Tag Archives: Instant HIV testing

Crescent Open Day & Queen’s Award For Voluntary Service 25 September 2016

Dear all,

Sorry it has been so long since we updated our blog, so much has been happening it has been hard to keep everything updated. If you were worried we may have gone away then fear not we are here !

An amazing parachute jump by our Mayor Salih and Trustee Denise, another of our successful busking days and numerous lunches and social events have all taken place in the last three months!

Coming up this month we are looking forward to our open day and garden party on 25 September.

The day will follow the same format as previous years with live music from local bands, tea, cake and other lovely refreshments plus beer, wine and cider. It will give you a chance to ask questions, talk to staff, see our premises in Russell Avenue and find out more about our work in the community.

Free entry as usual (although donations are always welcome of course) starting at 2pm on Sunday 25 September, all are welcome of course so please do call in to see us.

We are also honoured earlier this year to have been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (one of only three organisations in Hertfordshire to receive the award from her Majesty) The award is the highest a charity can achieve in the UK and is the MBE for Voluntary Organisations.

As part of the open day proceedings we will be officially presented with the award certificate signed by Her Majesty and the engraved crystal trophy by Her Majesty’s representatives.

It promises to be a great day so please do come along ! Once we have a complete list of acts performing we will update you so keep watching this space.

Thanks as ever for your support,

The Crescent Team

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Busking Day and into 2016

Hi all,

A busy time since December apologies for the delay in updating our blog!

Our World Aids Day exhibition of the Stand Tall Get Snapped Project in Luton at the Carnival Arts Centre was very well received indeed and we look forward to exhibiting this in other locations throughout 2016.

Our busking day in December raising awareness of HIV in the community and raising funds went exceptionally well with well almost £1500 raised. Thank you to everyone who helped with the event and of course to the wonderfully talented local musicians who donated their time and talent to make the event such a success yet again.

There will be another of these popular events coming up in the spring so keep watching this space for more details. We will have another open day during the summer and a concert plus a quiz so lots to look forward to.

Our creative writing course has got off to a good start and continues this year every two weeks, after the Tuesday lunch group, until the end of March. Details here: Write It Out at the Crescent

Regular events such as the Sunday Lunch continue with the first lunch on 24 January and then the last Sunday of every month thereafter. In addition our Tuesday lunch continues every week from 12.30.

This year we are continuing with our daily open access drop in service for advice, information, free condoms (by post or collect in person), emotional and practical support, bi monthly complementary therapy sessions, young persons group and free postal HIV testing services for all. Twice weekly counselling sessions are available (with appointments available on Tuesday evenings also) Regular outreach and training work is planned and there are more awareness events coming up.

Plenty to do, we cannot rest on our laurels as late diagnosis of HIV continues to be a problem in west Hertfordshire, most notably Hemel Hempstead and Watford areas in particular where rates continue to be well above national average.

We can’t do what we do without your help so thank you for helping  and supporting us in 2015, and we wish you all a happy healthy and prosperous 2016.

Keep watching this space for further updates and news of our next events.

The Crescent Team

 

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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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Open Day A Huge Success !

Hey everyone,

Sorry there has been a delay in updating our blog, so much going on very little time to talk about it ! Our 2nd open day was again a great success! Lots of cake baked by our lovely volunteers and supporters, great music from local bands who all donated their time and talent, fantastic atmosphere and a super sunny day, perfect ! Thank you to all that came along, bought raffle tickets (prize winners ticket numbers are on our face book site) donated, and found out more about our work and HIV.

Huge thanks also to all the many local businesses that supported the event and donated prizes for the raffle too. Chloe James Lifestyle, Heartwood Candles, Dylans at the Kings Arms, The Meating Room, I am Cocoa, Smokehouse Deli, Empire Records, Paul Eccentric, Starseedz, Gavin Murtagh, Vanessa, and many more, including Pasante Healthcare who helped sponsor the event and launch of our testing services.

We were thrilled that The Right Worshipful the Mayor of St Albans City and District, Councillor Salih Gaygusuz took so much time out of his busy schedule to attend the event and also his amazing efforts selling raffle tickets! We raised a very healthy sum which will help us keep providing services for those in need. In particular it will go towards funding our instant result HIV  and postal testing services, email testing@thecrescent.org.uk or call 01727 842532 for more details.

We look forward to welcoming you all again next year, and don’t forget our next event, a busking day, is on the 15th August at the Clock Tower in St Albans City Centre from 10.30 am. Look forward to seeing you there.

Thanks again for all your wonderful support as ever

The Crescent Team

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National Aids Trust Press Release on Late Diagnosis in Hertfordshire

Hi all,

Below is a press release from the National Aids Trust asking Hertfordshire County Council to tackle the chronically high levels of late diagnosis in the County. Some areas have rates of over 25% above the national average, with the majority of these being in the west of the County.

We feel this is proof that the current countywide service is concentrating far too much effort in the East and North and not enough in the West. Figures published by Public Health England show that late diagnosis rates in Three Rivers, 67% Watford 52% St Albans 53% Dacorum 60% whereas North Herts is just 35%…

We really feel it is time Herts County Council and the Herts Valley Clinical Commissioning Group reinstated funding for our testing service that they decommissioned 4 years ago. Please feel free to write/email/tweet your County Councillor and MP asking that this be made a priority!

See a copy of the press release below..

