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New figures show record number of HIV diagnosis among gay and bisexual men

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  1. Isn’t this getting extremely predictable and tiring? In light of the horrendous new HIV figures, THT announces, “We’ve just launched a major new awareness campaign for gay men…” Yawn, head it all before. THT, you’ve had 26 BLOODY YEARS to get your message across, and look where your efforts have got us!!!
    The only thing more predictable than this disastrous news is that you will have legions of misguided followers shaking collection tins in people’s faces at the entrances to gay clubs and pubs come December 1st, begging for our money in order for you to continue to be financially rewarded for your failures. It just remains to be seen whether THT will stoop so low as its sister organization, GMFA, which is teaming up with the latest sleazy addition to the underground sex world – ‘Club Filth’ – to solicit public funds. The HIV sector has put as much effort into sleazing and filthing up gay men’s attitudes towards sex as they have in advising condom use. I thought GMFA couldn’t stoop any lower than THT’s Hardcell.org.uk, with its glamorization of a welter of piggy indulgences from scat and felching (sucking cum out of someone’s arse) to ‘saline’ and mummification. But then, it was just a couple of years ago that GMFA had volunteers with collection buckets loitering next to the entrance to the dark room at Central Station… With such sex-on-premises venues recently endorsed by the THT Play Zone code, they are the LAST PEOPLE Pink Paper should be approaching for a quote on the latest batch of appalling HIV figures when they are clearly a symptom of the escalating HIV transmission rates among gay men!
    No amount of excuses in defense of ‘gay men’s health charity’ GMFA’s grubby choice of venues from which to solicit funds can detract from the fact that such environments are unhealthy by any definition of the word, and provide fertile environment for the transmission of all manner of diseases and life-endangering pathogens. No doubt GMFA will counter with a response typical of PC extremists; namely, that we shouldn’t judge others for the sort of sex we/they choose. That is not the point, and yes, we should be free to express our freedom to choose what sex we have. However, it is the choices that these organizations themselves make, and the dubious agendas and policies under which they operate – as largely dictated by central government – that time and again set such appalling examples and standards.
    Take their ardent support of ‘filth’ clubs, for want of a better description. Both THT and GMFA have been more vocal than most in recent years in defending the right for such establishments to exist. But what is empowering about visiting such places in which the prime motive for many is to abuse themselves and those they meet, both sexually and emotionally? Yet THT and GMFA – which should instead be pioneering empowering solutions to safeguard gay men’s health – relentlessly give them their stamp of approval, effectively encouraging naive and gullible 20-somethings in the pages of gutter club mags to “come on in, it’s fun in here!”
    THT’s Play Zone code has sought to legitimise and mainstream unhealthy “underground” clubs to thousands of gay youngsters aided and abetted by the unthinking editors of mags like QX and Boyz, in which the insidiously sleazy Play Zone scheme, along with many others, has been heavily pushed and touted, putting their ad revenue profits way above the interests of their readers’ sexual health. OX/Boyz too, therefore, share the blame for filthing up and dumbing down the image of London’s gays and painting us all as sleazy, sex obsessed predators.
    Let’s admit it, gay men’s sexual health in the UK has been run into the ground. At the root of the problem is the sector’s unflinching allegiance to the cult of political correctness. Anyone who pursues a role in gay men’s health today has to display a willingness to be indoctrinated with such principles, which are proven time and again to be at the heart of social breakdown and decay in the UK today, in every area of life from education to the NHS to the law and order. The recent Baby P case is a stark example of how lives are destroyed by self-righteous, box ticking zombies who refuse to admit their mistakes, least of all know how to say sorry, and who have zero empathy or grasp of how to treat the roots of problems that, inevitably, are allowed to continue to fester regardless, viz a vis the inevitably disastrous annual HIV figures. It needn’t be like this if gay men everywhere took a moment to stop scouring Gaydar, Manhunt et al, woke up and saw clearly how the AIDS charities’ pernicious PC approach – at least where HIV is concerned – has similarly disempowered gay men and made victims, if not fools, of us all, and had the balls to collectively say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH??!! This would mean that the next time you read or hear a smug, sanctimonious spin doctor from GMFA or THT play the judgment card against anyone who suggests we should start getting tough with HIV – and who continue to insist that ALL HIVers are victims to be pitied and molly-coddled at the expense of empowering non-HIVers to respect their health and the health of others – to instead retaliate by pointing out that most gay men with HIV today actually KNEW the risks they were taking when they acquired the virus, and nevertheless made the decision to take those risks. And what’s more, isn’t it about bloody time that they took responsibility for their reckless choices instead of remaining as hapless victims, and stepped boldly forward as examples of the mistakes they made around unsafe sex in order to deter others from following them down the same path?
    It is an empowering lead we need to get us out of this mess, not the continuation of the same PC procedures and policies that will only maintain us in the mess our sexual health as a community is in. THT and GMFA’s misguided approach will only continue to make victims of us all. Yet the irony is that we continue to throw money at them, effectively rewarding them for their abject failures, so the buck HAS to stop with us. Unless we wake up to NOW, then we are complicit in how we have allowed a deadly disease to run rampant around us, and have aided and abetted ‘charities’ that have long put HIV management and profitable HIV services above the need for effective HIV prevention, which can be simply achieved by empowering gay men to respect their sexual health and the health of those they partner with.
    For how many more World AIDS days to come will we be tokenly tossing our hard-earned money into their collection tins before we wake up and realise that in dong so we are a part of the problem as it exists today instead of being a part of the solution for a better tomorrow?

