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Positive

LIVING In the North West

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www.bpnw.org.uk Edition 8 Winter 2010


You WANT To STILL be AT The Top of Your gAme

let’s talk MENTAL wELL-bEiNg

The person depicted in this advert is a model.

Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about how HIV and HIV-related therapy may affect your physical and mental well-being. A Promise for Life

Date of preparation: November 2009 AXKAL092987


Positive

LIVING In the North West

www.bpnw.org.uk

ISSUE 8 - WINTER 2010

Paul Hill and Mark Ward from GB Building Solutions flank Sam de Croy, Well Being Manager, at the hugely successful Gala Evening held at the Palace Hotel in November 2010. In this issue of PL we have much to celebrate and many people to thank. We want to use this opportunity to wish every one of you a very peaceful and joyful Christmas period. We look forward to seeing you at the service user and volunteer party in December – see Emma for details. Happy New Year!

Guest Editor Suresh Vaghela

Cover: BPNW: GB Building Solutions Advertising: Sean Joseph Baguley

Contributors: Contributors: Suresh Vaghela, Kate Brown, Phil Greenham, Councillor John Grant, Rekha Vaghela, Sam de Croy, Emma Wilson, David Thompson, Joe Armstrong, Our Fabulous Dutch Students, SHIVER, Howard Carr, Body Positive Young People’s Group, Sir Richard Leese, Daniel Valentine. Mark Platt, Carl Fordham, David Thompson, Robin Graham, Steven Andrews, Amanda Onwuemene, Vinny.Graham. Thanks: GB Building Solutions, Martin Smout, Paul Hill, Mark Ward, Michael Cunningham Architects, Gilead, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Janssen, Abbott Laboratories, GlaxoSmithKline, Boehringer Ingleheim, Manchester Pride, MAC AIDS fund, BHIVA, NAHIP, African HIV policy Network. Y Club, AGMA, Manchester City Council, Village Business Association, Signposts, YOS, Shiver, CLASS, Spirit Bar, Ian Ellis, Royal College of Nursing, Lancashire County Council, NHS North Lancashire, Rowetta, Bobby Davro, Martin Toal, NAM, Alvin Gilbert,

Contents: 03 Letter from the Chair, 04 Contributors Contents and acknowledgements 06 Talking Therapies 07 Blackpool World AIDS day event 08 Councillor John Grant 09 A Big THANK YOU to the VBA 10 Northwest News 12 Beaches Group 13 Julie Williams: Where is the map 14 UK News 16 PSMP. 18 Educational Review: Young People Project 20 Treatment News 22 Sir Richard Leese 25 Phil Greenham 26 Go-4-IT 28 BPNW Services 29 Dan Valentine 30 Mark Platt: Reform of Health and Welfare Services. 34 Carl Fordham 35 Meet John 36 The Lady From The Sea: David Thompson 38 Robin Graham 39 GB Building Solution Gala Extravaganza and Fundraising. 42 Change We Can Believe In: Steve Andrews 43 Holiday Season News 44 Do Something Energetic 45 Bunty’s Bites 46 Global News 48 Letters 49 You Can Kiss My Aspirations: Sam de Croy

Emma Wilson, Caryl Clavering, Salman Anwar, Peter Channon Alison McKenna, Whalley Range forum. Bill Williams. i-Base, Chapel Press, MASH, Paul Jones EXPOSURE, Dennis Channon, Bentley Jennison, Awards for All, David Thompson, Big Lottery fund. Sue Edwards, Helicon Holland. Dave Allen, Katie Bland, Rhiannon Rowbotham, Lou Embry, A HUGE THANK YOU TO ALL WHO SUPPORTED BPNW THROUGH GIFTS OF TIME AND MONEY OVER THIS PAST YEAR. Published By: Body Positive North West 39 Russell Road, Whalley Range, Manchester M16 8DH Tel: 0161 882 2200 Fax: 0161 882 2201 Body Positive North West is a registered charity 1002475 Company Limited by guarantee 2594770 Email: positiveliving@bpnw.org.uk Website: www.bpnw.org.uk Helpline: 0161 882 2202

DISCLAIMER: © 2010. Positive living is published by Body Positive North West. BPNW retains copyright. All rights recognised. We cannot accept responsibility for any unsolicited text, photographs or illustrations. Views expressed by individual contributors are not necessarily those of the editor or the publisher. The mention appearance of likeness of any person or organisation in articles or advertising in Positive Living is not to be taken as an indication of health, sexuality, HIV status or lifestyle.


A LETTER FROM THE CHAIR

Since the last update a great many fun days have taken place at BPNW and to give you a brief overview would not only be doing the events a huge injustice but also depriving you of the opportunity and the magical experience of the Centre. Not wishing to be unjust from any angle I will let you see for yourselves the giant leaps taken by the Centre and how it’s grown and continues to grow. The “Stop Press” news of the moment is the planning permission awarded to the Centre which will reassure everyone that the Centre is here to stay for a long time, continuing to provide services of excellence to all who need it. The impeccable plans were drawn up by the incredible “Michael Cunningham Architects” whose attention to detail meant that no amendments were necessary. The planned alterations will expand the quality of services we already provide with absolute commitment leading to absolute action bringing closer the centre’s absolute dream – the dream of; • a Centre without comparison • services beyond compare, but above all • a magnet where centre users want to come back as they feel safe and feel they belong. The next few months may seem hectic and chaotic but bear with us as the end product will be mind blowing being a bigger and better version of what you already love. Therefore I apologise in advance for the days to come but it will be worth it - trust me. Talking about the days ahead, the board would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for your support throughout the year and wish you a festive season filled with the splendour of Christmas and New Year. 04


Big Society

www.bpnw.org.uk

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TALKING THERAPIES Counselling Services BPNW

and behaviour patterns resemble those of the parental figure. Adult – here the feelings, attitudes and behaviour patterns are genuinely our own and compliment the reality of our environment and our relationships in the present. Child – here the feelings, attitudes and behaviour patterns are action replays of our early life.

Knowing and understanding Yourself Using Transactional Analysis (TA) Introduction Associated with Eric Berne, the language of TA eg parent, adult, child, script uses familiar words but re- defines their meaning for its own use; because of this and because TA takes the patterns of our inner world functioning and looks at the way we use these patterns in relationships with one another it is a powerfully educative psychotherapy. At the heart of TA is the notion that our personality is made up of three elements or ego states: Parent – here the feelings, attitudes 06

Generally the parental and child behaviour patterns are automatic and will feel, to the person performing them, appropriate to the present day situation in spite of the fact that they are archaic ways of dealing with the here and now. One of the most powerful aspects of TA is that it provides us with a way of understanding why we can feel and believe things about ourselves that are false or outdated eg I am stupid or unlovable or there is something wrong with me, and hold these convictions with a certainty that our perception of ourselves is true. At the centre of Bernes explanation for human troubles is the notion of scripting. Scripting occurs when the child, usually in response to a shortcoming experienced in their

upbringing, conclude or decide that they must represses their ability for awareness, spontaneity or intimacy in relationships. These conclusions or decisions that have been made by the child in their own best interest in order to survive or to reduce anxiety will affect the grown up person in their everyday life. These decisions such as avoiding our true needs or feelings, or not objecting when hurt in relationships have been made with the inadequate information and experience of the child. Psychotherapy aims to help us to understand the link between our inner psychological functioning and our relationships with ourselves and with others. If you are interested in having therapy yourself then please contact Amanda Talking Therapies Manager at BPNW on 0161 882 2200 or amanda@bpnw. org.uk, you will be booked in for a short (½ hour) assessment session before being refered on to one of the therapy team. Each issueone of the therapists will write a piece on themselves so you can read all about them/ Warm wishes Amanda


BLACKPOOL WORLD AIDS DAY EVENTS

Each year the LGBT Community Development Worker at Shiver organises events to mark the internationally celebrated World AIDS Day which takes place annually on December the 1st. Several initiatives are facilitated around Blackpool to involve the wider community in the awareness of HIV and AIDS and much effort is invested in supporting young peer educators to cascade awareness amongst their peers within the local schools and colleges. The following schools and colleges will be taking part in the WAD event this year: St George’s, Montgomery, Bispham High, Unity College, Collegiate, Palatine. The students are being encouraged to develop HIV and AIDS awareness display boards to be displayed in their schools and colleges and to offer advice and information packs to their peers throughout the week commencing Monday 30th November with World AIDS Day falling on the Wednesday. Awareness display starter packs have been developed and delivered which contain facts and figures around HIV/ AIDS and STI awareness promotional posters, a selection of relevant pictures taken form the Positive Lives Exhibition of people around the world living with HIV, a short in house developed DVD, multi choice answer Q&A forms and promotional posters for a competition with a first

prize of an Apple IPad along with the red collecting buckets and Red Ribbons.

challenge the sources of ignorance and prejudice faced by those living with the disease.

The education kits are very comprehensive and will give all the students a start with the HIV and AIDS Awareness Display boards that they are designing. They will benefit tremendously from undertaking their own research to suit their own particular environment and age group.

For fifteen years this project has toured globally as part of major exhibitions and longer-term community programmes. It has been seen by over 2 million people world-wide and has received both critical and public acclaim.

The kits are also being promoted at the Tangerine Open Day (Health Fair) at Montgomery College on the 18th November and on the Buzz Bus which visits all the schools and colleges regularly within their own campuses. To complement the efforts put in by the peer educators and health mentors the LGBT CDW and a Shiver service user have been invited to visit some of the schools and colleges during their training days to give talks to the students about HIV / AIDS awareness and the importance of safer sex and contraception. The main wider community WAD promotional event is listed as per the following mail shot/invite; Blackpool World AIDS Day Committee are very proud to announce this year we are exhibiting in a local gallery a very dignified and powerful set of images borrowed from the charitable organisation Positive Lives. Positive Lives is a unique global photography project that supports those living with HIV/AIDS and challenges the stigma and prejudices they face. The project is one of the world’s most acclaimed HIV/AIDS photography projects. Established in 1993 by a group of activists who believed that properly portrayed, the ‘human story’ behind HIV and AIDS could

The Positive Lives Exhibition will be on display at FY1 Creative in Church Street Blackpool for the week commencing Monday 29th November. The official launch and reception, followed by a brief service dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic is planned to take place at 5.00pm on World AIDS Day Wednesday the 1st December. Along with the above initiatives there will be Red Ribbons for sale in all the LGBT friendly licensed venues and the schools and colleges across Blackpool. There is a raffle planned for the saunas and the WAD volunteers will be giving away ribbons for a donation within the venues to late night revellers on the Friday and Saturday night proceeding WAD. To raise much needed funds we have an all day charity fundraising event taking place in the Flying Handbag on Sunday the 28th November where it is hoped this very high profile and traditionally well supported day will provide the committee with a good start to the cash collections required to finance the next year’s events. For those who have lost loved ones or whose lives have been directly affected by HIV or AIDS and may prefer a more formal approach to marking this important day in our calendar there will be short religious service and candle lighting ceremony conducted by Fr Martin Murray and Pastor Nina Parker organised on the Sunday directly following WAD within the Mardi Gras club. 07


ABOUT ME... Councillor John Grant

I was working as a consultant surgeon in Sheffield in the 80’s when HIV/AIDS hit the headlines. I saw consultant colleagues become irrational and stigmatise through fear of the unknown but it made coming out as a gay man and surgeon quite scary and for me impossible. At that time it was seen as the gay plague and would you have wanted a gay man to operate on you? In 1991 I started full time training to become a priest in the Church 08

of England and spent time on placement with CARA in London, a ministry in the HIV/AIDS community. I met some extraordinary people, learnt much about HIV which at that time was almost a death sentence and it was an important part of my self development. I was particularly struck by the way the HIV Community challenged the medical professionals which was new for them. They were saying “Why do you think you know what is best for me?”

and changes to the funding streams. The days when floods of money were there for HIV have gone. In the last 20 years social and health care has had to adopt the business model so when I sat down at BPNW to discuss funding I knew what would be expected and that nothing comes without evidence and a contract. Nobody gets paid for doing good things without a prior agreement. It is not the NHS I grew up in but the reality now.

What do I think about Body Positive? I knew about BPNW before it moved to Whalley Range and have actively supported it ever since it moved here. As a local councillor I have of course had people who have fallen out with BPNW complaining to me. Nothing is perfect. What has impressed me, and it is a lesson for all professional carers is that this is an organisation of people affected by HIV and AIDS who live, work, support and care in that community. Too many professionals work on the principle ‘We do this for you’. It has been wonderful through BPNW to see the changing face of HIV into a long term chronic illness but with that has come less media headlines

What about the new government? Whatever result we had got at the general election would not have changed the fact that the country is broke. We would have been in for a period of austerity whichever party had won; Labour lost the election and no one party won so we have ended up with a coalition. I worry when money is tight that the voluntary sector will suffer most. It is organisations just like BPNW that the coalition government wants to see flourish because they are for and out of the community. It will still need its sound business sense but also needs to be thinking imaginatively. There are no fairy godmothers with buckets of money but I am sure BPNW is up for the challenge


A BIG THANK YOU... We at Body Positive North West would like to thank the following members of the Village Business Association for their generous support of Manchester Pride 2010. Their continued financial support means that the good causes – BPNW, GHT and the LGBT organisations across Manchester – benefit both financially and from other ongoing support. The organisations are listed in no particular order and if we have missed an organisation we will happily include them in the next edition of Positive Living. Vanilla, H20 Sauna, View, Via, Velvet, New Union, Churchills, Taurus, Spirit, Paddy’s Goose, New York New York, Queer, Eden, Cruz 101, Company Bar, Bar Below, Baa Bar, Crunch 2, Alter Ego, Artisan, Libertybelle UK Ltd (Manto), Thompsons Arms, Village Off Licence, The Eagle, Shenton Homes, Poptastic, Tribeca, The Lock Keepers Cottage....

