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December 2016

PrEP set for 2017 UK trial

As reported on the Tagadere website in August, the availability of PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) has always been a contentious issue which inevitably would provoke tired, cliché-ridden opposition.

Righteous moral outrage is vociferously expounded by those who refer to PrEP as ‘Promiscuity Pills’ whilst some believe that the NHS should not fund PrEP.


‘If this drug is ultimately made available on the NHS we think there is a danger it will end up promoting promiscuity and more hedonistic, but risky lifestyles.’

James Mildred

Spokesman, CARE (Christian Action Research & Education)

Elsewhere, the heartstrings of the public consciousness are being tugged by opponents of the PrEP funding as astonishing claims are issued that children with cystic fibrosis will be refused treatment.

Simultaneously, the emotional card is being thrown onto the table with rash statements that people with cancer will also be denied treatment for their condition.

Health officials have stated that the pharmaceutical companies had agreed to cut the drug prices which means that patients mentioned above will not suffer.

In November, a High Court ruling was upheld by the Court of Appeal which stated that NHS England did have power to fund PrEP, even though NHS England believed that the ultimate responsibility lay with local authorities.

Over 10,000 gay men who do not have HIV but are considered to be at high risk of being infected via unprotected sex will be offered Truvada, the ARV (anti-retroviral) drug which studies suggest can significantly prevent transmission of HIV by 90%.  The three year trial which begins in 2017 will incur an estimated cost of up to £10 million.


During the worst period in the history of the NHS during in which it is confronted with wide-ranging issues including funding cuts and management problems, some Patient Care Groups are understandably eager to voice their opposition to PrEP.

‘It worries me to be spending money on this at a time when the NHS is so strapped for cash with so many patients being refused treatment and waiting lists getting longer.’

Joyce Robins

Patient Concern

Similarly, health officials earlier stated that the funding of PrEP trials could result in the denial of treatment for children with cystic fibrosis, for deaf children in need of hearing implants and even amputees requiring prosthetics could be denied treatment.

Estimates suggest that the NHS will save £360,000 in lifetime treatment costs per individual once PrEP has been administered.  Nevertheless, funding has been refused for a trio of treatments which includes a drug for high blood pressure; a drug for kidney transplant complications and relapsed second stem cell transplants for blood cancer patients.

‘ part [the PrEP trial], had been made possible by the willingness of many pharmaceutical and device companies to come forward with lower and more responsible prices’.

Dr. Jonathan Fielden

Deputy National Medical Director

NHS England

NHS England stated that the decision not to fund the transplants was made because they did not show sufficient cost-benefit, yet the drugs will be reconsidered in 2017 and NHS England has also agreed to fund ten new specialist treatments for rare diseases as well as the PrEP HIV prevention programme.  

‘Given we are in the fourth decade of this epidemic there are too many new infections occurring and we need to use all tools available to save lives and money.’


Professor Kevin Fenton

Director of Health and Wellbeing

Public Health England

PrEP works by blocking an enzyme that would otherwise allow the infection to establish in the body and then replicating itself.

‘Whilst infections amongst heterosexual men and women are occurring at a lower rate [than gay men] there are also heterosexuals who are at high risk of HIV acquisition and who could benefit from PrEP.’

Source: National AIDS Trust

Surely investing in PrEP is a step forward on the path to the achievement of the hoped-for AIDS Free Generation.  This progress does not need to be hindered by continuing discrimination towards minorities, alarmist theories and pulpit condemnations which could provoke a return to the peaks when the AIDS pandemic claimed millions of lives globally with terrifying rapidity.

Further reading:

Panti Bliss campaign: Flight HIV 101

Rory O’Neill as his alter ego Panti Bliss presented a new campaign which aims to provide information and helpful advice to people living with HIV.

HIV+ for over two decades, Rory/Panti stated ‘I’ve lived the life I wanted with HIV for over 20 years and do not intend to stop now!’

