20 Year Ban Lifted – Surgeons and Dentists With HIV Now Allowed To Operate on Patients

hospital-operating-theatre-largeNHS staff infected with the Aids virus will be allowed to carry out operations and other invasive procedures for the first time. A ban which has been in place for more than 20 years is to be lifted by the Government, which says it will not put patient safety at risk.

The ban was imposed because of fears that if an Aids-infected surgeon or dentist cut themselves during certain types of operation, it could result in the patient becoming infected. Surgeons, dentists, midwives and nurses with HIV will be able to work normally providing they are taking drugs that eradicate the virus in the bloodstream.

In another move, from next year, people will be able to buy HIV self-testing kits that are currently illegal for home use. From next April, anyone with HIV wanting to carry out surgical and dental procedures would have to go on a confidential register and have three-monthly testing to ensure they were complying with treatment.

In 2011, there were 6,280 new diagnoses of HIV in the UK. At the end of 2011, around 96,000 people were living with HIV. It is estimated that around a quarter of people who have HIV don’t know that they have it. Of the 6,280 new cases of HIV in 2011, around 48% were infected through heterosexual sex, and 48% through sex between men.

Under the new rules, healthcare workers with HIV will be allowed to undertake all procedures if they are on effective combination of anti-retroviral drug therapy. They must also have an undetectable viral load of HIV in their system, and must be regularly monitored. Public Health England will set up a confidential register holding data on infected workers.

There have been four cases worldwide of health workers infecting patients since 1992, with no cases in the UK. None of the workers was on drug treatment at the time.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, England’s chief medical officer said: HIV was no longer a killer disease

Find out more about coping with a positive HIV test.

Terrence Higgins Trust To Launch England’s First Ever National HIV Testing Week

This November, HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust will launch England’s first ever National HIV Testing Week.

The week will run from 23 to 30 November 2012, and is being co-ordinated through HIV Prevention England (HPE), a partnership of community organisations funded by the Department of Health to carry out national HIV prevention work in England among communities at an increased risk of infection. It is planned that this new week will become an annual event.

The special awareness week will form the centrepiece of HPE’s autumn campaign Think HIV, which aims to encourage gay and bisexual men to test more regularly for the virus.

In the UK, gay men are one of the groups most disproportionately affected by HIV. However, one in four gay men with HIV currently remains undiagnosed and therefore at risk of serious health problems. Being diagnosed late, and not receiving treatment early enough, can mean that you are nine times more likely to die within a year of receiving diagnosis than someone who is tested in good time. Currently, undiagnosed HIV is a key factor in driving the epidemic among gay men, with the majority of onward transmission coming from men who are unaware that they have the infection in the first place.

Deputy Chief Executive at Terrence Higgins Trust, Paul Ward, said

‘National HIV Testing Week gives us a great opportunity to remind men of the importance of regular testing. Terrence Higgins Trust recommends that sexually active gay and bi men test for HIV at least once a year, and more regularly if they have a high number of partners. However, at present less than a quarter of men take an annual test. If the gay community can drive that figure upwards by testing more often, we will see a reduction in undiagnosed HIV, which in turn will begin to put the brakes on the spread of infection’.

‘We believe it is within our grasp to halt the spread of HIV, but solving this lies just as much with the gay community as it does with the Government. That’s why we need the whole community – venues, gay businesses, and every one of us – to get behind this new initiative and turn a spotlight on HIV testing, not just during testing week but all year round’.

Think HIV will be promoted via adverts in gay media, posters in gay venues, and on bus adverts in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Luton. A number of regional organisations across England will also be commissioned through HPE to promote the campaign in their local communities.

To take part in the campaign,  gay and bisexual men can visit www.thinkHIV.org.uk and complete a short survey about their sex life, to receive personalised advice about how regularly they should be testing for HIV.


Help Support GMFA Charity

Founded in 1992, GMFA is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to gay men’s health. There mission is to improve gay men’s health by increasing the control they have over their own lives.

They believe that the best health promotion for gay men comes from gay men themselves. For this reason, they use the knowledge and ideas of volunteers, most of them gay men, to design and plan there sexual health interventions.  These include a range of advertising campaigns, leaflets, postcards and booklets; FS, our health magazine, distributed nationally in gay venues and GU clinics; and national and London-based courses covering sex education, life skills and smoking cessation. In addition, they create targeted sexual health interventions for black gay men and HIV positive gay men.

Independent surveys have concluded that GMFA’s advertising campaigns reach up to 60% of the London gay population and hundreds of thousands of gay men access our online sexual health information each year, making GMFA the most reliable agency for reaching gay men.

Every year GMFA actively participates in World AIDS Day, Walk For Life and the London Pride parade. In addition, since 2007, GMFA and the RVT have jointly organised Gay Sports Day.

If you would like to get involved or help support GMFA at any of these events, please look at the information in this section and get in touch with them by emailing matthew.hodson@gmfa.org.uk or calling 020 7738 6872.

Mr Gay UK Gives Away Pageant Winnings To Charity

Hairdresser Samuel Kneen, 22, who won the Mr Gay UK Contest wants to use part of his winnings to donate to charity – to support a friend struck down by HIV to raise awareness of the problems still caused by the disease.  The Toni and Guy hairdresser has already pledged a portion of his prize money to the Terrence Higgins Trust, a British charity that campaigns on issues related to AIDS and HIV.

The Mr Gay UK contest recently returned after a three-year gap, a move that organisers say was due to popular demand. Last time the contest was held, in 2009, the title was claimed by Dino Gamecho, a fellow Cardiff man.

Samuel, whose father and step-family live in Swansea, said he still can’t quite believe he’s been crowned the winner of the nationwide contest. He won the Cardiff heat at Pulse in September and made it through to the final five in Leeds in November. Samuel was crowned the winner by the three judges, including renowned photographer Jay Eff, Rob Gunns of gay dating site Manhunt UK and Hollyoaks actor Kieran Richardson.

The entrants were encouraged to get the public voting for them on the Mr Gay UK website. As well as garnering votes through social networks like Twitter and Facebook, Samuel put up posters in the city and appeared on local radio. Samuel says his confidence has improved, and that it was humbling to be so popular amongst voters.

The prizes included a break in Morocco, the opportunity to enter Mr Gay Europe and £2,000 in cash. He’s set to take his holiday later this year, and from the prize money, he’s giving a sum to a cause that’s close to his heart.

World Aids Day – December 1st

World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.

More than 90,000 people are currently living with HIV in the UK and globally an estimated 33.3 million people have HIV. More than 25 million people between 1981 and 2007 have died from the virus, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.

Today, many scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment, there are laws to protect people living with HIV and we understand so much more about the condition. But despite this, people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others from HIV, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with HIV. World AIDS Day is important as it reminds the public and Government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.

World AIDS Day is an opportunity for you to learn the facts about HIV and put your knowledge into action. If you understand how HIV is transmitted, how it can be prevented, and the reality of living with HIV today – you can use this knowledge to take care of your own health and the health of others, and ensure you treat everyone living with HIV fairly, and with respect and understanding.

You can also show your support for people living with HIV on World AIDS Day by wearing a red ribbon, the international symbol of HIV awareness.

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