Tag Archives: Leicester City

National HIV Manifesto & Leicester Halve It Pledge

Join us in challenging local candidates to pledge their support for people living with and affected by hiv. The general election is a crucial opportunity to raise the profile of HIV; please add your voice to our campaign.

We have come a long way since the 1980s. While stigma and discrimination remain, HIV is now a long term condition and individuals are living with HIV into old age. HIV affects individuals of all ages with 95% of people living with HIV of working age. HIV treatment in the UK is excellent, but not everyone living with HIV is doing well. The number of people diagnosed with HIV each year remains high and far too many people are diagnosed late.  Services which help people living with HIV manage their condition are facing continued funding cuts.

We have come so far. We cannot stop now.

WE ARE CALLING ON THE NEXT GOVERNMENT TO:

  1. Commit to tackling the stigma and discrimination faced by people living with HIV.
  2. Fully fund HIV and sexual health services to meet the needs of local communities.
  3. Recognise the importance of prevention to a sustainable health and social care system by increasing investment in public health services.
  4. Equip schools with the resources they need to ensure that high-quality, age-appropriate, lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT)-inclusive sex and relationships education is taught to all young people in all schools.
  5. Make PrEP available to all individuals at risk of HIV in the UK.
  6. Develop a fair benefits system that meets the needs of people living with HIV whether in or out of work.
  7. Ensure that the health and social care system is equipped to meet the needs of a population ageing with HIV.

TAKE ACTION NOW

It’s time to pile on the pressure; will your local candidates stand with people affected by HIV? There are some easy ways you can help put HIV on the agenda in this election.  Click here to write to your local candidates, asking them to support our manifesto.

Leicester

Tom Robson holding the Halve It Pledge which Leicester City council and Leicester City MPs signed in 2015.

Late HIV diagnosis in Leicester is 13.8% higher than average in England and Leicester has the 6th highest rate of late diagnosis of HIV in the country.  As a city with these statistics, we are responsible for doing everything we can to ensure these late diagnoses come down and to ensure that people know their HIV status.

In 2015 and as part of the ‘Halve It pledge’, Leicester City Council together with local MPs; Liz Kendall, Jon Ashworth and Keith Vaz united with LASS, Trade and other voluntary sector partners to sign the ‘Halve It pledge’.  The national pledge commits Leicestershire to halve late HIV diagnoses by 2020.

Here you can see, our local MP’s together with our council have actually penned their names to the Halve It Pledge, we hope with your support they will remember to put HIV back on the agenda.

#HIVMANIFESTO

You can Tweet the manifesto to spread the word about our demands – use the hashtag #HIVmanifesto. You can also take a photo of yourself holding our HIV pledge. Download here.

Take it offline: meet with your candidates face-to-face to discuss the points in the manifesto. Go to any local hustings events to do the same, ask questions to see how committed they are to the HIV manifesto. Take a look at this toolkit with details and tips on what questions to ask.

Suggested Tweets

I’ve challenged my local MP candidates to support people living with HIV. Join me by sharing the #HIVmanifesto

HIV is misunderstood and under-funded. Put it back on the agenda this election with the #HIVmanifesto

I pledge to stand with people affected by HIV this general election – do you? #HIVManifesto

I’m calling on the next government to stand with people affected by HIV. #HIVManifesto

Download the full HIV Manifesto

Download the HIV Manifesto pledge board

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The Influence & Effects Of Community HIV Testing for the African Communities in Leicester

A special research report by Diana Inegbenebor of African Health Policy Network, and Celia Fisher, of Leicestershire AIDS Support Services

Leicester City has almost the most diverse population for a city in England, with predictions that there will be no ethnic majority by 2012. There are many different African communities in the city, this increases the challenges for HIV awareness, HIV testing and prevention interventions as there are many different aspects and cultural differences to consider. Leicester City has an above average number of people with diagnosed HIV, with a current prevalence of 3.2 per 1000.

This is the 7th highest rate in England. In this context LASS (Leicestershire AIDS Support Service) launched its Rapid HIV testing service in June 2009, supported by a Clinical Governance Group.

