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In this issue

Gus Cairns
Published: 13 October 2011

Welcome to the first edition of the new quarterly HIV treatment update (HTU). We’ve made a few changes, as you can see, including a bit of a makeover to HTU’s design.

As well as adding an extra feature article, we’ve revamped News in brief, providing short summaries of some of the most significant or intriguing recent news stories with links to the full reports and references on our website, www.aidsmap.com. We’ve included a small selection of news from aidsmap’s news ‘aggregator’, as well as the stories NAM editors have written ourselves.

This autumn edition reflects the diversity of the community with HIV in this country, a diversity emphasised by the conference I went to a few weeks ago (see Taking charge of our future). Speakers ranged from Jonathan Grimshaw MBE, now 57 and one of the first Brits to be diagnosed with HIV back in 1984, to Matilda, born with HIV after that year and one of a new generation of young people, mainly African and mainly born with the virus, who are raising an increasingly bold profile in the activist world.

Our articles cover everything from a web-based STI/HIV partner notification service for the largely young users of the UK’s gay dating services (Saving face: GMFA’s sexual health messaging service) to the aches and pains of peripheral neuropathy and arthritis (Growing pain), an issue that can affect anyone but more often affects us as we age.

Our guest writer Daniel Lombard (Barriers to care) investigates something that only a few of us have ever had to face but which should concern us all: the sometimes appalling barriers to medical care faced by detainees with HIV in immigration removal centres, a group of vulnerable people at the mercy of the state, but often failed by the system.

And in Help when you’re troubled, we cover an issue that affects everyone living with HIV, of whatever age, nationality or sexuality: the need for emotional and psychological support. One of the important things about the new standards for psychological support, produced by the British Psychological Society, British HIV Association and the Medical Foundation for AIDS and Sexual Health, is that they emphasise that anyone with HIV at any time may have emotional and relational issues caused by living with the virus and will need help at the appropriate level; you don’t have to be climbing the walls to need it (though you should have access to the right help if you are). Essentially it’s a plea to the commissioners and funders of the NHS that HIV can hurt mentally too, that mental pain has physical consequences and that starving people of emotional support will end up costing the community more, whether it’s in antidepressant pills or Employment and Support Allowance.       

Happy reading and enjoy yourselves for (gulp) the rest of the year.

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.