The new campaign flies out under the title ‘My HIV, My Rules, My Journey’ and is introduced by a parody of aeroplane flight safety video (below) which depicts Panti rousing her fellow passengers to take control of their own journeys living with HIV.

‘Living with HIV used to be a short hop, but with today’s treatments, it’s more likely to be for the long haul…with the medical advancements of recent years, people diagnosed with HIV can expect to live longer than ever could have been imagined a few years ago.


Effective medication reduces the risk of further health implications and minimises the risk of infecting other people with HIV.’

Official press release

As a flip-side, HIV treatments can accelerate the ageing process and also increase the risk of specific conditions such as heart disease, some cancers, osteoporosis as well as liver, kidney and brain disorders.

The new Panti Bliss campaign aims to ensure that people living with HIV are aware of the health implications which they may meet as a result of HIV.

Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation presents honour to Whoopi Goldberg for three decades of AIDS activism

On World AIDS Day the American actress and AIDS activist Whoopi Goldberg was honoured by The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation’s Legacy Award for her 30 years of AIDS activism.

A quartet of Elizabeth Taylor’s grandchildren presented Whoopi with the award and special messages from Elton John, Lionel Richie, and Colin Farrell were delivered via video.

Archive footage shows Ms. Goldberg talking about the impact of AIDS at a time when people were being removed from hospitals due to ignorance and fear of AIDS.

Although there were hundreds of ACTUP AIDS activists at street level forcing the emergency issue of AIDS into the public arena, the high visibility of celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor, Sylvester, Joan Rivers, Liza Minnelli and Whoopi Goldberg were able to utilise their profiles to augment the potency of the message of AIDS being a devastatingly serious fatal disease spreading with rapidity around the world.

November 2016

‘Patient Zero’ not responsible for AIDS pandemic

1Gaetan Dugas portrait.jpg981 has been generally accepted as the year in which AIDS first seeped into public consciousness following increasing yet still fairly modest newspaper reports of a growing number of gay men from New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles who were displaying unusual health symptoms in men of their age.

During investigations into this phenomenon it was noted that the name of one man reoccurred.

 That man was a flight attendant for Air Canada.

 His name was Gaetan Dugas.

For more than three decades, Gaetan Dugas has owned the dubious accolade of being named ‘Patient Zero’ in the AIDS pandemic.

This unfortunate title has been proved to not only be incorrect but also the product of a typographical misreading.

In May 2016 evolutionary biologist Michael Worobey (PhD) led an American team of researchers who studied blood samples taken in 1978 and 1979 during Hepatitis trials which revealed that Mr. Dugas was just one of thousands infected with the virus in the 1970s.

Researchers from the University of Arizona were able to analyse the stored blood samples which showed that some contained HIV.  Development of a new method enabled the reconstruction of the genetic code of HIV in the patients from whom the samples were obtained.

Following the screening of 2,000 samples taken in New York and San Francisco it was then possible for the researchers to obtain eight complete genetic codes of HIV.

These genetic codes then produced the creation of a ‘family tree’ of HIV which led to tracing when it first arrived in the US.

‘The samples contain so much genetic diversity that they could not have originated in the late 1970’s…we can place the most precise dates on the origins of the US epidemic at about 1970 or 1971.’

Dr. Michael Worobey PhD

Evolutionary Biologist

University of Arizona

The research also showed that New York was a pivotal hub for the spread of HIV in the US.

Kinshasha in the Democratic Republic of Congo was viewed as the city which started the AIDS pandemic; spreading from there into the Caribbean and the United States around 1970.

"Just as Kinshasa was a key turning point for the pandemic virus as a whole, New York City looks like a turning point and acts as this hub from which the virus moves to the west coast and eventually to Western Europe, Australia, Japan, South America and all sorts of other places."

Dr. Michael Worobey PhD

Evolutionary Biologist

University of Arizona


Analysis of the genetic code of HIV from Mr. Dugas’s blood revealed that the virus in his blood was not the originator of the American AIDS epidemic.

