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www.voice-online.co.uk

Supported by Special supplement edited by Trudy Simpson


18 I November 25 - December 1, 2010

WORLD AIDS DAY 2010 FEATURE

HIV in numbers 100,000

The number of people expected to be living with HIV in the UK by the end of 2011. That is why the National AIDS Trust is campaigning for Prime Minister David Cameron to put in place a national strategy on HIV from 2011.

CAN’T LET MY MEDS MESS UP MY NIGHT. THEY CAN WAIT…

* All pics are posed by models and used for illustrationpurposes only. There is no suggestion intended that they have AIDS or HIV

17

The percentage that global HIV infections have dropped since 2001.

4.9 The millions of lives saved worldwide since the global fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria was set up in 2002.

10

The days within which the first symptoms of HIV infection can appear. The symptoms, which include fever, rash and severe sore throat occurring together, usually disappear after two or three weeks and people will feel fine for a number of years until the immune system becomes severely weakened by HIV.

The millions of people who have died from HIV related illnesses worldwide.

25 30+

The millions of people now living with HIV worldwide; nearly half are women.

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

20,000+

The number of Africans living with HIV in the UK.

1,600+

The number of black Caribbeans living with HIV in the UK.

August 2009, HIV/0509/2906

7000

The number of people newly diagnosed each year.


WORLD AIDS DAY 2010 FEATURE

November 25 - December 1, 2010

I 19

Why Britain’s black communities must be HIV aware By Trudy Simpson

F

OR YEARS, south London builder, Garfield, loved playing the field, seeing up to five women at the same time. “Mi use to have all three woman fi di (for the) week,” the 40-year-old Jamaican-born British resident told The Voice recently. “All when me did deh (live) in Jamaica, all three mi have fi di (for the) day…. When mi ah leave (I was leaving) Jamaica, ah five different women mi have you know.” These days Garfield is living a different life and considers himself lucky to be HIV free, especially after having four children with four different women and hearing “rumours” of people he knew getting HIV. “Me still alive and me no have HIV so me say me want to see me youth dem grow up so that make me tone it down and start stick to one (woman) and get married….” Garfield said black people should become more sensible by sticking to one partner and

“We are still seeing high numbers in the community not using condoms” using condoms. “Just put it (a condom) on where it fi (should) go,” he said. “If you are a man, don’t be silly. Wear the rubbers pan the willy and stick to one partner. The same thing goes for women.” Health officials are also stressing similar messages for World AIDS Day, being marked on December 1 under the theme, ACT Aware. “We are still seeing high proportions of both men and women among African communities who do not use condoms regularly with casual or multiple partners so that’s a concern,” said Dr. Valerie Delpech, consultant epidemiologist at the Health Protection Agency (HPA). Black Caribbean HIV

diagnoses are over 1,600. In addition, “there has been a slight drop but we are still seeing over 3,500 diagnoses in black Africans in 2010,” said Delpech, whose organisation will release its newest UK HIV statistics tomorrow (November 26). Delpech said of concern are the 27 percent of people overall who do not know their HIV status and that a third of UK based Africans have never had an HIV test. “One of the key messages is for African communities to all know their status. Everyone should have at least one HIV test and have a repeat test annually if they have more than one partner or as frequently (as) they have changed partners. It’s a very easy process.” Delpech also stressed that early diagnosis is critical if people want to get successful treatment. “Getting the test is no issue and being HIV positive is very much seen as a chronic illness. Provided people are picked up early and know their diagnosis early, they have a normal life

span (past the age of 72),” said Delpech. However, statistics show that 30 percent of black Caribbeans, 75 percent of African men and two thirds of African women have been diagnosed late, well after treatment should have begun. “Unfortunately if they present late then that is where they

may have the complications and die earlier than expected.” Delpech urged more black communities to tackle HIV related prejudice so more people will disclose their status and get support. She said more must be done to combat homophobia, which forces many black gay

men to hide their sexual orientation. “Because homosexuality is still more likely to be stigmatised among African communities, they are much less likely to disclose that they have had sex with men. The other issue is that people are bisexual; either way, people should really use condoms.”

