Help Health Initiatives - HIV clinic needs your support

Health Initiatives (HI) has been in the process of setting up a weekend HIV clinic has received back from an investor to cover the first year rent and now just need’s help to secure funding for a doctor, nurses and testing kits. Crusaid and Broadway Cares: Equity Fights AIDS have offered backing to renovate the Oxford Street space into the clinic and now we need one final push to raise funds for doctor, nurses and testing kits before the signing the lease.

You can help support the clinic by sending a simple text donation. The text will cost £1.50 with over a pound going directly to the clinic. Pride London our backing at this year’s big even to help us reach our goal of generating 50,000 texts. The target is high but not when you consider there are over 73,000 cases of people living with HIV in the UK. If everyone reading this column took a minute to text “hi clinic” to 84424 we can finally make the dream of a weekend clinic and support centre for young people come true.

Beverley Knight and Sophie Ellis Bextor are fronting the HI campaign to help reach a wider audience. The interviews only took 3 minutes to shoot on film and we are hoping to enlist more public figures to help us reach the goal soon. If like me you find your visits to the local GUM clinic difficult, maybe now is the time to whip out your phone and send us a text! The clinic isn’t just about testing people and referring them on. In the week the clinic will be a safe space for young people to come back too and gain peer support, alternative services, counselling and help with planning for a future with HIV.

Worryingly a survey from National AIDS Trust showed more than one in ten young people aged 18-24 believed HIV can be passed on through kissing…PSHE is STILL not compulsory after all these years so the information isn’t reaching all the schools. The clinic will also continue to develop Health Initiatives workshops targeting schools and universities across the county. The number of people aged 16-24 in the UK being treated for HIV has also trebled between 1996 and 2005 so I’m sure you agree the need for this clinic is far greater now than ever.

HIV has fallen off the radar of most young people and the ones that have done some reading or researched the web, are told it’s more manageable now than ever. Ok, people are not dropping like flies since the advent of HAART in 1997 (the year I was diagnosed) but the issues within prevention, public complacency and living with HIV are now more complex than ever.

At present i’m humbled by the support of our main backer for the building and praying to god that this time it’s finally a reality and not just a dream. Pride is a good day out for most and this year it’s not just about partying but a chance to finally set up a project that will save lives. If you can help in any way PLEASE contact me now before the Oxford Street building goes off the market!!! I can’t do it on my own so please text (Hi Clinic) to 84424 and make us all proud.

Posted on Behalf of Clint Walters - Health Initiatives

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