"Gaetan Dugas is one of the most demonised patients in history and one of a long line of individuals and groups vilified in the belief that they somehow fuelled epidemics with malicious intent."

Dr. Richard McKay

Science Historian

University of Cambridge

As for the moniker ‘Patient Zero’ – that is easily explained.  During the investigation and indexing of the patients, each was assigned a number.  Gaetan Degas was given number 057 yet because he was from New York and not Los Angeles he was given additional code information in the form of the letter O which stood for ‘Outside-of-California’.

Due to misreading, the letter O was soon perceived as a zero, hence the introduction of the name ‘Patient Zero’ and the misconception that Gaetan Dugas was instrumental in the beginning of the American AIDS epidemic.

"This new data helps confirm the picture of HIV's origins in the US….It makes a very interesting point about Patient Zero, who has become a talking point in the origins of AIDS, yet no matter how attractive a narrative it is, it doesn't have any scientific basis and it's really unfortunate that this person was identified."

Prof. Oliver Pybus

University of Oxford

Gaetan Dugas was 31 when he died of AIDS-related infections in 1984.

October 2016

‘A victory for common sense’ as Government U-turns on tests for chronically ill claimants of benefits

Repeated medical assessments for tens of thousands of people who are claiming ESA benefits will no longer be implicated.

Damian Green, Work and Pensions Secretary stated that it was pointless to continually re-test those recipients of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) who have severe long-term health conditions which have no prospect of improving.

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams commented that the decision is ‘a welcome U-turn’ by the Conservative Government. She also stated ‘What about mental health conditions, conditions that are fluctuating, conditions that may not necessarily have a physical manifestation?’

The decision has been welcomed by various charities which provide support to those with severe illnesses including the MS Society whose head Michelle Mitchell described the decision as ‘a victory for common sense’.

Under the direction of George Osborne, the ESA assessments affected thousands of people including people living with HIV.  Tagadere has supported numerous people who have found the whole process of having to be reassessed becoming ‘a nightmare of worry and stress’ as one individual commented.

The introduction of PIP (Personal Independence Plan) has affected many HIV positive people with the medical assessments creating feelings of worthlessness.  ‘The assessor just did not understand about HIV and how it affects my daily life, how my health fluctuates and the associated conditions which I have because I’ve got HIV infection.  I had the feeling that I was being disregarded and the assessor just wanted to get me out of there and get the next one in.  I spoke of my depression, paranoia and anxiety but felt that these were just brushed aside.’

Despite the efficacious advancements of medication, HIV remains a complex condition.  People are living longer which in itself presents myriad problems.  When once HIV rapidly developed into AIDS and was definitely considered what the media termed ‘a death sentence’, the survivors from a generation who once had little hope of longevity in life have become test pilots in the creation of a medical and social structure for living with HIV and the subsequent physical and mental health effects of living with a life-long regime of adhering to antiretroviral medication.

Many of the people who approached Tagadere for peer support during the ESA reassessment process and also during the course of the PIP assessment reported that they individually believed that many of the interviewers on the assessment panels held very little consideration and understanding of the multiple components of living with HIV.

A formal introduction of the new measure is to be unveiled at the four-day Conservative Party Conference which begins on Sunday October 2 in Birmingham.

September 2016

Children with ‘monkey-like’ immune system

A study which has been reported in Science Translational Medicine has suggested that a tenth of children have a ‘monkey-like’ immune system which prevents them from developing AIDS.   The study found that the children’s immune systems were ‘keeping calm’ and averts (new word) them from being wiped out.

It is thought that the discoveries could lead to new immune-based therapies for HIV infection which, if untreated, can lead to AIDS.  The blood analysis of 170 South African children who were living with HIV and had never had antiretroviral therapy (ARV’s)  yet had not gone on to develop AIDS.

