HYWEL DDA UNIVERSITY HEALTH BOARD’S Blood-borne Virus (BBV) Nursing Service is marking World AIDS Day on Monday December 1. Marked on the same date every year since 1988, World AIDS Day provides an opportunity to draw attention to the HIV epidemic around the world and many people recognise the red ribbon and wear it to show their support for people living with HIV. Currently there are almost 100,000 people in the UK living with HIV and over 35 million people worldwide.
This year’s theme for World AIDS Day is ‘Getting to Zero’ meaning the aim is to get to zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS related deaths. Janice Rees, Lead Blood-borne Virus Specialist Nurse for Hywel Dda University Health Board has been caring for patients in the area with HIV and other blood-borne viruses since 1995. Janice said: “I have seen huge changes in the field of HIV since I first came into post.
Initially we had no treatments and being told you were HIV positive was like being given a death sentence. My role involved caring for people, very often young people, at the end of their life. With the advent of treatments, people diagnosed with HIV can now live a perfectly normal life, even having their own children safely and with minimal risk of transmission, which 20 years ago was something I never dreamt I would see.”
HIV is transmitted in the following ways: By having unprotected sex with someone who is infected, so always use a condom. They can be obtained free from sexual health clinics and the Blood-borne Virus nurses By getting infected blood into your blood stream. This may be through sharing any injecting equipment; sharing snorting equipment; having tattoos or piercings done in unhygienic conditions or by infected blood getting into open wounds. NEVER share any injecting equipment including filters, spoons, water.
Needle exchange is available throughout the counties and pharmacies taking part can be identified by the yellow and green arrow on their door. When having piercings and tattoos make sure that sterile equipment is opened in front of you and in the case of tattoos make sure a sterile ink pot is used and not a ‘communal’ inkpot. If in doubt – don’t have it done! Mothers can transmit the virus to the babies – but with treatments now available, this can be prevented.
Unfortunately, there is still a lot of stigma surrounding HIV. Ms Rees continued: “When I give someone a positive HIV diagnosis, I can reassure them that medically they will be fine, live a normal life and be well. However, the hardest part for someone newly diagnosed is how other people react. Most of the people living with HIV in the Hywel Dda catchment area have fantastic support from partners, parents, family and close friends.
However, most are petrified of neighbours and others finding out their status and reacting badly, not just towards them but their loved ones as well. Sadly a small number have been ostracised in their community and in a couple of cases felt forced to move away.” The zero discrimination message seeks to stamp out this discrimination. The Equality Act offers legal protection in areas such as employment, housing and education but sadly does not offer protection against social discrimination. If anyone thinks they may have been at risk of contracting HIV, tests (including a full sexual health check up) can be undertaken at your local sexual health clinic – for Hywel Dda call 01267 248674 between 9.30 and 4.30 Monday to Friday.
The Blood-borne Virus Nursing service also offer free confidential testing, call Janice Rees on 01437 773125 / 07899915835 for Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion or Nicola Reeve for Carmarthenshire on 01554 783 535 / 07977 486665. The nurses can also be contacted if you want any advice or have any questions about HIV. They are also able to give educational talks to any agencies, community groups, care homes etc who would like to know more about HIV and the other bloodborne viruses.
Ms Rees concluded: “One of my patients recently said to me that she longs for the day when disclosing her HIV status would be like disclosing she had diabetes, where people would be more sympathetic rather than fearful of her. I really hope that this World AIDS day everyone will think carefully and help us to stamp out discrimination.”
A reminder to residents and visitors as the number of Delta cases increase
CEREDIGION is starting to see an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Ceredigion and across Wales over recent days. The Delta variant has been detected in Ceredigion; a different variant which causes a wider range symptoms than previously, the Council has said.
We are becoming increasingly concerned about this increase; the current rate per 100 thousand of the population is 33 and this is likely to increase further over the coming days. This is a significant rise, considering at the beginning of June the rate per 100 thousand of the population was as low as 2.8 per 100 thousand.
The new variant of COVID-19 is in all parts of Wales. It spreads faster and we need to be more vigilant and ensure that we follow the most recent guidelines which are as follows:
· Only members of your extended household can enter your home.
· Face coverings continue to be mandatory in the indoor public spaces that are open (subject to certain exemptions and exceptions), and on public transport and in taxis.
· People should try and work from home if they can.
· People should maintain social distancing, including outdoors, and don’t mix with too many different groups of people.
· People should wash their hands regularly and follow other advice on hygiene.
· People must self-isolate when told to do so by NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect or as soon as you develop symptoms
· Book a test if you experience any of the symptoms.
Symptoms of the Delta variant of coronavirus include a headache, followed by sore throat, runny nose and fever. We are urging people who feel unwell with ANY of these symptoms to book a test, be extra cautious, social distance, and maintain good hand hygiene.