LIFE SAVERS: Condoms

ESSENTIAL: HIV testing

BHA - Improving lives changing futures

Why we should care about HIV... By Deborah Jack Chief Executive, National AIDS Trust

Regarding the African community, the number of black Africans being seen for HIV care in the UK has increased nearly seven-fold THIS YEAR’S theme for World AIDS Day between 1998 and 2007 to over 20,600. [December 1] is Act Aware. Being aware of the Poverty affects significant numbers of facts about HIV and acting on that knowledge people living with HIV across all groups, but to inform your behaviour are there is particular disadvantage in vital steps in taking care of your employment, income and housing for own (and others’) health and black African heterosexuals living wellbeing and ensuring you with HIV. treat everyone living with HIV In addition, while opt-out testing fairly and with understanding. for HIV during pregnancy has helped It is necessary for the black ensure reductions in rates of public to take this action undiagnosed HIV infection amongst because HIV is affecting black women, over 40 percent of African communities men in the UK are diagnosed late, disproportionately. For meaning after treatment should have example, the HIV prevalence started. Late diagnosis increases the amongst black UK-based risk of ongoing ill health and CONCERNED: Caribbean communities is three infecting someone else. There needs Deborah Jack times higher than that of the to be a fresh thinking and new general population and the approach to HIV testing which is free number of those living with from stigma. HIV continues to increase. More than 1,600 In addition, over three quarters of children Caribbeans were being seen for HIV care in under the age of 15 living with HIV are black 2007 - nearly five times more than in 1998. African. The majority of these are in school, However, NAT’s report, HIV and black and we want schools to improve their Caribbean communities in the UK shows they understanding of how best to meet the needs are largely ignored as a community at risk of of children - and teachers - living with HIV HIV. and treat them fairly. Despite the elevated prevalence of HIV in There is also need to highlight the plight this group, there are no national prevention faced by those facing asylum and other programmes specifically targeting black immigration processes because stress, Caribbeans. uncertainty and the system itself can add to The NAT is calling for a significant rise in the challenges of effectively managing HIV. HIV prevention expenditure across the UK to meet the increased prevention needs of all For more information, visit communities - including black Caribbeans www.worldAIDSday.org. where appropriate - affected by HIV.

We work with communities to improve knowledge and understanding of HIV and increase confidence in accessing services. We offer support for people living with HIV Leeds - Leeds Skyline Project

Support services for anyone living with or affected by HIV Prevention activities with individuals, groups and organisations to raise awareness of HIV. Tel: 0113 2449767 Email: leedsskyline@thebha.org.uk

Manchester - Arise Project Support services for people living with HIV from BME communities. Tel: 0845 450 4247 Email: arise@blackhealthagency.org.uk

Manchester - HIV prevention service for BME communities Prevention activities with individuals, groups and organisations to raise awareness of HIV. Tel: 0845 450 4247 Email: prevention@blackhealthagency.org.uk Web: www.blackhealthagency.org.uk

www.blackhealthagency.org.uk


20 I November 25 - December 1, 2010

WORLD AIDS DAY 2010 FEATURE

Living with the HIV stigma by Alastair Hudson and Liz Tremlitt

T

his data from the most recent research in the UK Stigma Index shows that while living with HIV in the UK has changed very much from people’s experiences when HIV debuted in the early 1980s, stigma relating to HIV still remains a significant challenge. For some, taking treatment, seeking support, and accessing health services is routine and part of a wide selection of comprehensive services and choices available. For others, information is still limited, support insufficient, or choices ‘denied’ because of internal fear or marginalization. However, stigma remains a challenge for everyone because it has an impact on

the accessibility and orientation of services ranging from health, to legal, care and support services. It also has an impact on the self-esteem and general quality of life of people living with HIV. Stigma is commonly understood as a process of devaluation. It can have many outcomes such as overt discrimination, which is also known as enacted stigma. In the context of HIV, stigma can adversely affect how and when someone accesses services including testing, support and treatment; how people interact with each other in areas such as friendships, intimate partnerships and professional relationships; and how someone perceives themselves and their self-esteem. For example, some 63 percent of people who participated in the UK Stigma Index reported having low

self-esteem The People Living with HIV Stigma Index documents how people have experienced—and been able to challenge and overcome—stigma and discrimination relating to HIV over a 12 month time period. Championing a community research model, the core principle underpinning, The People Living with HIV Stigma Index is a community research and advocacy initiative that has been developed by and for people living with HIV around the world, the process being just as important as the product. The power of the research process lies in the community of people living with HIV those interviewing as well as those participating - in completing the questionnaire and driving each stage of implementation. This peer-interviewing approach puts people living with HIV at the centre of the