Images Courtesy of Phil Hall

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NORTHWEST NEWS Information Service at BPNW

We are delighted to announce that David Kemp, Social Worker & his colleague, Alan Kelsey, from Manchester City Council will be offering a drop in service from Wednesday 1st Dec. and every second Wednesday from then on. This new advice service will compliment the services already delivered by BPNW’s Health & Social Care Team David and Alan can take can hold 3 appointments each Wed at 1.30, 2.30 and 3.30. David and Alan can offer Community Care Assessments to assess people’s needs and, where appropriate, provide packages of support. They will assess anyone who requests it. If people are unsure whether they would be entitled to support then they should request an appointment in order to be assessed. If David and Alan are not able to provide support they may know of alternative provision. It is not necessary to want an assessment in order to see them; they will see people who simply want advice.

Graham, lucky iPod winner

They can offer advice and guidance around a variety of issues/services including benefits, community resources, housing, charities etc. If David and Alan we don’t know the answer to your query they will direct people to someone who can answer accurately. Anyone wishing to use this service will need to book appointments via Emma on 0161 882 2200.

Letʼs Talk About Porn? My name is Christopher and I am an MSc student at Staffordshire University. For a long time now studies have shown that watching T.V. and films can change the way we do things. I’d like to help understand what draws people to porn and what kinds of porn different people like. I am looking for men who have sex with men and enjoy watching porn regularly. You must be at least 18 years old. I’d like to ask you some questions in a taped interview to get your thoughts and feelings about

Sue presenting Darryl with his positive self management certificate; Darryl was one of a number of new graduates. Everyone at BPNW extends our warmest regards and deepest sympathy to Jackie Crozier at her recent sad loss. We all wish her and the rest of her family well during this distressing time.

watching porn. You will remain anonymous and the information collected will not be traceable to any individual. However I will be using some quotes from some of the interviews in my final report. You will have the opportunity to edit what you have said before I go ahead and you are in control. Want to talk about porn? Then e-mail me at,

tw002427@student.staffs.ac.uk to arrange a time that is best for you to meet. If you want any information about the study please e-mail and a study plan can be sent to you. I hope you decide to take part and I look forward to meeting you soon! Christopher Trainee Health Psychologist (Stage One)

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Staff & Volunteers help Howard draw the prize he kindly donated to BPNW. Thanks Howard for £130.00.


www.bpnw.org.uk

World AIDS Day 2010 Program of Events Wednesday 1st December 2010 5pm - 7pm - Awareness Raising, Live Performances and Information Sharing, Harris Library, Preston, ****** 7:00pm Light refreshments & Candlelit Procession at 7.30pm from the Harris Library to the Minster Church, ****** 7.45pm – Minster Church, a multi faith service of remembrance and celebration Finishing at 8.30pm Ending with A closing party at The Hangout Bar (Behind The Bears Paw pub on Church St). For further information on the above events or how you, or your organisation can support World AIDS Day 2010. Please contact: Peter Channon, Lancashire HIV Services Coordinator: 01772 253 732 pchannon@druglinelancs.co.uk The HIV Service for Central Lancashire is: The CLASS Service, Helpline number 01772 825 684

Hello, my name is Daniel Sealey; I am a BA3 Social Work Student from MMU. I have previously been on placement on the adult duty team for a local authority; I am now with BPNW for my second placement. I am really looking forward to getting involved with the different support groups and activities that BPNW has to offer. I am here for about 6 months as my placement ends here in May. I’ll be looking forward to seeing you around the centre! Hello! I’m a Social Work MA student from MMU and have just begun a placement at BP. Having seen all the brilliant projects and work done so far I can’t wait to get stuck in! I’ve been working with young people for the last 6 years which I loved but am looking forward to trying something completely different, being particularly interested in immigration and mental health. If you see me, talk to me!

Shaun Hunter who entertained everyone at the centre in October. 11


BEECHES GROUP

BODY P SITIVE north west

WHATS THE DEAL WORRIED OR CONCERNED

Body Positive North West is rightly proud of the Beeches Group, a peer support group for those who are HCV positive. We asked just a few of them for their thoughts on the group and what things they valued from their weekly meetings. The group kindly put their comments together and we report them below.

TAKEN A RISK NEW BEECHES GROUP MONDAYS 5-8PM

One

Great staff (Bev and Yoke) – trustworthy and dependable. Can come and talk about problems and go out feeling ten times better. Staff always helpful: If they can’t help you there and then, they help you during the week. Good food. Very confidential. Feel safe. Best group that I have been to.

Two

I was alone in my pain. Living with Hep C, I knew very little about the disease I was carrying. I was afraid, scared and felt toxic, but with the help of Beeches I gained new information and new knowledge to help me cope with my illness. Also, to be able to speak to others in the same situation helps loads. You also gain insight into the treatment.

Three

I have been coming to the Beeches for roughly six months. I was diagnosed with Hep C eleven years ago and lived with it during my drugusing and drinking. I found out about the Beeches whilst in treatment for my addiction and began to attend the Hep C group on a Monday. I have found it really helpful – the support is amazing. We talk about where we are up to in treatment and can share our experiences with other people who have Hep C or have been successfully treated. I really feel it is a valuable part of my life. The staff (Bev and 12

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CALL THE TEAM ON 0161 882 2200 Providing services for the HIV+ community in the North West for over 21 years Body Positive North West, 39 Russell Road, Whalley Range, Manchester, M16 8DH www.bpnw.org.uk • Info@bpnw.org.uk • Helpline 0161 882 2202 Registered Charity 1002475

Yoke) are brilliant and help us all immensely.

Four

Recovery, I admit, Oh Lord, that I’m weak. As weak and meek as can be. I feel ashamed, I fee guilt. The pain inside is deep and surreal. I’m afraid, alone and have little or no self-esteem. I hide in the shadows of life Afraid to be seen, afraid to be judged. Each night I cry and die that little bit more. I have no happiness in my life. I have no happiness in my life, Just pain and sorrow, Problems, mistakes I want to change, Rebuild my lost life, lost reputation. I’m ready for action, commitment and change To start a new life without worry or shame. I long to walk with my head held high, not below. But who will help a

nobody like me? I long for someone to tell my life to, To have someone who will listen and not judge me. I need normality, a drug-free life, But who will believe in someone like me?

Five

I have only been coming to the Beeches for a couple of months where I talk and discuss with others about Hepatitis C. Before I found out about the Beeches I didn’t have an idea about what this disease was all about. What the Beeches has given me is strength and hope that I will be able to get through my treatment. The trust and the friendship is amazing and it has only helped me come to terms with this disease. I can only say thanks and have gratitude towards this organisation.


WHERE IS THE MAP? My Journey So Far Through Hep C Treatment “I don’t want to go there” was my overriding feeling when I found out what the treatment for Hep C involved. Fear and denial consumed me. Slowly though, I acclimatized to the idea and as for any long voyage (and 48 weeks sounded very long!) I prepared to set off. My emotional terrain was very fragile, having recently lost my beloved father and then close friend a month later. My dog Ellie was bloated with liver cancer (a reminder of what could happen if I chose to ignore my symptoms) I had also split up from my partner. I was frightened of doing this journey alone, a fear that has proved totally unfounded as my three children, my mum and close friends have given me unflinching support. My son Alex moved back home and his gentle care and love has moved me beyond words, likewise I know my son Michael is there for me as generous in his very real practical backup and unlimited emotional reassurance. Body Positive has given me the unique support that only others who are having similar experiences can give you. As well as brilliant and totally ‘accepting’ staff. The unconditional acceptance of everyone from Body Positive has without helped me accept difficult things in myself. I was open about my diagnosis with my manager (I work a Drama therapist for the NHS) and he agreed to time off. My daughter accompanied me to the M.R.I for my first injection we sang ‘Don’t look Back In Anger’ at the top of our voices in the car on the way there, and having completed my first injection, I can’t express how relieved I was to have finally ‘set off’. My life up to this point was manic; I knew I needed to stop. I was on a treadmill of activity that was not making me happy. As the interferon kicked in it forced me into a semi-conscious existence. I could hardly get out of bed. I call

this my ‘incubation’ period; nothing happened externally, brain fog consumed me and I couldn’t think. This enforced stopping was a vital part of the passage. I had gone into the underworld and was about to meet the shadows of my past. I knew I was ready (and as a therapist I had obviously had done a lot of work on myself ) but this was different I had a virus that directly connected me physically as well as psychologically to a very damaged and chaotic time of my life. As a mother of three grown up children, I was now compelled to reach out to my own 16 year old self. A self who was lost, devoid of self worth and direction but also feisty and rebellious; a self who allowed herself to be injected with heroin (amongst other substances) and later went on to inject herself. This is I imagine how I contracted hep c and it has made me think about the ritual of the ~junkie’ Junk is rubbish and that’s how most users really feel and as a consequence what they put into their veins. You have a ‘fix’ to relieve you of this feeling, you get a ‘rush’ as the drug enters your bloodstream which helps you escape temporarily then of course you need some more My journey into treatment has enabled me to reach out to the young girl I was then, with compassion and love, rather than shame and denial. I will not deny I have hep c to anyone, as this feels like rejecting my young self and I am not prepared to do that. Substance misuse occurs when you do not feel ‘substantial’ enough, if at all. It follows therefore, that to give real substance to this vulnerable part of self -through expression and ownership as well as allowing real feelings to be felt, enables the beginning of recovery. Recovery is not only physical recovery, it is about finding your lost soul or ‘spirit’ or ‘life force’. When a member of our support group (someone who had tried to take his life on several occasions) said he was now opting for ‘life’

this had deep and very moving reverberations. So from incubation and shadow land, I move on to more fertile terrain: A place of healing a split. I am a service user at the moment as opposed to someone who delivers services. I am trying to own both parts of myself with equal value. That is the functioning and confident outward persona as well as the vulnerable and insecure inner ‘child’ I am being cared for by my children, I am a student in a college where I used to teach. This treatment time is allowing me to inhabit wholly my fragile and ‘needy’ self for she, I realize is also my strength. She is real, and she longs to be claimed. Being accepted as member of Body Positive support group has been a vital part of the process of accepting this part of myself. Body Positive has also given me the opportunity of having alternative as well as psychological therapy both of which I am truly grateful. I have just learned, at three months into treatment, although my viral load has gone down considerably, it is still detectable: I am what they call ‘a slow responder’ so my journey time is being extended to 72 weeks. I am adjusting to this concept and reflecting my thoughts so far in this piece of writing is helping me come to terms with it. By retreating from the outside world I have had the opportunity to explore my inner landscape and start to form a more wholesome relationship with myself. I may or may not reach my destination (which is to erase the Virus completely from my body) but so far, without any doubt, the journey has uncovered treasures. I am, I have to admit, a physically weary traveller, however I am gathering invaluable resources along the way, and embracing my young and feisty companion -She can’t read maps but her compass leads me in the right direction if I allow myself to follow. 13


UK NEWS ‘Some people are gay. Get over it!”

Emmerdale’s on-screen gay couple, played by actors Danny Miller and Marc Silcock, have added their support to Stonewall’s anti-bullying campaign by wearing t-shirts reading ‘Some people are gay. Get over it!’ The campaign has seen the slogan displayed on T-shirts, bus stops and massive road side display hoardings. The government has just released a new report detailing how incapacity benefit claimants will be tested in the future. The new testing is going to involve the role of mental health professionals in the process and give the JobCentre staff more decision making powers. The existing testing format work capability assessments (WCA) is not going to be scrapped the report said but indicated it isn’t working as well as it can do. The new testing system will build upon what foundations are already laid but emphasized more stringent testing to identify those who are claiming incapacity benefits but are capable of working. This move is a bid towards the Coalition government’s plans to cutting costs and reforming the benefits system; Ian Duncan Smith emphasised that those who are “genuinely disabled will be continued to be supported”. This new system is planned to be in place within the near future to meet the government’s targets to retesting all Incapacity Benefits Claimants by 2014. Author: Daniel Sealey: www.politics.co.uk/news/welfare-and-pensions/newtests-for-incapacity-benefit-to-be-unveiled-$21385798. htm

Count Me In.

Gay Men Fighting AIDS (GMFA) launched the ‘Count Me In’ campaign in mid November and have garnered support from across the gay community – including some of the major gay publications. The campaign encourages everyone to play their part this World AIDS Day by agreeing to a 5-point pledge: I will know my HIV status, I will not assume I know someone else’s HIV status, I will take personal responsibility for using condoms, I will value myself and my health and I will stay informed about HIV and how it is spread. HIV-related stigma has been shown to undermine efforts to respond to HIV and AIDS. The UNAIDS invite seminar Comprehensive National Responses to HIV-Related Stigma (London 22-23 September 2010) drew together and synthesizing the evidence regarding programmes/ interventions that impact HIV-related stigma, and the various frameworks to guide the development and coordinate International responses to HIV-related stigma. 14


www.bpnw.org.uk

This meeting of Global experts and leaders on HIV/AIDS, Gender, Advocacy, and many other fields met in London to discuss responses to the epidemic at both local and international levels. Such meetings further cementing BPNW’s work nationally and internationally.

