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  1. Ryan Haynes - fyi radio 1 Sep 2009, 3:00pm

    If more people realised that becoming HIV could mean never having safe unprotected sex with the one they love – then maybe they’ll think again.

    I’ve grown up exposed to older people insisting that they can have unprotected sex with their partner because they are both HIV. However, we are soon to enter a true reality of two types of gay men (+ve and -ve) where compatibility will be more challenging and wanting that intimacy with the person you love will be forfeited for the sake of health.

    If we truly focus on intimacy – then maybe young gay men particularly will smell the beans (as I did) and not ever risk unsafe sex…

    Further more, if there was less support for barebackers through the likes of Xtube, Gaydar etc then maybe we could all come to realise that safe sex aint bad!

  2. Ryan said:

    “If more people realised that becoming HIV could mean never having safe unprotected sex with the one they love – then maybe they’ll think again.”

    Unfortunately, an awful lot of people are actually becoming infected with HIV by only having what they genuinely believe to be relatively safe unprotected monogamous sex with the person they love.

    It is all very well to talk about a focus on intimacy, but unfortunately it does not protect anyone from the second-hand consequences of another person’s infidelity.

    As for blaming the likes of Xtube and Gaydar – I am sorry, but that is about personal morals and has nothing whatsoever to do with HIV prevention. You could close them both down tomorrow and it wouldn’t make any difference to HIV infection rates.

    We need to get away from this preposterous mindset where we believe that HIV only happens to people of a certain age who frequent certain establishments and internet forums; because there is a bucket loads of evidence out there to tell us that nothing could be further from the truth.

  3. I agree in part with both Ryan and Mark. One of my motivations (I’ve got loads of others) for having safer sex and not becoming infected with HIV is that it provides me with the ability to have unprotected sex with the person that I fall in love with and can trust (If he is also negative). However as Mark says, falling in love isn’t enough. You have to know for certain that you are both negative by testing and be able to discuss with your partner any “slip ups” or infidelities. Likewise you have to have the type of relationship where your partner is able to do the same. This is where the risk comes into it.

    However I also agree with Mark that sites like Gaydar don’t necessarily make sticking to safer sex any more difficult. In fact they can make it easier. I always have safer sex and therefore I have no problem having sex with someone who is HIV positive. However if I see that someone has “needs discussion”, “never” or “sometimes” next to the safer sex box, I kind of know that no matter how horny someone looks, how nice a person they may be, or what their current HIV status is, ultimately they are not the person I’m looking for in a long term relationship. I’m not judging people, I’m just looking for people that I’m sexually compatible with. So to some extent Gaydar helps me stick to safer sex by enabling me to look for others who want the same. There are lots of us, and it’s easier to do on Gaydar than in a pub.

  4. vulpus_rex 1 Sep 2009, 8:09pm

    I remember the falling tombstones from the eighties, and frankly that scared the sh*t out of me. It was made abundantly clear that having unsafe sex = risk of infection = death.

    If that is no longer true then someone needs to say so, if it’s not then scaring the bejesus out of my generation worked – now one could be forgiven for believing that HIV is no greater impact than having diabetes.

  5. Matthew Hodson fails to respond to most of the facts in Gary Leigh’s article but instead clings to the findings of the Sigma surveys as though they were the holy grail of knowledge. The ONLY statistic he should pay heed to – and be ashamed of – is the sky high HIV infection rate! This alone proves his theories and ideologies are abject failures. And he has the audacity to say that according to the GMSS gay men already know about the severity of HIV? We KNOW that just isn’t true. Why doesn’t he just admit it and fall on his sword? He has clearly been in the job too long to speak objectively about the GMFA and refuses to admit defeat or take responsibility or account for his failures. He sounds like a man desperately trying to cling to the wreckage of a thoroughly discredited organization. Let’s just hope changed is forced through very soon and that the “gay men’s health charity” is replaced by heart-centred values and common sense, before a new generation of gay men become cannon fodder for Hodson et al’s failed HIV prevention policies…

    i) Will he still be calling HIV a manageable condition when public service cuts force the NHS to switch to cheaper, less effective Aids drugs?

    ii)

  6. I have to disagree with Griffter’s reasoning about those who dare to be honest and put “needs discussion”, “never” or “sometimes” on their profiles. That sort of honesty wins a big bonus points with me – rather that than the majority who are liars and declare “always” when we know for a fact that most sexually active gay men do occasionally have unprotected sex with someone of an unknown status.

    And if you are only going to have safer sex with them in any case, then what earthly difference can it make .. unless the real motivation is serosorting – dismissing those who are possibly already HIV-positive – in order to find yourself an HIV-negative partner?

