You may remember a week or so back I posted about a new HIV awareness campaign in England called ‘It Starts With Me’ – designed to educate people about HIV, how it’s spread, how it’s prevented and what they can do to fight HIV.
Well the campaign is really in full swing now, with events and awareness materials rolling out across England.
Yesterday I returned from a trip to Berlin with my friend Anthony to find a ‘It Starts With Me’ t-shirt waiting on my door step. So I popped it on and took a few snaps, you’ll probably see me at a few events up and down the country – including pride events wearing it, talking to people about their attitudes towards sexual health, testing and HIV.
Some quick HIV related facts from the It Starts With Me website:
- 1 in 4: The number of people with HIV in the UK aren’t aware that they have it
- 10 years: how much shorter your life could be if you delay testing
- 8 in 10: gay men get HIV from someone who doesn’t know they have it
- 25-29: the age group in which the most gay men test HIV positive
- 96%: Treatment for HIV can make you upto 96% less infectious to others
Please make sure to head over to the It Starts With Me website to find out more about HIV, and how YOU can stop it in its tracks.
On June 16th 2013 I will be taking part in the Terrence Higgins Trust‘s ‘Walk For Life’. The aim of the walk is to raise vital funds for the HIV Hardship Fund.
Imagine for a moment that you’re HIV positive (if you’re not already), you’ve got plenty on your plate to deal with as it is right? Now imagine you can’t afford to feed yourself, your family, keep a roof over your head or afford warm clothing for the winter. Things are bad with the economy right now, most of us are feeling the pinch – but it’s those who are already in a bad situation who are hit hardest at times like these.
When I was out of work, was forced to move back home and at the same time dealing with my HIV diagnosis I felt like I had few people to turn to and even fewer options to take. The Terrence Higgins Trust gave me a helping hand with its HIV Hardship Fund and their counsellors threw me a lifeline via MyHIV.org.uk – so taking part in this event is the least I can do.
Please give what you can, every penny you donate will go to helping those living in crisis with HIV up and down the UK. There are no overheads being taken from your donations, as those are covered by the registration fees paid by walkers like myself. If you’re a UK tax-payer please remember to click the ‘GiftAid’ box too and the Terrence Higgins Trust can claim back 25p for every £1 you donate. Thank you.
You can donate by following this link: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ukpositivelad
Everyone who sponsors will get a shout out and a follow back on Twitter, and those who donate £50 or more will get a hand written thank you card from myself as a sign of my gratitude for doing such an amazing thing for others
All my love,
Tuesday 29th January 2013 heralds a new era for the LGBT community in Birmingham, and the Midlands in general with the opening of the Birmingham LGBT Health & Wellbeing Centre.
The Big Lottery Fund and Birmingham City Council have generously donated £479,263 and £250,000 respectively to get this ambitious project off the ground.
None of this would be possible without the hard work and persistence of Steph Keeble (Director) and David Viney (Health & Wellbeing Manager) who’ve worked tirelessly over the last year and a half to make this project a reality.
The centre will offer a range of services from it’s in-house clinic including a Sexual Health service, provided by Healthy Gay Life and Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust – along side smoking cessation and alcohol misuse counselling.
Depression, self harm and suicide continues to damage the LGBT community and especially LGBT youth. This problem is especially profound in Birmingham where 48% of LGBT people interviewed claim to have thought about suicide, and 20% claim to have attempted it.
There will be a Cafe/Bar area run by MatchBox – who will provide a range of healthy light meals and drinks, this space will be available in the evening for events in the LGBT community, along with a number of training and meeting rooms – which will also be able to be hired out by local businesses.
To find out more about the Birmingham LGBT Health & Wellbeing Centre either pop along to (38/40 Holloway Circus Birmingham. B1 1EQ) or visit their website: http://www.blgbt.org/
This morning my alarm went off at 7:00am, time to get up and make myself a coffee. I was on the radio in 30 minutes.
With their permission I’ve included an MP3 of the recording for you to download and listen to here! We touch on blogging, twitter, celebrities, HIV support and gay mugs. Check it out!
If you want me to appear on your show please don’t hesitate to get in touch using the contact page on this site.
Matthew Walters is the Gay Men’s worker and Health Trainer for Positive East, a vital HIV support charity based in East London. Today he’s telling us all the story his diagnosis and asking that you help support him in his latest challenge, climbing Kilimanjaro to help raise funds to provide essential services – and give back to a charity that has helped him find his feet again after diagnosis. Please read on…
5 years after my diagnosis in 2005, I found myself in quite a bad state. Being HIV Positive was making life difficult. Eventually, everything had started to get on top of me. Some friendships had been lost, and generally I was in quite a dark and depressing place.
I finally plucked up the courage to access support from a HIV charity. New to East London, I found myself knocking on the door of Positive East.