RESEARCH: Makes it clear how those living with HVIV want to be viewed


WORLD AIDS DAY 2010 FEATURE interviewed around the UK, by their peers, about their experiences of stigma and discrimination in the last 12 months. Researchers from the index found that 46 percent of participants reported that their rights may have been abused in some way over the last year. But the research also makes it clear how people living with HIV want to be viewed. “For me, HIV is a diagnosis not a lifestyle choice. With medication and support, I just get on with it. This research

FIGHTING STIGMA: World Aids Day In Haiti

process because the interviews aspire to be empowering not only for the participants, but also for the interviewers. The product is a collection of responses to an in-depth questionnaire. The data from the Index can be used as a monitoring tool to analyse and compare changes in stigma over time; and to better understand the experiences of stigma for different groups of

people according to location; time since HIV diagnosis; group identify, gender and/or age. Driven by the priorities identified by people living with HIV, the results will be used to inform and re-energise debate about the complex social, care and support needs of people living with HIV. Approximately 867 people living with HIV have been

THE FACTS AND FIGURES: 60 percent are not sure if their medical records are being kept confidential 21 percent of refugees and asylum seekers have been denied access to health care in the last 12 months 31 percent have not had a constructive conversation with a health care professional about their reproductive health, sexual relationships, drug-use and emotional well-being 84 percent of refugees and asylum seekers know of services but only 32 percent are using them 47 percent have been sexually rejected at least once because of their HIV status in last 12 months People living with HIV play a leading role in challenging and overcoming stigma: 45 percent of people living with HIV have challenged, confronted or educated someone who was stigmatizing them 84 percent have supported other people living with HIV 57 percent felt they have the power to influence change More details about the People Living with HIV Stigma Index in the UK including an 8 minute film are available www.stigmaindex.org

IPPF (2009) ‘Give Stigma the Index Finger: Initial Findings from The People Living with HIV Stigma Index in the UK 2009’. Launched at the Houses of Parliament, 28 November 2009, London: www.stigmaindex.org IPPF (2010). ‘Give Stigma the Index Finger’. Presentation by A. Hudson at Greenwich University, July 2010, ‘Over Not Out: LGBTI Conference on Asylum Seekers and Refugees: A Case of Double Jeopardy?’ The initiative was developed by Global Network of People living with HIV (GNP+), the International Community of Women Living with HIV (ICW), International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and

November 25 - December 1, 2010

will shake things up a bit and give people’s fears and opinions a timely makeover,” said one London participant in September 2009. Another participant in south Yorkshire in June 2009 said: “I need understanding. I need people to understand I am not going to die from this.” The results of the People Living with HIV Stigma Index reveal some of the realities of people living with HIV in the UK in 2009 and have implications for current policy and priorities for future

actions. Understanding and addressing stigma related to HIV can guide our individual and collective responses to overcoming wider issues of discrimination, marginalisation, racism, homophobia and other social injustices. The research also shows that people living with HIV are at the forefront, not only living through, confronting and overcoming devaluing attitudes and behaviours, but also speaking out against prejudice, supporting their peers and

I 21

advocating for positive social change. This is by for example, challenging or educating people who stigmatise them (45 percent) or by helping each other (84 percent). The implementation of The People Living with HIV Stigma Index in the UK is the first robust attempt to establish a baseline for documenting the stigma and discrimination experienced and overcome by people living with HIV. Further reports will be published in 2010 to provide more in-depth analysis.


WORLD AIDS DAY 2010 FEATURE

22 I November 25 - December 1, 2010

WOMEN AND HIV S

OME 15 million women live with HIV, about half of all HIV-positive people in the world. Many women get diagnosed when they are pregnant. If you want to get pregnant, your doctor can help you make it happen. With the right medical guidance, you can reduce your chances of having a positive baby from about 25 percent to less than 1 per cent. It is only the mother, and not the father, that can transmit HIV to a baby. It is not exactly known how the virus can pass from mother to baby, but it seems to happen late in the pregnancy. The biggest risk factor is high viral load in the mother. Your doctor will advise you to aim for an undetectable viral load before conceiving. Keep taking your treatments while you are pregnant to minimise the chances of passing the virus on to the baby. Being pregnant will not make your HIV any worse although your CD4 count can drop a little. This is only a concern if it drops below 200 cells/mm3.