    The whole point is that if you stick to your own principles of always having safer sex, then it really doesn’t matter what the hell the other person does, or has done in the past.

    And if they are already HIV-positive, then surely their answer of “needs discussion” or “sometimes” is indicative of the fact that they, like most people who know they are HIV-positive – take some responsibility for ensuring that they don’t pass on their infection to others who aren’t.

    I have to say that I think Matthew Hodson’s points are entirely valid. It is too easy to sit back and blame our own failure on others, when in all honesty we are almost ALL responsible for at some point or another falling into that trap of trusting someone who we shouldn’t have trusted and believing that the odds are in our favour and that ‘it’ can’t possibly happen to us.

    And what happens as a result of that? Rather than paying attention to the continuous campaigns – run by the likes of GMFA – and collectively making it ‘uncool’ and socially unacceptable not to know your status (and it is a hard fact that it is those who don’t know their status who are responsible for the vast majority of transmissions in the UK), we start persecuting and stigmatising one of the groups of people who we are least likely to be infected by – those who know they are HIV-positive, take their condition seriously, wouldn’t wish their condition anyone else and are likely to take active measures to ensure that they don’t pass their infection on to others.

  7. Rob you sound as though you have the answer that has iluded the HIV world for the past 25 years or so – come on share with us your miracle approach to stopping HIV infections please please do tell us as you claim to be the font of all knowledge?

    If you have no better solution to the need to be honest to gay men on the ‘reality’ of living in a post AIDS environment then why dont you shut up!! So easy to talk talk talk

  8. Ryan Haynes - fyi radio 2 Sep 2009, 9:56am

    “those who know they are HIV-positive, take their condition seriously, wouldn’t wish their condition anyone else and are likely to take active measures to ensure that they don’t pass their infection on to others.” [Mark]

    Unfortunately I have to disagree taking into account direct experiences of people I know and friends who are positive and sexually active.

    Cross-contemination is one of the major problems affecting research into finding medication to prevent HIV getting worse. The more positive people who are sexually active abuse their bodies by being unprotected/safer sex with one another or others, then HIV no longer is something we can fight – but again becomes something that takes over…

  9. @G.S leigh – our community? Care to expand?

  10. Michael Mason 2 Sep 2009, 11:18am

    Asked to choose between a thoughtful, reasonable article that explains to me how and why HIV prevention charities go about their work and a rather personal and spiteful tirade of ad hominem argument that won’t engage in the debate, I find the choice easy. But I should not be asked to take sides. If I were to become HIV positive it would not be because HIV charities had failed to educate and advise and support me but because I got carried away (probably after too many beers). I am more responsible for my own health and that of my partners than are GMFA and NAT.

  11. Here here Michael I’m tired of the constant ‘they don’t do enough’ I don’t want an HIV worker putting a condom on me everytime I have sex I can do that for myself but I do understand that they have to be real in the information they give me and others – the choice whether to have unprotected sex is then down to me and my partner not some charity. Our ‘community’ is diverse and so must the messages be – scaring doesn’t work never has done never I like many people have sex sometimes with sometimes with condoms based on the information these charities have given me over the past 20 years. I’m negative but am real to the possibility of becoming positive as am I real to the reality that one day I may fall in love with a positive man.

  12. Gary, you say that GMFA is “going out of their way to avoid giving gay men the information they need to stay healthy and free of HIV.”

    Please would you explain exactly what information you’re thinking of here? I’d like to understand more clearly the difference between the information you think needs to be conveyed, and the kind of information provided by GMFA in recent years.

    Also, given that a large number of men are unable to “stay free of HIV” because they are already HIV positive, and that HIV negative men can only become HIV positive through contact with man who is already infected, can you say what kind of information or messages you would give to HIV positive men, to help them to avoid being involved in HIV transmission?

  13. There are a number of extraordinary and glaring errors in Matthew Hodson’s denial of the validity of the almost unanimous belief expressed in the “Killing Us Softly” comments column two weeks ago.

    I reproduce Matthew Hodson’s worst errors below and then comment on each of them.

    “The Gay Men’s Sex Survey shows that there is almost universal agreement amongst gay men, irrespective of their age, that HIV is a serious medical condition (1). Therefore, campaigns that only tell everyone how serious HIV is would only be delivering a message that gay men already know.”

