Tag Archives: World AIDS Day

Russian TV presenter hopes revealing his HIV status will promote tolerance

570

Russia is struggling with an HIV epidemic, but you could be excused for thinking that the problem did not exist at all. Sex education and HIV and Aids prevention are not topics for schools, and public service advertising and media coverage is rare. Even many healthcare professionals prefer to avoid the topic.

But while Charlie Sheen-style HIV revelations by celebrities are also unheard of in the country, this week a television presenter, Pavel Lobkov, declared that he was HIV-positive during a live broadcast on TV.

Story via
guardianlogo

Lobkov and activists said they hoped that his statement, broadcast by the small independent channel TV Rain, would jump-start public discussion about the issue, as the number of new HIV cases sky-rocketed.

“It’s not the done thing to talk for real [about HIV], and in Russia it’s a real problem,” Lobkov said. “Maybe after this shock there will be a discussion about what these medicines are, and are there enough doctors specialising in this, is their knowledge adequate to treat HIV infections?”

Lobkov said during the broadcast that he had discovered he had HIV in 2003 while working for the NTV channel. Immediately after he was diagnosed his doctor refused to treat him, telling him he was being excluded from the NTV insurance programme.

Since then Lobkov had had trouble finding treatment for mundane conditions. He said it took him about a year to find a dentist willing to perform an implant procedure after several told him his HIV status would cause complications, despite research showing such concerns to be baseless.

According to Lena Groznova, an activist at the HIV-prevention group Andrey Rylkov Foundation, such ignorance about HIV is common even among healthcare workers, due to the lack of public service information. She said public perception of HIV was outdated and associated the condition with a “quick death”. Widespread disapproval of gay relationships and drug use also played a role.

“Few people from the general population know that a therapy exists that allows people to support their [HIV] status. Even among specialists we run into, police, doctors, have a stigma and fear of HIV people that doesn’t match the threat, which is none,” Groznova said.

Lobkov said several doctors had contacted him in recent days to tell him about HIV-positive patients who did not seek treatment or register for state-provided medicine for fear that their infected status would have a bad impact on their professional and personal lives.

Russia is one of the few countries where the number of HIV cases is rapidly growing. According to the federal Aids centre, at least 986,657 Russians were officially registered as HIV-positive as of 1 November, and the number of new cases had risen by 12% this year.

A consumer oversight agency official in St Petersburg said last month that Russia faced an HIV epidemic. But while the government has increased spending to treat Aids, state policy on fighting HIV has focused on abstinence from sex and drugs, rather than harm reduction programmes.

A message from the Ryazan city government for World Aids Day on Tuesday declared that “even one single sexual contact, even one dose of drugs, can cause HIV infection”.

The state-run Russian Strategic Research Institute said in a report, in October, that rather than adopting western methods, Russia needed to develop an HIV and Aids prevention programme to “reflect real national interests”.

Opioid substitution treatment with substances such as methadone, which aims to help users gradually lose their addiction and is frequently used in the west, is illegal. The Andrey Rylkov Foundation is one of the few groups that hands out clean needles and condoms to at-risk groups such as drug users.

Although the Moscow city Aids prevention centre recently began an advertising campaign around the slogan “Friendship doesn’t transmit HIV”, it was not enough, Groznova said.

Lobkov said: “The government can fight social phobias, it should have information campaigns on tolerance, acceptance. If there will be tolerance, people will go do [HIV] tests, then they will go [to] therapy, and the epidemic will start to die.”

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

Leicestershire pledges to halve late HIV diagnoses by 2020 with Liz Kendall, Jon Ashworth & Keith Vaz

Halve It Leicester

HIV Test Week is nearly over, and you’ll be forgiven if you think that HIV testing is just for one week since most of its publicity lasts for only a week in November leading up to the celebrated World AIDS Day on December 1st every year.

While HIV Test Week draws attention to the need to get tested for HIV, World AIDS Day is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died.

This morning, 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.

HalveIt-Pledge

The sooner HIV is diagnosed, the sooner appropriate care can begin. Thanks to anti-retroviral combination therapy, the life expectancy of someone living with HIV has increased markedly. Today, an individual diagnosed with HIV at the age of 35 years, with prompt access to effective treatment, can expect to live a normal life span.

HIV continues to be a serious health condition in the UK.  Here are some of the recent statistics:

  • An estimated 103,700 people are living with HIV in the UK.
  • Of these, around 17 per cent are undiagnosed and do not know about their HIV infection.
  • There were 6,151 new HIV diagnoses in 2014.
  • Two-fifths (40 per cent) of people diagnosed with HIV in 2014 were diagnosed late, after they should have already started treatment.
  • Just over one in four people (27 per cent) living with diagnosed HIV is aged 50 years or over.
  • There has been a 2 per cent decrease in testing at sexual health clinics over the last year but opportunities to test in the community and at GPs and get a home sampling kit have increased.

Around 17% of people who have HIV don’t realise they have it, and it’s very likely that untreated HIV will be passed to other people.  That’s why it’s important to get tested so we can halve the amount of people who remain undiagnosed, (why not have a HIV test)?

Halve It (halveit.org.uk) is a coalition of national experts determined to tackle the continued public health challenges posed by HIV. Their goals are to halve the proportion of people diagnosed late with HIV and to halve the proportion of people living with undiagnosed HIV.

