If you’re out and about in South or East London and you’ve been approached by a man in a black t-shirt who wants to talk to you about sex, chances are he’s one of the LADS. The LADS team are all health promotion outreach workers employed by Terrence Higgins Trust. Formerly part of the Healthy Gay Living Centre, the team became part of THT when the two organisations merged last year.
Glyn Thomas, Acting Gay Men’s Detatched Manager said: “Our main aim is to reduce the transmission rates of HIV and sexually transmitted infections amongst men having sex with men. Originally establised in 1994, the team works with men in a variety of venues, including clubs, saunas, and bars. We use a variety of methods to get health promotion and HIV prevention information across to men, including a “harm reduction” strategy to address problems and issues men may have around their sexual behaviour, working with them to help them resolve these issues. We do one to one interventions on site or can refer men to other agencies and organisations for more detailed support.”
The team works across a wide area in South and East London, from Kingston to Croydon and Stratford. The LADS work alongside CLASH (part of Camden Primary Care Trust) and GMFA to promote materials produced by these organisations, as well as information and materials from the CHAPS campaigns produced by Terrence Higgins Trust.
Glyn continued: “Recent work includes distributing THT’s Below the Belt booklet with its ‘dicks on sticks’ sweets and the Three little Pricks Hepatitis B campaign which involved us tattooing temporary tattoos on people to promote Hepatitis B vaccinations. Using materials like these makes it easier for us to enter into a dialogue with men, and to get information across to them in an informal but informative way. It’s also a lot of fun!”
Look out for the team at a venue near you!