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 …
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.
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.
Sharing your memories of a loved one, a partner, a friend will help to bring the stories of the lost generation back to life. Support the creation of this film.
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 …
So it is 2016 and last night as the old year was preparing to leave, I got told that I had the plague: the gay plague. I thought that this sort of language was only to be expected from conservatives in the US like Walter Kubitz in Virginia. But this was in Ireland, from someone who ought to know better. To say that I was disappointed in this person is something of an understatement.
It is just over a week since I have been on my new HIV meds. The change was to help with not having to have a specific number of calories to eat with taking them. That has helped, but now I have to remember to take the tablet within 30 minutes of food: any amount of food. And I keep forgetting. So that is why I am about to make some toast and jam.
Obviously I would rather that PrEP were available from the health service in the UK, but there is an alternative. For more information look at http://www.iwantprepnow.co.uk/.
Andrew Keates has made this documentary about living with HIV. I don’t know him personally, but a friend does. He asks himself questions that he has been asked before and then answers them. Who gave you HIV? Don’t you just pop a pill a day and everything’s fine? How’s your love life? He tells the story of living with HIV, being undetectable, and falling in love. Much of the story that he tells is similar to my own. I am so glad that he has made the video. Now, please go and watch it, and share it with your friends. But, most importantly of all, if you do not know your HIV status, go and get a test. It is the only way of knowing. And when you know you can get treatment.