    Hodson is clearly extremely naive with regard to responses to questionnaires. For example, if a gay man is presented with the question “Is HIV/AIDS a. not a serious illness b. a fairly serious illness c. a serious illness” and the gay man chooses “c.”, that may well only reflect a judgement in that moment between the three options that have been given and it may well not indicate that the gay man comprehends the gravity of becoming infected with HIV and having to live with HIV. Therefore, to design HIV/AIDS education according to answers to such questions on written questionnaires is naive and dangerous. Much research has shown beyond doubt that the results of questionnaires have to be treated with great caution and that the only way to really find out what people think and believe is to conduct long one-to-one and intimate interviews. This method, though, is not used because it is extremely time-consuming and expensive. And because it is not used, we fail to find out what a wide spectrum of gay men really know and believe about HIV. What we ARE certain of, though, is that HIV rates are rising dramatically and tragically. It would seem pretty reasonable therefore to rapidly cast aside the results of simplistic and easy-to-do questionnaires as a guide to how to design effective campaigns.

    “A campaign painting a picture of life with HIV as universally devastating and leading to certain short-term death would quite simply be lying.”

    Indeed, but no one has suggested, or is suggesting, that campaigns be mounted which state that HIV is “universally devastating” or that acquiring HIV causes “certain short-term death”! Rather, it has been suggested that campaigns should clearly state that even though there is now powerful chemotherapy available to combat the HIV virus, that chemotherapy, unlike chemotherapy in the case of cancer for instance, must be endured daily for the rest of the infected person’s life, that the chemotherapy is highly toxic and therefore generally causes side-effects, that in some people the side-effects are slight, while in some people the side-effects are devastating, that the side-effects can be physical and/or psychological, that living with HIV impacts significantly on the infected person’s life in one way or many, that it will be many years before it is fully understood how the many various anti-retrovirals taken daily impact upon the human body, that it is already known that HIV continues to wage war on the body, particularly the brain, despite the presence of the chemotherapy, and so on. These things constitute the truth and this is what all gay men have a right to be constantly reminded of, particularly in the face of the multi-million pound sex, glamour, and porn industry which is constantly urging gay men to groom themselves for sex, to be sexual, and to have lots and lots of sex.

    “If we were to focus on some of the worst impacts of HIV infection or HIV treatment, we might perpetuate the false belief that you can always tell whether or not someone has HIV.”

    Yes, if you tell the truth about HIV infection and HIV treatment you MIGHT “perpetuate the false belief” that people carrying HIV can be easily identified, but you MIGHT equally promote lots of other false ideas as well. Does that stop you from stating truths! One cannot withhold the truth because one MIGHT, possibly, give a false idea. If you think there is a danger that you MIGHT give a false idea while telling the truth, then make provision for it! Your first inarguable duty is to widely and clearly disperse the truth. At the same time, eliminate false deductions by actively refuting them. It’s very simple. You just state, “The truth is that the impacts of having HIV are massive, many, and frightening . . . and do not think that all of these impacts are visible. You generally cannot tell if somebody has been infected with HIV, just as you cannot tell if someone has just been infected with Swine Flu”. Responsible HIV/AIDS education demands the covering of all bases.

    “By portraying HIV as a devastating, and visible, condition we would only support the belief that the person they are having sex with, or fall in love with could not have HIV”

    Yes, indeed, it would be foolish for a campaign to spread the notion that to have HIV is to generally have a visible condition. No one has suggested that such a campaign be mounted! One does wonder what level of competence in logical thinking exists on the part of the writer of the above. He seems to only consider that “devastating” means “visible”. An illness can be devastating, as having HIV is, without it being always visible. Having HIV can be physically devastating and not visible to others. Having HIV can be psychologically devastating and therefore not visible to others. It can be socially devastating. It can be creatively devastating. And so forth.

    “Depression, low self-esteem and a lack of control can lead to decisions whereby men do not protect themselves every time. A wish for intimacy or just desire in the heat of the moment can also result in men putting themselves at risk.”

    It is not rational to point to “desire in the heat of the moment” as sometimes being responsible for behaviour that results in HIV, while at the same time promoting gatherings, situations, and environments where sexual desire is the over-riding and palpable feature. Seeking to give exposure to environments such orgy-rooms or sex-cellars is one and the same as promoting environments in which sexual desire is the dominating force. Who has ever heard, or who would ever wish to visit, a subterranean sex-club from which all sexual desire is banished and the punters are encouraged to behave as if at a Sunday afternoon vicar’s tea-party! You can’t pretend to accomplish control of desire while at the same time you are promoting environments where red hot sexual desire is over-riding.

    “We believe that we can only produce work that will be credible if we are honest and frank.”

    Good. But understand that to date, and recently, you have largely failed to be honest and frank to gay men. Understand that your logic is deeply flawed. Understand that you seem to be unable to separate some factors and unable to combine others. And understand that there are many of us who are not going to let you continue in the manner that you have.