The tests revealed that they had tens of thousands of the human immunodeficiency virus in every millilitre of blood; a quantity which would usually force their immune system into an energetic attempt to fight and combat the infection or at least it would make them seriously ill. Neither of these outcomes has happened.

HIV infection, if untreated will kill 60% of children within two and a half years; however the equivalent infection in monkeys is not fatal.

‘We may be identifying an entirely new pathway by studying kids that in the longer term could be translated to new treatments for all HIV infected people.’

Professor Philip Goulder, University of Oxford

One of the researchers from the University of Oxford, Professor Philip Goulder stated to the BBC ‘Essentially, their immune system is ignoring the virus as far as possible….Waging the war against the virus is in most cases the wrong thing to do…One of the things that comes out of this study is that HIV disease is not so much to do with HIV, but with the immune response to it.’

It appears that by not attacking the virus, the immune system seems to be saved by not coming under attack.

Scientists feel that there are striking similarities between the way 10% of the children coped with HIV and the manner in which more than 40 non-human primate species cope with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) having evolved ways of tackling the infection over hundreds of thousands of years.

Professor Goulder stated that ‘Natural selection has worked in these cases and the mechanism is very similar to the one in these kids that don’t progress.’

According to Dr Ann Chahroudi and Dr Guido Silvestri, from America’s Emory University said the study may have identified the ‘very earliest signs of coevolution of HIV in humans’, adding ‘It is not known whether it would be clinically safe for these newly identified HIV infected paediatric non-progressors to remain off-therapy…This assessment is further complicated by the fact that prevention of HIV transmission to sexual partners becomes relevant in adolescence.’

Professor Goulder believes these latest findings in children could eventually help to rebalance the immune system in all HIV patients, stating ‘We may be identifying an entirely new pathway by studying kids that in the longer term could be translated to new treatments for all HIV infected people.’

August 2016

High Court PrEP funding decision

The issues surrounding the advancement and introduction of PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) have a contentious history as an HIV prevention tactic which uses antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) to prevent HIV infection.

Research suggests that as long as a strict regime of adherence to taking the medication, PrEP is effectual in preventing HIV infection via sexual transmission. Using Prep has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection by 86%.

The High Court informed the NHS in England that PrEP can be funded, despite contrary beliefs from health bosses that the treatment was not the responsibility of NHS England who stated that councils should provide the drug as they are in charge of preventative health.  This stance was successfully challenged by the National AIDS Trust (NAT).

However, the High Court ruling does not mean automatic funding of PrEP.  NHS England announced that they will appeal against the decision and so far the NHS in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are yet to make a decision on Prep.

We would be very interested to know of your opinions on PrEP; please write via  We will include feedback on the Tagadere website.

Nottingham Trent University needs participants for new health and HIV research project

Nottingham Trent University is researching what issues and difficulties are faced by carers of people with health problems, disabilities, illness and drug dependence.

Of interest are views from those who are carers of people living with HIV.

The outcome of the research will help Nottinghamshire County Council and its partners to plan future services to ensure carers of vulnerable people are provided with the right support. Participants would be asked to take part in an interview which would last around an hour and will be conducted at a convenient time and place for them.

The interviewers are University students who will adhere strictly to the principles of confidentiality and safety.

Interviews will only be conducted following the consent of the interviewees.

If you feel that you are able to assist with this research, please contact:

Ms Catherine Goodall or Dr Chak-Kwan Chan

School of Social Sciences

Nottingham Trent University


Alternatively please telephone 0115 848 5594 / 0115 848 4617

July 2016

Salad alert from Public Health England

As people living with HIV have compromised immune systems, it is important to note that Public Health England have issued a reminder to thoroughly wash mixed salad leaves following an outbreak of E.coli which has killed two people and infected over 150 across the UK with most of the outbreaks occurring in the south west region of England.

PHE are still working on establishing the exact cause of the outbreak of the infection which can cause bloody diarrhoea and abdominal pains.  Symptoms are usually noticed three or four days after the infection has occurred and symptoms can start any time between 1 and 14 days afterwards, lasting for a period of up to two weeks.

