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Lighthouse Fund greenlights three life-changing HIV projects

Lighthouse Fund greenlights three lifechanging HIV projects

People counselling one another

Three life-changing HIV projects have been announced for 2017, thanks to funding from the Terrence Higgins Trust Lighthouse Fund.

We’re pleased to announce that, for the second year, the Terrence Higgins Trust Lighthouse Fund will enable a series of innovative services for people affected by HIV.

The three winning projects will prevent at-risk people from getting HIV and help empower people to live well with HIV.

These include:

Online PrEP support

Terrence Higgins Trust and IWantPrEPNow will together provide online support for people at high risk of HIV wherever they live. Thanks to the Lighthouse Fund, we will empower people to protect themselves from HIV by helping them to access PrEP and by providing support for those who are taking it. More information will be shared when the project launches later this spring.

Connect Counselling Service

The Lighthouse Fund will expand the Connect service, which offers people living with HIV counselling, couples counselling, long-term psychotherapy and a range of support groups covering addictions, mindfulness and resilience. Working with London Friend, the grant will help us reach more people and broaden the services we offer as part of Connect. 

Living Positively

The life-changing Living Positively Project in West Sussex improves the mental and physical wellbeing of local people living with HIV through peer support groups and wellbeing activities.

The Lighthouse Fund will allow the project to continue as well as developing new services – including workshops for newly diagnosed people, and sessions for people working in local front-line services to increase knowledge and challenge stigma among professionals. This will be delivered in partnership with Adur and Worthing Wellbeing.

This year we are also funding a new HIV self-testing pilot scheme, following on from the one we launched last year. The new scheme will use Biolytical test kits.

The Terrence Higgins Trust Lighthouse Fund was created to preserve the lasting legacy of the London Lighthouse in West London, following its sale in 2015, by investing the funds back into projects that will change the lives of people living with and affected by HIV.

This year’s winning projects have been selected by a panel made up of a THT trustee and senior staff, an external HIV expert, and a service user. For the first year, each of the groundbreaking projects from the Lighthouse Fund will involve collaboration with partners in the HIV sector.

The Lighthouse opened in the 1980s as an innovative centre for residential and day care for men, women and children living with HIV and AIDS.

When effective HIV treatment was introduced in the mid-1990s, HIV transformed from a terminal illness to a manageable condition, and residential services at Lighthouse came to be no longer needed. The building was sold in 2015, and the Lighthouse Fund was set up to dedicate the funds toward meeting the current needs of people living with and affected by HIV today.

Previous Lighthouse Fund projects

Last year, projects funded by Lighthouse included:

  • A ground-breaking national self-testing pilot which, for the first time, offered people the chance to test themselves at home for HIV, free of charge. The pilot saw over 4,750 free HIV self-tests being delivered to people’s own homes in just three weeks. This year, the Lighthouse Fund will support a second pilot, using Biolytical kits.
  • The Learning Centre Scotland for HIV and sexual health training, which aims to tackle high levels of myths and misunderstanding about HIV. The centre has been busy delivering training to professionals who want to improve their awareness and understanding around HIV and sexual health, while gaining qualifications and skills.
  • Free counselling and advice services on myHIV were protected thanks to the Lighthouse Fund, helping to make sure these are universally available for free across the UK.
  • Working with GPs in high prevalence areas to widen access to HIV testing, in partnership with the Royal College of GPs.

These projects have made a huge difference to people affected by HIV and we’re delighted that the Lighthouse Fund will continue to change lives for years to come.