The virus can also be passed on via breast feeding so you will be advised to feed your baby formula milk only. Your baby will be given a short course of anti-HIV treatment after the birth. Most women get HIV through unprotected sex with men. Many get infected by long-term partners, especially if they don’t use condoms. Now, organisations are doing more to help prevent women contracting HIV. The UK has excellent HIV care, and you can expect to enjoy a long and healthy life. But you’re the one in charge. Stay aware, keep educating yourself and take an active role in your treatment.

Newly diagnosed and pregnant? All pregnant women in the UK are offered an HIV test, and if you were recently diagnosed positive, you may still be in a lot of shock. While you are learning how to cope, your pregnancy can seem like another big thing to deal with. The positive thing is that you now have the knowledge to look after yourself and

prepare for having an HIVnegative baby. Your HIV will be closely monitored in the months leading up to the birth. If you’re on treatment, carry on taking it as your doctor tells you. This might be hard once you give birth, with sleepless nights and new responsibilities. Ask for help, because nothing should come between you and your treatment.

Affected by HIV? *HWFRQĂ€GHQWLDOLQGHSHQGHQW LPSDUWLDOIUHHDGYLFHRQ

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Health services

:H FDQ KHOS \RX ... if you live in Camden or Westminster and are affected by HIV. You may be living with HIV yourself or have a partner, family member or care for someone who does.

Call 020 7284 1575... ... to arrange a face-to-face appointment. Phone lines are open Monday to Friday: • 10am-12 noon (except Tuesday) • 2-4pm (all days) Email: help@camdencabservice.org.uk

Discussing HIV with children and others -

Advice sessions at: • The Royal Free Hospital • St Mary’s Hospital Paddington • The Mortimer Market Centre • Body and Soul • Kentish Town

Telling your children Families thrive on trust and openness, but you may want to protect your kids from stigma or worry that they will feel ashamed. Find someone with experience in helping children come to terms with such issues. Ask a trusted family friend or one of the support organisations. They can even help you disclose to your children’s school. Many parents have had good, supportive experiences in this.

What is informed choice? You can make your own choices about managing your pregnancy. First, you should have all the right information, and if you need to know more, ask. You can decide early whether to have a normal (vaginal) birth or a C-section. Women with a high viral load at the time of birth can reduce the chance of transmission by having a C-section. However, having a Csection can reduce your chances of being able to have a normal birth in the future.

* All pics are posed by models and used for illustration purposes only. There is no suggestion intended that they have AIDS or HIV

- Telling family and members of your community A secret can be a burden. You can get more support once people know your story. And you can do your bit to break down the stigma of HIV.

-

Telling your partner or a new partner In many countries it’s the law to tell someone about your HIV status before you have unprotected sex with them. Many people are absolutely supportive of their HIV-positive partners. Talking about it can make the relationship stronger. When telling someone new, their reaction could help you decide whether you want to keep them in your life

or not. Women with HIV often endure greater hardship than men, even in a developed country like the UK. There is a greater stigma attached to being a woman with HIV. Compared to men, many women have fewer rights, more responsibilities (children and family) and have less independence and security.

WHAT CAN HELP YOU LIVE A HEALTHY, HAPPY LIFE? WHAT YOU CAN DO... - Getting regular care from a specialist HIV clinic - Asking for help when you need it - Being open and honest about your HIV status - Eating well and getting exercise - Taking your medication properly, because when your disease is under control, you are more likely to feel well - Practising mind control. Ask yourself what is good and bad in your life, what you can change and what you can accept HIV, SEX AND YOU... - HIV doesn’t have to change the way you feel about your body and sex. Many HIVpositive women have partners, who can be eitHer negative or positive. - Talking about your sex life. Many women (men too) find it very difficult to talk about sex. Some women are scared they will be hurt or abandoned if they speak up. Ask your friends about how they handle things. You can get help from a nurse at your clinic, or a counsellor at one of the support organisations It has now been shown that the higher your CD4 count, the more likely you are to have a healthy, enjoyable sex life. Another reason why it’s important to keep taking your medication properly! PREVENTING HIV TRANSMISSION...