    You cannot chant “we are being honest and frank” while we can see that you are not being so. You cannot claim to be responding scientifically, to questionnaires, when we know that to create campaigns on the results of simple questionnaires is deeply ignorant and irresponsible.

    Questions need to be asked as to WHO the people designing these health campaigns actually are. What REAL qualifications do they have? Are they just gay, or HIV+, and “concerned”? Because that’s simply nowhere near qualification enough. These campaigns needs to be organised and run by highly-qualified and highly-trained medical professionals who can be trusted to behave at all times with sensitivity to the problems of homophobia.

    Having written all of the above, it has become clear to me that our problem is with people of intellectual incompetence having been given the responsibility for HIV/AIDS campaigns.

  14. Mr Leigh wonders why Matthew Hodson did not address his comments. Let’s look at why this may have been the case with the crank checklist:

    Quote mining *CHECK*
    Cherry picking research studies *CHECK*
    Citing anecdote as evidence whilst ignoring evidence *CHECK*
    Paranoia that research that does not fit flawed agenda is fabricated *CHECK*
    It’s all a big pharma conspiracy *CHECK*
    HIV organisations are acting as “Pharma Schills” *CHECK*
    Government conspiracy *CHECK*
    Harping on about HIV/AIDS as though it is still the 1980’s, early 1990’s *CHECK*
    They want people to get HIV for profit *CHECK*

    The only thing that seems to be missing from this list is the assertion that “HIV does not cause AIDS” but one does not have to look too far for that as Mr Leigh thinks it is acceptable to quote the likes of Matthias Rath on his website. Anyone who thinks it acceptable to quote the likes of Rath to further their ignorant agenda is not worthy of a constructive response and has no part to play in HIV prevention and treatment.

    That said I would like to congratulate GMFA for illustrating in this article the vital importance of evidence based approaches to gay men’s health.

  15. I see we have “multiple personality” postings again.

    G Leigh undermines his own argument when he makes false claims that GMFA and THT go out of their way “to avoid giving gay men the information they need to stay healthy and free of HIV”. Any of us reading this can go straight to their websites and see for ourselves that he is not telling the truth.
    How many people reading these comments don’t know what HIV is, how serious it is and how to avoid getting it?
    Claims that THT are in cahoots with the government to increase the number of people with HIV is farcical paranoia. If there is one fact that we can be certain of is that the government does not want to spend more money on healthcare if it doesn’t have to. This just doesn’t add up.

  16. Gary – What exactly do you mean by “a harder line approach to HIV prevention”? If you are referring to scaring gay men into using condoms, Matthew discusses in great detail why this would not be appropriate.

    You also dispute the validity of findings of the survey, which shows that gay men know HIV is serious. Do you honestly believe that gay men don’t know this? If telling men this fact was all that was required to stop new infections, it would have already worked.

  17. BSE, Trev, Chris, please read my comments at #15 above.

  18. “I would level at both THT and GMFA that they are, in fact, going out of their way to avoid giving gay men the information they need to stay healthy…their campaign to pander to HIV and in obeyance to government directives and appeasement of their pharmaceutical co-founders.”

    lololololololol

    I see the nannying handwringers are out in force with their conspiracy theories and accusations. No doubt those who blame gaydar or gmfa for hiv infection also blame mcdonalds for making people fat and killing obese children!

    Dear god, will someone save us from these meddlers. More importantly, will they stop patronising these “young gay men” as though they were dimwits and dunces with special needs!! On the whole, THEY KNOW that having sex without a condom is risky and can lead to HIV. And as for the tiny minority who don’t realise the risk, well, guess what guys – thats called ‘acceptable risk’ which is necessary for a free country to be…um…free.

    Next the scare-mongerers will be calling for (roll ominous music)…legisaltion…to curb the excesses of gaydar and stuff their message down everyone’s throat.

    The fact is, there are many chronic and terminal illnesses which are far worse to experience, genuinely terrifying and which are far harder and less effective to control than HIV. Most men with HIV (and I know many) lead normal lives and will have a normal enough lifespan. Sorry to upset all you merchants of doom but your scare tactics don’t work and never will.

    This is all about choice. You dispassionately give people the facts and they will make their own decisions. They will decide for themselves if the risk is worth it.

    And guess what, for some men, barebacking is HOT and definately worth the risk for both men involved! And thats up to them.

    And by the way guys, if you do want to indulge in some scare-mongering then at least make it truthfull scare-mongering:

    “Have sex without a condom and you will contract a deadly virus which can probably be treated and controlled by drugs without it debilitating you.”.

    mmmm that doesn’t sound as scary as you’d like it to, does it?

