Month: January 2016

HIV self tests now available in North thanks to legal change

From yesterday, following a legal move1 made by the North’s health minister, it is now possible to buy HIV self-testing kits and to test yourself for HIV. Speaking on World AIDS Day, [Simon Hamilton MLA] said: “The change in the law will allow HIV self-testing kits to be sold to the public in Northern Ireland. Some people are reluctant to get tested for a number of reasons, including stigma and a fear of being judged, so self-testing will have an important role in reaching those who are not using existing services.”—DHSSPS press release 1 Dec 2015. Testing at home is only one option of many available. There is also the more traditional route of going to the GUM clinic at one of several hospitals, or going to your own General Practitioner. There are also rapid testing projects at The Rainbow Project and Positive Life. It should be borne in mind, however, that a home test may produce a false positive result or that the test may not be correct because of the window period. False reassurance may be …

We Can. I can. Supporting #WorldCancerDay

HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) is the virus which causes Genital Warts and can lead to oropharyngeal, penile, anal and cervical cancer. At this stage all cis females are vaccinated against the most pervasive strains of HPV at age 14. The idea is/was that as those cis females grew older they would immunise the men they had sexual relations with. What the government did not account for is the number of men who exclusively have sex with men and trans individuals who had transitioned after 14. As such I am asking you to join the thunderclap to help remind our politicians to support the upcoming motion to immunise all individuals from 14 onwards against HPV. Please share far and wide to help us maximise this. Hat tip to James Copeland at The Rainbow Project.

Do you live with HIV in Scotland? Can you help Jemma?

I’ve been contacted by Jemma Campbell who is studying Film and Media at the University of Stirling. She is in her final year and is looking for volunteers to help in her dissertation. In her own words, Hi, I’m Jemma Campbell, a 4th year Film and Media student at the University of Stirling. For my dissertation, I am making a 12 minute documentary, and would like to focus on the lives of those living with HIV, and their experiences with it. I’m currently looking for participants who are comfortable talking about their experiences on camera, and are based near or within Scotland. Filming will take place in March of this year. If anyone is interested, or has any questions, please get in touch! Jemma can be reached by email. She can also provide the details of my tutor at the university if needed.

Time for Equal Marriage in Gibraltar

It is time to say Yes to Equality, to say Yes to Love, and to Say No to discrimination against people of the same sex who love each other. Sitting in Dublin, one could be complacent about Equal Marriage given the constitutional referendum that was held in May to make the change here. However, I am not complacent. I know that in many other places it takes an act of the local legislature to make the change. HM Government of Gibraltar has published a command paper having completed drafting amendments to the Marriage Act to enable the consultation process to start on the possibility of legalising civil marriage between same sex couples. It is, of course, good that the views of the public are taken on board. However, I have been informed that in at least one church in Gibraltar this evening, the congregation was reminded that people ought to voice their opinions for or against same-sex marriage. It is alleged that letters were distributed for the congregation to sign. However, apparently only one version was made available: …

Injectable HIV treatment to begin phase III clinical trials

Perhaps we will be able stop having daily pills and move to bi-monthly injections. Here is hoping… “Although advancements in treatment have made HIV much easier to manage, the daily dosage of medication can often feel like a burden. Researchers have been working hard to develop new ways treatment can be delivered to those living with HIV to improve adherence and increase viral suppression. Now, ViiV Healthcare and Janssen are one step closer to making life with HIV a lot easier.” Read the rest at HIV Equal.

Tears as the boxes arrived and were opened…

Well, today’s tears were the result of receiving some boxes from Calstock​. Boxes mainly of books, but also of a quite nice set of plates, cups and saucers, etc. But the one item that had me most in tears was a small unused notebook inside a notebook case with the name of John E. Bovey written in it. The notebook itself is inscribed with Gunner J.E. Bovey, Ammunition Column, RFA Kent. Who was J. E. Bovey? Well, quite simply he was my great great-uncle, the uncle of my grandfather W. John Rawles. He is buried in the British Cemetery in Brebières, near Douai, in northern France. He died on the eleventh day of the eleventh month in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and eighteen – the day that would become known as Armistice Day. Corporal John E. Bovey died in 1918. His family no doubt on hearing of the Armistice expected him to return to them. Sadly, this was not to be. Unlike so many others, he died not on the battlefield …

Problems using the toilet? Try squatting instead of sitting

If like me you have had problems when using the toilet, feeling a strain to evacuate waste from your body, getting all tensed up, which then makes the problem worse… well there is a solution. Squatty Potty® Squatty Potty® is based in the USA, but I am sure there will be ways of getting it here in Europe. Until I find that, I will be try and use something else to do the same job.

Misinformation on HIV transmission from Mirror, MEN, and GMP

Both the Mirror and the Manchester Evening News have published outrageously misinformed reports regarding a charity worker facing an anxious New Year as she waits for tests results to find out if she has contracted the disease after being assaulted on Tuesday night. —Manchester Evening News The two stories have similar headlines: Charity worker spat at by HIV-positive homeless man vows to carry on volunteering and Charity worker waits for test results after HIV-positive homeless man spat in her face However, I am sure the journalists involved (Beth Abbit and John Kelly) will simply say that they were reporting the story as told to them. However, I am equally sure that they would be aiming to abide by the code of conduct of the NUJ (regardless of whether they are members of not). This code of conduct states that A journalist: At all times upholds and defends the principle of media freedom, the right of freedom of expression and the right of the public to be informed. Strives to ensure that information disseminated is honestly conveyed, accurate and fair. Does her/his …