Many of those affected by the E. coli O157 bug had eaten pre-packed salad.  Some people will experience no symptoms yet others can develop serious medical complications which will need attention.

Dr Isobel Oliver from PHE, said: "All food sample results to date have been negative for E. coli O157 - but it's important to be aware that where food has been contaminated with E. coli O157, it is not always possible to identify the bacteria on food testing. As an additional precautionary measure, we have advised a small number of wholesalers to cease adding some imported rocket leaves to their mixed salad products pending further investigations."

A precaution to help protect against possible infection is to thoroughly wash hands before eating and handling food and also thoroughly washing vegetables and salads that are being prepared to eat.

E. coli O157 is found in the gut and faeces of many animals, particularly cattle, and can contaminate food and water.

Outbreaks of O157 are rare compared with other food-borne diseases but living with HIV it is always best to be extra careful and to adopt the simple precautionary measures as outlined above.

A great loss to Birmingham’s HIV community as ABPlus closes after 21 years

Many thanks to Robert from Baseline for the statement below:

‘ABPlus, the peer support group for people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS in Birmingham will close on 22 July 2016 after serving the HIV community for 21 years.

The group has consistently provided a safe space for people living with HIV to meet, share experiences and make friends. Its twice-weekly food bank and meal service has been a lifeline to many people living with HIV in the city.  

With over 400 service users, the service costs just £2 per person per day for clients to attend drop in and access a range of support staff as well as meet their peers.  

The trustees said they would like to THANK EVERYONE who has supported and helped ABplus throughout the years.  Friday 8 July will be the last drop-in and will be a celebration for the work they have achieved during the last 21 years. 

The Terrence Higgins Trust ceased operations in the city on 30 June 2016. 

The new HIV contract has been awarded to Swanswell, a drugs and alcohol agency who visit people in their homes on a one-to-one basis. As of 28 June it remains unclear how the organization proposes to organise its HIV activity; the contract goes live on 1 July.’

THT leave Birmingham

As mentioned above, the Terrence Higgins Trust ceased to exist in Birmingham on 30 June; a move described by one THT service user as ‘abandoning Birmingham’.

June 2016

Tagadere almost appears on Countdown!

Back in 2014 when two Tagadere members were interviewed by journalism student Alex Copley from Nottingham Trent University there was a remark that the word Tagadere had not yet cropped up on the popular television show Countdown.

Recently it nearly did!

As Tagadere is a little-known old English word, had it appeared then maybe the contestants would have found themselves placed in a real Countdown Conundrum.

The Tagadere Graphics Fairy has waved a wand to create what could have been.

Imagine Susie Dent explaining to Countdown host Nick Hewer!  ‘Well, Nick, this is an impressive mouthful because Tagadere is an old English word which means ‘together’ and is the name of Nottingham’s only independent, completely volunteer run, user-led peer support group for people living with HIV.’

May 2016

Celebrating eight years!

Tagadere celebrated eight years as a Registered Charity with another beautiful Jamaican lunch home cooked by one of the Tagadere family and her stalwart kitchen sidekick.

Amongst the Caribbean delights were salfish and ackee, rice and peas and of course, Jamaican dumplings.  This fabulous feast was highly complemented by all and as usual, the praise was met with the now traditional response ‘Well you’d better enjoy it because I’m not making it again!’

We’ve lost count of the times we’ve heard that same line over the years.

We welcomed a visitor; a Junior Doctor who is planning to specialise in HIV travelled to visit Tagadere with the belief that we would be the best place to get information on living with HIV.

There was also a pleasant surprise when the now-retired HIV Specialist Dietician called in to say hello before she whizzed off in her trademark energetic style.


Also we welcomed a member of the University of Nottingham Students’ Union who, after enjoying lunch, left carrying a supply of red fabric HIV/AIDS ribbons and a hefty batch of Tagadere information leaflets, all destined for the goodie bags which were being distributed by Easy Tiger, the Safe Sex group at the University whose productions of ‘Shopping & F***ing’ were being performed that week. (See the April feature below on this production.)

