RaTrust delivers comprehensive education and equal access to information on HIV and STIs

ratrust.org.ukSexually transmitted diseases and infections are passed from one person to another, usually through sexual contact. They may be caused by bacteria, parasites, yeast, and viruses. Recent UK statistics about sexually transmitted infections note a 4% decrease with a total number of 417,584 diagnoses. In 2016, the most common STIs were chlamydia, genital warts, and gonorrhoea. On the other hand, HIV/AIDS affects tens of millions of people worldwide and each year sees the increase in the number of HIV-positive diagnoses. Currently there are approximately 134,000 HIV-positive people in the UK alone. Due to that, a need arose for healthier and more effective medicines for HIV. Consequently, drug companies worldwide are doing their best to come up with new ways of treating the disease. In 2017, almost 30 years after the approval of the first-ever AIDS treatment, HIV/AIDS medicine saw promising developments of drug cocktails and experimental vaccines. Thanks to recent medical improvements, life expectancy of HIV-positive people has risen significantly. According to NHS, it is calculated to reach the ages between 67 and 80, depending on the start date of the treatment. Nevertheless, there still is an overwhelming amount of stigma and discrimination against sexually transmitted diseases and carriers, which can take up multiple forms, such as marginalisation, harassment, violence and poverty. Approximately one in eight people living with HIV has been denied adequate health services. The negativity often stems from the lack of knowledge and perpetuated misconceptions, as for the last years HIV has been straightforwardly associated with death. Luckily, new charitable organisations emerge to end the stigma about STIs once and for all through education, workshops and various types of personal counselling.

RaTrust is a UK charity which believes that the spread of HIV and STIs could be minimised and eventually stopped with the use of the right tools. The organisation was set up by Dominika Rejmer to commemorate a close friend who contracted HIV through sex work. The importance of regular testing, especially after high-risk sexual encounters, cannot be overstated. Everyone who is sexually active can contract sexually transmitted infections. The risks are higher if you work in sex trade, have unprotected sex or have had a number of sexual partners. Through raTrust everyone can order a self-collection kit for detecting sexually transmitted infections and HIV. The results of the tests are delivered discretely and confidentially, through a secure platform and via ordinary mail to the address of choice.

RaTrust together with its volunteers works with individuals who are most at risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections. They deliver contraception and offer face-to-face consultations related to safe sex practices in a respectful and judgement-free environment. On the top of that, this charity continuously raises public awareness via Internet campaigns, printed media advertising, extensive social media operations and engaged promotion of sexual health. Driven and motivated by its director, raTrust staff currently helps approximately 120,000 sex workers across the United Kingdom. Volunteers deliver condoms, assist with objective and confidential advice about everything from health, through protection of basic human rights, to free HIV testing.