Click Here Hertfordshire – Late Diagnosis rates above national average

Don’t forget if you think you may have been exposed to HIV or haven’t ever tested then you can do so using one of our postal testing kits. The service is entirely free and confidential, you can test at home or at our premises, collect a kit from us or ask for one to be posted to you. the results will be delivered to us after you have posted your sample. Please see our website http://www.thecrescent.org.uk or email testing@thecrescent.org.uk for more details.

Thanks for your support as ever

The Crescent team

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Our Latest News Letter & Other News !

Hi all,

It’s been a while since we updated our blog, apologies to all those who have been missing our updates. Suffice to say lots going on as ever, have restarted our testing services with a postal self sampling HIV testing kit (currently the only service outside London to do so)

This enables the individual to take a very small sample of blood at home or on our premises (similar to a diabetic blood sugar test) post the sample to the lab who then relay the result to us to deliver to you by an appropriate method. Entirely free and convenient and the test is more accurate than the current Insti testing systems as the sample is tested in a laboratory. Also the window period is shorter at 28 days too. This means a shorter wait from possible exposure to being able to test.

More info on this can be found on our website on the testing page http://www.thecrescent.org.uk/index.php/testing/ or by emailing testing@thecrescent.org.uk where you can also request a kit to be sent to you. Alternatively just call in to the Crescent where you can pick up a test kit at any time we are open.

We will shortly also be restarting our instant result testing service too, keep watching this space !

In other news we had amazing feedback from our Stand Tall Get Snapped Exhibition at the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban during the World Aids Day period in December 2014. So many people left messages of support and encouragement in the visitors book during the fortnight and the Cathedral observed that it was perhaps the best exhibition they had hosted in the ten years, high praise indeed !

A copy of our latest newsletter can be found on our website at http://www.thecrescent.org.uk/index.php/news/newsletters/ too

Loads more events coming up, including a concert, an open day, another busking event and more ! Keep watching this space… Sunday Lunches are the first Sunday of every month and our weekly Tuesday lunches continue as ever, more details on our website at http://www.thecrescent.org.uk/index.php/events/

Thanks again for all your support, once again we struggle for funds this year as ever but with your help we are sure we will still be here this time next year ! If you would like to make a donation at anytime please visit our website http://www.thecrescent.org.uk/index.php/donate/ where you can find info on how to do so online, by text, post or whilst you shop too !

Best wishes

The Crescent Team

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Home Testing versus Home Sampling

Home testing ? Something that needs discussion we think;

Much has been featured in the news lately about the prospect of legalised home testing for HIV. Some charities have heralded this as a step forward, and a good thing. However we beg to differ.

It seems unclear why this is considered an improvement on home sampling (where a kit is used by an individual at home, sample sent to a lab and then the result is relayed by a clinic or health provider) This method provides a direct link to care and support in the event of a reactive (possibly positive) test result.

With home testing the individual will receive their result instantly there and then, perhaps on their own, or perhaps worse still with people who are not supportive.

Imagine yourself in that scenareo for a moment. Your result has shown you are likely to be positive, what next? Denial? Ignore the result, dont get it confirmed by a full test at a clinic as you should, carry on as normal, possibly with less care, now you know you are possibly positive why would you take care?

Or would you sink into depression? abandon everything? or tell everyone before it is even confirmed? then what? those you thought of as friends are not as supportive as you would have hoped? People have been hounded out of homes, schools, work, in the past for revealing their status… what effect on family and friends? What about possible criminal charges for transmission?

Think you life is over? reach for the vodka and painkillers? Dramatic? maybe, but has happened on a number of occasions, too many in fact. In the news this week a story surfaced about an Australian nurse who on receiving a diagnosis said; “I tried to attempt suicide on a number of occasions because I couldn’t live with the fact that I could have infected someone I loved,”

With the stigma that still surrounds HIV home testing is not a good idea, there are plenty of ways to be tested, not all involve needles or a trip to a hospital. In fact some services are in very pleasant confidential surroundings, not the, perhaps percieved, colder clinical settings.

Those who defend the idea say that there will be information included in the kits to signpost people to help and support.. really, at 2am when you finally plucked up the courage to take the test are you really going to think, oh its ok i can call someone? Some people, usually the most vulnerable, need help deciding to test, need support during, and directly afterwards.

What they don’t need is a test result staring them in the face with noone present to pick up the pieces. There needs to be more thought and more consultation, and definitely more work eradicating stigma and prejudice before this can become a suitable alternative to current testing options.

Those agencies supporting this move might be want to direct their energy towards continuing with home sampling and other testing methods, awareness work and stigma reduction. Unfortunately it appears there may be some financial incentives at work here too, we should also ask who is set to gain the most from such an initiative, and then we may realise why it is being pushed so hard from certain quarters.

A quick survey of people accessing services this week has revealed that not one thought this a good idea, most suggesting they would not have used it, some saying it would have discouraged them from testing at all. Another asked if eventually the idea would be when requesting a test anywhere they would be given a kit, and then told to go home to do it? Most thought that people would only use it when “Dutch Courage” was evident, then who would govern whether it was carried out appropriately, or provide support, or perhaps stop self harm if a reactive result was the outcome.

And what if, after all that, the result was a false result? The home testing kits have, apparently, a 1 in 12 false negative and 1 in 5000 false positive rate, not really acceptable when other methods are far more accurate, certainly without the false negative rate publicised in the Guardian this week . It’s too much far too soon, in an ideal world, workable, but we live in a far from perfect society…

Please do write to the Minister Anne Soubry if you share our concerns, we feel this needs more scrutiny, if not there is a very real risk people will be harmed as a result.

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