LOVESCOTLAND.COM INVITES LIP SERVICE FANS TO GLASGOW

As the final episode of the phenomenally successful BBC3 series Lip Service goes to air, specialist tour company lovescotland.com announce their Valentine’s weekend special to Glasgow. The new BBC3 series Lip Service follows the relationships of a group of twenty-something lesbians living in Glasgow and is watched by half a million viewers every Tuesday evening and another 1.5 million on the iPlayer. Delighted with the decision to shoot the series on location in Glasgow, Love Scotland founder Ruth Cochrane was relieved to see the city portrayed in a realistic light. “Too often when we see Glasgow on screen it appears dark and dingy, which just isn’t true. It’s an energetic and vibrant city that delights every visitor we introduce to it” “Lip Service shows off the architectural beauty of the city along with its exciting cosmopolitan lifestyle, we thought this could be a great opportunity to promote Glasgow to a brand new audience” Love Scotland is offering 2 nights’ accommodation, a romantic dinner for two at one of the location restaurants as well as passes to one of Glasgow’s gay nightclubs to entice couples to come and celebrate valentine’s weekend in Lip Service city. Also included is an exclusive guidebook to all of the locations used for filming, allowing fans to follow in the footsteps of their favourite characters. Love Scotland, based in Edinburgh, organises gay-friendly tours and civil partnerships in Scotland. For more information go to www.lovescotland.com For further information please contact Ruth Cochrane at Love Scotland Ltd T: 0131 555 6337 E:ruth.cochrane@lovescotland.com


POSITIVE SELF MANAGEMENT Body Positive North West has successfully run another Positive Self Management Course over the last seven weeks. There was a good mix of people on the course with a wide range of experiences. The tutors were David and Sue, Sue is a trainee tutor and had her first practice assessment during the course, which she passed with flying colours. I personally enjoyed getting to know Sue and the people on the course and a close bond was formed, which I hope we will carry forward. I can say without hesitation that I am looking forward to working with Sue on the next course in the New Year. If you are interested in doing the course please contact Emma 0161 882 2200 and put your name on the waiting list.

Want to develop the skills to better manage HIV? Don’t go nuts! Join the Positive Self-Management Course A free, seven week course designed to help you maintain your health and improve your quality of life. Meet other people with HIV and learn how to: Reduce and manage stress Get more out of health services Recognise and act on symptoms Communicate effectively with family, friends and health professionals  Develop an action plan to improve your well-being    

The course is run by people openly living with HIV For more details or to book a place call Emma or David on 0161 882 2200

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Date and location: To be Announced contact Emma or David Body Positive North West 39 Russell Road Whalley Range MANCHESTER M16 8DH Charity No 1002475


Adverts AdvertsAssorted:Classified Assorted:ClassifiedAdverts Adverts 16/11/10 16/11/10 5:10 5:21 Page Page8 7

ANNOUNCEMENT

British HIV Association

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British HIV Association H I V

17th Annual Conference

of the

British HIV Association [BHIVA] 6–8 April 2011 Bournemouth International Centre Introduction BHIVA is delighted to announce its 17th Annual Conference which will be held at the Bournemouth International Centre, located on the city’s seafront. Dr Kate Schroeder has kindly agreed to serve as the Local Host for the 2011 conference. Registration Registration rates and details will be released in November 2010, both via the BHIVA website and in the First Announcement. At this time, you will be able to register online at: www.bhiva.org or by using the forms published in the First Announcement. Abstracts Instructions for the preparation of abstracts will be published in November on the BHIVA website (www.bhiva.org) and in the First Announcement. All delegates who wish to present abstracts will need to register for the conference. The deadline for abstract submission is 21 January 2011.

Key conference topics: •

Top ten papers 2010/11

Tariffs and what they mean for physicians and patients

Roll-out of expanded HIV testing: how are we doing?

The virtual clinic: – IRIS – In need but non-adherent – Efavirenz around conception – Unexplained low-level viraemia on HAART

When to start treatment

What to start with

HIV, STIs and transmission

Broken bones: is it worth the worry ?

New challenges in drug management of HIV/hepatitis C co-infection

A S S O C I A T I O N

ANNOUNCEMENT Time to Test for HIV Multidisciplinary Conference on HIV Testing Mission Statement HIV remains a concern in the UK and expanding testing will result in earlier diagnosis with benefits to the individual as well as the population. This conference aims to review the evidence in order to inform best practice to address this problem.

Wednesday 1 December 2010 Royal College of Physicians Regent’s Park · London Educational grants have been received from:

with additional support from:

Conference Organiser: Mediscript Ltd · 1 Mountview Court · 310 Friern Barnet Lane · London N20 0LD T: 020 8369 5380 · F: 020 8446 9194 · E: conferences@mediscript.ltd.uk

Further details can be viewed at: www.bhiva.org

Advertisment Advertismentfor forBPNW BPNWMagazine Magazine

Black Health Agency’s Manchester based Projects will be moving to new premises in December 2010. The new contact details will be: Address - BHA, Democracy House, 609/609A Stretford Road, Old Trafford, Manchester, M16 0QA. Tel- 0845 450 4247 Fax - 0845 450 3247

Further details can be viewed at: www.bhiva.org

Quarter QuarterPage: Page:105 105xx148.5mm 148.5mm

The moving of projects will be staggered, so please note the dates each project is planned to move: BHA Head Office and Manchester Race & Health Forum - 7th December Routes, Sahara and Sickle Cell & Thalassemia - 10th December African Aids Helpline - 11th December Arise, NAHIP, Jeena & HIV Prevention - 14th December Manchester LINk - 15th December If you have any questions please contact Manchester LINk office on: 0161 214 3909.

17


EDUCATIONAL REVIEW

Here at BPNWNW we have many things to celebrate and this year we are blessed in a number of areas of our work. In the following we celebrate the work of our young people’s project – where we work with children and young people who are living with or affected by HIV; their parents and carers. The project, funded for the next three years, combines both education and recreation in order to give our young people the best possible experience - many have had interruptions to formal education and working with our teachers they have not only caught up, but actually are ahead of their class mates! Some are themselves young carers and the project gives them an opportunity to just have fun with other young people in a safe environment. The recent photographic project, headed up by Charlotte Barnes, has produced an amazing collection of images which are both beautiful and exciting. All the pictures were taken by the young people and are displayed in the Centre. They will have a limited edition print run and will be on sale from the 19th of November 2010. 18

Educational Review MarchNovember 2010 At BPNW we have explored aspects of child development. We have looked at specific areas to stimulate the young people’s educational, emotional and physical well being. The benefit of this report we have sectioned our work into various headings which after reading, we hope will give a full and clear indication of the work and vision of Body Positive North West’s Children’s Group.

Education:

Our young people range from 2years to 15 years of age. With such a wide age range and varying academic abilities we work in small groups, or on one to one sessions. With the younger children our focus has been on basic literacy and numeracy skills. This work has looked at the development of phonic skills, letter formation and handwriting. In numeracy the children have learnt basic number bonds and practiced the essential mathematical skills of: multiplication, addition, subtraction and division. The older pupils bring in their homework and the teaching staff supports them and their families with this.

Art:

The children have taken part in various work shops. We have had a range of artists come in to deliver sessions.

These have included a session on African animals, which the children then made and hand painted. They also made and decorated lanterns. The children took part in a series of photography sessions, during which time they gained confidence in using a camera, they were able to capture images which reflected their experiences. The children also designed and made their own T shirts. The drumming project meant that there was a performance last World AIDS Day in from of the Lord Mayor of Manchester at the Town Hall.

Street Dance:

A dance teacher came into the centre for twelve weeks to teach the children street dance, they gained confidence and dance and performance skills. After working and refining several routines they presented a performance for parents and visitors.

Trips, Visits and Enrichment Opportunities: We provide a variety of enrichment opportunities to enhance the children’s life experiences. These have included regular trips to local parks, where the children play and get in contact with natural environments. We have also visited


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Camelot, Sea World, various beaches and have gone on canal trips. The children have developed in confidence and love talking about those experiences.

Healthy Eating:

At the centre we encourage the young people to be aware of exercise and healthy eating. We discuss, write about and make posters of beneficial foods and the benefits of exercise. The children make their own healthy snacks and enjoy making home made bread and soup. A great hit was the opportunity to choose your own ingredients and create your perfect smoothie.

Different Cultures:

The children come mostly from an African culture. However here at Body Positive North West we do explore different cultural inferences. These have included visits to the Chinese Arts Centre, The Jewish Museum and participating in the Caribbean Festival. The children also participated in the Manchester Pride Festival. They helped decorate the Body Positive North West float and wore their T shirts which they had designed in art with Pride. We have encouraged the local community to engage with us and ensure we reach out into the local community. The children participated in an Open Day, proudly showing their art work to the visitors in a special exhibition.

Special needs and Inclusion:

In the Body Positive North West Saturday school we also work with some children who have special educational needs or behavioural issues. We have worked together to formulate strategies and management programmes, to help the children deal with their issues. Consequently the children have vastly improved behaviours and are integrating at the Centre and at mainstream school in a more appropriate manner. It can be clearly seen that here at Body Positive the children we spend our time with are benefitting enormously. We encourage the young people to develop and reach their potential. The children enjoy the activities and the numbers have greatly increased from the early conception a few years ago. We are committed to encouraging self esteem and happiness through our activities. We aim to provide a rich and stimulating educational environment. Look out in the next issue of Positive living for some more details about this project, but also those who staff and volunteer the project.

Case Study

H (33) tell PL what her and her 7 year old son (T) gain from accessing BPNW’s services. H was born in Malawi, she moved over to England before the birth of her son T. H and M live in a small flat in North Manchester. H lives with HIV and is currently unemployed after recently completing an accounting course. I asked H what difference accessing Body Positive North West’s Youth Group makes to her and her son’s life. H: ‘T loves the youth group. He would go every day of the week if he could. He loves the chance to mix with other young people. As well as mixing with other young people T loves the chance to spend time with John (one of the youth workers who is employed by Body Positive North West)’ PL: What activities in particular does T enjoy doing with the youth group? H: T loves using the computers at BPNW. We are living on a low income and don’t have a computer or broadband at home. Body Positive offers T the opportunity to surf the web under the supervision of a qualified member of staff. This gives T the chance to listen to music by his favourite bands, and also to do research for his schoolwork with the support of the youth group staff, two of whom are qualified teachers.’ PL: How do you feel about T accessing BPNW’s youth group? H: I am very pleased with the service. When T is at the group it gives me time by myself to get things done around the house. I am a single parent with not much money and it makes me happy that BPNW are providing him with activities that otherwise I would not be able to afford, for instance, recently the group went to Blackpool Sealife centre. T loved the day out and got a lot out of it.’ PL: Thanks for your time H. Body Positive North West’s Youth Group is funded by Children in Need 19


TREATMENT NEWS A study published in the Lancet found that HIV-positive people who didn’t start ARV treatment until their CD4s dropped to 100 were expected to live 10 fewer years than people who started therapy when their CD4s were above 200. The study also determined that HIV-positive people with a history of injection drug use were expected to live 10 fewer years than those who never used injection drugs. www.aidsmeds.com/articles/hiv_life_exectancy_survival_1667_14989. shtml The modern antiretroviral medication available to people living with HIV has drastically improved people’s quality of life. Not only are the rates of diseases that cause chronic diarrhoea a fraction of what they once were, but most medications that once caused or worsened diarrhoea are no longer commonly used. A twice-daily dose of a new type of anti-diarrhoea medication called crofelemer has been found to be effective at treating chronic diarrhoea in people with HIV. The drug’s maker, Napo Pharmaceuticals, suggest that the drug could be approved for use by 2012. www.aidsmeds.com/articles/hiv_diarrhea_crofelemer_1667_19352.shtml A recent study which aimed to discover the effectiveness of taking a daily dose of Truvada as a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) found that those who took the drug on 90% or more days had 72% fewer HIV infections. The study was carried out on 2,499 men who have sex with men, who were sexually active and not living with HIV. “This discovery alters the HIV prevention landscape forever,” said Jim Pickett, director of advocacy at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. www.medindia.net/news/Daily-Dose-of-HIV-Pill-Cuts-HIV-Risk-Among-GayMen-77151-2.htm#ixzz16DYLBdbg South Africa issued its first revised HIV treatment guidelines in six years in April 2010. The new guidelines featured less toxic ARVs, but access to treatment at a CD4 count of 350 was only extended to a selected group of high-risk patients, such as pregnant women, infants and tuberculosis patients. Under the current guidelines, the South African government will have spent about US$9.8 billion on treatment by 2017. Implementing the WHO recommendations by starting people on treatment earlier would cost about $11 billion over the same period. http://allafrica.com/stories/201009140011.html

A study published in the Lancet found that HIV-positive people who didn’t start ARV treatment until their CD4s dropped to 100 were expected to live 10 fewer years than people who started therapy when their CD4s were above 200. The study also determined that HIV-positive people with a history of injection drug use were expected to live 10 fewer years than those who never used injection drugs. www.aidsmeds.com/articles/hiv_life_exectancy_survival_1667_14989. shtml 20


A recent study carried out on infants living with HIV shows that those with stabilised infections show few adverse affects when changing to nevirapine, a reverse transcriptase inhibitor, from a more expensive protease inhibitor. This news raises hopes for HIV treatment options for children in the developing world. Previously there have been concerns over the possible development of resistance to drugs individuals received as infants during failed attempts to prevent their infection in the first place. The study found that about two thirds of the children with HIV that had switched to the nevirapine were able to maintain a level of fewer than 50 copies of the virus per milliliter of blood, the lowest level technology could detect. www.aids.org/2010/09/study-shows-nevirapine-a-new-treatment-option-for-hiv-positive-infants/

Highlighted recommendations from the report suggest: • HBV and HCV screening and HBV vaccination should be the standard of care in the reformed health system. All Americans should be screened for HBV and HCV and all Americans should be vaccinated for HBV • Strong public education campaigns and improved surveillance must be put in place to help prevent new infections www.hepctrust.org.uk/news/2010/October/November/ Nutritional+therapy+for+hepatitis+C

The number of Lothians living with hepatitis C is set to rise by 300 to 10,000 by the end of 2010. This rise has been put down to the increase in public health initiatives to get people tested, which have led to the diagnosis of those living with the disease for several years without their knowledge. There has also been a suggestion that injecting drug users are becoming complacent and putting themselves at risk of catching the disease. Around 14 per cent of all Hepatitis C sufferers in Scotland have died since the outbreaks of the 1970s and 1980s. w w w.hepc trust.org.uk/ news/2010/July/Hepatitis+C+diag noses+reach+record+levels+acro ss+Lothian

HEP C NEWS

‘HBV & HCV: America’s Hidden Epidemics’ a report recently compiled jointly by The American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) and the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) found that: • An estimated 65 to 75 percent of the five million Americans currently infected with the hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) do not even know they have the virus • The death rate from HCV is expected to triple in the next 10 to 20 years • Approximately 800 to 1,000 infants in the United States are infected with HBV at birth each year

Six ways to avoid the holiday blues for people living with hepatitis C 1. Exercise and sleep – during the holiday period exercise and sleep can take a back seat to holiday chores and errands. Ensure that you give exercise and sleep priority over travelling, shopping and entertaining. This can help combat depression and stress.

