If there has ever been a buzz around any slogan, then the one for Lockdown three surely has to be La!
At The LGBTQ+ Shop we are delighted that It’s A Sin has brought an increased awareness of HIV/AIDS which has opened up opportunities to discuss the topic freely, help fight stigma, and raise key messages including the fact undetectable = untransmittable. The programme also shone a light on the difficulties faced by anyone diagnosed in the era before lifesaving treatment, when many of us lost friends, family members and loved ones.
So, when we decided to launch a range of La! merchandise (view the full range here) we were always adamant that 100% of profits would go to a HIV/AIDS charity. The reason we choose The Sussex Beacon was a purely personal one. They are a wonderful Brighton based organisation which provides specialist care and support for people living with HIV and they have helped a number of friends of the team at The LGBTQ+ Shop.
As with all charities, fundraising has been nigh on impossible since the outbreak of Covid-19, particularly for any charity which relied heavily on Pride season. So, in launching this range we hope that any much-needed funds raised can be used in helping and treating people living with HIV. Rather than try to explain the services they offer I thought I would ask The Sussex Beacon to describe their services and have included their description below.
Managing Director, The LGBTQ+ Shop.
What is The Sussex Beacon?
The Sussex Beacon provides specialist care and support for people living with HIV in Sussex.
We support the most vulnerable men, women and families to cope with the challenges of living with HIV in terms of their physical and mental health.
Brighton has the second highest HIV prevalence in the UK and access to specialist care and support is vital. Daily medication now means people can live well with HIV however, many suffer from secondary illnesses such as cancer, dementia, or the psychological effects from having been subjected to years of HIV stigma, social isolation and prejudice.
Sussex Beacon services work together to address the physical, psychological, and social impact of living and aging with HIV. Our 10 bed Hospital Unit and specialist medical team provide treatment and rehabilitation for a range of HIV associated conditions; whether recovering from surgery, detoxing from substance abuse, getting help and advice about new medication or needing support with a new diagnosis.
Our aim is to empower and support people to manage their own health through a series of support services. We offer several peer support groups, including a women and families group, run by specialist peer mentors and designed to offer a safe and confidential space to be with others with HIV. We carry out one to one casework offering information and more targeted support and have a positive living programme offering well-being workshops, a weekly exercise class and mindfulness courses.
We work in close partnership with other NHS healthcare providers and our patients and clients to make sure that our services remain relevant to the changing needs of people living with HIV. Click here to visit our website.