  19. Matthew Hodson’s feeble defense that all gay me know what hiv is and know all about it’s risks is a lie that falls apart at the seams. Where are they getting this vital information for heavens sake? Certainly not GMFA which is funded to dispence it, so how can it be true? Perhaps they learnt it following the Mark Fowler storyline on Eastenders? Such information is impossible to find today! That he is clearly being backed up by his sector chums shows that the dragon is dying even if it’s tail is still thrashing about wildly. All credit to Eddy for his brilliant deconstruction of M Hodson’s defense, and shame on Hodson’s ‘shills’ who have invaded this board In a blatent effort to sway the argument their way. Truth and common sense always prevale in the end.

  20. “Perhaps they learnt it following the Mark Fowler storyline on Eastenders?”

    Maybe some did. Why? Is that a problem?

  21. Gary Leigh’s feeble defense that gay men don’t know what hiv is and need to be scared witless is a lie that falls apart at the seams. Where is he getting this vital information for heavens sake? Certainly not the evidence available, so how can it be true? Perhaps he learnt it following the storyline in the Mel Gibson film Conspiracy Theory? Such information is impossible to find today! That he is clearly being backed up by a variety of imaginary chums shows that his paranoia is out of control and thrashing about wildly. All credit to the voices of reason for their succinct, rational and sober deconstruction of G Leigh’s attacks, and shame on Leigh’s ‘shills’ (imaginary friends) who have invaded this board in a blatent effort to sway the argument their way. Truth and common sense and good spelling always prevail in the end.

  22. Couple of observations.

    Why doesn’t the THT focus entirely on helping people with HIV/AIDS to live their lives and offer advice regarding medication etc and why doesn’t GMFA focus entirely on HIV- men and work to ensure that they remain negative.

    There are 2 groups. There does not need to be an overlap in their work. 1 group should focus on + men and their needs. The other group should focus on – men and their needs.

    Another thing – a HIV diagnosis is no more serious than a Type 1 diabetes diagnosis. The ONLY way it is worse is in the stigma attached to it. I find is spectacularly disrespectful and ignorant when people try to claim that a HIV diagnosis is worse in any way other than the stigma attached to it.

  23. Let us consider FACTS. Here are just a few, from among THOUSANDS! I am pasting in only recent comments, made this month, August 2009.

    All of the following quotes are clearly indisputable PROOF of the on-going grief and anxiety that is part of living with HIV for the rest of one’s life.

    “I am a 52 year old woman and have lipo really, really bad. Can you suggest a lower dose medication that I can ask my doctor to prescibe. I have begged him to just give me AZT but he is so sure it isnt enough”
    Source: thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/FacialWasting/Current/Q203355.html

    “I had bioalcamid filling in my wrinkles between mouth and nose. The esthetic outcome is terrible, too much material has been injected, and unfortunately I can’t stand the feeling that a stranger body, those nodules are in my face. Unfortunately my mimicry and smile have been also destroyed.”
    Source: thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/FacialWasting/Current/Q203160.html

    “I have gained a huge amount of weight /fat whilst on Sustiva, 3TC and Ziagen. I changed the Ziagen for AZT recently and found that the fat gain (everywhere but my face and legs has remained the same).”
    Source: thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/FacialWasting/Current/Q203118.html

    “I had experienced lipoatrophy in my face (had it corrected with a filler) legs, butt, a bit in the arms, on the sides of abdomen, (I was on D4t back then and Combivir for a few years. I have then switched to Isentress and Truvada, but strangely I am starting to notice losing fat in my hands and feet. My feet and getting more bonier, ankles and skinnier etc. and my hands more veiny.”
    Source: thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/FacialWasting/Current/Q203072.html

    “it is common for resistant HIV to be transmitted. In this era in the United States, about 10% of people acquire a strain of HIV that carries one or more drug resistance mutations.”
    Source: thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/Resistance/Current/Q203187.html