020 7284 1575 Camden Advice service Camden CABCAB HIV HIV Advice service

It is no surprise that HIVpositive women often suffer guilt and anger. Many have histories of violence and abuse and for some, this continues. But as the number of HIV-positive women rises, and treatments become easier to access, more focus is being given to the happiness and health of women with HIV. If you aren’t OK, talk to a friend, pastor, nurse, doctor.

- You may wonder how “infectious� you are to a sexual partner (how likely it is that the virus will be transmitted from you to them). Understanding how infection works can help you make wise decisions about sex. - HIV can be transmitted in vaginal fluids, menstrual blood and breast milk

- The higher your viral load, the more chance you have of transmitting HIV. So taking your medication properly can reduce your chances of passing on HIV - Having another sexually transmitted infection can increase your infectiousness. SAFER SEX... - Safer sex can mean two things: sex that helps prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted infections including HIV, and using contraception to avoid getting pregnant. - Condoms, the male and female types, can work in both cases. Some people don’t like using them, especially in long term relationships, or are afraid to ask their partner about it. - Condoms are a very good idea. When your partner doesn’t have the virus, a condom can help prevent you transmitting it to him. - When you don’t know if he’s HIV positive or not, it makes a lot of sense to use one. It’s also good to talk about your HIV status first. - When your partner is also HIV positive, using a condom can help prevent you infecting each other with different strains of the virus. This is called re-infection and it can make both your diseases harder to control. GETTING PREGNANT... - It is still possible to get pregnant if you are living with HIV - With the right medical guidance you can still have an HIV-negative baby if you are pregnant and lving with HIV - It is still best to take your medication while you are pregnant to reduce the chances of passing HIV onto your baby For more information advice about you and HIV check out www.yourstoryyourscript.co.uk the site by Bristol-Myers Squibb, a maker of anti-HIV medications.


WORLD AIDS DAY 2010 FEATURE

REAL LIFE STORIES .

November 25 - December 1, 2010

I 23

I WAS BORN WITH HIV, SAYS DESTINY, AGE 24 A

T 19-YEARS-OLD, I was diagnosed HIV positive. The doctor said I got it from my mum (who) passed it on when I was born. My mum contracted HIV from my father. We moved from Uganda when I was six (and) it was not picked up at birth so I had to deal with the fact that I was HIV positive and that I’d had it all my life without knowing. Anytime I heard people talking about HIV, it was always disparaging so I felt I had this unbearable secret. I felt I couldn’t tell anyone so relationships with family and friends shattered and a complete breakdown forced me into hospital. Loneliness, isolation and fear drove a deep wedge between me and my mum. It only started to heal when I told her I had been diagnosed. She felt such immense guilt and thought I would hate her forever. I still loved her. I understood that she didn’t have control over it, that in Uganda there weren’t the amenities to prevent transmission from mother to child. I needed support so badly and got it at (UK HIV support charity) Body & Soul. The first time that I met other young people with HIV, I felt immense relief. I wasn’t alone anymore (and) could finally talk about what I’d been going through. I started to pick the pieces of my life up. I found a place to live and am thinking about beauty school. I want people to know that it is safe to kiss me, hold my hand and do things everyone else does. HIV is not in my heart; it is a disease in my body. I won’t let it stop me living my life to the full.

SUPPORT: Living with HIV

For information, visit www.bodyandsoulcharity.org or call 020 7383 7678.

HELP NEEDED FOR HIV CHARITIES By Trudy Simpson ELEVEN-YEARS-AGO, London charity, the Food Chain helped Luis Luna through what he calls “the worst period of my life.” Newly diagnosed with HIV, the Argentineanborn chef was struggling to cope. “I was extremely worried and my health deteriorated quickly. I was very depressed because in a couple of months I lost my job, friends, relationship, house…” Luis,45, recalled. “I couldn’t even walk because I was extremely thin and very weak.” However, the Food Chain was a beacon for him. It provides nutritional advice and brings weekly groceries and meals to people living with HIV who are too ill to leave their homes. Every Sunday, a Food Chain volunteer brought Luis food, a smile and cheer. “Getting this food on the Sunday gave me hope,” said Luis, who now works part time for the charity, educating HIV positive people about healthy eating. “It was not just the food but the unconditional love they provide.” Fifty five percent of the 900 people the charity