The Halve It campaign calls upon all levels of government and their agencies to ensure that HIV is a public health priority both locally and nationally, they are asking the government to:

  • Fully implement National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) public health guidance on HIV testing.
  • Support the delivery of the Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF) by ensuring that local health organisations are equipped to realise the benefits of early detection of HIV.
  • Offer incentives to test for HIV in a variety of healthcare settings, for example through the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) and Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN) frameworks.
  • Ensure that people diagnosed with HIV have access to any retroviral therapies (ARTs) to prevent onward transmission in line with the joint recommendations of the Expert Advisory Group on AIDS (EAGA) and the British HIV Association (BHIVA).
  • Ensure quality-assured (ie CE marked) self-testing kits for HIV when available, are integrated into local HIV testing strategies along with home sampling kits.

To find out more about the campaign download their position paper 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

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

Don’t Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves

Beginning on Monday 2nd December to mark World AIDS Day and continuing on the following two Monday evenings, BBC Four is to screen the multi-award winning Swedish drama Don’t Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves, telling the story of the AIDS crisis as it hit Stockholm’s gay community in the 1980s.

The series gripped Sweden, united the LGBT community and is credited with an increase in awareness about HIV and AIDS. The programme was named as Sweden’s Best Drama at the Kristallen Awards. This year, its author, Johan Gardell was named Sweden’s LGBT person of the year and was presented an award by Swedish Crown Princess Victoria.

DEWTWG

Don’t Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves is a 3 part drama series about love in the shadow of AIDS, set in Stockholm in the 1980s.

When Rasmus and Benjamin meet at a party they fall instantly and deeply in love. For a short time their happiness continues until suddenly young men start to get sick, fade away and die. AIDS has come to Stockholm and nothing will ever be the same.

The series has been acquired for BBC Four by BBC’s Head of Acquisitions, Sue Deeks, who says: “This is a beautifully realised drama about the early years of the AIDS epidemic which has a poignant and affecting love story at its heart – we are so pleased to be able to bring it to BBC Four viewers.”

Set in Sweden, the series was a huge public and critical success when aired and it recently won the Kristallen (Swedish Emmy) for Best Television Drama. Don’t Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves also won the Audience Award at the Series Mania Festival in Paris last April, in competition with American TV dramas such as Game Of Thrones and House Of Cards.

It is directed by Simon Kaijser and written by renowned author Jonas Gardell, after his series of books with the same title. It is an in-house SVT production with Maria Nordenberg as executive producer.

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

A special message from our international patron, Desmond Tutu on World AIDS Day

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, LASS’s International Patron has sent a special video message from Cape Town to mark 1st December, World AIDS Day, for LASS.

“God, you love us all especially those of your children who suffer. We think at this time on Worlds AIDS Day of those who have HIV/AIDS. Help them not to despair, help those who work to combat this pandemic. Thank you that it is reducing. May those who are ill take their treatment regularly”

-Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu (November 2013)

LASS is a service user and volunteer charitable agency which works to prevent the spread of HIV and to promote positive sexual health through education, training, and community initiatives. By working together with other agencies, we play a major part in developing a coordinated response to the challenges of HIV/AIDS. We provide support for HIV positive people and HIV education and awareness across the communities.

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

Messages of Support from David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband

Messages of support from David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband, the leaders of the three largest political parties in the UK.

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

The Need for A HIV Strategy

hiv

By the end of 2012 it is estimated that there will be 100,000 people living with
HIV in the UK.  HIV diagnoses remain stubbornly high.  The two communities most affected are gay and bisexual men and African men and women.

Approximately one in twenty gay and bisexual men and one in twenty African men and women in the UK are living with HIV. In 2010, 3,000 gay and bisexual men were newly diagnosed with HIV; this is the highest number of gay and bisexual men newly diagnosed with HIV ever reported in a single year.

In the same year, half of all people diagnosed were diagnosed late; people diagnosed late have a ten-fold increased risk of death within one year of HIV
diagnosis compared to those diagnosed promptly. And still nearly a quarter of people living with HIV in the UK are unaware of their status. This is of real
concern given that the majority of transmissions come from people who are themselves unaware that they have HIV.

Advances in treatment have seen enormous improvements in quality of life and life expectancy for people living with HIV. In 2010, 85% of people on treatment had an undetectable viral load within a year of starting medication, a marker of
successful treatment. However, this success in treatment has not been matched by improvements in social support for people living with HIV. Many still  experience stigma and discrimination, live in poverty and cannot access the psychological support they need.

Although HIV remains one of the most serious infectious diseases affecting the UK, public understanding and knowledge of HIV is poor and getting worse. Recent Ipsos MORI research commissioned by NAT revealed that only one in
three adults were able to correctly identify all the ways HIV is and is not transmitted from a list of options, with almost a fifth mentioning one incorrect
method such as spitting or sharing a glass. One in five were unaware that HIV is transmitted through sex without a condom between a man and woman.

The research also showed a link between poor knowledge about HIV and negative and judgemental attitudes towards people living with HIV. There is
clearly still a need to improve awareness among the public, both to prevent the spread of HIV – each new infection costs the UK over a quarter of a million
pounds in direct lifetime medical costs alone – and to prevent misconceptions which fuel stigma and discrimination.

Despite this situation, there is no strategy for HIV in England – the last national strategy for sexual health and HIV came to an end in 2010. Over 90% of people living with HIV in the UK live in England, and yet England is the only country within the UK not to have a strategy.

Would you like to know more? Read the National AIDS Trust HIV Strategy.

STAY UPDATED
Follow LASS on Twitter

or subscribe via email