Positive East instantly offered me a wide range of support including Counselling, the Gay Men’s Support Group, Careers Advice, help with Housing and Hardship. I often used to pop in and use the gym and internet café which gave me an opportunity to keep active, make new friends and get on with my life.
Within a short space of time, I went from a place of despair to a bright and happy future thanks to the support that Positive East had given me. Grateful to the support I had received, in 2006 I wanted to give something back so started to volunteer for the organisation. In 2009, I started working for that charity and I’m still here today helping to give individuals living with and affected by HIV the support that I received 7 years ago.
I want to raise £5,000 by the time I set off next month, and I need your help. Just go to http://www.justgiving.com/
You can also follow Matthew on Twitter as: @HIVpozGayMan
Lots of Love,
If you cast your minds back two months you’ll remember I was busy pleading, begging, nagging and dancing for you guys to sponsor me on the Terrence Higgins Trust Walk For Life.
I had such a fun day, meeting lots of lovely new people, taking a tour of London on foot and getting some (probably much needed) exercise. Thanks to you guys we raised an AMAZING £2,237 for the Terrence Higgins Trust Hardship Fund.
The total for the day, from everyone who took part and donated comes to an ASTONISHING £85,875.
The Terrence Higgins Trust Hardship fund provides much needed emergency grants to people living with HIV in crisis. The grants enable them to buy essential items “such as food, clothing, urgent utilities (e.g. gas card, electric card, telephone card or water card), bedding, towels and travel to either welfare or clinical appointments.” (quote from THT website).
It’s difficult enough coping with HIV sometimes, let alone trying to cope with it when you realise you can’t pay for your electricity or for anything to eat. It’s those sorts of times we’re lucky to have charities like the THT to step in.
If you didn’t get a chance to sponsor me on the Walk For Life, but you’d still like to donate to the THT please do using this link: http://www.tht.org.uk/our-charity/Donate
Many many thanks,
Thirty years ago today, on the 4th July 1982, a man called Terry Higgins became one of the first people to die of AIDS at a time when almost nothing was known about HIV/AIDS.
Upset and angered by the way Terry and his partner Rupert were treated his friends set up the Terry Higgins Trust, later to be renamed the Terrence Higgins Trust (or THT for short), with the purpose of raising awareness and preventing the spread of HIV.
Today, thirty years later, the THT has grown dramatically from that small group of friends in an East London flat to the UK’s biggest HIV charity but they still have the same core mission – to raise awareness of and prevent the spread of HIV.
On a personal note I’d like to thank Terry, Rupert and everyone who works and volunteers for the Terrence Higgins Trust. You’ve helped me so much in the last year, from providing information about HIV and my treatment, to giving me counselling free of charge and helping me meet other HIV positive people through your MyHIV.org.uk website. You’ve been there for me in some of my darkest hours, and I don’t know where I’d be without you. I think Terry would be very proud of you all.
Please all help me wish the Terrence Higgins Trust a happy 30th birthday, and if you can show your support by making a donation to this very worthy cause: http://www.tht.org.uk/howyoucanhelpus/donations/ourappeals/
Happy Monday one and all,
I trust you all had a pleasant weekend, made the most of the sun, maybe even had a BBQ? I didn’t, I spent it in agony with a broken tooth – but that’s a whole ‘nother story.
In just a few days I’ll be taking part in the THT Walk for Life. A 10-kilometer sponsored walk around London to raise funds for the THT, the UK’s leading HIV charity.
The Walk for Life started with Crusaid a HIV charity set up in 1986. The 2008 Walk for Life was the biggest HIV/AIDS walk in Europe to date. In 2010 Crusaid merged with THT, and the Walk for Life became the THT Walk for Life, continuing Crusaid’s legacy.
My first Walk for Life was in 2010, and I still have the medal proudly hung in my bedroom. I planned to attend the 2011 walk too but was unable to due to a serious injury. There were over a thousand walkers last year, from every walk of life (see what I did there?) all giving their time – and their money to help those living with HIV.
Every penny of the money raised goes into the THT Hardship Fund. With this fund THT can issue grants to those, living with HIV, who need it most. Speaking to Genevieve Edwards (Exec Director for Communications, Fundraising & Health Improvement) at THT earlier she explained that, in this period of economic gloom, the hardship fund was more important than ever. Food for the unemployed, baby clothes for struggling HIV+ parents, respite care for the terminally ill. The THT wants to help them all, but can only do so with your support.
It’s not too late to register for the event, you can do so at www.walkforlife.co.uk, you can do so up to the night before the walk.
If you can’t make the event, for whatever reason, please please please, sponsor someone who is walking, every pound you donate makes a real and tangiable difference to someone in crisis. If you’d like to sponsor me you can do so here: http://fundraising.tht.org.uk/ukpl-w4l