helps yearly are African or Caribbean. Luis is urging government and the public to continue donating time and money to the Food Chain and other HIV charities, despite tough economic conditions and Government spending cuts. “I wish the government or other people would stop to think just how important these organisations are,” Luis said. General manager, Andrew Davies, said donations are needed with more people struggling, living in poverty and out of work. “While our charity income was up 29 percent last year, demand is soaring much more,” he said. There has been a “580 percent increase in demand for emergency groceries in four years so we still need to raise lots of money. It costs £3.60 to provide ingredients for two nutritious meals or £33 to provide essential groceries for a vulnerable person living with HIV for a week.” Luis added: “I hope they can help us a bit more. Without help and volunteers, we would not be able to provide a service that is absolutely vital.”

CHAIN OF LIFE: Volunteers working at The Food Chain


WORLD AIDS DAY 2010 FEATURE

24 I November 25 - December 1, 2010

AIDS across Africa and the Caribbean by Sarah Wheeler HERE ARE over 33 million people living with HIV and AIDS and it continues to kill two million people globally every year. Sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean are the two most heavily affected regions in the world. In sub-Saharan Africa the HIV epidemic cuts across all in society. Countries such as Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana and South Africa have some of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world, between 15 to 26 percent, compared to the UK HIV prevalence rate of 0.2 percent. Women and children face a disproportional impact of HIV and there are still increasing numbers of children being born HIV positive. “In South Africa alone there are 1,500 new infections every day. We have to turn off the tap of new infections and invest in HIV prevention if we are to effectively tackle the epidemic,” said Enrique Restoy, prevention campaign manager at the International HIV/AIDS Alliance. The Alliance supports national organisations that in

T

turn support community groups to respond to HIV with prevention, treatment and care. The involvement of empowered communities is essential to bring the epidemic under control. “In Uganda, Network

Support Agents (NSAs) are community members living with or affected by HIV who provide people in their community with HIV information and encourage them to get tested and treated,” explains Enrique.

“They will step in to help resolve household and family disputes if someone is facing stigma and discrimination and they provide support for people taking antiretroviral treatment. It’s a valuable and important role as the formal

healthcare services are illresourced to reach out into the community, particularly in rural areas.” During the three-year project that set up NSAs, 1.3 million people accessed HIV services from 1,302 NSAs in 42 districts in the country. The model is also now being used in Zambia and piloted in Malawi. The Caribbean has the second highest rate of HIV infection in the world after sub-Saharan Africa. The epidemic poses serious development and economic challenges. Although heterosexual transmission is considered to be the main route of HIV transmission in the Caribbean, gay men and other men who have sex with men account for a significant number of cases. False reporting is thought to be common, since homosexuality is criminalized in many Caribbean islands. High levels of homophobia and violence against gay men causes widespread denial, making people more likely to engage in high-risk behaviour, and increasing the potential for HIV transmission from men who have sex with men

to their female partners and children. Rates of infection among sex workers are also high. Sex workers face reluctance from clients to use condoms and can find it difficult to negotiate safe sex, particularly when they are under pressure to be paid more for sex without condoms. Again, community members have taken up the challenge. With the support of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance and the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Alliance, projects to support sex workers are having an effect with support systems in place for sex workers to identify tricky clients and training in financial management that can help the women achieve other opportunities. The Alliance has produced a specific guide on HIV and AIDS prevention for men who have sex with men. It explains how HIV is passed on, how the men can protect themselves and what happens if they are HIV positive. It also includes a list of organisations where men can go in confidence for help. www.aidsalliance.org