3. Be picky - Choose which holiday gatherings feel best for you. Try and choose to spend time with people who are supportive and lift your spirits. Avoid gatherings where alcohol is the focus as this can be stressful. Limit your time with challenging people.

2. Visualise and set limits - try to visualise yourself in a positive and calm way. Set limits for spending by giving gifts that don’t require money such as home made gifts or using gift exchange with friends and family to ease the financial pressure.

4. Breathe – stress, anxiety or depression are often present during the holiday season and with it you often get shallow breathing. Breath deeply to ensure more oxygen reaches your bloodstream, tension is released and you can feel more relaxed with a clear head.

5. Volunteer – Volunteering can make you feel good and the satisfaction you can get from making a difference to somebody else’s life can help relieve stress and depression. 6. Get help – when negative feelings get the better of you seek professional help and support or reach out to someone you can trust as this can be extremely helpful. Don’t let feelings of depression, sleeplessness, irritability and hopelessness persist. www.hepatitis-central.com/mt/ archives/2010/11/managing_hcv_ se.html


SIR R LEESE

Sir Richard Leese was elected to the Manchester City Council in 1984 becoming Deputy Leader from 1990 to 1996 having previously chaired the Education Committee (1986–1990) and Finance Committee (1990–1995). He is currently a Labour councillor in the Crumpsall ward. He was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2006 List after overseeing the 10-year regeneration of the city after the IRA bomb of 1996. PL: Tell us a little bit about yourself. RL: I’m not from Manchester; I’m an immigrant, like a lot of our population. I was actually born in Nottinghamshire where I was brought up and went to school. I went to the University of Warwick, and studied Pure Mathematics. I lived in Coventry for nine years, where I taught in a community school teaching maths, I’d be running play schemes in the summer and doing other stuff, as well. I took a job in Manchester running the youth club at the Abraham Moss Centre in Crumpsall. I moved here in 1979 and I really fell in love with Manchester. The place I remember in 1979 was a place that was going downhill relatively rapidly at the time. Both my kids were born at Crumpsall Hospital and they went to Crumpsall Lane Primary School and then Abraham Moss. So Manchester has certainly become my home and I can’t imagine ever living anywhere else. Being an active trade unionist, going back to my teaching days I 22

think I got involved in the Labour Party round about 1980. I suppose there is a certain parallel with what’s happening now - I first got involved at a time when we were getting the very heavy cuts from the Thatcher government and my first involvement in Manchester politics was through the Greater Manchester Anti-Cuts Campaign back in the 1980s. I became Labour Party Branch Secretary. I was approached by comrades saying: “Are you interested in going on the panel of candidates.” At that point I was at home half a week and had time to do it. So I thought “I’ll go on the panel.” I didn’t expect to be even selected first time round, never mind elected and was selected for the Crumpsall seat. It was then a Tory seat, so it wasn’t a given that we would win. I did win and have been representing Crumpsall ever since. PL: In the mid ’80s Crumpsall had Monsall Hospital one of the first specialist HIV hospitals just at the point HIV was being identified. RL: It was and when Monsall was closed down those wards were moved to North Manchester General Hospital... I suppose in terms of the world of HIV it has moved relatively rapidly from something that was stuck out in an isolation hospital, into wards in a general hospital in the middle of the community. You began to see very rapidly the process of normalisation in how HIV was treated. PL: In terms of equality, the agenda that has Manchester is quite strong. What are your thoughts? RL: Well, I think one of the things that Manchester has done in a way that no other local authority has done over the past 25 years is to consistently pursue an equalities agenda even when aspects of that were difficult. In relation to HIV, if you go back to the mid ’80s, HIV was seen here principally as a gay men’s issue. Certainly in the late ’80s pursuing equality issues around sexuality was

something that a lot of councils up and down the country had been doing was suddenly abandoned: It became very unpopular. I can remember political campaigns being run by the Conservatives in this city where their main attack on the Labour Party was that they were going to build a Gay Centre on every street corner, it was as crude as that. I think we understood even then, that HIV was not simply a gay men’s issue, it was actually a health issue and there were a large number of sections of the community that it would and could impact upon. We consistently pursued our positions on gender equality; disability equality; race equality and sexuality equality. We are, I’m delighted to say, still perceived in all the various surveys done in the Pink Paper, Stonewall etc as one of the best employers of gay men and lesbians within the country. Over 25 years LGBT community has been transformed and I think that we have seen similar transformations in terms of the way that HIV is perceived as well. What that means is not that we are where we want to be and do we still see hate crimes with regards sexuality? Well, sadly we do, but it is nothing like the sort of situation we had 25 years ago. The idea that a mainstream political party could base any substantial part of its campaign on attacking the gay community now is just not possible. Other mainstream parties now have gay equality as part of their mainstream programmes. . I think the way HIV is treated in this country has followed a parallel path. And clearly, what’s become an issue, particularly for those of us who are interested in politics is HIV, in Africa and in other parts of the world where the level of stigma and the absence of any real treatment is almost impossible to describe. The attitudes and lack of investment have turned an illness into an epidemic in a large number of countries. PL: What do you reckon to the new government and what impact will the Spending Review have?


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RL: The new government itself has described its defining characteristic as about attacking the deficit. That’s what they say their number one priority is. I think the deficit… whoever won the general election, attacking the deficit was going to be a priority and so it was always a debate about, not whether there were going to be cuts, but how fast and how deep those cuts were going to be. I think that there is an element of the new government’s cuts that are ideological rather than tackling the deficit. I think they are faster and deeper than they need to be. That’s an ideological choice that the government has made and every independent survey or study I’ve seen says that they are regressive and that it’s going to be the poorest 10% that are going to suffer the most from this. If you were to take out some of the measures that Alistair Darling had in his last budget before the General Election, that regressive impact would be even greater than it is at the moment. So, it’s not going to be a case of everybody’s going to pay a price for this, but it is the poorest people that are going to pay the biggest price and that is going to have a potentially very negative impact on our city; well, most of our cities because the biggest concentrations of poor people are in our larger urban areas. It’s not just Manchester, but parts of London; Liverpool; Leeds and so on.

be more appropriate for the Labour Party which was: “What were the causes of poverty in this city?” The causes of poverty are complex, but the biggest single cause of poverty is unemployment, relates to low employment, and low wage employment. So, if we wanted to have the biggest impact on poverty is was about addressing those areas. If we were to address them, and bear in mind what happened to the traditional industries in Manchester in the 1980s, we had to create more jobs. We certainly weren’t going to do it through the Public Sector so we had to work with the Private Sector to create jobs. The legacy of this is now proportionally is that we have a lot less Public Sector jobs in Manchester than, say, Liverpool – in fact, most of the other major cities. That should mean that as a result of the Public Sector cuts now, in job terms, we will be proportionally less hard hit than most other larger cities. It also means that for a lot longer than anywhere we’ve had the relationships in place to be able to create Private Sector growth. Creating jobs is one thing: getting local people into them is another, particularly as we’re talking about an unemployed population that, by and large, has very low skill levels in a labour market where skills are a prerequisite. So there has been a time lag in translating job growth into local benefit over the last five or six years, but we’ve had major success in getting that level of PL: So a strategy for dealing with it benefit. then? Joining forces and working An issue we’ve taken up with the new government is that a lot of the together? RL: We went through a big political tools we need in order to translate debate in Manchester in the late economic growth into local benefit ’80s, precisely about this issue is are being centralised, are being “How do you address poverty?” nationalised. They’ll be delivered And this is a crude caricature but by national programmes. The there are essentially two positions. government’s new work programme There is a Welfarist position. The is likely to be a nationally determined Welfarist position was the way you programme. Skills are going to be tackle poverty, the unemployed you nationally determined; business maximise their benefits for them and support. Part of the discussion with you basically provide as much help government is saying that if we’re going to minimise the impact of from the tax system as you can. The other position is the Labourist everything else they are doing on our approach which appeared to me to communities, then we need to have,

at very least, significant influence on all these programmes to make sure our people don’t lose out. PL: There is a lot of language around democratising and civil society actually taking a bigger role within all of this and actually decentralising this rather than centralising it, isn’t there? RL: Yeah, there’s a lot of garbage around that as well. Who is really interested in that? I say garbage… democratising refuse collection. There are some things around houses that actually only works well if you have high levels of community impact. There are lots of things we do that are mechanical that are about doing it well. PL: Well, putting it into BPNW, there are 1,300 people that use Body Positive’s Centre in Whalley Range, and those services are delivered by people living with HIV, 73% of the team are positive. The Health and Social Care team delivered, according to the Public Health Observatory, 16,070 social care episodes and within the last year and that 94% of our client population had no contact with main line services. So, there’s a track record of Body Positive North West itself actually delivering services– and delivering well. Now it’s about how we want to widen the agenda and how we deliver that agenda within the immediate neighbourhood as well as the North West. RL: We did some work as a council on our top 300 suppliers – service suppliers as well as goods suppliers. Never mind people who work directly for the local authority, there are five and a half thousand people in Manchester whose jobs are dependent on contracts, one way or another with Manchester City Council. That would be Private Sector, and what you might want to call the Third Sector organisations as well. This has always been one of the advantages of a number of the Third Sector organisations which 23


SIR R LEESE

work with, and in some cases, for the council, that they all tend to bring something to the table from their own experience; from their own background; their own particular interest. They add significant value. It’s not just a simple contracting relationship. I think that has value and it’s something we want to continue, but I think we’ve also said very clearly that in every aspect of Manchester society we want to reduce dependency and we want more people to take control over neighbourhoods that they live on, because if they do that, they’re likely to be better neighbourhoods. For 15 years now, when we’ve talked about regeneration, we are very clear as a council that regeneration is not something we do to communities, it’s something we support communities in doing. Now this, occasionally, doesn’t go down that well. We actually say to people: “Look, first up you need to take responsibility. We as a council can help you with that: we can’t do it for you. And, I think actually, that most people recognise that it’s far more realistic than saying: “We’re going to get X millions of pounds and zoom in and suddenly regenerate your community.” That approach doesn’t work. PL: In terms of Body Positive North West, we’re an HIV charity, but actually we’re moving into a wider context of what we actually deliver. We’ve learned a lot of lessons from it – HIV – there’s a lot of work we now do to do with prevention. There are lessons we’ve learned around volunteering; around employment; mental health; around training. Have you got any pointers for Voluntary Sector organisations like BPNW? RL: Earlier we were talking about the approach you’ve been taking now for a number of years. Although the world of HIV has moved on an awful long way. I remember 25 years ago when I was relatively new on the council, somebody with HIV 24

had been sectioned up in Monsall Hospital. We are now where people with early diagnosis and effective treatment are living for a very long period of time. So, we’ve moved on a long way. There are still stigmas attached related to HIV. I think what you’ve described is effectively mainstreaming HIV. HIV is a health issue that affects thousands of people in this country. It’s just like a whole range of other stuff that affects thousands of people: It’s part of what goes on in any community. And I think that sort of treating it in that way seems to me to be a very positive way forward. PL: BPNW have been really fortunate because, as part of Manchester City Council’s framework, GB Building Solutions are involved with Whalley Range school, and they have actually adopted us as part of that framework within its social responsibility agenda. They have been working with us over the last year to make sure that we can extend our building. We’ve incorporated more clinical health and social care and complementary therapies space into the plans that can be accessed by the wider community. That in itself will bring us out into the community and more accessible in the local neighbourhoods. RL: We at various levels do a lot to try and encourage action at local level. I think one of the really successful things we’ve done – it’s over a decade now – is our Neighbourhood Cash grants. It’s only £45,000 for each ward, but it is easy access for a lot of community groups to do things important to them and it makes a real difference to lots of people. It’s about: “This is something we want to do.” And helping to support them in doing it. And in terms of not just the Voluntary Sector, but communities generally, I think the council is about frameworks that allow and support people doing things rather than

being, as it would have done once upon a time When I was first elected at the council I would have described it as paternalistic. I think that’s gone out of the window, I hope, and it is about supporting and enabling communities instead of telling them what to do. PL: For World AIDS Day last year BPNW had a huge celebration in the Lord Mayor’s parlour here, with Manchester City Council’s support, publicising and celebrating a piece of work we did on stigma. RL: And that’s very, very important. There are very few people in this city who won’t know somebody with HIV. . The sheer number of people means they almost certainly will know somebody. PL: Increasing visibility reduces stigma.You actually started off saying how strong Manchester is in terms of the country and its position for steering things. The things we do here are actually noticed, aren’t they? RL: Well, I hope so. That really is the objective and sometimes we do want to change national policy, obviously. But again, I think part of the policies of the city is that we are about what’s best for Manchester people. If I look at if from a Labour Party perspective, if I go back to the mid, late ’90s and the debate between Old Labour and New Labour here we’re all very clear: we’re not Old Labour, New Labour, we’re Manchester Labour. RL: And it terms of the relationship with the previous government, ours was about representing Manchester people to government, not the Labour government to Manchester people. PL: It’s good to hear it. It’s good to hear it. Thank you. Thank you very much.


