The new edition of HIV
treatment update (HTU) is on its way to subscribers and is also
available online at www.aidsmap.com/htu.
What's in this issue?
these links to get straight to the articles:
A pilot of Universal
Credit (UC) has already started in areas of greater Manchester
UC is a new monthly welfare benefit which will unify six major benefits
currently claimed – it excludes Personal Independence Payment (the new
Disability Living Allowance) and Council Tax Benefit. The government initially
planned to move everyone except people in Northern Ireland to Universal
Credit by 2017, though they’ve gone a bit quiet on that one lately as rumours
surface of rows between the Department of Work and Pensions and the Treasury.
The biggest single change
UC entails is that Housing Benefit and Support for Mortgage Interest are
eventually to be abolished; the new Credit will cover your rent or mortgage
interest as well as your other income needs.
Housing Benefit won’t
exactly be mourned. Separately run, as it is, by local authorities and paid
direct to landlords, it is too often a cause of homelessness, via bureaucratic
delay, rather than a cure for it.
But, as Philip Glanville
shows (in Hurdles to housing), this is just
one of a number of changes that may in the future severely restrict the
availability and quality of housing for people in housing need. These changes
may have a disproportionate impact on people with HIV for all sorts of reasons
– perhaps because we are more likely to be disabled, or dependent on social
housing for other reasons such as refugee status.
On another note entirely,
we’re not Hepatitis treatment update: if we were, then this issue would
be filled from cover to cover with all that’s been emerging from the recent International Liver Congress, and from CROI before that, on the astonishing pace of
development in drugs to treat hepatitis C. It really does look as if there will
be a tolerable oral combination therapy for hep C soon: who would have guessed
this even three years ago? The sheer number of drugs and combinations on trial
may be bewildering to the non-specialist, so read Ingo van Thiel’s piece (The beginning of the end of hepatitis C?) for
a good succinct update on where we stood at the beginning of 2013. It will be
interesting to go back to it in 12 months’ time.
Finally, from one area that
is changing rapidly to one that has, sadly, scarcely changed at all: the social
stigma against people with HIV and, in particular, the way people stigmatise
themselves. As the work of social scientists like Nadine Ferris France and Seth
Kalichman shows – see The diminished self –
we have a long way to go before we find really effective ways of tackling the
shame and isolation people with HIV, often so unnecessarily, impose on
themselves. Maybe it won’t go away entirely until we find a cure for HIV –
which we will be looking at in the next, and last, issue of HTU (see HIV treatment update: the future). Watch this
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