Easy Tiger created an encouraging way in which to raise awareness and inform the wider public of the voluntary support which Tagadere continues to provide to Nottingham's HIV population.

Thank you to the legions of genuine people who continue to recognise the extreme value of Nottingham having an independent, volunteer-run HIV group whose only intentions are to provide beneficial peer support for our HIV population.

Our history of support which dates back almost two decades can be enjoyed in our Tagadere History section and if you fancy a good read, our Positively Speaking section provides many testimonials.

April 2016

University of Nottingham Students’ Union & Easy Tiger Safe Sex group support Tagadere once more

TSandF poster.jpghe Students’ Union at the University of Nottingham present and perform Mark Ravenhill’s controversial play ‘Shopping & F***ing’ from Wednesday 27 April until Saturday 30 April at Nottingham New Theatre, Cherry Tree Hill, University Park, NG7 2RD.

An exponent of Nineties ‘in-yer-face theatre’, the play opened in London at the Royal Court Theatre in 1996 and has been described as ‘a witty and shocking look at a corrosive disposable world and a numb, desperate generation….with a raw mixture of black humour and bleak philosophy, the play shows the lives of disconnected youth reduced to transactions by a dysfunctional consumerist society.’

(Thanks to the SU for the use of the above poster!)

The early 1980’s saw the first reports of AIDS; the decade which also witnessed the crippling, negative effects of Section 28.  Implemented by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government in 1988, this legislation meant that a generation of younger people had severely restricted access to sex education information.  More about that can be read on our page ‘Not in front of the children’.

Easy Tiger, the Students’ Union Safe Sex campaign team will be distributing goodie bags which will include red fabric HIV/AIDS ribbons provided by Tagadere and also a Tagadere information profile.

Doors open at 7pm, the performance begins at 7.30.

There is also a matinee on Saturday at 2.30.

Tickets cost £4 for members and £5 for non-members.


Were you aged 50 or above when you received your HIV diagnosis?  A new study needs you!

A qualitative interview study at the University of York is being conducted to explore the experience of receiving a positive HIV diagnosis at age 50+ years.

The study is looking at:

• How participants reach the point of being tested for HIV.

• Participant experiences of health services prior to, and at the time of, testing positive for HIV.

• What participants think about HIV services (including those provided by charities), and what they expect from these services.

• The impact of age on the experience of receiving a positive HIV diagnosis.

• Participant knowledge and awareness of HIV/AIDS prior to diagnosis.

To view the information poster click here

If you feel that you are able to contribute to the study or would like more information, please contact:

Sadie Bell (Health Sciences PhD Student, University of York)

Telephone:  07484 118974 & e-mail:

March 2016

Shiny happy people

We had a typically fabulous Tagadere Wednesday Club on 23rd March; we welcomed new faces who discovered for themselves the unconditional peer support which we are known for providing.

To receive e-mails of thanks never loses the thrill. Knowing that positive people are able to relax, be open and talk freely from the first minute of their debut visit to Tagadere shows that we continue to be a valid, valuable local resource for Nottingham.

Exciting plans for the future were formulated as we dined upon a wide variety of international dishes from diverse culinary locations.  As always, there was plenty for everyone to take home to enjoy later.

February 2016

The University of Nottingham Students’ Union support Tagadere by fundraising and promoting HIV awareness

Macoustic night  6.jpgembers of the Students’ Union at the University of Nottingham are holding Tagadere fundraising and awareness-raising events as part of their Sexual Health Awareness Week.

Beginning on 8th February there will be assorted events including sexual health screening.

A fabulous cake sale will be held on Thursday 11 February in the Portland Building.  The cake-laden table can’t be missed as it will be positioned outside the NatWest facility.

The amazing cake-fest will be followed by Acoustic Evening on Friday 12th February which begins at 7pm and also takes place in the Mooch Bar.