MAMBO HELPING THE CAUSE LAST YEAR over 2,000 African men and women were newly diagnosed with HIV . This means that as we mark another World AIDS Day, on December 1, HIV prevention work in our community remains as crucial as ever. Whilst World AIDS Day gives us an opportunity to remember those who have died from AIDS and to celebrate the lives of those living with HIV today, it shouldn’t end there. It should also be a reminder for each of us to take stock of our own sexual health. Have we put ourselves at risk? When was the last time we went to the clinic? What can we be doing better to protect ourselves and others? These are really important questions, and of course we shouldn’t just be asking them on 1st December. We can use World AIDS Day as a chance to think seriously about our sexual health. Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) has been at the forefront of efforts to raise awareness of HIV amongst African communities. For the last three years, we’ve published Mambo, a free health and lifestyle magazine dedicated to African people who live, work or study in London. It can be difficult to talk about issues like HIV and sexual health, so we’ve developed a magazine that gives lots of useful information and advice not just on sexual health, but is also packed with features and articles on general health and lifestyle issues. The latest issue looks at whether African people in the UK should seek

Research in Africa has shown that male circumcision can reduce the risk of HIV infection in a practising community by as high as 60 percent. circumcision as an additional measure against HIV. Research in Africa has shown that male circumcision can reduce the risk of HIV infection in a practising community by as high as 60 percent. The magazine

also talks about homophobia, a subject that has gained prominence in recent months as a result of several African governments bringing in laws that seek to ban homosexuality. So this World AIDS Day why not pick up your free copy of Mambo? To pick up a copy, contact THT Direct on 0845 1221 200, email the Editor at joseph.ochieng @tht.org.uk . Mambo is also available online by visiting www.mambo.org.uk. Mambo magazine is funded by the Pan-London HIV Prevention Programme, and is distributed through a range of participating African organisations.


WORLD AIDS DAY 2010 FEATURE

November 25 - December 1, 2010

I 25

Being broke can make you do desperate things “B

EING BROKE can make you do desperate things, like having sex without condoms for a high price,” explains Althea. At just 24, this former dancer who lives on the idyllic island of Antigua in the Caribbean - a haven for British tourists - is an inspiration. Since leaving the entertainment industry she has used her experiences and knowledge to benefit other women. Having received training through the Caribbean partner of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Alliance, Althea has become a trained HIV counsellor and ‘community animator’. She works both through the Antigua National AIDS Programme and delivers pre-testing counselling in the field. For the last four years Althea has been reaching out to migrant sex workers to help them make safer sex choices. Sex workers and their clients are at heightened risk of HIV but less than 1% of global funding for HIV prevention is spent on HIV and sex work. In the Caribbean, UNAIDS estimates that prevalence of HIV among sex workers is as high as 27% in some countries

HELPFUL: Althea

“I think I make a difference in their lives” and migration of sex workers between islands is common. Community animators, like Althea, don’t just deliver the training, but get the women together. In a climate where migrant sex workers routinely face stigma and discrimination, mobilising even a small group of women is a significant success. Kezreen is an outreach volunteer and as a former sex worker herself she is a trusted source of HIV information and condoms for her peers. “I go into the sex work community and talk about HIV prevention. I do condom

demonstrations and refer people to places where they can get tested for HIV. I’m always there for the girls I meet. “I think I make a difference in their lives. And when I’m at home and the girls call for condoms I feel good.” Through the meetings organised by Althea and the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Alliance the sex workers can identify and share problems, explore self esteem, and make plans for the future. For many of the women it is the first time they are able to share goals for the future which include going back to school or into business, and of course providing education for their children. Althea is able to support their ambitions with practical session on budgeting. “By developing better saving habits it puts sex workers at less risk because they’re not in a desperate financial situation.” Both Kezreen and Althea are making a huge difference in the lives of these vulnerable women. “This training helps the women achieve their goals so they will have choices in life,” says Althea. It’s something that she is rightly proud of.

* All pics are posed by models and used for illustrationpurposes only. There is no suggestion intended that they have AIDS or HIV

HAPPY: Women in the Caribbean are being educated

EATING HEALTHY WHILE LIVING WITH HIV By Andrew Davies, General Manager, The Food Chain PEOPLE LIVING with HIV are living longer, healthier lives thanks to antiretroviral therapy (HIV fighting drugs), which suppresses the virus. A balanced diet is important to maintain all aspects of good health including a strong immune system. Together, antiretrovirals and good nutrition are partners in helping people feel better and managing their disease. People living with HIV are more likely to develop high cholesterol, diabetes and osteoporosis, partly because of some of the antiretroviral medicines. As well as playing a role in helping the immune system function better, good nutrition, activity and exercise can keep the gut healthy to enhance absorption of nutrients and drugs. It can also treat and prevent high cholesterol