World AIDS Day 2010 Update

uptake of voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) by men who have sex with men (MSM).The need for such guidelines is evidenced as almost a third of people (31%) newly diagnosed with HIV were given their diagnosis after anti-retroviral treatment would normally have begun, or when the person has an illness which defines them as having AIDS.

The theme for World AIDS Day 2010 is Universal Access and Human Rights and BHIVA hosted an important study day on December 1st. It was the first event of its kind that brought together all the HIV experts, patients, clinicians, public sector, private sector and charities to launch the ‘The Halve it’ campaign. This targeted campaign is to tackle the most serious root causes of new infections and early deaths, undiagnosed and late-diagnosed HIV. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) was asked by the Department of Health (DH) to develop guidance for sexual health services on public health interventions aimed at preventing and reducing HIV transmission among men who have sex with men (MSM), and have launched Public Health Guidance to support a number of related policy documents. This targeted guidance provides recommendations for good practice, based on the best available evidence of effectiveness, including cost effectiveness. The focus of these guidelines is on men in England who have sex with men (MSM) and have previously been diagnosed HIV-negative or do not know their HIV status. Interventions will be suggested that aim to increase the

The Halve It campaign is working alongside the new NICE guidelines which give a strategic steer to help instilling a culture of increasing HIV testing throughout the NHS and in the mind of the public in order to help beat the disease. Both the NICE guidelines and Halve It campaign sets out a path for tackling undiagnosed and latediagnosed HIV. In order to promote a testing culture HIV, testing must become more widely available as a more routine part of medical care. Currently the vast majority of patients attending sexual health clinics and antenatal services are tested for HIV. Establishing new settings in which tests take place is widely acknowledged as crucial if the UK is going to make serious progress in tackling HIV. The UK National Testing Guidelines 2008 suggest that HIV testing should be routinely offered and recommended to;

. . . . . .

All patients presenting with immuno-compromised conditions associated with HIV, All those presenting with a sexually transmitted infection, all sexual partners of those known to be HIV positive, All MSM, Women who have sex with bisexual men, Patients reporting a history of injecting drug use, All women from countries of high prevalence, All sexual contacts of individuals from these countries.

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Reducing late diagnosis through testing increases the number of HIV infected people who know about their status and are motivated to protect their partners from transmission. There also needs to be further efforts to improve contact tracing of current and former sexual partners of someone diagnosed to also test them for HIV. Those living with HIV who is aware of their condition are more likely to take precautions, such as using condoms, to prevent transmission to partners. A study of newly diagnosed HIV-positive MSM reported that 76% had eliminated the risk of onward transmission three months after diagnosis. A negative HIV test, on the other hand, provides an opportunity to offer preventive education and advice and may also lead to changes in behaviour. The Halve It campaign suggested some ways of overcoming barriers and promoting testing included: 1. Waiting room messages and advertising 2. Normalising testing by offering it to everyone 3. Offering tests when taking smears, providing contraception, giving travel advice, at asthma clinics and during sexual health screening 4. Improving awareness among staff, including receptionists 5. Having patient leaflets that identify the risks 6. Clarify the insurance position in leaflets So, in its 22nd year when World AIDS Day 2010 focuses on Universal Access and Human Rights, we call on our colleagues nationally and internationally to support the international theme. We urge our national partners, colleagues and supporters to join forces with BHIVA and actively work to increase the numbers of people tested and aware of their status! 25


BPNW GREEN RIBBON

865 and counting! One whole year! Yes, it’s been a whole year since we launched the G4IT Campaign and we have cause to celebrate this World AIDS Day. 865 people have been tested and now know their HIV status. 865 people had an opportunity to discuss their drug and their alcohol use. 865 people had the opportunity to discuss the sex they have and the sex they want.

Amanda Onwuemene

865 people had an opportunity to discuss what a positive diagnosis might mean for them. 865 people had an opportunity to discuss their relationships 865 people had an opportunity to talk about their mental well being 865 people had an opportunity to ask questions about the routes of transmission. 865 people had myths exploded about HIV and those living with it. 865 people allowed us the privilege to work with them as they planned marriages; looked to maintain their relationships; sought to keep themselves informed about HIV and STI’s; and we delivered that service across the North West from saunas and bars, to drop in centres and our own premises in Manchester.

Tafima

865 people were met by our team of staff and volunteers whose experience ranges from social services, drugs workers, counsellors, to nurses and other areas of experience. More than half the team are themselves living with HIV and can, in truth, tell you that you can live with the result whether it’s positive or negative! We have had 21 positive reactive results, all of whom have been confirmed by full venous blood test. All of whom have been followed up, offered information and support on the services available to them across the North West. BPNW still receives no funding for this work. Want to support this work? Call 0161 882 2200 for details. info@bpnw.org.uk 26

Mark Ward


Rowetta

Our Dutch Students

Katie Bland

Dave Allen

ing k c a b r o f s k n Tha .. . n g i a p m a c e th 27


BODY POSITIVE NORTH WEST SERVICES Did you know that BPNW offers the following free services to all its service users? We thought we would use this issue of PL to remind you of those services. Whilst the services are free to service users, they do cost the agency and we know that things pop up at the last moment, but missed appointments mean that others may miss out. So, if you’re booked in and you can’t make it or need to change your appointment, please call Emma.

Health and Social Care Team Free Complementary Our Health and Social Care team Therapies can help with welfare benefits, debt management, advocacy at clinics, treatment, housing and legal enquiries.

• Acupuncture • Aromatherapy • Massage • Reiki • Relaxation and visualisation • Shiatsu • Laughter Therapy

Nutrition

Lunch Monday to Friday 12:30 to 14:30hrs Dinner Monday and Thursday 18:00hrs to 19:00hrs Food Parcels Contact Emma Monday to Friday

Helpline Daily 10:00 to 22:00hrs Phone 0161 882 2202

Rapid HIV Testing

Our team of nurses, counsellors and health care workers offer HIV testing. Appointments can be made by calling reception for testing on Wednesday afternoons at our Centre. A drop in testing service is provided at Spirit Bar on Canal Street Wednesdays Alternative appointments are available, contact reception for more details. We also have outreach testing centres at other locations across the North West.

Want to Meet Others with HIV? Try one of our weekly peer support groups; Contact reception for details. Positive Self-Management Course This seven week course is designed 28

to help you to develop skills to better manage HIV.

Why Not Volunteer?

• Meet new people. • Gain skills and work experience. • Play a part in the response to HIV.

Our Services

• Advisors available at North Manchester, Oldham and Tameside hospitals • Benefits, legal, housing advice • Complementary therapies • Confidential helpline • Counselling • Daily food parcel service • Debt management • Exercise, gym referrals and healthy activities • Free or subsidised meals • Numeracy and literacy support • Peer support groups • Positive living magazine • Positive self-management course • Rapid HIV testing • Small grants fund applications • Smoking cessation • Training courses • Volunteering opportunities • Website

Contact Details

Body Positive North West 39 Russell Road Whalley Range MANCHESTER M16 8DH E-mail: info@bpnw.org.uk Switchboard: 0161 882 2200 Helpline: 0161 882 2202 Fax: 0161 882 2201 Web: www.bpnw.org.uk


EQUAL IN THE EYES OF THE LAW....... The Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010, which came into force on 1 October 2010 brings together nine separate pieces of legislation into one single Act simplifying the law and strengthening it in important ways to help tackle discrimination and inequality. The new Act has strengthened the existing law in some areas that are particularly relevant to people who are living with HIV. One way the new law could help you if you are suffering from HIV is from ‘indirect discrimination’. This is where a policy or practice is applied in the same way to everyone, but it puts disabled people at a particular disadvantage. An example of this might be where an employer brings in a new shift pattern which means that everyone

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has to work fewer days, but longer days. Your condition might mean that you get tiered quicker, and for this reason the new shift patter is disadvantageous to you. In such cases your employer will have indirectly discriminated against you if it can’t justify the new shift pattern.

Perhaps one of the most interesting areas of the new law is the way in which the law is strengthened in relation associative discrimination. The new law makes protection against discrimination clearer for people who care for somebody who is disabled.

The new law also introduces the concept of ‘discrimination arising from a disability’. It will count as ‘unlawful discrimination’ if someone who knows you are HIV + treats you unfavourably because of something that results from your disability, provided that treatment can’t be justified.

The new law goes further and prevents people from being harassed because they associate with someone who is HIV positive (or homosexual). If you’re harassed at work, the new law will mean that your employer will be held responsible if they know that you have been harassed repeatedly by someone like a customer or a client, and they do nothing reasonable to stop it happening again. If you have a problem of discrimination at work and you can’t sort it out with your employer, you can take action at an employment tribunal and seek compensation. You are strongly advised to get professional advice as early as possible in order to ensure that your position is protected.

An example of this could be because of your condition you might need to take more leave from work than people you work with. Your employer must not treat you unfavourably because of your time off. This could include stopping your pay or denying you opportunities for advancement or promotion. An employer will not be liable if they can objectively justify the action that they have taken. Other changes brought about by the new law include measures aimed at preventing employers from asking questions about health or disability before they offer you a job. An employer can only ask such questions in future provided they have a good reason.

Daniel Valentine is a trustee of Body Positive Northwest Limited. He is a solicitor specialising in employment law and discrimination He is principal of Regents Solicitors in Manchester and can be contacted on: 0161 265 6975 or daniel@regents-lawyers.co.uk 29


REFORM OF HEALTH AND WELFARE SERVICES A Change for the Postive?

The NHS

The Government announced its intentions for the NHS in a ‘White Paper’ consultation document, ‘Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS’, in July. Although it contained a number of quite radical proposals, the one that caught the most interest was the proposal to give GPs a greater role in the provision of healthcare, by handing over a large chunk of the NHS budget, roughly £80 billion, to new organisations called ‘GP consortia’. The idea is that these consortia, which may also have include other health professionals and representatives, and possibly patient representatives, will take over responsibility from Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) for the commissioning and buying of health care services for people living within a defined area.

Since the election of its first coalition government for 40 years, the UK’s political, economic and social fabric has been in turmoil. Not only has the Government rewritten the nature of the political settlement, it has also declared that it will radically change the way in which the welfare state operates. These changes will have impacts for anyone using the health service, accessing social care, or receiving benefits. As most people living with HIV use at least one of those services, these changes will impact on nearly everyone diagnosed and accessing state provide care or support. 30

Government, the NHS was charged with saving £15-£20bn over the next four years. The new Government has kept that requirement, as well as loading further pressure via the funding settlement given to the NHS in the recent Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR). Put simply, the NHS has been given an increase that in reality amounts to an actual decrease in its funding, when other factors such as increasing demand and ‘internal’ inflation are taken into account.

In addition to this real terms reduction in funding, the cost of the proposed changes to the NHS are likely to be in the region of £2£3bn. With many PCTs already in debt, there is every chance that many GP consortia will start life having to manage this inheritance, There are three reasons why this and therefore be looking for ways is going to be important for HIV to reduce their cost from the starts. positive people. The first is that the Indeed, this cost cutting has already GP consortia will hold the budgets started with the existing NHS bodies, that PCTs currently hold, and which and many PCTs and hospitals have pay for the manu of the services and been reducing services, cutting the drugs that the NHS provides. staff posts, and removing certain The second is that HIV, which treatments and operations from has until now been a ‘specialist’ their NHS lists. In the North-West, condition by dint of the numbers a number of hospital trusts have of those diagnosed with it, has now announced reductions in nursing technically become a non-specialist and other staff, and changes to condition; under the proposed new service provision. arrangements, it has become a condition that the GP consortia will The Local Authorities be responsible for commissioning, Local Authorities have as yet to be and paying for. directly affected by the Government’s health plans. However, the financial The third reason has nothing to settlement promised in the CSR do with the proposals themselves, has caused many of them to talk and everything to do with an of needing to review what services unfortunately conjuncture of they provide, and how much they objectives. Under the previous will need to raise from charges to


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continue to provide them. Some have even talked about changing the eligibility criteria for services, a move that would de facto reduce the numbers of individuals able to access them. It’s certain that there will be an impact on local government in the near future however. Pressure on NHS services from reduced funds, increasing demand, and the confusions that result from reorganisations, will certainly result in greater tensions between local social care services and local health services, not least over which should be providing ‘non-medical’ services; and more critically paying for them. For local government provided or supported HIV services, this may result in reductions in funding, or even the loss of funding in extreme cases. There is potentially some good news. The Government’s most recent proposals, looking at ‘Choice and Control’, and an ‘Information Revolution’, envisage a more joined up health and social care system, one where users have greater access to information, and more opportunities to decide what kind of treatment and care they would like, irrespective of the traditional healthcare and social care border. In some cases, this might be through the use of Direct Payments, Individual Budgets, or Individual Health Budgets, Underpinning this is the idea that the NHS should be an open-structure, where the commissioners of care, the GP consortia (or for specialist services, a new NHS Commissioning board) are able to purchase services from any organisation that is able to meet set criteria on quality, safety

and price. This “Any Willing Provider’ model was originally proposed by the previous Government, but then withdrawn after concerns were raised by some of the public service trades unions. Of course, this approach could be the beginning of the privatisation of the NHS, but it could also be an opening that will allow community and patient organisations into the field, and give them an opportunity to deliver services that are more attuned to the needs, and the wants, of HIV positive people. The Benefits System The reform of the benefits system has been going on since the turn of the last century. Indeed, for those who were diagnosed with HIV when it was a terminal rather than a chronic disease, the letter calling them in for a review of their DLA has been an ever present threat for much of the past five years.