Tagadere would like to thank Welfare & Equal Opportunities Officer Sarah Pickup and Health Promotion Worker Denise Eaves for thinking of us.

Looking back at Margaret Thatcher’s head in the sand attitude to AIDS information

IThatcher AIDS IGNORANCE 1XX.jpgn 2016 it is still alarming yet equally unsurprising to learn that in the middle of the 1980’s the Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher attempted to block public health warnings about AIDS as she considered them to be in ‘bad taste’.

Government files have recently been declassified after the requisite 30 year period of confidentiality and are now accessible.

Click to read further: Not in front of the children

Positively Different research project update

If you are aged 18 -35, living in the UK and received your HIV+ diagnosis in the past five years, your experiences and opinions would be welcomed for the Positively Different research project based at the University of Hull.

In our October 2015 news section we featured the above project.  The researchers have written once more to Tagadere to explain that they would also welcome the opportunity to interview people for the project as for some people, this may be a more preferable way in contributing to the research.

Further information is available by clicking here

January 2016

Tagadere’s unconditional friendship and support

Our first Tagadere get together of 2016 was a welcome break from the post-Christmas and New Year blues.  After a holiday hiatus we met, eager to share our news and catch up with what we’ve all been up to since the Fabulous Tagadere Christmas Buffet in December 2015.

Many close friendships and connections have been cemented through Tagadere over the years, which meant that although we weren’t meeting en masse, during the break there had been dates made for lunch, cinema visits and other recreational activities.

Nevertheless, it was great be as one once more, sharing a meal of assorted Indian, Greek and Chinese dishes for lunch.  As always, the food were plentiful which meant that Tagadere Friends were able to leave with delicious food secure in Tupperware containers to enjoy at home.

Our next Tagadere Wednesday Club will be on 24 February.

If you change nothing, nothing will change

FTagadere lilac colour jpeg.jpgor almost two decades Tagadere has been known in Nottingham’s HIV community as ‘the drop-in’.  As we evolved we decided that particular moniker would be better attributed to the no appointment needed access to the professional support workers whom we invite in each week.

However, in recent years the support needs within the local and global HIV community have changed. We fully understand that we have to adapt and subsequently restructure Tagadere to address those evolving requirements as an ever growing amount of people living with HIV become more self-empowered and less dependent on support groups.

Tagadere’s busy telephone and online support illustrates the changing trends in HIV social support; maybe technological interaction is more relevant in the twenty-first century than traditional activities such as meeting in person.

An interesting observation of our discreet monitoring shows that the percentage of younger (18–30) recently diagnosed people who contact Tagadere are very factual about their requirements.  Group support meetings do not feature as a necessity for them as they may have done in the early days of the AIDS pandemic and even 20, 15 or 10 years ago before the avalanche of social media interaction (and some of the social isolation) which accompanies the technological advancements.

With these factors in mind we realise that the longevity of Tagadere holding an independent, empowering peer support gathering remains vital for Nottingham’s HIV community as we believe that meeting socially is still an important option to offer Nottingham’s HIV populace.

Therefore, after considerable discussion during 2015 we have adapted to meet the changing support criteria of people living with HIV and from January 2016 we will meet on the last Wednesday of each month instead of our weekly meetings.

Professional support workers from Places for People will continue to attend the new monthly meetings.

It is important to reiterate that Tagadere is a completely volunteer-run independent group which is not controlled by local authorities or any professional bodies.  The decisions are made by local HIV positive people who value the service which Tagadere continues to provide.

Our first gathering of 2016 will be on Wednesday 27 January which is when we look forward to seeing familiar faces and welcoming new friends.

DWP Health & Disability assessments soaring costs

A study made by the National Audit Office (NAO) has revealed that the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) will be paying over £1.6 billion during the next three years to private contractors who have been employed to operate the controversial Health & Disability Assessments.

