Valentine’s Day, is celebrated annually on 14 February. It originated as a Christian feast day honouring one or two early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine and, through later folk traditions, has become a significant cultural, religious, and commercial celebration of romance and love in many regions of the world.
Roses are Red,
Violets are Blue,
We love all our readers,
National HIV Testing Week
National HIV Testing Week is back! From Monday 7 February we’re calling on people across the country to ‘give HIV the finger’.
National HIV Testing Week is a great opportunity for you to get tested and encourage others to do the same, particularly those from groups most affected by HIV, including gay and bisexual men and black African men and women.
This year’s campaign follows National HIV Testing Week 2021’s record-breaking success — more people than ever before took action and got tested. It’s crucial that we maintain this momentum as we work towards ending new cases of HIV by 2030.
Regular HIV testing benefits each and every one of us. People can live with HIV for a long time without any symptoms, testing is the only way to know your status. The sooner you know it, the sooner you can get on treatment if needed and avoid passing the virus on to anyone else. Most people will get a negative result but whatever happens, it’s important to know that anyone diagnosed with HIV in the UK can access free treatment and support.
Regular HIV testing also helps to reduce the number of people living with undiagnosed and those diagnosed late. This is vital as 1 in 20 people with HIV are unaware they have it, increasing the risk of passing it on to sexual partners. Additionally, 42% of people diagnosed with HIV in 2020 were diagnosed late—at this point, the virus has already started to damage your immune system.
It’s never been easier to get an HIV test and to get a result quickly— all it takes is a finger-prick test. You can get a test in person or order tests online, with free and paid-for options. Many tests will provide you with a result in just a few minutes.
Prince Harry vows to continue Diana’s HIV work
It’s National HIV Testing Week in the UK. To mark the occasion, Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, had a 30-minute video chat with gay, former rugby player Gareth Thomas.
The Welsh sporting legend publicly revealed he was living with HIV in 2019 after tabloid newspapers threatened to out him.
During the video chat, the Prince urged people to “go and get a test” and to “know your status”
Prince Harry described himself as “a typical guy” who just wants to “fix things”, and said he feels an “obligation” to try to continue his late mother’s bid to remove stigma surrounding the virus
His mother, the late Princess Diana, famously visited AIDS wards in the 1980s and made headlines for holding the hands of gay men who were ill with the virus. At the time, this simple gesture helped tackle some of the stigma faced by those living with HIV.
“I could never fill her shoes, especially in this particular space,” Harry said, “but because of what she did and what she stood for and how vocal she was about this issue … it’s a converging of all these different pieces.
There’s a way out of it, and if there’s a way out of it and we know there’s a solution, I’m like a typical guy. I just want to help fix things.”
This is not the first time Harry has campaigned to raise awareness around HIV. On two previous occasions, he has been filmed getting an HIV test, including in December 2016 when he did so with Rihanna in Barbados on World AIDS Day. He has also been to countries such as Lesotho and Botswana, where HIV has previously had a devastating impact.
Asked by Thomas why he cared about this issue, Harry said, “Once you get to meet people and you see the suffering around the world, I certainly can’t turn my back on that. Then add in the fact that my mum’s work was unfinished, I feel obligated to try and continue that as much as possible.
Every single one of us has a duty, or at least an opportunity, to get tested ourselves or to make it easier for everybody else to get tested. And then it just becomes a regular thing like anything else.
This testing week, especially in the UK, or wherever you are in the world, go and get a test. Let people know that you know your status. Do it.”
Thomas talked about his own diagnosis and the reality of living with HIV in 2022.
“It wouldn’t be scary if you understood what living with HIV in 2022 is,” he said, adding that it gave him more of “an appreciation of life”.
“I take a moment at 6.00am … I take my HIV medication which is one tablet, and I feel that my day then begins. I’m very active, I go to the gym, I work as hard as I possibly can, and I think with that appreciation of life comes this sense of not being selfish.”
A condition he “thought would be a life-ending condition, it’s actually turned into being a life-affirming condition”, he said.
The video call came after recently released data in England revealed that more heterosexual people are acquiring HIV nowadays than gay and bisexual men. At the start of the week, the UK Health Security Agency revealed half of all new HIV infections were in heterosexual people (50%) in England in 2020, compared to 45% in gay and bisexual men. The country has seen a 71% drop in HIV diagnoses in gay/bi men since 2014. This has been fuelled by encouraging people to get tested and on to treatment if positive. Once undetectable, they cannot pass the virus on. PrEP was also finally approved by the NHS, in 2020, and that’s believed to have further cut transmission rates.
Comedy theatre duo LipService return to Bury Met with their latest hilarious show
Château Ghoul is East Yorkshire’s go-to boutique hotel offering themed weekends. Our hosts Brian and Brenda Binns or B&B as they are known introduce a cornucopia of events: their supernatural sensation – Psychic Attraction (like Fatal Attraction but without the rabbit), their Upcycling weekend (not to be confused with the Tour de Yorkshire Lycra Festival), and the ever popular 1970’s Shanga Langa Waddy Ding Dong experience.
Guaranteed fun for all the family, the only trouble is – the guests keep dying …
This latest comedy from award winning LipService combines live on stage hilarity with stunning digital projections to create a multimedia haunted house thriller.
Wednesday 30 March 8.00pm and Thursday 31 March 8.00pm.
From £16.00. Book online or via box office on 0161 761 2216.