to be positive at almost seventy years old was a massive shock but once it had sunk in I did feel somewhat let down that nobody had suggested it before, despite the otherwise wonderful care I had received.

“We need to take away the stigma of being tested for HIV so that it becomes a routine test for people visiting hospital irrespective of their gender, ethnicity or age.”

An earlier, smaller pilot at the hospital earlier this year found eight people who were not aware they were HIV positive and who are now receiving treatment. Doctors hope to help more people with the new testing push. Results will be made available within a week and anyone who tests positive will be offered continuing treatment.

Clinicians and HIV charities are united in the belief that testing in this manner is the way forward, but there are issues with cost. Student doctors are providing the tests at the hospital this week.

But Barts NHS Trust says testing like this would ultimately save money. It costs around £5 to do an HIV test and around £5,000 a year to keep an HIV positive person healthy, but it can cost £500,000 to treat someone who is diagnosed late and who needs costly treatments in hospital.

“We want to make it normal for staff to offer HIV tests, and normal for patients to accept them,” said Dr Orkin.

“If a doctor missed a diabetes or cancer diagnosis people would be very upset. Diagnosing HIV patients late by not testing them is just as serious and we need to change this.”

If you would like a free, confidential HIV test, you can visit LASS for a free confidential

Did you know it’s National HIV Testing week this week? – If you’ve never had a HIV Test and had sex at least once, without a condom, then it might be a good idea to get one.

Our tests are free and confidential and iIt only takes a few minutes to get the result. Call us on 0116 2559995 if you’re interested.

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

It’s here! – NATIONAL HIV TESTING WEEK

IMG_9383

After last year’s successful National HIV Testing Week, it’s now established as a permanent part of the HIV prevention calendar.

New figures show there are over 1000 people living within Leicester and Leicestershire (757 city residents and 251 from Leicestershire)

Dr Fu-Meng Khaw, centre director for Public Health England in the East Midlands, said:

“People who are unaware of their infection are likely to be those most at risk of transmitting HIV to others.  “Earlier diagnosis will help reduce new HIV infections across the UK.”

Jenny Hand, chief executive of Leicestershire AIDS Support Services, said:

“The big message we need to get out is that people need to know their status.  Getting a test is the one thing they can do right now to help stop the spread of HIV.”

We are working with Public Health England to extend the number of testing opportunities over the week.  One of the aims is increase the uptake of testing in the different African communities in Leicester.

The figures are only an indication of how many people are affected by HIV.”

Mike Sandys, Leicestershire County Council‘s acting director of public health, said:

“This is a good initiative. We need to encourage people to test because, in the vast majority of cases, HIV is passed on by someone who doesn’t yet know they have the virus.  Modern drug treatments drive down the level of virus in the body, often to an undetectable level.

This means someone with HIV who has tested positive and is on treatment is far less likely to pass on the virus than who someone who does not yet know they have it. So if everyone is tested, we could start to see new infections fall among our communities.”

Ms Hand also said:

“We hope the national week will help to really convince people they should know their status.  The test is a finger prick for blood and the results take 60 seconds.

HIV is now considered a long-term condition and not a terminal illness.  The biggest issue is still around stigma and discrimination.”

Rapid HIV testing is available at LASS, (53 Regent Road, Leicester, LE1 6YF) and at other locations this week.

Not content to offer JUST A HIV Test, why not pop in today for a a general check up? – We’re offering a free testing for Diabetes, Blood Pressure, BMI, Blood Glucose and of course, a Rapid HIV Test.

We’re also on hand to provide information and advice on a range of subjects including tuberculosis, HIV awareness and Sexual health.

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