The uptake of testing within the African communities was low during the first year of the Rapid HIV testing service compared to the uptake from other communities in Leicester. The Community tester volunteer project was initiated to empower African communities with knowledge about HIV and the skills to deliver Rapid HIV testing as community volunteers in association with LASS. Groups of people from different African communities have taken the Rapid HIV testing training, with a total of 28 of these community volunteers completing the training to 1st September 2011. The benefit of the community tester approach is that each person trained understands their community and can adapt and tailor an approach as necessary.

This research report is focused on the effects of the LASS Community Rapid Testing training with different African communities in Leicester and the influence of trained community testing volunteers on the uptake of HIV testing. Key objectives are:

  • To compare the uptake of POCT HIV testing in the different African communities before and after the LASS community HIV tester project was initiated.
  • To determine the cost benefits and savings of using Rapid HIV tests delivered in the communities in non-clinical settings and by non-clinical volunteers.
  • To find out the motivation for people volunteering to become testers, keeping in mind the training includes an HIV test for each person.
  • To provide recommendations about using and evolving the community tester model in what will become a resource limited environment.

A literature review was undertaken to determine what information is available about Community HIV Testing models. The review summarises evidence sourced 3 from Medline/Pub med, Global  Health/Global Health Archive, Cochrane, and Google scholar. Review of material about Rapid HIV Testing reiterates the effectiveness of HIV rapid test kits in early detection of HIV especially for use in the community. There are models of practice for using volunteers in HIV prevention and care work. A study in Zambia looked at the role of community volunteers in voluntary counselling and testing.  They concluded that community volunteers, with approved training and on-going supervision can play a major role to provide counselling and testing services of quality. Research into “training to test” shows that volunteer testing programmes have been tried and proved successful in other countries.

Analysis of the uptake of Rapid HIV testing by people from African communities is compared between 2 periods – before and after the community tester project was started. The analysis clearly shows the effectiveness of focused interventions with 100% increase in uptake over similar periods of time. The benefits of focused interventions alongside accessible HIV testing are evident – in particular taking HIV testing out to the community, with significant numbers of people getting tested at these events. The trained community testing volunteers understand the benefits of being tested and have a significant effect on the acceptability of testing in the communities. There are more tests carried out in the office based setting after these interventions, with 3 new diagnoses in one period due to these influences.

The experience with the different communities highlights that it is important for HIV to be openly discussed to enable people to have the confidence to get tested. When communities are openly talking about HIV and the benefits of testing more people will get tested. The community testing volunteer approach gives an ideal opportunity for people to practice sharing strong messages about HIV and HIV testing.

Results from the qualitative research show that people who have been trained to test were generally very satisfied with the knowledge they had accrued from the training course, and were willing to take what they had learned to their communities, to educate and empower others. People are motivated by doing things for their community. In this model the testing is encapsulated in a ‘bigger’ outcome for the individual.

The effect of the community tester model increases the confidence within the community generally as they have access to new skills and knowledge. The majority of people in each African community here in Leicester have direct experience of people living with HIV, whether locally or back home.  LASS have anecdotal reports of people using their up to date HIV knowledge globally: being able to provide clarity and facts for a person who knows mainly myths. Others are planning to use these skills when they return to their country – as they can now deliver with confidence.

The community testing model using volunteers is cost effective. Comparison of the cited potential cost savings to those of the Community testing model delivered by LASS, immediately highlight the benefits of using this model:

Potential cost savings for 8 new diagnoses are between £2.24 million and £2.88 million with between £7,840 and £14,000 spent to achieve this delivering 556 tests.

Recommendations from the research are as follows;

  • Take the model into different communities and continue to evaluate the benefits.
  • Deliver HIV testing in different community settings on a regular basis to increase accessibility and acceptability, in particular using the outreach van.
  • Research to consider and evaluate the benefits of community HIV testing volunteer training in local communities and with their global connections.
  • Initiate research into how community testing and involvement of people in seeing their blood make the positive result affects acceptance of diagnosis and onward management of HIV. This recommendation is based on observations during the research for already diagnosed HIV positive people.
  • Develop the community volunteer tester model to include testing for other health conditions, for example Hepatitis.

The authors would like to acknowledge the involvement of community testing volunteers and all those involved in organising and delivering the interventions.

Download the full report here.

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