Our hospital's fight against HIV

by Chris Birch (Patient Governor)—I am proud to be a Governor of this hospital, and one reason is its outstanding record in the fight against HIV. Two close friends were killed by HIV and the lives of some of my HIV positive friends were saved by this hospital's doctors.

Chris-Birch.jpg

Chris Birch, Patient Governor

E: chris.birch@chelwest.nhs.uk

I am proud to be a Governor of this hospital, and one reason is its outstanding record in the fight against HIV. Two close friends were killed by HIV and the lives of some of my HIV positive friends were saved by this hospital's doctors. So I jumped at an opportunity to visit all our HIV and sexual health clinics.

I was lucky to have Jane Bruton, Clinical Nurse Lead for HIV, as my guide. We first visited the John Hunter Clinic in the St Stephen's Centre, next door to the hospital. HIV tests, with results in a few minutes, are provided plus pregnancy testing, contraception, Hepatitis B and C screening and Hepatitis B vaccinations. About 26,000 men and women a year attend.

Then it was on to the Kobler Clinic on the Ground Floor of the St Stephen's Centre, an outpatient clinic, which sees about 4,500 patients a year. Here I met an old friend from my days working as a volunteer at London Lighthouse, waiting to see his consultant, Dr Mark Nelson. They very kindly agreed to my sitting in on the consultation.

Next—to the HIV Day Care Unit on the hospital's 2nd Floor, which provides a Rapid Review clinic for HIV patients with an urgent problem. There I met Dr Anton Pozniak. Then to the Thomas Macaulay Ward, next door to the Day Care Unit.

Our next stop was the West London Centre for Sexual Health located in Charing Cross Hospital's South Wing. The centre has about 29,000 attendances a year and a high proportion of those are of Black African or Black Caribbean origin. There is also a walk-in clinic for patients aged between 16 and 24.

Our final destination was our two-year-old 56 Dean Street centre, run by Dr Alan McOwan in Soho, now the busiest clinic of its kind in London, with about 53,000 attendances a year, mainly gay men. Outreach work is done in the local Chinese community where there is a lot of Hepatitis. The clinic has about 1,800 HIV positive individuals and is open until 7pm on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays and from 11am to 4pm on Saturdays, which is a big advantage for patients who are working.

Chelsea and Westminster provides a friendly, confidential and free world-class sexual health and HIV service, in three separate centres, of which we can be extremely proud. The ambiance is welcoming and the waiting areas, particularly at 56 Dean Street, are like those of a five-star hotel, so different from those of many sexual health clinics a few years ago.

I was extremely impressed by the enthusiasm of the staff I met and I was surprised to learn that stigma is still a big issue 30 years after the start of the HIV pandemic.

I am extremely grateful to Jane Bruton, Clinical Nurse Lead for HIV, for taking me on a four-and-a-half-hour Grand Tour of all our sexual health and HIV clinics.

Filed under:
comments powered by Disqus

Feedback

Was this page useful to you?

Share this page