As everybody is making the most of a summer with more relaxed restrictions than at the start of the year, it’s still vital for everyone to remember we’re still battling this virus and trying to prevent the threat of a third wave. Limiting your contacts is essential for keeping the infection rate down and it’s how we will ultimately protect each and every one of us.
In Ceredigion, over 68% have received the first vaccine and over 44% have now received the second vaccine. A first dose of the vaccine is now available to everyone over 18. The second vaccine significantly improves your immunity, so it is important that you get your second dose to complete your course of vaccinations.
Getting both vaccine doses and following COVID-19 guidelines will protect us all against the new variant. Hywel Dda University Health Board (HDdUHB) are now running walk-in clinics for first and second dose vaccination from Monday 21 to Sunday 27 June. More information on the HDdUHB website.
Together, we can keep Ceredigion safe.
Youth Work Week – Support for young people from a flexible and devoted team
THIS YEAR Youth Work Week is from 23 to 30 June. It is an opportunity to celebrate the positive stories and successes from the last 12 months – highlighting the innovation, resilience and resourcefulness that the sector has shown during an exceptionally difficult year.
Ceredigion Youth Service have utilised their provision since the beginning of the pandemic to offer digital spaces and opportunities for young people to socialise, receive education and take part in online activities and workshops.
During Youth Work Week, the Youth Work Sector will be highlighting their success stories on social media and recognising the contribution that all those working in Youth Work Services have made to young people and communities. There will be opportunities for young people to take part in various activities, workshops and competitions to celebrate the week. This year, Youth Work Week is based around the theme ‘Expressive’ where each day of the week there is an opportunity to highlight achievements, say thank you, and increase understanding around youth work – covering youth work services in the broadest sense.
One of our young member’s said: “Through having the support of a Youth Worker during the pandemic it has meant I have had opportunities to receive a phone call or text whenever I want or need, I have been offered to go for a walk if needed and I was offered the oppportunity to go into school several days a week during lockdown. Being able to have these resources at my hands has meant that I have been able to cope emotionally during this lockdown, but also being able to stay on top of school work which also contributes to coping better emotionally”.
Elen James, Corporate Lead Officer – Porth Cymorth Cynnar said “I have seen first-hand the value and the impact youth work can have on young people’s lives here in Ceredigion. For many young people Youth Work is their lifeline. Youth Work provides young people with a safe space, a doorway to opportunities and prepares them for their future, but most important of all, Youth Work allows young people to be heard, to relax, to have fun, to learn, to socialise, to grow and to develop. Ceredigion Youth service strives to provide young people with experiences and skills, which will last a lifetime”.
For more information about the work of Ceredigion Youth Service, visit their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page @GICeredigionYS or visit their website at www.giceredigionys.co.uk.
Update for Multi-purpose Community Centres following First Minister announcement
TODAY, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced that multi-purpose community centres including community centres, village halls, church halls and other community facilities can reopen from 03 May. This decision has been brought forward from 17 May.
Welsh Government announced changes during today’s briefing, and the guidance for multi-purpose community venues is being updated to ensure compliance with developments in regulations, including greater emphasis on ventilation. Welsh Government continue to advise authorities that the regulations on social gathering will still prevent a number of activities from taking place at community venues, and only organised activities for up to 15 people will be permitted.
The panel strongly advise you to make every effort to carry out your activity digitally or make contact by phone. If not, consider whether it is possible to hold your activity outdoors, in-line with Welsh Government guidance. Holding your activity indoors should be considered as a last resort. If this is the only option and it’s essential that you meet then please keep the session brief and involve as few people as possible, with all necessary procedures and protocols in place.
Those responsible for community activities should remember to;
- maintain a social distance of 2 meters.
- wear a face covering in indoor public spaces.
- regularly wash your hands for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer provided.
A multi-agency panel has been set up to advise and support around the safe and proportionate reopening of facilities in-line with national guidance. The panel has been created under Ceredigion’s Public Services Board Sub Group; Understanding our Communities. Leading on the development of the group is Ceredigion Association of Voluntary Organisations (CAVO) and Ceredigion County Council in partnership with Heddlu Dyfed Powys Police and Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service. The panel includes representation from Health & Safety, Environmental Health and Community Safety.
The panel encourages anyone responsible for community facilities to seek advice to ensure that arrangements are safe and secure and that compliance is in-line with national guidance. Prior to re-opening any community facility those managing centres must ensure that they are ‘Covid-Free Zones’.
The panel will aim to host another briefing session on April 28 at 13:30 to support those in charge of community venues with the latest developments. If you would like to join the next briefing session, please register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cyfleusterau-cymunedol-ceredigion-community-facilities-information-session-tickets-152071456821?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch or get in touch via the contact details below.
The multi-agency panel will continue to support and advise Community Groups and Organisations, and questions or information requests can be submitted to the group which meets on a weekly basis via CAVO on email@example.com or by phone on 01570 423232.
Together, we can keep Ceredigion safe.
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