The Selby Trust, in partnership with Embrace UK. This HIV prevention programme was supported by a grant from Gilead Sciences. Selby Trust have recently successfully completed the programme on HIV prevention. The project, which took place between January 2021 and March 2022, was open-ended throughout, and allowed participants to feel safe and open when sharing personal experiences regarding any previous sexual encounters participants have had.
Embrace UK, with support from the Selby Trust as facilitator, found the partnership productive and fruitful, enabling them to receive effective admin, outreach, and impactful logistical support, allowing them to focus on training and delivering services to the community.
The key objectives of the project included:
To Identify hard to reach individuals such as people from BAME background, women, young people, and migrants in the borough, and engage through the project
To enhance identified individuals’ awareness of HIV prevention through training/workshops
Provide free HIV testing for the community as well as advice and support
Embrace UK supporting signposting where appropriate to give a truly holistic approach to improving health and wellbeing
Here are the examples describing the delivery of the project goals and objectives:
Identify hard to reach individuals such as people from BAME background, women, young people, and migrants in the borough and surrounding: 55% of the participants were from the mentioned hard to reach background.
Enhance identified individuals’ awareness of HIV prevention through training/workshops: 3 different levels of training were delivered
Level 1 training comprised of Basic awareness and knowledge about HIV/AIDS, reducing risk behaviours and attitudes towards sexual practices
Level 2 covered HIV and STI testing, late HIV diagnosis, CD4 count and T4 cells, HIV viral load, barriers of testing, access to testing, availability of testing, types of testing, reactive test results and support.
Level 3 training comprised of: Treatment as Prevention (TasP), Antiretroviral Therapy (ART), Undetectable= untransmittable (U=U), Pre Exposure and Post Exposure prophylaxis (PrEP and PEP), condoms (male and female), Pipeline researches, Zero new HIV infection, Zero stigma and the aim of HIV elimination of by 2030.
Community provided with free HIV testing, advice, and support: The project reached 658 individuals (39% male, 61% Female - 60% were BAME), 403 individuals reached for referral and signposting.
Embrace UK have supported signposting where appropriate: All clients have been provided one-to-one, telephone, zoom meetings, WhatsApp’s, and text information on Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) including HIV. Clients have also been signposted to resources and details of sexual health clinics for both HIV and STIs tests. 98% have had tested for STIs and referred to HIV test centres. Clients who wanted testing for HIV have been signposted to sexual health clinics. All individuals provided with accurate, reliable, and updated information on sexual health.
After gaining knowledge about HIV, some participants felt relieved about using protection, and informed about precautionary measures and be aware of any symptoms. Recognition of the importance of digital challenges for service users:
The future is becoming increasingly digital, including day-to-day and health related issues.
Affordability is a key challenge for those with low income but have needs. When digital services become part of life, such as to make appointment with doctors, getting prescriptions or access medical records, digital poverty becomes a challenge.
Making digital devices accessible for diverse communities
Time, language, fear, stigma, lack of knowledge
The programme also enabled us to recognise and acknowledge the lack of awareness and realise that due to cultural differences in several cultures the topic is seen as taboo.