The reforms announced this month however, combined with the reduction of the welfare budget announced by the Chancellor in the emergency budget are much more root and branch, and are likely to affect anyone in receipt of state benefits; be they direct, such as Job Seekers Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance, or indirect, such as tax credits. A recent report from the National AIDS Trust high-lighted that there are still people living with HIV existing on or just above the poverty line. For them the changes to housing benefit are the ones most likely to have an immediate impact. However, even those people above the poverty line but just making do, especially if it is benefits that are keeping them there, are likely to feel the pinch; from the reviews of entitlements for services, changes to rules for receiving unemployment benefits, 31


REFORM OF HEALTH AND WELFARE SERVICES A Change for the Postive?

or on top of it all, an increase in VAT to 20% in 2011. The Challenge of and for PLWH The coalition Government has identified the ‘welfare state’ as being one of its key challenges. According to its analysis, it costs too much, it achieves too little, and for too many people, it fosters a culture of entitlement rather than of selfimprovement and empowerment. Of course, the fact that the Government has chosen to tackle the UK’s budget deficit now (standing at £903bn in June this year) and the main reason given for the reforms, could be said as much to be driven by ideology as by any need to pay back the country’s borrowers. The challenge of HIV for the health and welfare services is that recent improvements in treatments have made it possible for most people to continue living normal lives, most likely for the same length as the average HIV negative person. However, that good news comes at a price, on average £10K per annum per person. A small sum when considered against expensive cancer drugs, or new surgical procedures, but still a noticeable cost. And HIV figures aren’t reducing. In fact, in some population groups they are increasing. And alongside HIV, in some population groups, other diseases and infections are also increasing, all of which require additional treatment, and expenditure. In addition, and as a consequence of the general ageing of the UK’s population, the overall cost of care is increasing, something that the success of HIV medications 32

has contributed to. All of this has to be managed on a reduced budget, and by services that are already stretche;, and that may soon find themselves being completely restructured with the creation of the new ‘GP led – Patient focused’ NHS. For people living with HIV, the challenge is very similar, but from a different perspective. HIV medications are increasing lifeexpectancy, and improving in terms of their side-effects. More people are able to live regular lives, and the state is ever more aware of this. It is the track of a disease moving from terminal, to chronic and manageable. However, that doesn’t apply to everyone, and although many of those living with the condition may well be as ‘normal’ as their work colleagues and neighbours, attitudes and prejudices take longer to change than medications. Not all employers are enlightened, and HIV treatment still requires regular trips to the clinic, and still causes occasional upsets.

The Future

It’s likely that the coalition will last the full five years, and that its reforms will at least be started, if not fully embedded. So, these reforms will change the way in which people living with HIV access and use the health and welfare systems, and the way in which those systems provide services to them. In the northwest, as with much of the north of England, the impact of the changes is likely to be amplified by the loss of jobs in the public sector; with people seeing changes to their services, or to their jobs.

The past decade has been rather good for many people living with HIV. The disease has become a chronic and manageable condition, and the treatments available have become ever more able to support a life that is as normal as it would have been without an HIV diagnosis. Whilst the progress in pharmaceuticals is unlikely to change dramatically over the next five years, it is very likely that the same period will see radical change in the way that HIV care is provided, with some people even beginning to experience the difficulties in accessing care that is unfortunately the norm for many people living with other chronic conditions. Change is always difficult, and even positive changes, such as learning to live again after being saved by the arrival of life-saving treatment, can be hard to manage. The difficulty presented by the Government’s changes is that many are untested, and even where they have, it’s been in isolation; there’s been no ‘wholesystem’ test. So whether the new health and welfare system will be a positive improvement won’t be apparent until they’ve been fully implemented, by which time it may be impossible to go back. Mark Platt is a healthcare policy analyst and public affairs consultant. He has worked for a number of HIV and AIDS organisations, including the UK Coalition of People Living with HIV/AIDS and Positive Nation, and was previously the Director of Policy and Public Affairs for the LongTerm Conditions Alliance.


www.bpnw.org.uk

You WANT To be Yourself for Your fAMIlY

let’s talk MENTAL wELL-bEiNg

The person depicted in this advert is a model.

Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about how HIV and HIV-related therapy may affect your physical and mental well-being. A Promise for Life

Date of preparation: November 2009 AXKAL092991

33


KARL FORDMAN

PL: Hi Karl, thank you for letting Positive Living readers read your story. Can you tell us about yourself? K: my name is Karl, I am 33years old, I have been positive ten years now. I have been using Body Positive North West for a very long time now, and it helps me tremendously. PL: What courses have you used at Body Positive North West? K: I did the Volunteer Training Course and passed; I did the Experts Patient Course 1 & 2. I learned a great deal from both of them. I have used bits of that to deal with life in general. PL: Talk to us a bit about your training as a Positive Self Management Tutor. K: I went with a member of staff, her name was Emma. We went to London to do the second part of the Tutorial Expert Patients Course. We passed it but I didn’t take the second part on because I didn’t think it was my thing. PL: You told us recently that you had been back home with your family and there had been news you hadn’t expected. Would you tell us about that? K: Yes, it’s about my mum, bless her. I don’t expect it happening to anybody, but my mum has just been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS you know. They (her consultants) say she’s had it for at least six years and it has deteriorated into AIDS. She was unaware of this. The support she got from there was diabolical. You know one, the doctors just kept fobbing her off and fobbing her off, and then …. PL: What has her care been like since she has been properly diagnosed? K: Since she has been diagnosed I met up with her doctor, Dr Foster, down there and she specialises in HIV; and she is taking care of my mum, you know, taking care of my mum very well, which I am pleased about. 34

PL: Karl, what help do you think you have you been able to give her, being positive yourself? K: I have been able to give her information about HIV; about what a CD4 count means; what a viral load means and talked about her medication because the medication she’s on is the same as me. So, it’s like helpful for her, because she’s asked me questions down the phone and I say to her if I can answer to them. I’ll answer the best I can, you know, that way I know she is getting some support. Whether she is getting full support I don’t know. PL: Are there any support centres where she lives like Body Positive? K: There is a place called the Oak Tree and it’s a Sexual Health Clinic. The nearest place for her to go is Cambridge and that’s quite a trek for her to go every time. PL: So, how long has she been diagnosed? K: The doctors say she’s been positive for at least six years; she got shingles, they sent her home saying she was fine; okay. Then she got pneumonia which was very bad; she was basically on her death bed before they realised that she had something wrong with her, but even still they diagnosed her condition as an unknown viral infection: That’s what they said to my mum at first: They didn’t now what the viral infection was. PL: How have you come to terms of her diagnosis? K: I am dealing with it, I am dealing with it, you know. I am being strong and dealing with it. You know, it’s hard for anybody to deal with it, something like that, especially a family relative. Especially my mum, because she is getting on now, she is getting on for sixty, you know. PL: So, basically you just need to be there for her? K: I say to her, “If you need me you know where I am”. We talk on the phone all the time, because I am

going to help and I am trying to get her help. I told her that I would get Body Positive to help as well. PL: Does your mum get support from other family members? K: Yes, yes, she has got my sister. My sister is very supportive, and if she is unsure of anything she will ask me questions, you know. PL: Karl, you’ve been really frank about your mother’s diagnosis is there anything more you would like to add about her diagnosis? K: I was quite surprised. Well, no, take that back. I was surprised by the initial diagnosis, when told she had deteriorated to the stage she had, but I was not surprised when I realised her CD4 was 20. A CD4 of 20, that quite shocked me and I was not expecting it to be that low. Even after all that and the not been diagnosed earlier, you know she’s on the mend: She is getting better. PL: So you are coming to terms with it a lot better now, too? K: Yes, I am coming to terms with it. PL: It seems like all that work you did during your Positive self Management courses and you own experience of being positive have been really useful, even after you thought that the course “wasn’t your thing”. Great job! K: Thank you. PL: What else has been happening in your life? We hear on the grapevine that there’s good news, would you tell us about it? K: I have just proposed to my partner Gary. PL: Well, congratulations there. So, you have just got engaged. K: Yes, yes. (Karl flashes engagement ring and huge smile) PL: Karl, thank you for letting us interview you and one last thing: Congratulations on your engagement and we hope it all goes well. Thank you very much.


MEET JOHN

PL: Hi John can you tell us how long you have been involved with the youth group at Body Positive North West: J: I have been involved in Body Positive North West’s Youth Group for about 3 years now, firstly as a volunteer, and more recently as a paid member of staff.

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PL: What is your career history and what do you do for a day job? J: I am currently employed by Manchester City Council’s children’s services and am undertaking a social work degree at Salford University. Before working for the Council I worked as a manager in the hospitality industry.

group have grown close, but we are also very welcoming to newcomers. I have worked with the majority of the children and young people continuously for the past 3 years. I have seen many of them mature and achieve great things. I was brought up in a single parent family and realise the impact that not having a strong male role model can have on a child. I really enjoy helping to run the group and one of my primary objectives is for everyone to have fun. It is only when I get chance to reflect on the work we have been doing that I realise how much the work we do benefits the children that access the service.

PL: You have proved really popular with all the kids particularly the boys. After speaking to the mothers they have identified that the majority of kids don’t have contact with their fathers and that you provide a strong male role model, a man they can look up to (in every sense of the word, John is 6ft 5!) How does this make you feel? J: I love Body Positive’s Youth Group as it is has a ‘family feel’ to it. The group member and staff and volunteers involved in the youth

PL: You have done numerous fundraising events for Body Positive North West’s Youth Group, can you tell us what motivates you to raise money for the youth group? J: I have undertaken various sponsored events to raise money for the youth group as I believe it is beneficial to the group to have funds which they can use to pay for trips and activities which reward everyone, both the adults and the children, for their hard work. Many of the children, if not all, are being

brought up in households which are experiencing financial deprivation. Our group gives children the chance to participate in educational and fun activities which their parents wouldn’t be able to access without the support of Body Positive North West. This year alone we have arranged a trip to Camelot theme park, been to Blackpool Sealife Centre, and bought the children books which they could keep and take home. PL: Anything else you would like to say John? J: The youth group is part of my life. It is something I did before I was a parent myself. (John has two daughters age 1 &2.) The youth group sometimes feels like an extension of my family. We manage to run a very productive group both educationally and socially in a very professional manner and have a lot of fun along the way. The staff that run the youth group have built up trust relationships with both the children and parents of children accessing the group. I feel like I have my dream job! PL: Thanks John!

35


THE LADY FROM THE SEA

A GRAND DAY OUT

Getting out and about is a good thing, is it not? And to be able to do it for free, that is even better. With the support of BPNW I was invited along to the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester city centre to see a play. Along with fellow service users, we saw a matinee performance of Henrik Ibsen’s, “The Lady from the Sea.”

Body Positive North West’s service users were given an opportunity by The Royal Exchange Theatre to see a new version of a play, The Lady of the Sea by Henrik Ibsen. The Royal Exchange Theatre runs a community links project which allows organisations access to the theatre, whether that is tours of the theatre, taster workshops or has in our case 10 free tickets. Every one of our service users who was asked jumped at the chance to see the play. So on a reasonable autumn afternoon a small group gathered in the theatre eager to experience some culture, we were not disappointed. I’ll let Bob tell you more. David. 36

My grand day out began with coffee and cake at a nearby coffee shop with my friend, Nic. As we waited for the other boys to arrive, we walked around the theatre looking at the exhibitions and displays about the show. It was exciting recognising the faces looking back from the stills from the stage production. The theatre -going patrons were filling the space – the atmosphere pulsed with the gathering numbers while we stood looking at the crowd, second-guessing who might be joining us. Would there be old friends or possibly new ones to get to know and enjoy the show with? “Here they are!” exclaimed Nic. Indeed it was a heady mix of familiar faces and new.

We took our seats as the lights dimmed. The play opened with a forlorn-looking woman, lost in thought amidst the swirling wave – the noise of the wash immersing us into the thick of the plot. The actors entered and left the stage, telling their stories, telling Ibsen’s tale. Ibsen’s 1888 play is set in the 19th century in a small town in Northern Norway. It is a warm and intimate look at the lives of Dr Wangel and his family – his grown daughters from his first marriage and his new wife, Ellida, the central character who harbours a painful secret. As the story unfolds, we are introduced to the visitors and their relationships with the Wangel family. We hear of sickness, lost and perhaps misguided love; of death and new beginnings. We are weaved into the fabric of their lives, feeling the tug of desperation and desire as their dark past begins to illuminate the present. In the end, we learn that we are always free to make our own choices in life. Bob Graham


Can’t let

my meds mess up my night.. they Can wait…

If you don’t take it, talk about it. Hot date or not, side effects shouldn’t come between you and your anti-HIV medication. Your doctor or nurse can help you deal with problems or make changes to your prescription. Find out more at www.yourstoryyourscript.co.uk

August 2009, HIV/0509/2906


ROBIN GRAHAM Therapist, Shiatsu, laughter and breathing is the Chinese practice; Shiatsu is similar, a Japanese method for treating physical and emotional issues through touch. Modern Shiatsu combines Oriental Medicine, Western Physiology and Psychology.

