Tag Archives: Herts Aid

The Crescent on BBC 3 Counties with Jim McManus DPH at Herts County Council

Dear all,

We were on BBC 3 counties Friday afternoon with the Director of Public Health at Herts County Council talking about HIV testing, why the County Council wont fund the Crescent and also why Herts Aid don’t provide the service either, despite a huge amount of funding.

You can listen again here http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02x6f74 we are on from 2hrs 20 mins the Roberto Perone Show 31st July on BBC 3 Counties Radio.

As you will hear the Director of Public Health is very reluctant to commit to anything, wouldn’t answer the presenter’s questions about why Herts Aid don’t provide the service, nor why he wont fund us. He seemed more interested in suggesting the Crescent didn’t understand the issues…

We will leave you to decide why Herts County Council refuse to fund us despite Public Health England asking for more community based testing…

The Crescent Team

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The Crescent is NOT Happy With Herts County Council !

Dear all,

Our latest article in the Herts Advertiser about postal testing services, available elsewhere in the country and being trialled in Birmingham and Luton amongst just two places. We have been appealing to the County Council for two years or more to introduce this, and /or fund our testing services. As there was no sign of any action from the County Council we introduced this ourselves (without funding) a year ago. We could no longer stand by whilst the late diagnosis problem exists (and grows in Hertfordshire) and those responsible for addressing the issue continue to sit on their hands.

We fail to understand why the County’s preferred supplier of services, Herts Aid, (who have ten times our income by the way) have not also introduced this kind of postal service as an alternative method of testing.

Public Health England is asking local authorities to introduce as many different methods for testing as possible, with an emphasis on more local community based testing services and postal testing too.

Herts County Council have made a good deal of noise recently about their commitment to “HalveIT” the national campaign to reduce late diagnosis of HIV, (something they until recently denied was an issue in Herts). However they still fail to put anything in place, or fund services like ours that are well established in the community and are based in the areas most affected (St Albans, Hemel Hempstead, Watford and Rickmansworth for example)

It seems to us to be yet another example of the County Council saying the right thing, but again dragging their heels, perhaps hoping the focus will move on whilst they deliberate and then plans will be quietly shelved.

We deserve better than this as a County, it is after all the “County of Opportunity” apparently. However if you want to test for HIV, protect your health, and that of others, your opportunities are somewhat limited.

Come on Herts County Council, put your money where your mouth is ! Hertfordshire residents deserve so much better, the tests cost very little and certainly not as much as was apparently provided to an agency to “improve their brand image ” recently, (with seemingly little result).

Time to divert some funds to resolve a real health issue instead !

Link to the Herts Advertiser article here


Please do feel free to contact your County Councillor, your MP, The Director of Public Health, Jim McManus, or the Cabinet member for Localism and Health, Teresa Heritage to insist on a fair deal for Hertfordshire residents!

The Crescent Team

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Radio Verulam Outspoken with Angela Clarke

You can listen again to tonight’s show where we talk about HIV, funding and why we need your help on the listen again service for Radio Verulam’s Outspoken Show with Angela Clarke on the link below


Just cut and paste the link into your browser if the link doesn’t work directly by clicking on it, we are on at the top of the programme directly after the news 10 mins and 28 seconds into the recording.

Thanks again for your support

The Crescent Team

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Wonderful Local Support “Saves the Crescent” St Albans Review

Hi All,

Another great article in the St Albans Review today describing all the wonderful support from local people and businesses recently that has helped keep us going and helping so many.

We are truly very grateful for all the help and support shown by so many kind people lately! Please help us repay their faith in us and spread the word about our forthcoming fundraising events on 24th and 30th of May so that we can keep on helping those in need of support across Hertfordshire and beyond.


Thanks again for your continued support

The Crescent Team

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St Saviours Concert Update

Dear all,

A huge thank you to all those who came along to our fundraiser on Friday night at St Saviours. Thanks to your generosity we raised a marvellous sum, and with more still coming in! We are simply amazed by the wonderfully kind and warm spirited people who made the evening a huge success.

Warm thanks also to St Saviours who donated the venue, and to the Hertfordshire Chamber Ensemble for once again this year putting on such a fabulous show and to our own volunteers who put on a fantastic range of refreshments too.

Keep watching this space for more exciting news coming soon in the New Year, thank you for your support, and we would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a warm, safe and happy Christmas and New Year.

The Crescent Team

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National HIV testing Week – are some missing the point altogether?

Firstly may we say that we fully support every effort to get more people tested for HIV and welcome new approaches despite no longer having any funding to do so ourselves after 25 years.

However today we listened in absolute horror to the following local radio broadcast, featuring Hertfordshire County Council’s authorised HIV service, Herts Aid, this week as they conducted an HIV test on air. It contained a number of statements and information, which could, at best, be considered questionable.


For example partway through the test the Herts Aid rep, Tony Skeate, MSM Communities worker, is heard to say that HIV is no longer a problem “just take your tablets and get on with life”… not exactly a sentiment held by Tom Hayes (AKA UKPositiveLad) in this interview with the Guardian where he talks about the difficulties HIV presents following his diagnosis, and not just for him of course.


Other issues include identifying transgender as a third sex, as in the opening sequence are you male, female or transgender? Surely it is more appropriate to ask how the person defines their gender identity?

Then asking someone who has previously just identified as a woman if they are a man who has sex with men?

At various points information is confusing and misleading it seems, phrases like sperm washing are used, and in Vitro, with no explanation as to why, or what these are? Also says that having children is no problem, and even talks about a Swiss study using phraseology that would not necessarily be understood by the person in the street so to speak.

Living with HIV and having children is of course very possible, however anyone who has undergone any kind of fertility treatment would not be likely to say it is easy by any stretch, let alone whilst living with HIV as well.

Also suggests that families are always supportive when diagnosed, that the test requires a thimbleful of blood… not true, just a drop is all that is needed. It also appears that Herts Aid seek to promote a particular life insurance company as a “good place to go” and “they are efficient”

Alarming comments about it “not being like the 80’s when people just “topple over and die” after a diagnosis and that HIV is now “not really a problem”

Also referring to “if we can find all the people with HIV”, seems to some who have complained to us, like a witch hunt is in progress.

At the end of the test although had explained the window period appeared to discourage a second test with a comment “if you feel you need a second test” and also encouraged the participant to take a photo of the test result.

Lastly from a clinical point of view the Herts Aid staff member then appeared to clean the finger of the person to be tested with a sterilised swab, and then proceeded to blow on it to dry it afterwards, completely negating the point of using the swab in the first place.

Overall the opinion of those who have heard this broadcast is that they would not consider using the service for a test, and were more confused about what HIV was, and what it meant to be positive, than before.

All round this means that the it’s ok to get tested message is lost, in our opinion, and has seemingly missed the point of the exercise. This agency has half a million pounds of funding. Is this really the best we can expect from Hertfordshire County Council and their HIV support service?

So many agencies around the country are working hard to ensure the word gets out, that stigma is reduced and that people come forward to be tested. This agency seem to be doing their best to do the reverse.

Appalling !

We hope you will agree…

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Herts Pride 31st August 2013

Hi all,

Thanks to all those who called by our stall at the first Herts Pride last Saturday to find out more about us and HIV in general. We had a very good day and managed to distribute a considerable amount of information and free condoms to those attending.

Looking forward to next year now !

Thanks for your support as ever

The Crescent Team

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