    “I have been poz since 1982, hereunder the drugs i have been taking for 12 years Atripla (efavirenz + tenofovir + emtricitabine) Combivir (zidovudine + lamivudine, AZT + 3TC) Videx (didanosine, ddI) Crixivan (indinavir, IDV) Invirase (saquinavir, SQV) Norvir (ritonavir, RTV) Viracept (nelfinavir, NFV) Last CD4:180 copies Viralload: 9500 Nucleoside and Nucleotide RT Inhibitors zidovudine (AZT): Possible Resistance didanosine (ddl): Resistance lamivudine (3TC)/ emtricitabine (FTC): Resistance stavudine (d4T): Possible Resistance abacavir (ABC): Resistance tenofovir (TDF): Resistance Non Nucleoside RT Inhibitors nevirapine (NVP): Resistance efavirenz (EFV): Resistance etravirine (ETR): Possible Resistance Protease Inhibitors saquinavir + ritonavir (SQV/r): Resistance indinavir (IDV): Resistance IDV/r**: Possible Resistance nelfinavir (NFV): Resistance amprenavir (APV)/ fosamprenavir (FPV): Resistance APV/r or FPV/r**: Resistance lopinavir + ritonavir (LPV/r): No Evidence of Resistance atazanavir (ATV): Resistance atazanavir + ritonavir (ATV/r)**: Possible Resistance tipranavir +ritonavir (TPV/r): No Evidence of Resistance darunavir + ritonavir (DRV/r): No Evidence of Resistance”
    Source: thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/Resistance/Current/Q203189.html

    “My statement of >98% effectiveness is generous by many standards; other reputable sources put condom effectiveness at 96% or below. The average breakage rate for condoms is 2% (per CDC), i.e. 2 for every 100 condoms.”
    Source: thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/Resistance/Current/Q203188.html

    “My friend has take Kaletra and other HIV anti-drug. His CD4 is 246. He gets diarrhea two times per day almost everyday even [though] he tried to eat safe food.”
    Source: thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/SideEffects/Current/Q203364.html

    “it appears that HIV infection (including untreated HIV infection) increases the risk for heart disease due to narrowing of the coronary arteries.”
    Source: thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/SideEffects/Current/Q203365.html

    “Gaining weight also contributes to diabetes risk and is common in both the general population and perhaps more so in persons taking effective HIV drugs. Your current HIV meds have not been clearly linked to an increased risk for diabetes but data on that is still limited particularly for etravirine and raltegravir.”
    Source: thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/SideEffects/Current/Q203360.html

    “I’m still having some issues with balance, concentration, headaches, heart palpitations, sleep issues ( I literally feel like I’m dropping in a rollercoster when I try to sleep) fuzzy vision, confusion – these symptoms are mild and intermittent but regular.”
    Source: thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/SideEffects/Current/Q203359.html

    “How long can a person live at cd4 of only 50, despite total ART adherence, and undetectable viral load, my cd4 count has remained a flat 50 for the past 3 yrs”
    Source: thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/SideEffects/Current/Q203278.html

    “Atripla was a pretty easy drug on me at first. Then came the cinematic, vivid and often just completely indescribable dream scenes where it at times was difficult to discern reality vs. just being asleep and on my Atripla-trip.”
    Source: thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/SideEffects/Current/Q203208.html

    “I have started wasting 2006 , I stopped the treatment then , my doctor put me in truvada in 2007 it did help my butt was getting smaller byday, I started my personal diet trying to gain wait but still I could’nt put the weight in right places like my butt and legs , and 2 months ago I started Nandrolene deca with protein suplements and herbs, for the 1st time in 3yrs wasting battle my butt is gaining some muscle and fat I am on better shape now. ”
    Source: thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/SideEffects/Current/Q203210.html

    “Hi, I’ve been on treatment since 97 and d4T did its bit on my face, bum, legs and arms. My face has been ‘fixed’ with New Fill. This has been done in the NHS(I live in the UK). My HIV doctor has prescribed me Steroids which has marginally helped on my arms and legs. However, my bum has gone forever!. What can I do?”
    Source: thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/SideEffects/Current/Q203212.html

    “I recently had a 24hr creatinine collection taken. My results should creatinine at 1.4 and GFR at 63. I am 40 years old 6ft 180lbs. and have been on reyataz, truvada, and norvir for 1 year. (1st regimen) I am shocked. Am I going to be on dialysis soon? Can I bring those numbers up or change anything about my normal routine, eating/drinking pattern? My doctor recommended I take another urine collection in 3 months and then if the numbers are still around 60 he wants to change the truvada for something else. He stated that number is too low for someone my age. I am worried. What should I do?”
    Source: thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/SideEffects/Current/Q203207.html

    “Effective HIV therapy often results in 5-15 pounds of weight gain on a variety of regimens.”
    Source: thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/SideEffects/Current/Q203166.html

    “You will want to discuss starting HIV medications as soon as you can. If you tolerate your medications for HCV, I would start your other HIV medications within about 4 to 6 weeks. Avoid zidovudine, which increases the risk of anemia while on ribavirin; also do NOT take didanosine (ddI), which can be hazardous due to a drug interaction with ribavirin.”
    Source: thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/Hepatitis/Current/Q203180.html

