After Completing his Humanities Degree, where part of his dissertation looked at how past government policy including section 28 and HIV impacted on the sex lives of young gay men in the UK, Ross took on the roll of External Health Promoter and Community Fundraiser at, THT Brighton.
The main roll Ross and his team, including their dedicated group of volunteers, is to visit a wide range of places, allowing a broader variety of people to gain access to safer sex information and advice, condoms and lube.
Ross works closely with the sexual health screening centres including the Claude Nichole and the Lawson Unit. By doing so, he is able to stay constantly updated on the latest health issues and treatments that he and his team in turn can pass on to the public. These included the recent rise of Chlamydia among gay men and the promotion of PEP.
The team promote a range of outreach work, in a wide variety of settings. These included visiting the gay bars and clubs on a regular bases. Tuesday nights sees the team taking their health promotional van out on the streets. The outreach team also joins forces with the Red Cross’ soup kitchen every Tuesday at the Peace Statue, by Hove Lawns. Between 8pm – 9pm, the health promotions van offers those who are homeless an opportunity to access our servicers.
The van also visits Dukes Mound most Tuesday, 9pm -10pm, as well as at the weekends; either on a Fri/Sat or Sat/Sun 10.30pm until 12,20am, providing condoms, lube and advice on safer sex issues.
As part of their drive to promote safer sex, the team leaves boxes of condoms, lube and safer sex information nightly at Dukes Mound as well as some of more remote cruising grounds around East and West Sussex.
The outreach team also works closely with the Brighton sauna‘s. They visit the venues over the weekends, where health promotional literature, condoms and lube are supplied.
During these visits, particularly the saunas, I’ll sit down with the staff and go through any new project as well as informing them about new outbreaks of STI’s that may occur.” Ross Boseley
The Gaydar chat rooms are another source the team use to promote safer sex. The team mainly promote the service on Gaydar most Thursday evenings 7pm – 10pm and Saturday afternoons between 1pm – 4pm. For many people this is an important service. It allows them to stay anonymous and perhaps be more open about their concerns around the type of sex they have.
Positive Voices is a group of HIV positive volunteers of visit schools and community centres. As part of the visit, the volunteers talk about their experiences of living with HIV, promoting awareness and challenging the stigma attached to those living with the virus.
A lot of young women are aware of STI’s like Chlamydia, but do not consider themselves at risk from HIV. For many young heterosexuals, they still believe that HIV is something that only happens to gay men. So not only is his role to promote the need for safer sex, but to also break past the stigma that still surrounds HIV today. Ross Boseley
THT is always keen to hear from anyone who would like to volunteer their services. If you would like to know more about becoming a volunteer for THT please call their 01273 764200 for further details.
All comments welcome.