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Update on Terrence Higgins Trust HIV Brighton Services.

June 27, 2011

THT (South)

Update on THT Servicers.

June 2011 marks the 30th Anniversary of the AIDS epidemic. So much has change from those early days when volunteers like Father Marcus opening up his kitchen for those affected by HIV. Thankfully to the continued success of medical breakthroughs in the shape of combination therapies people are living longer, but there is still a need for emotional support for those newly diagnosed, to others living with HIV for a number of years.

For those living in Brighton and the surrounding areas they have the benefit of accessing a number of groups run by the excellent team of paid staff and volunteers at Terrence Higgins Trust in Brighton’s Ship Street and South Street, in Eastbourne. 

In Brighton this June, “The Lounge” is starting up again. The group is for men who have sex with men and have been diagnosed HIV+ for a year or more. The lounge runs over eight sessions, every fortnight on a Wednesday evening between 7pm till 9pm. The group is peer facilitated, confidential group where everyone is encouraged to discuss problems, thoughts and concerns relating to their HIV status. If you would like to be part of the next ‘Lounge’ group, get in touch with THT (south) Tel: 01273764200.

“Telling it Straight”, is a peer group for straight people living with HIV providing a safe meeting place to discuss HIV related issues. The group meet on the 4th  Tuesday of every month, between 6pm – 8pm.

New youth project In partnership with Allsorts youth Project, THT brings together a new group, “16-25’s HIV support group” for young people living with HIV to meet up in an informal, open space to discuss their thoughts and feelings. Further details about time’s can be found by contacting THT (South) Tel: 01273764200.

“Fastest” is a rapid HIV test service offered to men who have sex with men. Those wishing to access this service are advised to arrive at the office in Ship Street at 6pm or a few miniutes before as the service is only has the capacity to test 10 people in one evening. There is also an option to be screened for Hepatitis and Syphilis.  

For more information on groups or Fastest call or email Peter Boorman on 01272 764200 or email peter.boorman@tht.org.uk  

Counselling @THT

THT offer an excellent counselling service for adults who are affected or infected by HIV. It’s easy to link up with this service – people can call our main number 01273 764200 themselves and ask for counselling. By leaving their name and contact details, Diana, the senior counsellor will call back as soon as she’s free – this is usually within a few days, but a week max. Email contact is also possible diana.rowe@tht.org.uk It can take about six weeks to start counselling, but once started there are up to twelve weekly sessions available. There is no charge for this service, though of course donations to THT South are always appreciated. 

Welfare and Benefits Advice

With the Conservative Government making sweeping changes to people on welfare, it is encouraging to have Tim Procter and his small group of volunteers on hand to offer welfare rights service to residents of Brighton and Hove. Tim works part time alternating three and four day weeks. The team covers a range of welfare benefits but are principally divided into the following areas.

·         Those individuals with HIV seeking to access disability or sickness related benefits following a breakdown in health.

·         People who are living with HIV and in receipt of benefits for a number of years who need support through the current period of reviews and welfare reform.

·         People with HIV investigating return to work (full or part time) because of an improvement in their health or to combat social isolation. Other people with HIV may wish to investigate part time work in order to sustain work in the long term as a part of long term condition management.

Tim runs a number of regular workshops which are also open to people with HIV outside Brighton and Hove.

Disability Living Allowance – two half days providing guidance and support completing the DLA claim pack. Next dates 09.06.11 and 23.06.11. (Please contact the THT office for an update on the next dates.)

Employment and Support Allowance – a half day providing guidance to the new assessments and help understanding and completing the Work Capability Assessment form. The course offers guidance to those claiming benefit for the first time and to prepare claimants of Income Support and Incapacity Benefit for transferring to this benefit. Next date 25.08.11 (Please contact the THT office for an update on the next dates.)

Benefits and Work – a half day course investigating key in-work benefits.  

·         For those considering working part time for less than sixteen hours – Permitted Work under Income Support, Incapacity Benefit and Employment and Support Allowance,

·         If you are considering working full time or part time over sixteen hours – Working Tax Credit. Next date 30.06.11. (Please contact the THT office for an update on the next dates.)

An Advice Line is open on Wednesdays between 10:00a.m. To 1:00 p.m. 01273 764 205

The benefits team is currently looking for new volunteers who will receive training, prior to providing support to clients.

 HIV support services

The HIV support service at THT helps people living with HIV in a variety of ways.  Types of support that people can receive include:

  • Charitable grant applications
  • Help with filling in forms
  • Issues relating to living with HIV such as disclosure, coming to terms with a diagnosis and well being.
  • Helping you to explore and plan changes in lifestyle for example returning to work or study
  • Signposting and referral to other agencies
  • Help with accommodation issues
  • Coordinate services and work closely with other relevant agencies

To access this service please contact the main reception number 01273 764200 and ask for Claire Hines, Social Care Coordinator to discuss your support needs.  Home visits are possible if it is difficult to access services at 61 Ship Street.

Positive Voices                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Positive Voices are a group of volunteers who are living with HIV that visit community groups, schools, colleges and workplaces to share their personal stories to help empower young people to make better choices about their sexual health and challenge stigma. The group are often invited to sit on patient panels so Doctors, Nurses and other medical staff can get a personal perspective on the care received by those living with HIV and how this impacts on their lives.

Positive Voices will be doing a pilot in a primary school talking to year six pupils, hopefully if this goes well it will launch into other Primary schools trying to get this important messages across at an earlier age.

Want to know more about HIV?

Tuesday 5th July at 6pm to 8pm. THT are running a free information session open to anyone. The session will cover the basics of HIV and is suitable for anyone who has little or no knowledge of HIV, and those who want to refresh their knowledge.

Disclosure and Criminal Prosecutions.

 21st June 6:00 to 8:00pm. This session is an informal discussion session of the use of the Offences Against the Person Act to prosecute people who have allegedly infected someone else with HIV.

For more information or to book a place please call Peter Boorman 01273 764200 or email peter.boorman@tht.org.uk

THT Eastbourne

Condom stuffing First Weds of every month, THT Eastbourne hosts a Condom Stuffing Social. Join others for a pint and some friendly banter with like-minded folks while putting together condom packs. It’s a bit of fun and all in the name of charity. Members of the Health Improvement Team are on hand to answer any of your sexual health questions. Where: The Hart Pub in Eastbourne. When: first Weds of every month from 6:00pm

Positively Social

The next groups are in:

Eastbourne Thursday 16th June 2.30pm-5.30pm and then Hastings on Monday 4th July 5.30pm – 8.30pm. For future dates please contact the Eastbourne office on : (01323) 649927.

‘Positively Social’ aims to give informal support in an understanding environment, to anyone who has been diagnosed as HIV positive. The aim is to offer a confidential space where people can provide each other with support and share experiences about how they are coping with HIV and life in general. It’s also a great place to find out about other support services available.

Daniel Murray, HIV Health Coach for THT said:

“It’s really important that groups like this are run locally because some people can feel isolated living with HIV in a small community. Life can seem much more complex, so talking to people in the same situation can really help. If you’d like information or support, or if you’d just like to meet other people in the same situation, please get in touch.”

For services in East Sussex please contact our Eastbourne Office110 South Street, Eastbourne, BN21 4LZ Tel: (01323) 649927 Email: info.eastbourne@tht.org.uk For services in Brighton& Hove and West Sussex please contact our Brighton & Hove Office61 Ship Street, Brighton, BN1 1AE (Monday to Friday 9.30 -5.30)Tel: 01273 764200 Email: info.brighton@tht.org.uk

 For further infomation on THT servicers, please go to: www.tht.org.uk

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