and body fat changes and reduce the risk for developing diabetes and osteoporosis. Your GP can refer you to organisations that can help you. Among them is Dietitians in HIV/AIDS (DHIVA), a group of the British Dietetic Association that provide medical nutrition therapy and specialist individually-tailored advice to help support people living with HIV to eat well and be healthy. The Food Chain is also the only specialist charity in the UK that focuses on using nutrition to support people living with HIV, and their dependents. A range of practical services are available to support people who struggle to access appropriate nutrition. Services are delivered across London by over 900 volunteers and include providing tailored meals, groceries and cookery and nutrition classes. For information, visit www.foodchain.org.uk or www.dhiva.org.uk

‘A balanced diet is important to maintain all aspects of good health including a strong immune system.’

HIV and our services are closer than you think. Make an appointment by phone: Request an appointment online:

0208 846 6699 www.chelwest.nhs.uk

• West London Centre for Sexual Health, Charing Cross Hospital, Hammersmith, W6 8RF • John Hunter Clinic for Sexual Health, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, Chelsea, SW10 9NH • 56 Dean Street, Soho, W1D 6AQ


WORLD AIDS DAY 2010 FEATURE

26 I November 25 - December 1, 2010 THE SOUTH LONDON HIV PARTNERSHIP

everything in plain language.

COUNSELLING •

People with HIV can live a long healthy life with a wide range of treatment available and some of the best healthcare in the world. But having HIV can make things more complicated. So, in south London there is a group of services working together to complement the work of clinic staff and other HIV services, so you can get the best information, advice and support when you need it. There are 5 different services with specific support and advice tailored to your needs and concerns.

• •

You can talk in confidence to a qualified, professional counsellor at a time and location that suits you. Counselling provides a place for individuals and couples to come and talk through how they are feeling and get professional support.

SUPPORT: Vital for those with HIV

FIRST POINT • • • •

I have just found out I am positive, what next? I need help but I don’t know where to go or who to ask I have lots of questions – who can I speak to? I have been living with HIV for a while but things have changed in my life

This is the place to start. First Point will help you discuss any problems and direct you to the services that can help, quickly and efficiently. You can meet a member of staff in person or do it over the phone. The team will make phone calls and referrals on your behalf, and then check in with you later to make sure you are getting the support you need.

HIV HEALTH SUPPORT SERVICE • •

I am just about to start treatment How will HIV affect my body?

I am not coping very well at the moment, who can I talk to? I feel anxious I want to talk to someone outside of my family and friends

PEER SUPPORT This service offers you a chance to meet other people with HIV, and talk and share experiences in a friendly supportive environment. Or, you can meet other people with HIV online.

• • • •

How does the treatment work? I am worried about possible side effects I am finding it hard to take my medication regularly I don’t always know the right questions to ask my doctor

This service offers practical advice and support to help you get the most out of your healthcare. A health trainer can help you understand more about HIV and the treatments available, cope with the difficulties of taking treatments, and support you in managing your health. The health trainers available to you cut through the medical jargon and explain

OUR VALUES We do our best to offer you the service at a time and place that is convenient for you. We can offer support by phone, email or face to face. All the services are: • Confidential • Reliable • Straightforward •

If you think there is something here that could help you – simply get in touch with First Point via: email: firstpoint@metrocentreonline.org Phone: 02071600949 Text: 07889 168 455 Web: www.slhp.org.uk

ADVICE AND ADVOCACY If you have concerns or questions about housing, money, debt, employment, immigration or benefits then this team of qualified advisors will be able to help you. The staff provide confidential, free, impartial advice in a range of areas. The service is Community Legal Services quality marked.

WHERE ARE THESE SERVICES AVAILABLE?

HELP: available online

The services are available from range of venues and locations across south London including: • HIV clinics • Various community organisations

Are you HIV+? Do you live in South London? There are free services offering information, counselling, advice and support as and when you need it.

Simply contact First Point to find out more. Phone: 020 7160 0949 Email: firstpoint@metrocentreonline.org Text your name to: 07889 168 455 Visit: www.slhp.org.uk

world aids.2  

Supported by Special supplement edited by TTrruuddyy SSiimmppssoonn

world aids.2  

Supported by Special supplement edited by TTrruuddyy SSiimmppssoonn

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