  2. There are some hard words….and perhaps diffucult truths in some of what Rob says….. a pause for thought …and better solutions…thanks for having th guts to say ot so out, loud an proud.

  3. @Rob. Now that you have told us all exactly why things haven’t worked out, and why the issue of HIV is still a growing issue among gay men, do you have any suggestions on what we (as a population) could do to solve this issue? Or are your skills for writing extremely long comments limited only to criticism? I hope very much that you have nothing to do with the treatment for people with HIV, because it sounds from your comment like you believe they might deserve no help since they only have themselves to blame for the situation they got them selves in?.

    I don’t think anybody is going to disagree with you regarding whatever is going on now to tackle this situation isn’t working, but I am not sure pointing fingers at people who have HIV will achieve anything other than increase the amount of guilt and depression these people feel. Non HIVers, as you call them, can still protect their health by practicing safe sex, and this is the message people need to start to actually listen to. The question is how can we actually get this message into the minds of gay men around the UK and world.

  4. The problem with HIV in my opinion is a big part due to stigma. Gay men do not want to talk about it. Many people don’t really even understand what it is. Especially with younger gay men, who grew up after the shock-tactic adverts in the 1980s and during the period of relaxation in attitude towards condom use spurred on by a myth that HAART had turned HIV from a ‘death sentence’ to a ‘life-livable condition’ and the recent explosion in bareback porn which perpetuates the myth that unsafe sex is OK.

    The massive lack of education at the right time to gay men has created this hideous mess we now find ourselves in. In the 1980s there was an excuse, HIV and AIDS were new and we may not have known how to deal with it. Now we have no excuse and gay men need to wake up and be forced to learn and talk about HIV. The first step is for governments to ban bareback pornography and makes it as illegal to own as child pornography, and charities to continue to force themselves into gay bars and clubs and onto websites like gaydar and make it quite clear that safe sex is the ONLY option.

  5. Rob, your comments on people living with HIV are utterly deplorable, not to mention totally misguided. While men who have sex with multiple partners remain most at risk of HIV – which would be why organisations such as THT and GMFH target casual sex environments – there is a growing trend for men who are in relationships contracting HIV, either as a result of a partner not being tested before stopping the use of condoms or from a partner having cheating on the person. It’s not exactly rocket science that people in a monogamous relationship are likely to become more lax about practicing safe sex they longer they are together, so really there needs to be a targeted awareness project making couples aware of the need to get tested before considering having unprotected sex together.

    Yes, there needs to be a change in culture – but stigmatising gay men with HIV is not going to acheive that.

  6. Tom, all I am saying is that the status quo – as it has been for the past 26 years – clearly ain’t working, so what is the point in continuing to keep the machinery that has constantly failed us well-oiled with the millions of pounds of our money that is endlessly thrown at it? No, I don’t claim to have all of the answers, but it is high time we started looking outside the rigid square box of politically correct protocols for them, which is where the likes of THT and GMFA have their heads firmly stuck. The answer, ultimately, has to lie in empowering our community to respect itself instead of fueling a PC victim mentality which has allowed rampant diseases and hard drug use to fester unhindered all these years. Empowerment only comes with truth and knowledge of the facts, but the whole point of political correctness is that its intention is to turn truth inside out and back to front and suppress open discussion, and so we have been force fed false messages all these years in the PC campaigns around HIV/Aids, which in turn have led naive youngsters to consider HIV as no more of a nuisance than catching a cold. That 21 year old porn actor on Newsnight a year ago appeared ignorant because his knowledge about HIV amounts to said campaigns which refuse to say it as it is. He is testimony of our failure as a community to demand effective and proper HIV prevention from those funded to safeguard our health! No one is seriously calling for the return of icebergs and tombstones, even though those ads in the late 1980s succeeded in reducing HIV infections to the lowest rate on record. The fact is THEY WORKED, and if a bit of shock and awe is what is needed once again to make our community sit upright and take note, then is this really too high a price to pay? And there are ways of getting the truth across without resorting to such shock imagery, but the fact of the matter is that the PC zealots in control of the HIV prevention campaign budgets would sooner eat glass than produce such campaigns, so indoctrinated are they with the cult of political correctness which, like a virus itself, is sweeping our country and indeed the world with deadly consequences. The backlash can’t begin soon enough!

