Tag Archives: Postal HIV Testing

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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Herts Advertiser Article on HIV

We spoke to the Herts Advertiser last week about the unfolding Hollywood HIV story.

We feel it immensely unfair that Mr Sheen has been forced to disclose his status, no-one should have to do this, and certainly not in such a public way.

The hysteria and hype leading up to this event has, we feel, set back the fight against HIV Stigma considerably. Echoing days of the 1980’s with sensational headlines and alarmist commentary does nothing to help, and forcing people to publicly disclose their status creates fear and misunderstanding.

This is immensely frustrating and damaging we feel, we spend so much time trying to undo this sort of misinformation and hysteria about HIV.We are very grateful for the chance to air our views, we wish Mr Sheen the very best and hope that this furore fades soon.

Our fear is that more sensational headlines will appear, prompting more misunderstanding, such as those in the last few days where a co-star feels they have been at risk from kissing Mr Sheen, which is ridiculous in itself.

Handled correctly this could have been a very good way to illustrate that HIV can and does affect anyone. However the way it has been handled makes it look like it only happens to those who are irresponsible and careless. This couldn’t be further from the truth, most of those affected by HIV acquired the virus from someone who didn’t know they had it, it only takes one mistake, one misjudged moment. Who amongst us can say we have never made a mistake?

Here is a link to the article:

http://www.hertsad.co.uk/news/st_albans_hiv_support_group_chief_slams_media_over_charlie_sheen_coverage_1_4316452

Anyone worried about HIV can get a free HIV testing kit from us by post or in person, contact testing@thecrescent.org.uk, call 01727 842532 or call in during opening hours.

Support is available throughout, it is a completely confidential and free of charge, a simple test with no big needles you can do yourself, or onsite at the Crescent.

Free condoms are available from the Crescent either in person or by post, we wont ask any questions, you can just collect these from our site in Russell Avenue during opening hours (they are on a shelf in the entrance hallway) or we can post them to you, free of charge. Email info @thecrescent.org.uk or call 01727 842532 for postal services.

Condoms will protect you from a whole range of STI infections, not just HIV, and of course help prevent unplanned or unwanted pregnancies too. Protect you and those you love, use a condom always until you are sure of each other’s sexual health.

The Crescent Team

 

 

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More events coming up this month and next as we move towards World Aids Day

Dear all,

Apologies for the delay in updating the blog, things have been very busy of late. We have a number of exciting events coming up in the next few months.

First is a charity cake baking competition with the wonderful Bakehouse St Albans as part of the Harpenden and St Albans Food festival this month. Are you the next budding amateur baker in the district? Think you bake the chocolatiest chocolate cake in the city? The best biscuits in town? If so, why not enter for your chance to be one of 20 bakers competing each day.

See the Bakehouse website for more details and an application form http://www.localbakehouse.co.uk/bakeoff/4590388035 Each day from the 27th of September a charity will be the nominated recipient of funds raised at the event as cakes submitted will be sold after the judging process with proceeds going to the charity of the day. We will be taking part on the 29th of September so grab that self raising flour and whisk up a marvel for us if you can !

On the 14th of October there will be another fashion show with the fabulous Chloe James Lifestyle store at the Cote Brasserie in the High Street in St Albans from 7.30pm. Tickets will be on sale shortly from Chloe James store at 12 The High Street 01727 843431 http://chloejameslifestyle.co.uk/ or email enquiries@chloejameslifestyle.co.uk Always a very popular event !

On the 5th of December we will be having another busking day and awareness event for World Aids Day. This will be at the clock tower in St Albans High Street as before, A free event for all. A full running list of performers will follow shortly but do make time to come along on the day if you can. More details will be published as we finalise the running order but we expect that the event will run from 11am to around 4pm. If you would like to help out on the day with collections or information distribution please do let us know on 01727 842532 or email info@thecrescent.org.uk.

We are also pleased to see that Barnet Council are now offering a postal HIV testing service very similar to ours, it is a pity that Herts County Council won’t fund this here, and makes it all the more imperative that we raise funds to keep going. Please if you can come along to any of the events in the next few months we would be very grateful. Without your support and generosity we cannot do what we do!

As ever thanks for your support

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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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

http://www.hertsad.co.uk/news/st_albans_hiv_charity_offers_revolutionary_at_home_test_1_4175358

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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Free Postal HIV Testing Available From The Crescent For All

Dear all,

BBC and ITV news yesterday covered the launch of a pilot postal HIV testing service for residents in Birmingham in “At Risk” communities only.

The Crescent is very pleased to see that others are now providing this service and wish the team at HIVTestUK.com and Birmingham Heartlands HIV Service the very best in their endeavours to combat the late diagnosis issues in the Birmingham area. You can read more about the pilot here https://www.hivtestuk.com/hivtestuk-pilot-project-launches-in-birmingham/

We hope that Hertfordshire County Council takes note and implements quickly a similar programme to address the late diagnosis rates in Hertfordshire, particularly in West Herts, where rates are well above national average. Hertfordshire’s Director of Public Health Mr McManus, coincidentally was also a joint Director of Public Health in Birmingham, and so we hope he will follow the direction they have taken without further delay.

We have been raising this issue for some two years, appealing to Mr McManus and Teresa Heritage, Herts County Council Cabinet member for Localism and Health, for funding for our postal service, but without success. Perhaps now there will be a change of direction, we certainly hope so!

Our postal service is not restricted to at risk groups and is free for all residents of Hertfordshire and beyond. It is quick, totally confidential, and very easy to do, we will support you throughout the process too. If you don’t want to test by post we do of course offer onsite instant result HIV testing by appointment.

Contact us on Testing@thecrescent.org.uk, visit our website http://www.thecrescent.org.uk or call us on 01727 842532 to order a kit or find out more about the service.

The Crescent Team

CB1185-The-Crescent-Home-Testing-Poster-FOR-PRESS2-(low) (2) CB1185-The-Crescent-Home-Testing-Poster-FOR-PRESS-(low) (2)

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Sainsbury’s St Albans – Our nomination – Vote for us !

Hi all,

We have reached the final three in the Sainsbury’s local charity scheme !

Here is an excerpt from the Sainsbury’s website which explains more;

During May and June, our stores will select a shortlist of local registered charities for our customers to vote on. The charity with the most votes will be selected and supported over the next 12 months through fundraising and volunteering.

We have been very fortunate to reach this stage and we need you now to vote for us, the charity with the most votes (online or instore) will be the chosen charity for the next 12 months and could gain a whole wealth of support from Sainsbury’s.

Our local store is Everard Close St Albans AL1 2QU and we would be very grateful if you could take the time when in store to vote for us, or if you prefer you can do so online via the website link here https://www.sainsburyslocalcharity.co.uk/#about-nominations

Thanks as ever for your support, and thanks also to Sainsbury’s for including us in their scheme this year !

The Crescent Team

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