Additionally, the Government’s financial watchdog predicts that as a result of the new tests, savings in benefits payments will be less than a billion pounds by 2020.

The NAO also reports that:

Following Atos pulling out of the contract to run the tests last year, the cost of carrying out each ESA test rose from £115 to £190

Before they are assessed, benefits claimants will wait for more than six months before they are assessed without entitlement to full payments.

Spelling errors and unintelligible acronyms were included in reports of errors made by the companies carrying out the tests; therefore failing to meet the Government’s own quality assessment threshold.

Completely unrealistic targets were set by ministers for the number of ESA assessments which could be conducted each year.

These were factors which resulted in a backlog of at least 280.000 new claims as ministers were forced to suspend plans for periodic reassessments of people already claiming the benefit.

Amyas Morse, head of NAO stated ‘The Department is paying more for assessments, but providers are still not meeting expected performance levels’.

Average staff costs rose from £28,000 in 2014 to £44,000 in 2015 and despite a target of 95%, only half of all of the doctors and nurses who were hired to perform the assessments had completed their training.

During summer, the company was carrying out an insufficient 37,000 face to face assessments per month against a target of 57,000.  10,000 less paper assessments were carried out than had been promised to the Government.

“Too many disabled people have been badly let down by these assessments and this research shows that it’s not only been costly for those who’ve been mistreated, but all taxpayers.”

Debbie Abrahams: Labour Shadow Minister for disabled people

“It’s yet another example of incompetence from the DWP and a thorough overhaul of the systems is desperately needed.  The department needs to do more to ensure private providers deliver a better deal for sick and disabled people as assessments have a huge impact on their ability to access vital cash to live with dignity.”

Meg Hillier: Chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee

Taxpayers are expected to pay the bill of the annual cost of assessments which is now expected to rise to an astonishing £579 million for the 2016-17 period.

Significant problems were found with Maxiumus, the American outsourcing company which took over the contract from Atos to perform ESA assessments and it is likely that due to the NAO report, Iain Duncan Smith and senior DWP officials are to be called to explain the failure to the Commons Public Accounts Committee.

Notts. LGBT Switchboard to receive Rainbow Award

The ninth annual Nottinghamshire Rainbow Heritage Celebration & Awards Evening will be held on Tuesday 23 February in the ballroom at Nottingham Council House. Notts. Lesbian & Gay Switchboard is one of a trio of award recipients who will deservedly take their turn on the stage beneath the spotlight.

There is no admission and the evening will feature a free buffet.  As the ballroom has a limited capacity of 150, an early arrival would be beneficial to ensure admission.

Tagadere would like to congratulate Notts. Lesbian & Gay Switchboard for the constant support and advice which has been provided to callers for over 40 years.

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Positively Different Research Project

Experiences of diagnosis and living with HIV

Are you:

HIV+ and received your diagnosis in the last 5 years

Aged 18-35

Living in the UK (in any part of England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland)?

If so, we would like to invite you to take part in the Positively Different Research Project. This research will explore what it is like for young people to receive an HIV diagnosis and live with HIV. The research will help us to better understand the challenges and difficulties people experience now, as well as the things that help and support them – these may be different to the experiences of people who have lived with HIV for a long time. Information from the research will be used to help people to understand more about the experiences of young people who are living with HIV.

You can take part in the research by completing a confidential online questionnaire, available at This includes questions about receiving an HIV diagnosis; how HIV affects your life; the support you have received; and other issues - you are welcome to answer all or just some of these questions. If you prefer, you can be interviewed by a researcher about your experiences. You can find out more about the research, and complete the questionnaire by visiting the Positively Different website. If you wish to contact the researchers or arrange an interview please do get in touch by email (see below).

The research is being carried out by Liz Walker ( and Caroline White ( at the University of Hull. They welcome the involvement of all members of the community, and are interested in hearing about people’s experiences, both positive and negative.

Please note that there will no longer be any

Tagadere Wednesday Club

or social meetings until further notice.

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