  7. As a gay guy who has lived with HIV for years, fortunately in very good health, I have to say that I agree wholeheartedly with Rob.

    His comments may be expressed somewhat harshly but he’s spot on. The all-pervading victim mentality within minority ‘communities’ is tearing our society apart. This is particularly endemic in our gay and ethnic minorities, fuelled by the PC brigade (the majority of whom are white and hetero but never tire in banging on about injustice in their patronising way, revelling in the rising hatreds and deeper chips on shoulders they actively encourage with the misguided zeal of Victorian missionaries).

    By constantly emphasising difference and pushing any and all freedoms (including the extreme sexual freedoms Rob refers to) WITHOUT responsibility for one’s actions, as a nation, no longer one-nation, we all face a dark future. Its always someone else’s fault or its because of ‘prejudice’ ‘cos we are minorities, its never down to an individual’s actions or – often bad – attitude.

  8. We need to get knowing you status, and disclosing your status before sex something that is just done. At the moment it is just not common enough. To achieve this, we need absolute wide spread HIV testing centres that men can get to and feel comfortable at. We also need a good PR campaign with a healthy budget behind it to get the message out there. The budget should in the main come from the government, for they would save millions in the long run by getting HIV cases down, and this is the key. It’s not ok for the NHS to wash their hands of this, saving money now on prevention is only going to cost a fortune (in money and lives) later on. There can also be a big involvement from the HIV charities which Rob throws endless amounts of money towards.

    The stigma needs to switch from taking about HIV and getting tested to having bareback sex. Nick (above) has it spot on – it is seem as acceptable these days with all the BB porn out there, we need to get back to the stage where it’s NOT acceptable in casual encounters. A decent PR campaign would help this, although I agree that the government needs to step to make BB porn illegal, and to those who say with the internet how can this be enforced? If it’s illegal, this is enough for a lot of people to stop viewing it, also the press coverage of a new law banning it would at least bring home the message to people that it’s not ok.

  9. No, Tom, the LAST place the money should come from is from the government, with all the PC conditions and dictats that comes with it. THAT is what has gotten us into this mess, with the likes of THT and GMFA becoming little more than extensions of government, or quangoes, and doing the government’s bidding in order to secure lavish funding. THT receives millions each year, and the more services there are to provide to HIVers, the more funding it receives. Clearly it serves THT for there to be more HIV, not less – so why has it also been tasked with the HIV prevention budget for gay men in London for the next 3 years??!! It’s insane!! Look around you in society today. Everything funded by the government is in a seemingly terminal state of decline – the NHS, education, law and order… all of which are imploding because they are run by zombies and yes people who kneel at the altar of political correctness. No, if we want to succeed we need to return to the basics of what real charity is all about and raise the funds through private means, which means all of us dipping into our own pockets, devoid of outside interference or influence. THT continues to receive funding from Glaxo for heaven’s sake; is it keen for us all to be tested just so that more meds can be flogged by Glaxo? Who can say, but while such conflicts of interest exist we can never be entirely sure for whose benefit today’s HIV/Aids behemoths are being run, and no one has profited more from HIV/Aids (besides the likes of THT, that is) than the pharmas. And such independently run charities, in the true sense of the word, should be run not by professional gay men out first and foremost to make well-paid, gilt-edged careers out of our suffering, but by passionately motivated and commmitted gay men who instinctively and empathically put health and lives before politically correct codes and protocols, and who are not obsessed by ticking boxes, citing meaningless jargon and obfuscating at every turn. THAT is the only way forward.

  10. “and 97% of Hepatitis C cases were also HIV positive.”

    So how many cases of Hep C were reported? How vague, wonder why?

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