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      News From The Eddystone Trust

      People Living With HIV - Shielding Information & COVID-19 Update

      People Living With HIV - Shielding Information & COVID-19 Update

      The Eddystone Trust have had reports that some people who are Living With HIV have received letters advising them that they are now on the shielding list and as a result are being asked to shield during the Coronavirus pandemic. 

      This news has come out of the blue for many and the letters could understandably be a cause of concern for those who have received them.  Our staff are currently looking into this situation and are trying to obtain the best advice/information for People Living with HIV in relation to the Coronavirus.

      We understand that this could be very unsettling, if you have received a message to shield and you have any concerns please talk to your clinic or GP

      PLEASE CLICK THIS LINK FOR GOVERNMENT ADVICE ON SHIELDING

      We'll do our upmost to get the most up to date information on Coronavirus for anyone who is living with HIV so please do keep an eye on our social media channels and website for updates.

      If you have any questions or worries then you can also reach out to us on info@eddystone.org.uk or 0800 328 3508

      It's A Sin - A roaring success or missed opportunity?

      It's A Sin - A roaring success or missed opportunity?

      I think it's fair to say that we at The Eddystone Trust binged watched It's A Sin, and like the millions of people who also tuned in we also found the series utterly gripping, heart breaking and nostalgic all in the same breath.  To say the show was a brave move by Channel 4 is an understatement.    

      Never before have we seen a prime time TV show cover themes such as Living with HIV, LGBTQ relationships, sexual health and homophobia in such an honest and candid way.  But, despite the shows success we can't help ask whether or not the show was a missed opportunity?

      Despite being a fairly accurate depiction of the HIV/Aids Pandemic in the 1980's we can't help but feel that the show could have done something to promote how far we've come in regards to understanding and treating HIV in the years since the pandemic.  

      Many people diagnosed with HIV can and do live healthy and normal lives with the help of medication.  With the right medication someone who is HIV positive can also reduce their viral load to an untransmissible state, meaning that they can no longer pass the virus on via condomless sex (or any means) if they keep up their medication.  How many people who watched the show know this?  A simple explanation of the U=U (undetectable = untransmissible) message could have gone a long way to overcoming the all too common misnomer that HIV is a 'death sentence'..

      That's not to say that HIV is a thing of the past, there are still people and communities that are disproportionately  affected by HIV - In particular, men who have sex with men, black African people and Women.  Almost half of new diagnoses come from the 'straight' community. 

      It's hard to be critical of the show given it's brave portrayal of the pandemic, and that is not our intention.  But now that the topic of HIV is once again in people's consciousness we hoped it has helped spark a wider conversation that could elevate some of the stigma that was prevalent in It's a Sin that still exists in society today about HIV.


      Want to hear more about what we thought of the show?  Then listen to James and Tracey review the series in our brand new podcast Colours of Life by clicking the link below.

      Coronavirus guidance on hooking up for sex

      Coronavirus guidance on hooking up for sex

      Current lockdown restrictions from the government states that individuals shouldn't be having sexual contact with anyone outside of your household or support bubble. We know that this is easier for some people than others. If you are continuing to hook up for sex with those outside of your bubble there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of COVID transmission.

      Our friends over at PrEPSTER have put together some hints and tips for hooking up whilst trying to reduce the opportunity for COVID transmission. Have a read of these here: COVID-19 tips & tricks: Hooking up hints | Prepster

      Whereas we fully support the current public health guidelines in relation to staying at home, we recognise that some people are struggling to keep to these. We are continuing to offer confidential, non-judgemental advice and support around HIV and sexual health.

      Please do not hesitate to approach us for the support you need, we won't ask questions about where the sex occurred and who it was with (unless it is helpful for your concern), we will just ensure you get the advice you need.

      Contact us on 0800 328 3508 or info@eddystone.org.uk 

       

      National HIV Testing Week 2021

      National HIV Testing Week 2021

      The Eddystone Trust are now urging people across the South West to find out their HIV status as we are supporting National HIV Testing Week, which runs from Monday 1st February to Sunday 7th February,

      This year there is a focus on HIV testing at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Lockdown has meant that most people have had fewer sexual partners, if any at all, and now is the perfect time to be sure you know your HIV status. The week encourages people to have a free, quick and confidential HIV test, particularly those in groups most affected by HIV, including gay and bisexual men and black African men and women.

      James Mead, Development Lead for Prevention at The Eddystone Trust, said: 

      ‘Testing from home is the safest option for us all. You can order a FREE HIV self-test kit straight to your door, equipped with detail instructions on how to use. Getting tested regularly should be something we’re all doing in order to protect ourselves. 

      ‘If you test positive, effective treatment means you can live as long as anyone else, and when the amount of the virus in your blood is reduced to undetectable levels, this means you cannot pass on HIV. Testing puts you in control and isn’t something to be afraid of.’ 

       

      Self-testing kits can be ordered during HIV Testing Week by visiting the following link http://bit.ly/3qz6gPR

      I
      f you wanted to discuss HIV with us then you can also reach out to us on info@eddystone.org.uk or by telephoning 0800 328 3508

       

       

       

       

      Coronavirus Vaccine and HIV - what you need to know

      Coronavirus Vaccine and HIV - what you need to know

      Now that the coronavirus vaccines are being rolled out The Eddystone Trust is being asked whether or not the vaccine is safe for people who are living with HIV.  The short answer to the question is.

..

      YES - it is widely thought within the scientific community that the coronavirus vaccine is safe for people living with HIV

      Although people living with HIV were ommitted from initial clinical trials, studies have now begun involving HIV + groups and the early signs are that the vaccine is safe to be administered within these groups.



      The British HIV Association has said the following:

       “There is no reason to think these vaccines will be less safe for people with HIV.  Both include some of the genetic material from SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) but not the whole virus. This means they are not live vaccines and so are no less safe in people with damaged immune systems.” 

We continue to keep an eye out for more data on the subject and will post results online as and when they are published

      Link to guidance:

      The Eddystone Trust During Lockdown 3.0

      The Eddystone Trust During Lockdown 3.0

      We just wanted to let you all know that we are still operating during the lockdown that was announced on January 5th 2021.  We are constantly looking at how we can offer our services during the pandemic and how we respond to the need across the South West. 

      If you have any questions or feel the need to reach out to us about your sexual health then you can call us on 0800 328 3508 or email us info@eddystone.org.uk.  We will aim to repsond to all enquiries within 24 hours.