This week SH:24 talks to Shaveve Sharpe, who recently celebrated her first year with SH:24 as a member of our kit distribution team.
Shaveve, how did you first get involved with SH:24?
I was working for an online dating agency when I saw the advert calling out for kit distributors, and thought I’d try something different. Although I’ve got qualifications in child care and in business, I’ve also worked in an estate agents (never again!), as a bar manager, in an adventure playground and as a receptionist (which weirdly involved a lot of map work and looking at building plans). SH:24 seemed like a good match; I believe in regular testing and taking responsibility for your own health. Although after my last job with the dating agency, some of my friends are convinced I am now only interested in jobs that involve sex! But this is just the way things worked out.
Can you tell us a little about what your job involves?
We identify new service user requests on the system, and put together the test kit envelopes that SH:24 sends to homes or clinics (if that’s where people want to collect from). Sometimes service users might have extra requests, or clinics might need additional supplies that we would put together for them. One of the things I like about my job is that there is always something different and new to do, which keeps you on your toes. I enjoy doing community work for SH:24 as I’m a people person and love answering questions about sexual health. I have learnt so much, particularly about HIV in this job. I’m actually about to do further training to build my knowledge so that I can provide more support to users.
You’re a local resident as well aren’t you?
Yes, I’m a born and bred South Londoner, bringing up my two kids in Lambeth. Whenever I’m at the doctors (you spend your life in there as parent) and they ask where I work, they always know who SH:24 are. I like that feeling, seeing our posters up in the area, the work we’re doing.
Are you trying to get a pay rise from us Shaveve?
[laughs] No, I’m just passionate about sexual health. I live in an area with one of the highest rates of sexually transmitted infections in the UK, and I think it’s important people have access to information and testing, especially young people who are starting out and exploring who they are.
Do you have any advice you’d like to give to our under 25 year old readers?
Don’t wait for symptoms to get a check up, as some infections don’t have obvious symptoms. Oh, and getting tested really isn’t a big deal. It’s part of life if you’re sexually active and not something you should be embarrassed about at any age, whether you’re under 25 or over 85.