Action And Worth Reading On... Aids

new internationalist
issue 169 - March 1987

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Don't be panicked - that's one of the messages of this issue. However, you have an obligation to learn about the subject and practise safe sex, particularly if you have had more than one partner in the last five years.

The organisations listed below all provide information, counselling and help for those who are worried, antibody positive or have AIDS.

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United Kingdom

Healthline is a confidential telephone information service started by the College of Health. Someone will answer your call and switch on a tape relating to the medical experts and lasts from two to six minutes. To listen to one of their 12 tapes on AIDS or AIDS related subjects tel: (01) 980 4848 between 2 - 10 pm any day of the week.

For more advice they will refer you to the Terrence Higgins Trust which offers a variety of services ranging from telephone information for everyone, to individual support for people with AIDS. There are counselling, health education, drug, medical and communications groups. Since the governments first advertising campaign the Trust have been overwhelmed with calls reaching up to 400 per minute. So don't overburden them unburden them unnecessarily. Write in for leaflets. THT BM AIDS London WC1N 3XX

Helpline: TelL 01) 833 2971 (7 - 10 pm weekdays; 3 - 10 pm weekends).

The Health Education Council also produces a leafet, 'AIDS WHAT EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW' which is available from Department A, Box 100, Milton Keynes MK1 1TX

The London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard takes referrals for gay counselling, organises social befriending groups, gives information on pubs, clubs and discos, offers free accomodation services, and extensive list of solicitors or just a chat.

LLGS BM Switchboard London WC1 3XX, Tel; (01) 837 7324 24 hours.

Body positive is a self-help group of gay men who have all found themselves to be antibody positive. They offer valuable support to anyone in the same position and can be contacted through the Trust'' helpline or the LLGS.

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United States

Every mojor city has its own AIDS action organisation, and often several. We only list a few. Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC), was the first and for a long time only organisation to recognise and confront the emergency of the AIDS epidemic and all its medical and psychosocial implications. GMHC has taken a leading role in educating health professionals, the general public and has provided extensive patient support services while raising funds for research. GMHC Box 274, 132 West 24th Street, New York 10011.

San Francisco AIDS Foundation is contracted by the San Francisoco Department of Public Health to provide primary information and referral services to residents of San Francisco and Northern California. It has close links with the Shanti ProjectB (see article on left hand page) and with BALIF (Bay lawyers for Individual Freedom) for those with legal problems related with AIDS.

San Francisco AIDS Foundation 333 Valencia St, San Francisco. Tel: 415 863

Shanti Project 890 Hayes St, San Francisco. Tel: 558 9644

BALIF contact Stephen A Richter. Tel: (415) 982 9211

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Aotearoa (NZ)

New Zealand AIDS Foundation is a charitable Trust, chaired by Kate Leslie. It is the parent body of the AIDS Support Network, Aotearoa. It employs three part time co-ordination in the main centres with over three hundred volunteer workers throughout the country. Receives limited Health Department funding to support its preventive public education programme.

New Zealand AIDS Foundation PO Box 6663, Auckland. Tel: (09) 395 560 (24 hour free hot line)

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The Australian Federation of AIDS organisations is the Federal body representing state and territory AIDS councils and committees. For medical information or counselling contact Phil Carswell Tel: (03) 616 7194 or Lex Watson (02) 692 4075 or write to PO Box 174, Richmond, Victoria 3121.

Fairfield Infectious Diseases Clinic is the National AIDS information centre, offering inpatient and outpatient are, counselling and antibody testing. Yarra Bend Park Rd., Fairfield 3078, Victoria. Contact Dr Ron Lucas Tel: (03) 488 2222.

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Given the federal structure of the country there are community groups and services in most major cities. AIDS Committee of Toronto educates people about the syndrome, especially homosexuals, drug users and hemophilliacs, their families, friends, lovers and the bereaved. It also provides support services for people with AIDS including discussion groups to counteract the isolation and atigmatisation often experienced (see article).

Box 55, Stn F MAY 2L4 Tel: 926 1626 Mon-Fri, 9am-pm.

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Worth reading on... AIDS

AIDS a guide to survival, by Peter Tatchell. Heretic 1 986. This is a sensitive, positive approach to the struggle against the disease. Essential reading especially for anyone who is antibody positive, their families and friends.

Sex and Germs: the Politics of AIDS, by Cindy Patton. South End Press 1 985. One of the best. Patton looks beyond the sensationalist commentaries of the mainstream media to consider AIDS in a sociological and psychological context. An activist, this writing comes from her own experience and offers one feminist perspective.

Illness as Metaphor by Susan Sontag. Penguin 1979. Primarily about TB and cancer, which like AIDS can be terminal and degenerative, Sontag analyses them as symbols of how our culture treats death. Lucid and liberating.

AIDS and the New Puritanism, by Dennis Altman. Pluto Press 1986. A serious political assessment of the construction of a plague mentality in a homophobic culture.

AIDS and the Third World, Panos Dossier 1, published in association with the Norwegian Red Cross, 1986. The dossier shows the majority of those marked for death are in the Third World where resources for health care are least. Sober, thorough and level-headed on a subject where hype abounds.

Death Rush: Poppers and AIDS by John Lauritsen and Hank Wilson. Pagan Press New York 1986. A committed, one-sided review of the evidence that alcohol, tobacco and amphetamines are a threat and contribute to the breakdown of the immune system.

Sexuality and its Discontents: Meanings, Myths and Modem Sexualities by Jeffrey Weeks. Longman 1985. A shrewd account of what shapes our sexualities and how we perceive them. Good writing, though dense in places.

AIDS the Deadly Epidemic by Graham Hancock and Enver Carim, Gollancz 1985. Modesty forbids us to comment.

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