    “Having HIV is anything but “normal!” Being diagnosed HIV positive is always a shock and a period of adjustment is to be expected. The more you learn about HIV the less frightening it becomes and the easier it is to live with. I would suggest you begin by reviewing the information on The Body’s homepage: “HIV Basics.” There you will find chapters, such as “Just Diagnosed” and “HIV Medications.””
    Source: thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/Fatigue/Current/Q203109.html

    “I change my medication after 6 months I started it-before I taked Kaletra and Truvada and after Truvada and Viramun… after couple months-I start feel pain in my back-kidney arria,and everyday my face and my eyes quietly swelling -heavy.. I check witch my doctor urine and kidney-he told me results normal-kidney seems work ok. but I still no understand what can be reason for pain and swimmed eyes?? I dont drunk,dont smoke-my food quietly clean..feels like if someone got really drunk-and next day you see this person-and say-oh mu god. shut I change Truvada for something else?and what can be alternative?? I no want sustiva-its cause migrane depression-and I quite sensitive to it.”
    Source: thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/Fatigue/Current/Q203106.html

    “I’m outside my home country! and I just realized I miscalculated the amount of medication I needed while on this trip abroad. I’m on boosted telzir and truvada. The bottom line is, I will run out of Telzir 2 days before the end of my trip!!”
    Source: thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/Fatigue/Current/Q203193.html

    “Some readers have written in and complained of profound ongoing fatigue in spite of normal blood panels. There are two possible concerns that are often not mentioned in the replies to these people. The first is sleep apnea. I was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea after my docs exhausted (sic!) every other test. Second, many HIV poz people are coinfected with hepatitis C(HCV) and hep B(HBV) , but many coinfected people do not realize that they have HCV. All people with HIV should be checked for both HBV and HCV, two potentially curable infections that can lead to increasingly profound chronic fatigue and ultimately, in many cases, to death if untreated.”
    Source: thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/Fatigue/Current/Q203219.html

    “I was diagnosed as HIV+ in 1991 and have been fairly healthy. Currently, I’m on Viramune and Combivir. My t-cells for the past several years, have slowly been decreasing, and now are in the low 200’s. My doctor is contemplating changing my medication, however since my viral load is so low, it may be impossible to detect the particular strain of the virus, I have.”
    Source: thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/Fatigue/Current/Q203217.html

    “I was diagnosed with HIV 10yrs ago as of November of this year. I was pregnant with my daughter at the time. I have just turned 30yrs old in July and recently moved to another state just to get my head together. I have always been on and off medications sometimes Dr. recommendations then sometimes not. I have really never faced the reality of being positive however it has been very hard to get proper treatment when all it seems the Dr. would do is throw me on a pill and leave it at that. I have a hard time feeling as if that is all it takes for someone with HIV to live a longer, healthier life. I don’t have money so I don’t know how to seek more help when I am limited on the type of care is available to me. It seems that everyone in my experience has always passed the buck and all I have is just alot of prescriptions under my bed. I know that I am responsible for my own health but mentally I have not a clue how to begin taking control. I know I have a daughter to live for but I am barely living for myself. I don’t leave my house at this point, I smoke, and I am just plain depressed. I feel like I am tired of trying and picking myself up again and again. I have no support, no family , its just me and my daughter. I feel like I isolated myself because I wanted to just die in peace without all the whispers of those who instead of supporting me used me as there daily gossip when I trusted them with something so sensitive to me. I have no one to turn to. I have a doctor but he acted as if he didn’t even know how to read my Labs. I need help fast or I fear that I will not make it long. I know there is a good life for me to live I just need an angel to guide me to it. Please I need someone. I am tired and I can’t live like this anymore. I am admitting today that I am scared and don’t want to live like I am dead any longer. Thank You in advance for your advice”
    Source: thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/Fatigue/Current/Q203251.html

