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Terence Higgins Trust

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Terrence Higgins Trust THT is an HIV & AIDS charity in the UK that claims to be the largest in Europe. Established in 1982, it was the first charity to be set up in response to the HIV epidemic and has been involved in the fight against HIV & AIDS ever si

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      13.03.2001 23:15
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      36 million infected - and growing. 5.3 million expected to contract the virus this year. 21.8 million already dead. (world-wide figures) Stark facts, aren't they? Even more poignant when one considers that the numbers relate to people, people infected by HIV (Human Immuno Deficiency Virus) and AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome). The Public Health Laboratory Service estimates that around a third of sufferers in the UK are not even aware of their 'status'. Considering that there are some 2500 new diagnoses of HIV in the UK each year, that's a frightening figure, especially when one realises that there isn't a cure. - 'Combination drug therapies' are reported to be delaying the effects of HIV but there long-term effectiveness is still not known. Consequently, a diagnosis still precipitates an untimely death. It was as a result of the 1980's HIV epidemic that The Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) charity was established. Their remit has developed to include helping and informing the many sufferers of HIV and AIDS, their friends and family. Primarily devised as a charity to aid gay men, their terms of reference have been expanded and now encompass assistance for anyone affected with or by the virus (especially as most new diagnoses are of heterosexuals). They are mainly funded by both the statutory and private sectors, with donations from individuals and organisations making a sizeable contribution to their funds. Staffing is a combination of paid employees, with the bulk made up of volunteers who, in turn, are trained to provide the services offered by the THT: 'Buddying' Volunteers are trained to befriend and support users both practically and emotionally. Not a provision that is meant to replace the local authority's statutory duties, but more to complement it. If requested, a Buddy will offer a commitment of (initially) 6 months, helping with such things
      as: being a listening ear, help the user access advice and advocacy, to remain independent, give a carer brief respite, etc. For further information or to become a Buddy, Tel 0207.831.0330 Counselling A service provided by trained counsellors and therapists who specialise in HIV and AIDS. This provision operates using the ethics and guidelines of the British Association for Counselling and the UK Council for psychotherapy. Counselling is available between 10 am and 6pm Mon-Fri at a number of London locations. Crèche facilities may also be provided. On the web site, there is a question and answer section covering counselling issues for anyone thinking of using the service. To make an appointment or request further details, Tel: 0207.835.1495 Help line The help line is open from noon - 10pm, 365 days a year. Callers may get advice on such matters as living with HIV/AIDS, recent diagnoses, assistance available locally, welfare benefits, work matters and just about everything else pertaining to the global effects of the virus. Callers maintain anonymity. 0207.242.1010 AIDS Treatment help line Available Mon and Wed 3-9pm and Tuesday 3-6pm. This service is staffed by HIV+ people and their aim is to answer questions on the medical treatment/s availble to sufferers. 0845.947.0047 Donation Line Self explanatory. Credit card or debit card to hand. 0870.400.2266 Face 2 Face (Sexual) Advice A service specifically for gay and bisexual men. Advice sessions are of one hour duration, commencing at either 1, 5, 6 or 7pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays. Call between 9.30am and 5.30 pm to book an appointment. Tel: 0207.816.4566 Women The THT offers many different services that are gender specific, both in their delivery and targeting. Women may access a whole host of provisions, including: counselling, care and support, advice centres, etc. Tel: 0207.831.
      0330 African Information line With a significant amount of (UK)diagnoses last year being individuals of African decent (and now living in the UK), the THT has a dedicated team responsible for developing and implementing various projects, including providing practical advice specific to the global needs of the target group. 0800.0967.500 or e-mail info@tht.org.uk Treatments The web site has a comprehensive section devoted to specific matters arising from HIV, laid out in a Q&A format, covering issues such as: Mother to child transmission Anti-HIV drugs Drug resistance Choices Latest news Clinical trials Blood tests Drug interactions Side effects Therapy Vaccines links and resources This area is to be continually developed to accommodate other details. Leaflets/Booklets A comprehensive list of information leaflets is available free of charge: Protecting yourself and others Understanding HIV and AIDS Services guide Combination therapy Women and HIV Housing Employment GP Pregnancy HIV and AIDS issues for African families Safer sex. . . Contact details: web site: www.the.org.uk Offices: Bath: 01225.444347 Birmingham: 0121.694.6440 Brighton: 01273.764200 Bristol: 0117.955.1000 Coventry: 0247.622.9292 Leeds: 0113.295.1920 London: 0207.831.0330 Oxford: 01865.243389 The web site does carry lots of information, but is laid out in such a manner as to be quite accessible. Apart from the home page, which carries heavy banners, the remainder is easy on the eye and quick to download. There is further details on the site that I have not included here, though the majority of topics are covered to some degree. The Terrence Higgins Trust has been at the forefront of the effects of HIV and AIDS for nearly 20 years. They provide a service that is of absolute necessity to
      sufferers and their families, facilitating access to advice and assistance and a whole array of provisions. Far from experiencing a decline in the need for their help, the requests for support are climbing year on year. Not surprising really when one considers that there has been (circa) 60,000 confirmed cases of HIV and AIDS in the UK. That equates to 120,000 parents affected; possibly 180,000 siblings, and this is without counting the thousands of children, grandparents, aunts, uncles. . .and millions of friends! And these are just the cases that have already been confirmed. The hysteria of the 1980s may have subsided but the virus has certainly not gone away - ask any of the 36 million infected of the truth of that. If you are interested in reading a more personalised account of how AIDS affects individuals and families, take a look at two book reviews compiled by user Nikkisly of: "It" and "Borrowed Time". Each offering is written by those affected and recounts the agony and implosive effects of HIV and AIDS.

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