We’re back! Informing you of the latest news in sexual health, updating you about your local Terrence Higgins Suffolk service and busting those pesky STI myths! Let’s start with getting reacquainted…
Who was Terrence Higgins?
Terrence Higgins, known as Terry to his friends, was one of the first people to die from a HIV-related illness in the UK in 1982. Terry’s close friends, Martyn Butler, Tony Calvert and Terry’s partner Rupert Whitaker founded the charity after witnessing the lack of support and care available for those with HIV.
By 1983, Terry Higgins Trust was reborn as a formal organisation, and Terrence Higgins Trust has been dedicated to campaigning, fundraising and providing services in relation to HIV and sexual health ever since.
Our roots were in the LGBT+ community as for many years HIV in the UK mainly affected gay men. Since then, as the shape of the epidemic has changed, so has the charity. Existing services have been developed and new services introduced to meet ever-changing needs.
People on effective HIV treatment can’t pass it on, fact!
Tell your friends! Tell your nan! Tell everyone! We launched our Can’t Pass It On campaign to tackle the stigma and myths that still surround people living with HIV. A landmark PARTNER study in 2016, looked at 58,000 instances of sex without a condom where one partner was HIV positive and one HIV negative. The results were that where the HIV positive partner was on effective treatment with an undetectable viral load there were 0 cases of HIV transmission…yup, 0!
For more information about HIV check out our article ‘Spotlight – HIV’ or our website https://www.tht.org.uk/hiv-and-sexual-health/about-hiv
Relationships and Sex Education
March 27th (2019) was a historic day for both Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and young people. MPs voted in favour of compulsory LGBT-inclusive RSE lessons in all secondary schools and also inclusive Relationships Education lessons in all primary schools. Meaning from September 2020, pupils will be delivered inclusive RSE as part of their curriculum.
Terrence Higgins Trust have been campaigning for better quality RSE for a number of years. Our Shhh…No Talking report published in July 2016 detailed the experiences of RSE lessons from over 900 young people aged 16-25. Worryingly, it highlighted the lack of adequate information and consistency when it came to RSE. Not only were 95% not taught about LGBT relationships, 75% had not been taught about consent and 89% were not told about the importance of pleasure.
We believe it is every young person’s right to be provided with a comprehensive Relationships and Sex Education and welcome the updates. However, although the subject will become compulsory, the work is far from over. Terrence Higgins Trust remains dedicated to continuing to work with the Government, charity sector colleagues and young people to ensure RSE remains relevant.
Chlamydia & Gonorrhoea Screening
Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and affects the 15-24 age group the most. It’s often symptom-free, meaning that you may not know you have it. Chlamydia is transmitted through infected semen or vaginal fluid, and you can catch it from unprotected vaginal, anal and oral sex. Testing is quick and painless and it can be easily treated with a course of antibiotics.
Gonorrhoea is much like chlamydia as it is often symptom-free, and it’s also just as easy to test and treat. You may have heard of a strain of so-called ‘super gonorrhoea’, which is resistant to the antibiotics typically used to treat it. This is true, however have no fear as there are antibiotics that do work; however it highlights the importance of completing any treatment you receive.
We offer self-administered chlamydia and gonorrhoea testing kits for 15-24 year olds. You can get a kit from one of our outreach workers, or order one online https://www.tht.org.uk/our-services/phone-and-post/free-chlamydia-postal-test-kits
Order a full sexual health screening kithttp://www.icash.nhs.uk/contraception-sexual-health/postal-self-test-kits/icash-express-test
Remember: this service is quick, free, painless and totally confidential.
Condoms are 98% effective for protecting against STIs and pregnancy when used correctly, which is why we think young people should be able to access them easily and for free.
The C-Card scheme is a free condom distribution service for those aged between 13-24 years old, where you can pick up condoms (all types) and lube.
Find your nearest C-Card outlet by visiting the map http://www.icash.nhs.uk/contraception-sexual-health/c-card-scheme/c-card-suffolk