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If the cost of fuel does not come down or proposals for such moves are not in place in the next two months, futher action has been threatened: Would you welcome such action so near to Christmas:
INSIGHT TO THE BEACON
Situated on the corner of Bevendean Road, overlooking the valley and surrounded by old and new houses alike, Sussex Beacon continues to provide the centre of care and treatment for clients with HIV/AIDS, as it has done since its opening in November 1992.
The Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Admiral Sir Lindsay Bryson, laid the foundation stone before the Duchess of Kent, Royal Patron of the centre, opened the building officially in 1994.
The refreshingly modern centre blends into the landscape encircled by the roads ageing stone wall. The building greets you with an arched wooden porch and at the back the centre has a majestic garden containing a seating area, greenery, flowers and the sound of trickling water.
Its colour and glamour can be overlooked from the clients balconies. Housing eight single bedrooms and two double rooms, the centre is just one of three of its kind on Britain - the others in London and Edinburgh.
Each room contains amenities to provide all the clients with a certain degree of comfort - a lounge chair, television and video are all in addition to an ensuite toilet/bathroom which are accesible to wheelchairs.
Sussex bEacon provides an array of care and has a close relationship with the NHS. NEarby Brighton General Hospital contains an acute care unit called the elton John Centre. Once discharged, some of the people arrive at the Beacon for convalescence.
MIchael Ketchum, Acting Director of the centre (when I interviewed him last year, stated that the virus in Brighton was "overwhelmingly something that affects gay men."
Mr Ketchum was the full-time Finance Manager/Director and also in charge of Health and Safety and I.T. So how did he become involved?
He simply spotted an advertisement in the paper and decided to apply. He also has a personal interest with friends of his own living with the virus and he also witnessed the affects first hand during his seven years in South Africa.
To my suprise, Ifpund that terminal care is now only a small part of the staffs work. Clients generally stay for a week or two with the longest stay at the centre being just 3 to 4 months at a time. The length is dependent on the family support back home. Clients come from all over Britain for the care available at Sussex Beacon.
Respite care enables clients to get away from their usual social surroundings which in turn helps the people that normally care for them, although Michael informed me, "Our prime mission is to care for people that have it(HIV/AIDS)."
There are 110 registered volunteers and 35 full-time staff during the course of a year with a total of 55 paid staff altogether. Services include therapy and expert advice for local individuals who gain from coming in and asking for information on the correct ways to take complicated combination drugs.
The list of assistance is amazing: 24 hour medical and nursing care, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, psychological support, therapeutic massage and aroma therapy, reflexology, stress reduction and visualisation.
The dining facilities are very welcoming, while knowledge of dietary requirements is an essential part in the planning of an individuals meal.
Sussex Beacon also houses a day care centre which is available three times a week, containing amenities which are unprecedented to many other parts of the country.
The facilities are partly financed by a large grant from East Sussex Brighton and Hove Health Authority. In fact 60% comes from this source alone. Other contributors include the social services who help the day care centre. But £150,000 a year still has to be raised to break even!
Insight to the Beacon goes factual
The media has dispelled may of societies inhibitions in relation to HIV/AIDS through popular culture such as soaps and main stream cinema. Todd Carty, Alias Mark Fowler in Eastenders and Tom Hanks in the film Philadelphia, both undertook extensive research before performing such roles.
Attitudes continue to change and Michael Ketchum stated he had "encountered very little prejudice" from residents in the surrounding estates. When interviewed last year, he felt the attitudes around Britain had changed: "If we go back ten years or so, the amount of ignorance was outstanding." He continued, "In general terms, our relationships with the neighbourhood are perfectly fine."
There are always the unfortunate few and some ill-advised local children caused a few minor problems and when I recommeded a discusson would be beneficial between the centre and the local Meadowview Community Centre. There are schemes in place where such issues can be taught. When I was at school, a person with the virus came to Falmer to inform students on the facts of HIV and AIDS.
Every 1.4 seconds, somewhere in the world, another person becomes HIV positive. Every 3.5 hours the next person in the U.K will become HIV Positive. So what does the future hold? Michael Ketchum believes the outlook could be promising: "I'd imagine a vaccine may well be developed." This would probably be in the form of prevention, similarly to routine injections during school years. But he did not rule out an overall cure. Perhaps one day, one day, a cure will be found for those who become infected.
By Steve Martin
Aids stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome:
The virus was first identified in Los Angeles in 1981 and the description of the causative virus is Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It destroys a sub group of lymphocytes resulting in the suppression of the bodies immune system.
The Lymphoid organs consist of the thymus and the bone marrow. Immunity is the bodies ability to resist infection. Presence of antibodies and white blood cells.
For the people who do not enter a chronic stage, there may be illness of varying severity, including the persisyent generalized involvement of the lymph nodes - termed as Aids Related Complex (ARC) including
(a) intermittent fever
(b) weight loss
(e) night sweats
FACT: Aids is essentially a sexually transmitted disease, eith homosexual or hetrosexually.
FACT: Aids can spread via infected blood or blood products - transfusion, for example.
FACT: Virus may be transmitted from an infected mother to child in the uterus or breast milk.
FACT: Bodily fluids can pass the virus from one person to another.
FACT: A hug, handshake, a kiss, a conversation and the sharing of a glass CANNOT pass the virus from one to another.
Note:- Information taken from various publications including medical dictionary.