My name is Robin Graham. I am a shiatsu practitioner, poet and playwright, laughter therapist, Art of Living teacher, mango farmer, and chief linguist to Nana Kwado Osafo 1st (also known as Bruce). Originally I’m from all parts of London, studied physics and then anaesthetics (knock out!), worked as a consultant in a big computer company, and then moved north in 1995 for love. I joined BPNW as a Shiatsu practitioner in July 1996. Quiet and unassuming, on my very first day they forget I was in the building. It was locked up with me still giving a treatment. The burglar alarm announced my arrival! I am very blessed to still be working here almost fifteen years later. My very first booked client had to cancel due to ill health, but since then his health has improved, and I am happy to say that he is still a regular client and a friend. In his place, a lady who was volunteering in the drop in at the Tariff Street Centre became my first actual client. An inspiring service user, she told me her story. And in 1998, I wrote a play based on what I had heard her say. It was performed from 19992001, at GHT, LGF, and community venues around the North West. It is published in City Secrets, by Crocus Books, a collection of short stories by LGBT writers. Ask me and I can email you the script.

Shiatsu

So what is Shiatsu? It is a complementary therapy. It complements mainstream Western medicine, helping the body and mind to relax and heal. Acupressure 38

A Shiatsu treatment involves gentle stretching, rotations of the limbs, and relaxed pressure applied at various points using fingers and thumbs. These ‘points’, are often acupuncture points. I will work a line of points (a meridian), usually from head to fingers and toes. Meridians may follow the line of major nerves and blood vessels. Applying pressure can help relieve local microtensions: imagine these local tensions on a blood vessel or nerve; by removing them we can help the body function better. It can get reduce pains and tension, address deep seated problems, and strengthen the health of the body. For example, Shiatsu may help with: . Headache, migraine, backache and other pains . Worry, stress and emotional issues. . Menstrual, digestive and circulation problems . Strengthening stamina and vitality . Helping the healing of injuries It can also be deeply relaxing. Treatments usually leave a feeling of calmness and well-being. Shiatsu treatments don’t use oils, and the client remains clothed.

Laughter and Breath

Laughter is a mood altering substance which is legal, free, and doesn’t need a prescription. And it has the most amazing powers. It can boost our immune system by up to 40%. It can neutralise our stress hormones. It can help improve our circulation, respiration, ability to fight infection. It can be a social glue and an alternate way of dealing with anger and negative emotion. Laughter as a therapy boosts health, happiness and management of stress, and is a way to finding our sense of joy by exploring our social interactions, fears and behaviours.

Yoga breathing and meditation also have the most amazing effects. And also it can bring us that sense of joy. But laughter and meditation do this not by looking out, but by looking inwards, and by going deep into our very being. As a combination, they are life changing. I am a volunteer teacher with the Art of Living Foundation. This inspired me to do my laughter work, which I started in 1998. I have co-founded the UK Laughter Network, and the World Laughter Pledge. I have laughed (run sessions) in Ghana and Ethiopia, Bulgaria and Germany, and India: Laughing without jokes, but just because we want to is the same in the whole world. We can choose to embrace laughter. And now I have become an Art of Living teacher, I will be running courses in some specific yoga breathing techniques. There are two service users who have completed the course, and I am sure that they will tell you how empowering it is; imagine each day you can have a shower to wash the inside, and then do these techniques to wash the inside! They are so powerful, and have changed my life.

Now and later

I am coming up to my 15th anniversary at BPNW. I only work three hours a week, but it has become like another home. I have recently started running monthly therapeutic laughter sessions at the centre. Anyone who has attended will tell you they are fun! They are gentle, and playful and we laugh together (never at each other). They are on a Monday evening once a month. Try one! My shiatsu sessions are usually on a Thursday. I have done over 2000 treatments at the centre now! That amazes me! I look forward to doing a few more too!


BPNW GALA DINNER STOP PRESS!!!

As we are just about to go to press with the magazine, we could not do so without giving you a flavour of the Gala Evening held at the Palace Hotel on Friday 19th November 2010. The amount raised so far is £31.000 and we are still counting! All of us at BPNW would like to extend our grateful thanks to EVERYONE who made the evening such an enormous success. There were friends and colleagues from our partner agencies; from our corporate sponsors; from our service users and volunteers; our staff team, all attending an evening of song, dance and fund raising. We shall be notifying everyone of the final total in the next edition of Positive Living.

We are including just a few of the images from the evening and we will be having a spread in the next edition of PL. So, if you don’t see yourself in this issue, you will almost certainly be in the next!! Huge thanks in particular go to Paul Hill, of GB Building Solutions, and the outstanding contribution of his team of event organisers – all of whom actually hold down highly important, fast paced and contributed their time to making this event the success it has been.


BPNW GALA DINNER The people who raise funds for BPNW, from the coins dropped into a bucket to the cheques given at the Gala dinner, all contribute to the provision of services and help us deliver even more in these financially precarious times. Your donations will provide the following services. We want to thank you. £3.00 will pay for a three course meal for one person. Good nutrition is vital to all of us, but especially so to those living with HIV. £17.00 will pay for a bus pass allowing someone on low or no income to get to a support group which will allow them to take part in events which improve their mental and physical well being. £20 can pay for 2 people to attend one of BPNW’s HIV testing clinics. Over a third of people who have HIV don’t realise that they are living with the virus. The implications for their health and onward transmission of HIV are enormous and, unless tested, they will become seriously ill. £50 can Train a Volunteer. Volunteers fill a number of vital roles in our organisation from administrative assistants to gardeners; from ‘bucket shakers’ on collection days to envelope stuffers; from Helpline operators to members of our HIV testing team. They also provide support and friendship – a vital service to many as being HIV positive commonly brings with it feelings of isolation and depression. £100 can offer Educational Support for a child affected by HIV over a four week period. Liaising with parents and our Health & Social Care Team, this child centred work is vital to children who are in need of short term additional educational support, particularly those children who live with or affected by HIV. £100 can support the work of our Helpline Service for a 12 hour shift. Our Helpline Operators are highly skilled and offer information, support and advice on many aspects of HIV including: its prevention, transmission, care, and drug treatment. Our calls come from right across the community, from across the age range and regardless of sexuality, gender or religious belief, we deliver factual information based on the latest scientific studies. We also offer support to friends, lovers, partners, and children of those living with or affected by HIV. For those who want to spend a little more: Your organisation could support BPNW by any one of the following ways: £1,000 would support 10 weeks of workshops for young people living with or affected by HIV £5,000 would maintain just one of our peer support groups for a whole year £20,000 would pay for a specialist social worker to help our Health & Social Care Team maintain and deliver the highest standards of social care support to our service users. £20,000 would pay for a specialist youth worker to help develop further programmes with those young people living with or affected by HIV. 40


41


CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN Steve Andrews chaos. Unemployment was soaring, the housing market was in a downward spiral as people were losing their homes, and major banks and lending institutions were on the verge of collapse. Add to that, the fighting and funding of two wars. The President inherited a mess, yet his campaign slogan was “Change We Can Believe In.” The people of this country sent him, along with Congress, to Washington to make it happen.

“Change We Can Believe In” was the slogan that Senator Barak Obama ran on. During the course of his campaign, at rally after rally, chants rang out “Yes we can, Yes we can.” His candidacy was built on the hope that change could and would take place in Washington. November 4th, 2008 saw the election of Senator Obama to the Presidency. In the hearts and minds of many Americans, and particularly those in the LGBT community, “Change We Can Believe In” was going to become reality. 2009 was the first times since 1993, when the President and the full Congress, both House of Representatives and the Senate, were all from the same political party, Democrat. This put a great expectation in the American people, especially in the hearts of the LGBT community. In theory, this should make it easier for the key points of the President’s agenda to be enacted. President Obama and the Democratic majority in Congress inherited some major challenges. Our economic structure was in 42

There are many views on how things have unfolded over the last two years, but from the perspective of a gay man, and a PLWA, I find the change we expected to fall short of what was delivered. To many in the LGBT community our leaders have compromised on important issues. These issues could have been implemented, if the leadership would have used the force of their majority and pushed for those “Changes” they campaigned on. But, it appears to some as though the concept of BiPartisanship has trumped the need for “Change.” The need to get along has softened the message, Change. We have seen many changes, but so many of these have been “watered down” versions of the promises made. Comprehensive Health Care has brought some changes. Some believe this watered down version has occurred because government compromised from the beginning of the process. LGBT issues have also seen some strides. The President has authorized same-sex partner benefits to some government workers; he has lifted the ban on travel to the U.S. for PLWA; he has given direction the Secretary of Health and Human Services to “promulgate rules for hospitals that receive Medicaid or Medicare funds that require them to respect the rights of patients to designate visitors.” Some feel the battle on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell has taken a back seat. Some have hoped for a more aggressive process on many LGBT issues.

The movie Anna and the King has a wonderful line that says, “Things move slowly here in Siam.” Often times that premise holds true here in the U.S. Implementation of governmental change is often slow. In fact, some changes in our Health Reform act will not take effect until 2014. Each of our individual states control the implementation of health services to those who cannot obtain or afford health care, our federal/ state Medicaid program. Over 50% of all PLWA receive care from Medicaid. However, because each state administers funds differently, there can be a disparity between people in one state and people in another. Having 50 different processes is difficult at best and almost impossible at worst. In Florida, which is on the high end of care for the country, there are challenges. There is a waiting list for PLWA to have proper case management. ADAP, the state funded drug program is seeing major cutbacks. Other services, such as housing, food supplements etc. are being provided primarily through charitable organizations. Services at the State level are limited to people with dependent children. There are many who find the bureaucracy too difficult to traverse and completely fall through the cracks in terms of care. There are many challenges to meet, but some of us are still shouting, if only in our hearts, “Yes We Can.” With the last election of a Republican House of Representatives on November 2, the battles in Congress will certainly become more difficult. I am still hopeful that our President will be able to deliver on his campaign agenda. These changes will be a great benefit to our Country, to the LGBT community and to PLWA. As a gay man living with AIDS, I still believe in, and hope for “Change We Can Believe In.”


Service Users and Volunteers Christmas Party @ Spirit Bar 3rd December 2010 6:30pm – till late Buffet Anyone wishing to attend any of the Seasonal Events should contact Emma for details on 0161 882 2200 or info@bpnw.org.uk


DO SOMETHING ENERGETIC!

Get Active 1. Choose activities that you enjoy doing. Walking, dancing, swimming, jogging or riding a bike are all good choices. 2. Try to fit physical activity into your daily schedule it can help your mood as well as your health. 3. You do not have to go to the gym to stay active walking, housework, gardening all ways to stay active. 4. Remember that staying active can help relieve stress, increase your appetite, improve your sleep, make you feel better about yourself, and build muscle strength. Muscles store energy and protein that your body can use when fighting infection. 5. Get out and be active as exercise is known to have anti depressant effects on the mind. Staying active can also provide an outlet to release pent up anger and stress. 6. Sun deficiency (lack of vitamin D) can cause moodiness and depression. Getting out into the fresh air can alleviate this and there is nothing better than physical activity to lighten your mood. www.apositivelife.com/livingwithhiv/staying-active.jsp 44


BUNTY’S BITES

www.bpnw.org.uk

Baked Shells with Chicken and Cheese Pasta shells are smothered and swirled around succulent chicken bites and flavored with parsley and garlic. 8 medium ounces pasta shells 1 cup 2% milk 1/2 tsp garlic salt 1/8 tsp ground black pepper 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided 2 cups chopped cooked chicken meat 2 tsp crushed dried parsley 1). Cook pasta as per package instructions; drain and set aside. 2). Preheat oven to 375°F. 3). In a saucepan over medium heat, bring milk to just boiling or until small bubbles appear around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add garlic salt, pepper, and about 3/4 of the shredded cheese; whisk until melted. 4). Combine sauce with chicken, parsley and cooked pasta in a baking dish. Top with remaining cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbling and browned on top. Servings: 4 Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 35 minutes Nutrition Facts Serving size: 1/4 of a recipe Percent daily values based on a 2000 calorie diet. Nutrition information provided by the recipe author.

Sunday Lunch Contact Emma for Dates: Bookings Only, £5 per head Starters - Pate on toast or soup of the day Main - Roast Dinner with roast potatoes mash and new potatoes, carrots, sprouts, cauliflower cheese, Yorkshire pudding and gravy. Deserts - Ice cream sundae Or Hot pudding and custard. Teas or coffee. Please let us know if you want the vegetarian option.

Amount Per Serving Calories 640.00 Calories From Fat (41%) 260.00 % Daily Value Total Fat 29.00g 45% Saturated Fat 14.00g 70% Cholesterol 0.00mg 0% Sodium 620.00mg 26% Carbohydrates 50.00g 17% Dietary Fiber 2.00g 8% Net Carbohydrates 48.00g Protein 43.00g 86%

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GLOBAL NEWS Pope Benedict XVI and those “special circumstances”. In his book, ‘Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times’, based on interviews the Pope gave to German Catholic journalist, Peter Seewald, earlier in 2010, Pope Benedict XVI has said the use of condoms is acceptable in exceptional circumstances. He agreed that condoms could reduce the risk of HIV for a male sex worker, but continues to argue that it is not condom use, but a more humane attitude to sexuality was the proper way to combat HIV infection.

New York, USA

Eighteen people were arrested mid November, including New York state senator Thomas Duane, protesting Gov. David Paterson’s veto of a bill that would have ensured that low-wage earners with HIV would spend no more than 30% of their salary on rent. Protesters staged a die-in along Broadway near City Hall in Manhattan, blocking all traffic, shortly after 200 people rallied outside of the landmark. Paterson blocked the bill at the urging of New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. Both agreed that the mandate would be a financial burden on the city, while activists say the bill would affect about 10,000 New Yorkers.

