Singer/songwriter Annie Lennox OBE was guest of honour at the opening of our new centre for the treatment and support of people with HIV at Homerton Hospital this week (Tuesday October 1st).
The Clifden Centre/Jonathan Mann Clinic provide superb facilities in a modern and relaxing setting, delivering treatment, advice, prevention and support for sexual and reproductive health and HIV.
The Centre is the culmination of the “Positive Lives” initiative which, over a number of years, has been supported by many generous donors, by the local community and by the NHS. Over £2m has been raised to fund the extensive refurbishment and the provision of the new Jonathan Mann Clinic.
Professor Jane Anderson from the Centre said:
“We are delighted that Annie came to see for herself the ground breaking work we are doing in the care and support of people with HIV.
The number of people with HIV who use our hospital has doubled in the past 10 years and the new Centre will enable our multidisciplinary team to deliver holistic care and support, which will address both people’s clinical requirements as well as wider emotional, social and practical needs.
We work closely with a range of agencies and our local authority colleagues to provide a network of advice and support to our communities, covering a full range of sexual health and family planning services as well as services for HIV.
Prevention and health promotion are key components of our work. Our contraception services have been instrumental in reducing the teenage pregnancy rates for Hackney and the City over the past three years.”
Ms Lennox, who is HIV Ambassador for the Mayor of London, toured the Centre which she described as a “beautiful space”, and spent time talking to staff and patients.
She said: “As a passionate activist, and as the Mayor of London’s HIV Ambassador, I have been touched by the countless stories of men, women and children who have been affected by HIV. For many people, these are no longer stories of despair, but are stories of hope. Advances in treatment mean that HIV is no longer a death sentence.
People on effective treatment are living healthy, fulfilling and long lives. This new clinic at Homerton is a fantastic facility that will help more people get the world-class treatment that they need.”
The guests, who included the Mayor of Hackney and local MP Diane Abbott, also heard from a patient of the Centre who praised the new development, describing her own experiences of the care received whilst dealing with HIV.
Ms Lennox formally declared the Centre open by cutting a red ribbon.