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Comment: Sex education can help stop the rise of HIV in young gay men

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  1. Oh yeah? And what about when these sexually ignorant young gay men leave school and emerge onto the gay scene where they are let down yet again by a community that has learned nothing from its recent tragic past? Instead they are conditioned by our scene into believing HIV is normal and barebacking a lifestyle choice. Frantic advertising campaigns push “morning after pill” PEP for unsafe sex (read the ad – that’s what it says!!) and the nearest we have to AIDS prevention campaigns today are those that force the idea of the inevitability of AIDS onto naive young minds (“THIVK YOU MAY BE HIV?”). Sexual health charities refuse to speak out against the rise in barebacking but instead encourage unsafe sex by dispensing risk minimalisation techniques with campaigns such as CUM OUTSIDE and PULL OUT LIKE A PORN STAR. Don’t even get me started about sex clubs and saunas that have been given the THT seal of respectability and the sleaze web site Hardcell – both of which were pushed in Boyz and QX aimed at club kids. So before anybody dares pointing a finger at the schools to explain why 53% of 12-19 year old Puffta members are having unsafe sex (according to its latest survey) while 43% of Puffta members don’t know what HIV status they are, how about holding our corrupt HIV sector to account for their treasonous actions instead?

  2. I wouldn’t put it in quite those words, but in essence Dan has a point here. It’s no good pouring money into HIV prevention when the gay scene at large is shrugging it off as an occupational hazard at best and an irrelevance at worst.
    Everyone bears a bit of responsibility here, not just sex ed lessons at school but individual gay men, the saunas, advertising, lifestyle magazines, the porn industry and the clubs.
    Unless we all take individual responsibility for practicing the safe sex message we’re preaching, all the sex ed in the world will fall on deaf ears.
    I once met a couple of scene queens from Canada who were going bareback with a different guy practically every second evening in the gay bars while they were over here. When I told them what the infection rate was in the Manchester area, they responded along the lines of “Oh my god, I just HATE Manchester… it’s like totally diseased”.
    They couldn’t even see that their own reckless behaviour was a significant part of that statistic.
    As MTV environmental campaigns say, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

  3. More faith schools? . . . that will certinaly help won’t it

    . . . Think not

  4. And we all see how sex ed. ion schools has driven down teenage pregancy…

  5. Get pregnant? So what, I’ll get a council house.

    Get HIV? So what, they got drugs wot cure it now…

    There is no threat any more, either real or perceived. Until these idiots start getting drug resistant and dropping like flies, only then will people start getting worried again, like many of us did in the early 80’s when we saw everyone we knew disappear. Sadly back then, we didnt know what was causing it. Now everyone is bombarded with information, and they still shag unsafely like rabbits. Death and mortality has a funny way of bringing an instant clarity to one’s perspective. The day is not “if”, it’s “when”.

  6. Deborah Jack, Chief Executive, NAT 18 May 2009, 4:24pm

    Thank you for all the comments. I agree that education in schools can only ever be one small part of the solution. The prevention messages we send out to gay men and the attitude of the gay community at large are equally important.

    NAT is an independent HIV charity and we do not get government funding to run prevention campaigns. This means we can be a critical and questioning voice within the sector and indeed we do regularly raise many of the issues discussed here – are we getting HIV prevention messages right for gay men? how can we change the testing culture within the gay community? how do we communicate why you don’t want to get HIV in an era of treatment?….

    We bring independent experts together to discuss these issues and recommend ways forward. We don’t have all the answers yet – but please be assured that these incredibly important issues you have raised are being discussed and taken seriously by NAT. Have a look at our website http://www.nat.org.uk, and send us any further feedback or comments.

    So yes, keeping a constant review of prevention campaigns is vital but at the moment we have a window of opportunity to get same-sex education in schools and I think it’s important we encourage the government to make it happen.

  7. Deborah Jack, Chief Executive, NAT 18 May 2009, 4:31pm

    Thank you for all the comments. I agree that education in schools can only ever be one small part of the solution. The prevention messages we send out to gay men and the attitude of the gay community at large are equally important.

    NAT is an independent HIV charity and we do not get government funding to run prevention campaigns. This means we can be a critical and questioning voice within the sector and indeed we do regularly raise many of the issues discussed here – are we getting HIV prevention messages right for gay men? how can we change the testing culture within the gay community? how do we communicate why you don’t want to get HIV in an era of treatment?….

    We bring independent experts together to discuss these issues and recommend ways forward. We don’t have all the answers yet – but please be assured that these incredibly important issues you have raised are being discussed and taken seriously by NAT. Have a look at our website http://www.nat.org.uk, and send us any further feedback or comments.

    So yes, keeping a constant review of prevention campaigns is vital but at the moment we do have a window of opportunity to get same-sex education in schools and I think it’s important we encourage the government to make it happen.

  8. Very sad that while stories around Miss California and pilfering Labour MPs garner stacks of feedback, we can barely stir ourselves to comment about possibly the most important issue of our times – the breakdown of HIV prevention and the grim toll it is having on the youngest generation of gays. We must get back to the harder-hitting campaigns of old to nail the message home that HIV/Aids is still ultimately sill a terminal illness, no matter how the HIV charities may be trying to normalise the virus and telling us all how to have safer instead of safe sex these days. I would like to know what qualifications are required to work in the HIV health sector, because the people there seem more bureaucratic than impassioned, and more motivated by chasing funding and selling their HIV services than preventing the spread of the virus. It is time for a total rethink in the whole approach to prevention funding: put the budgets into the hands of people who value human life beyond all else.

  9. Instead of shouting down the HIv charities (why is it some people believe it’s purely their responsibility to stop infections get real – some men will always have unprotected sex just like their heterosexual counterparts – some men will say they always use a condom then 2 weeks into their ‘love’ they bareback cos they ‘trust’ each other. Then there are men who listen to what those HIv charities are saying which is take a test know your status and take it from there. Instead of lashing out at them write to your MPs and make sure that they get this message before they get on the scene.

  10. House Help Desk 11 Jun 2010, 2:02pm

    ya this more people away from hiv….this is good information… thank u….
    ——————————————
    @philipsmith

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