Washington, DC

Thirteen supporters of direct-action group GetEQUAL were arrested at the White House railings, having handcuffed themselves to it and then super gluing their handcuff locks: All this as their protest on the DADT – Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – USA military ban on open and out LGBT community members serving in the American armed forces which has yet to be repealed by congress.

China

A Chinese court ruled 13th November 2010 against the defendant in the country’s first lawsuit over employment discrimination against people who are HIV-positive. HIV gained a foothold in China largely because of unsanitary blood plasma-buying schemes and tainted transfusions in hospitals. Health authorities say sex has now overtaken drug abuse as the main channel of transmission. It was not known how the defendant in this case was infected. AIDS was the top killer among infectious diseases in China for the first time in 2008, a likely reflection of improved reporting of HIV-AIDS statistics in recent years. Chinese governmental statistics from 2009 showed there were 319,877 Chinese confirmed to be living with HIV-AIDS, though Health Minister Chen Zhu has said the actual level of infections is probably near 740,000. It would appear certain that if other sectors of the economy adhere to the public servant’s medical examination standards, then PLHIV will simply be unable to find employment. 46

Leaked reports from the Pentagons’ own survey of service personnel and their families, suggest that a majority of members of the military are not troubled by openly gay service members. The Pentagons report should published in December 2010.

Michigan, USA

A young gay student was one of a number of supporters who stuck up for an embattled schoolteacher in Michigan during a Nov. 8 Board of Education meeting. A number of individuals addressed the board, but one of the most remarkable comments came from a 14 year old gay student. “I myself am gay, and I am a young person,” Graham Taylor told the meeting. “This teacher, whom I fully support, finally stood up and said something,” Taylor said of McDowell. “I have been in rooms, in classes, where children have said the worst kind of things, the kinds of things that helped drive me to a suicide attempt when I was only nine years old. These are things that hurt a lot.”


Russia.

As Russia faces a serious crisis in the supply of HIV medication, HIV-positive patients across Russia have been staging protests since the end of October to try and make their voices heard. According to Russian sources medicines are theoretically freely available to PLHIV, but in really the supply is sporadic and, if you live in a more rural area, its highly unlikely that there is any regularity in delivery. Many Russians choose not to get tested because the social isolation of HIV-positive people remains an acute problem. It is alleged that doctors often fail to keep the diagnosis a secret, and as a result, it is not uncommon for HIV-positive people to lose their jobs. Furthermore, the children of HIV-positive parents — even if they themselves test negative for HIV — are routinely denied access to many public facilities such as swimming pools, sports clubs and health centers, activists say. As of the beginning of 2010, official statistics, suggest that St. Petersburg had around 43,000 HIV-positive patients. This means that 625 people are infected per 100,000 people, which is about 2.5 times higher than the national average. Every tenth HIV-positive person in Russia lives in St. Petersburg. Independent experts say the real figures could be two or even three times higher, as most people avoid getting blood tests until they develop severe symptoms. Some experts have predicted that the virus could decimate the Russian population by a third during the next 50 years. Despite all efforts to raise public awareness, stereotypes about the disease persist in Russia.

VOICE UK promoting justice and wellbeing for vulnerable victims

Europe wide:

BPNW’s Sam de Croy, elected to the Board of Directors of HivEurope earlier this year, was delighted to be involved with other colleagues in the creation of a new logo for HivEurope. The new logo signifies four years of work by the agency as it finalised its statutes, working outline and networked its many partners across Europe from Russia in the east to the UK in the west – the partnership, founded in Copenhagen at a meeting in June 2005 and demonstrably committed to the principle of the Greater Involvement of People Living with HIV and AIDS in the development of public services, seeks to support our colleagues across Europe in their fight to support PLHIV, making sure that services, treatment, prevention messages and medicines are delivered to those who need them. Watch this space for more…

Have you been attacked, harmed or hurt?

Do you have a disability?

You can talk to us

0808 802 8686 Email: helpline@voiceuk.org.uk Text: 07797 800 642

guidance | justice | awareness | communication | training 47


YOU CAN KISS MY ASPIRATION!

Please, please, do not tell me that your magazines evoke “aspiration”! The evocation of aspiration seems to be the buzz terminology when presenting the overpriced to the underpaid and the impoverished! To encourage aspiration to new levels of shallowness in the face of the very real poverty of so many LGBT people in the UK today seems, at best misjudged, at worst criminally ignorant.

It’s somewhere in the early hours of the morning and I’m so mad I can’t sleep. Why this insomnia? Once again I’ve read one of a plethora of publications aimed at the gay community and, once again, I realise that these magazines are geared to gay community that I do not recognise. Who are these people who live in multi-thousand pound apartments on the (insert choice) luxury river/canal/woodland dell development; holiday in (insert choice) luxury 5 star hotel on (insert choice) luxury seafront/city centre/ somewhere over the rainbow resort? Are you seriously going to tell me that the majority of your readers live like this? 48

Can you explain to me just how people are expected to ‘aspire’ to the gay lifestyle promoted in these magazines whilst they scrape by on £70.00 per week? Can you tell me how those in the community who are living with HIV can put healthy food on their table whilst paying for gas, electricity, travel; all on less than £75.00 per week? Can you tell me how someone can afford to holiday in one of your advertised resorts on a budget of £150.00 every two weeks whilst still paying for day-to-day living? The majority of LGBT people I know are trying live their life, not a lifestyle! We are assailed by adverts offering us the latest “lifestyle” aids – whatever happened to just living? Am I really less gay if I don’t holiday in Baja California; wax my arse at the ‘in’ place in Chelsea; eat at the overpriced restaurant in Clapham;

join the queue at the overblown new bar selling nothing more than the same beer in more expensive surroundings? Who makes the money? Not the community, that’s for sure. Wake up and smell the overpriced Latte, honey. We are being ripped off and these magazines are helping to dip our pockets! A while ago I showed some of these magazines to straight mates of mine who had protested with me some thirty years ago on picket lines and on gay pride marches: Gay pride marches of a couple of hundred, where the Police called us “poofs” and offered the bare minimum of protection against an ocean of abusive bystanders; gay pride marches which formed the basis of a political groundswell which allows all of us to have the freedoms we do today and will have in the future. What did those friends say?: “How about a little less cock and a bit more news”? “Where can I find affordable housing”? “Where do I go if my boyfriend/girlfriend kicks me out in the middle of the night”? “Who helps me when the choice is food or heat”? “Who holds my hand when I���m lonely/sad/frightened”? “Are there women on the gay scene”? “Are all gay men really that pretty”?


www.bpnw.org.uk

“Where are the real blokes”? “Am I the only gay in my council estate”? “I’m no longer able to club or pub, do I just hang up my gay credentials and die”? “Is that position actually possible and can straight people do it without getting arrested by the gay sex police”? I love the fact that I live in a diverse community; I love that getting the shit kicked out of us thirty years ago means that guys can walk down the street holding hands if they want; that we can ‘marry’, live openly, or secretly, if we want ; we can wear leather/denim/tiaras/or a combination of all of them if we want- and woe betide the gay or straight person who takes the piss; we can spend our every waking hour going from one gay venue to the next and never enter a straight one – if we want; 16 year old boys can scream like 12 year old girls when the next Christina/Britney/ Kylie/Madge song hits the speakers! Those same 16 year old boys can fuck whomsoever they like – just like their straight counterparts! We can challenge the religious Right and tell them they are wrong! We can tell our politicians to include us or we’ll simply vote them out! All of this – if we want it; our choice and we made it happen. It wasn’t given to us by straights;

handed down on stone tablets; the bequest of a grateful nation. No, it was fought for. Some people it killed ; it ruined families, friendships; it forced politicians to take us seriously; forced the Church to say just how much they feared us and hated us; forced us to face the AIDS plague straight on; forced us to change the way that the medical profession viewed us; we forced drug companies to supply drugs, to make drugs and to do all of that in the face of growing opposition from their stockholders and governments; forced the government to throw out section 28; forced us to step into centre stage and say “I have an absolute right to be here”. Why then, do we insist in telling one another that we must ‘aspire’ to the crap that is the latest mobile phone or condo or whatever the ‘latest’ is? Does it make me a better person to have this or that mobile phone? This or that holiday? This or that concert ticket? God, I hope not, otherwise I, and many like me, are fucked!

It’s too easy to say, “Well, things have moved on. Things have changed”. Yes, they have changed! No, they have not changed! We still need to be aware that politicians will support us when it’s expedient; the Church, in all its guises, loathes us and will happily support any measure to bury us; the straight community can be as ‘metro sexual’ as it wants, but beneath that thin veneer is a homophobe just waiting to be let loose! The 21st century has challenges that are immense; AIDS still destroys lives here and abroad; poverty keeps us from fulfilling our full potential, here and abroad; politicians would lead us into conflicts for their spurious gain, here and abroad. We need to maintain a real watch on our freedoms, or they will disappear before we realise it. We’re very happy to have been a very small cog in the wheel that brought us here, but be warned we refuse to be reduced to a “lifestyle”. 49


LETTERS PAGE Dear Colleagues, After much discussion and deliberation by the staff team and the Board of Body Positive North West, we have decided that our energy and expertise would be better spent prioritising our partners outside Manchester, targeting the wider NW, this World AIDS Day 2010. We have also agreed to accept invitations from our international partners, European and American, to share in their World AIDS Day events. With regret we also wish to register once more the continued lack of parity within the partnership – Body Positive North West provides services to almost 1000 Manchester residents and received no support from either the City Council or Manchester PCT – yet there is an expectation that we will participate in an event which offers little or no support to this agency. Our Green Ribbon Campaign, launched at WAD in 2008 has currently successfully targeted over 860 people who have attended BP’s clinic for HIV screening, and yet is still resourced out of the Charities reserves.

Dear Editor, Many thanks for the copy of the latest magazine which was genuinely interesting, and I appreciated the contact from Body Positive about your valuable work. Just to say that Cllr Watson’s comments about the new Government precisely mirror my feelings about the previous Government, and it may well be that my party colleagues representing a third of the Council feel likewise! The Whalley Range ward where you are located is also represented by Cllr John Grant, our Party’s spokesperson on the wide ranging adult services portfolio, and a former hospital chaplain himself. Having spoken to John, I learned that he enjoys good relations with yourselves at Body Positive, and can confirm that he would be happy to be featured in your next edition if given a slot next time for a piece. Yours sincerely Paul Shannon Councillor Paul Shannon, Rusholme Ward. Chairman, Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Authority and Vice-Chairman of North West Fire & Rescue Management Board. Deputy Leader, Manchester Liberal Democrats. Deputy Chair, LGA Fire Services Management Committee and LGE Fire Services; National Joint Council, Employers’ Side. 50

We are dismayed to meet with members of the LGBT community who have no idea of the routes of transmission for HIV and yet are surrounded by a plethora of materials paid for from the public purse – those men and women who turn up for HIV testing are neither stupid nor ignorant, but current safer sex messages are not reaching them and, as far as we can ascertain, there seems little effort to change this situation. We wish you every success in your endeavours and look forward to working with the partnership in the future. Yours sincerely, Sam de Croy Development & Well Being Manager Dear Sam, We were disappointed to hear that Body Positive North West no longer wished to be a member of the Manchester’s World Aids Day Partnership, particularly since just a few months ago you identified that you wanted to be. As one of the aims of the World Aids Day Partnership is to achieve a unified message within Manchester and support the needs of each member organisation, it is unfortunate that you no longer feel you can be a part of this. We would like to take the opportunity to emphasise that each organisation within the partnership is encouraged to still pursue its own individual objectives over World Aids Day; the partnership does not intend to take emphasis away from individual campaigns, if anything we aim to maximise public exposure to them. You mention that there is still so much more to do to make sure that our communities are made aware of the risks of HIV which demonstrates the need for us to be continually working together to promote each other’s services to all potential service users. The desire and the goodwill to work together to promote HIV awareness and, collectively to meet the needs of the city’s diverse communities affected by HIV, is paramount and is one that will continue. We wish Body Positive North West the very best of luck for the future with your individual endeavours. Yours sincerely, Andrew Gilliver On behalf of The Manchester World AIDS Day Partnership.


One name One vision One team

Tibotec has changed its name to Janssen. On September 10th, 2010, Tibotec, a division of Janssen-Cilag changed its name to Janssen and launched a new identity and a new logo. This change is part of a process to unite all Janssen companies around the world under a common identity. A common identity will allow us to collaborate across companies, to share research and develop innovative ideas, products and services and so support our shared commitment: to work as one team on behalf of patients. The Janssen name comes from Dr Paul Janssen, who founded one of our earliest pharmaceutical companies. Using his example, we are committed to finding solutions for patients by advancing science and medicine on their behalf.

A heritage of innovation in HIV Janssen-Cilag Ltd TIBO/10-0102 Date or preparation: August 2010

This change does not impact our products or valued relationships with healthcare professionals, people living with HIV, the broader HIV community or other stakeholders. We will continue to conduct our business in the same way. The names of our prescription products will also remain the same. To find out more about Janssen and the therapeutic advances we are continuing to make in HIV and other infectious diseases, please visit: www.janssen.co.uk


CD4. Know the score.

350

The British HIV Association1 now recommend starting treatment when your CD4 count drops to - or earlier, if you • have a high viral load and your partner is HIV negative • are at risk of cardiovascular disease • have a co-infection like hepatitis B or C • have an underlying AIDS diagnosis or • have a low CD4 percentage (<14%) which may put you at risk of an opportunistic infection

Talk to your Healthcare Professional about your CD4.

References: 1. Gazzard BG et al. HIV Med 2008; 9: 563-608. Date of preparation: April 2010 001/UKM/10-03/MM/1659


Positive Living Edition 8 Winter 2010