    “An editorial in my local paper bemoaned that the writer was saddened that his friend died of AIDS in 1994 just before the advent of drugs that would have allowed him to lead a long and healthy life. The editorial advocated that the readers should take advantage of free HIV screening so they could begin treatment early.
    I wrote in a letter to the editor that while the new meds allow people with HIV/AIDS to live longer, that life is by no means healthy and that avoiding HIV infection was the best course. That editorial is indicative of what I see as a glossing over of the serious nature of having HIV and taking anti-HIV meds for long periods of time that is practiced by the medical profession.
    I am 54, have been HIV positive for 25 years, and have taken anti-HIV meds for 15 years. During my time with HIV, I have been hospitalized three times, once with PCP, another time with an allergic reaction to Bactrim, and once with Viread related pancreatitis. I have taken AZT, epivir, zerit, DDC, DDI, sustiva, videx, viread, truvada, norvir, atazanavir, prezista, and issentress. Many of those meds had very unpleasant side effects – AZT made me nauseous and caused me to feel as if I was full of ants and sustiva gave me horrible nightmares and daytime delusions. All of the meds made me seriously nauseous and led to chronic acid reflux disorder.
    I read over the years that doctors were concerned that the HIV meds would lead to disorders of the pancreatic mitochondria causing early onset diabetes and dementia. I watched as my blood tests reported that I was anemic and had liver dysfunction; due I was told by my doctor as a result of the HIV meds.
    I am angry that my doctors never impressed upon me that an undetectable viral load does not mean that you do not have significant levels of HIV in you system, particularly in non-blood sources such as lymphatic and spinal fluid. The result of this low level infection is that year on year your brain and nervous system are exposed to the toxic effects of HIV. This low level infection in my case led over 25 years to debilitating cognitive and behavior disorders such that I cannot work. I am unable to follow conversations, multi-task, drive a car, control my anger and I am chronically depressed.
    HIV has also caused painful neuropathy in my hands, feet and legs which has caused me to need a wheelchair to get around. I also have early onset osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. I take pain relievers for the osteoarthritis which further exacerbates my nausea.
    As I told the writer of the editorial, HIV is not for sissies.”
    Source: thebody.com/cgi-bin/bbs/showthreaded.php?Cat=&Board=living&Number=246518&page=1&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=&fpart=1

    I think that last quote, directly above, really sums up all the rest of them.

    Living with HIV is clearly a NIGHTMARE for most, and if not sooner, then later. All HIV and AIDS education programmes have a duty and a responsibility to make this clear.

    There is nothing wrong with fear of that which is dangerous. And there is therefore nothing wrong with instilling in others fear of that which is dangerous.

    HIV and AIDS education programmes in this country desperately need to alter course.

  24. What a meaningless post above(post25 eddy). What does it prove? It proves that you have cherry picked information specifically to suit your argument. Anyone can do that about ANY issue.

    Shall I respond by pasting reams of information to rebutt your argument? NO! That would be a waste of time and similarly meaningless and it would, like your post, add nothing to the debate.

  25. Lucius, you think the above is cherry-picked, do you.

    Go now to:

    thebody.com

    and READ!

    and LEARN!

  26. SouthCoast 2 Sep 2009, 3:40pm

    what an absoulte waste of mine, and everyone else on this thread’s time. EDDY (or Gary or G Leigh or Mr Leigh . . etc) by cutting and pasting a number of unnecessary (and might I say it, some contradictory) references you are just proving your childish behaviour and the clear fact your main reasoning for your original story is a clear vendetta against THT ot GMFA or both . .

    please expain . . I’m interested to hear the story behind the letters!

  27. “Cherry picking is the act of pointing at individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position, while ignoring a significant portion of related cases or data that may contradict that position.”

    Sure smells like it to me as well… Isn’t the copy and paste fun!

  28. As Sam points out, it appears this board has been ambushed by one or two people with a vested interest in maintaining age old deceptions and fallacies that no longer hold sway with popular opinion. But to humour them/him here are some responses:

    @Michael Mason: Whether or not you become HIV+ or not is your choice, as indeed it is anybody’s. You have access to the facts, you know the risks. But as I maintained when campaigning for more awareness around the dangers of crystal meth several years ago:

    EVERYONE HAS THE RIGHT TO MAKE PROPERLY INFORMED CHOICES AND TO HAVE EASY ACCESS TO SUCH INFORMATION.

    The main point I am making in this debate, as reiterated in Eddy’s excellent posting, is that many gay men – particularly the younger generation who have never witnessed a hardhitting HIV campaign – are actively being denied the right to make properly informed choices about the kind of sex they have because those who are publicly funded to provide it won’t do so, and have today created the biggest whopper of an excuse as to why that is; namely, that they already know what the risks are (actually, ‘Dave’, when the Mark Fowler storyline was running in EastEnders, the incoming generation of gay men weren’t even out of their nappies!).
    Consequently, worrying numbers of gay men are increasingly regarding HIV as being no more problematic than catching a cold thanks to such dangerous spin being broadcast by the HIV sector. Get carried away by all means, Michael. Catch HIV and blame yourself, but don’t use that as a defence for GMFA and THT’s inexcusable failure to educate effectively and efficiently about HIV. And if you prefer PC-filtered HIV campaigns and sex courses to the plain facts all the better, but try not to use them in an effort to discredit truth itself. If I am as misguided and misinformed as you imply I am, then by all means convincingly rip apart the points I make in ‘Killing Us Softly’ one by one and I will stand corrected. Interesting to note that apart from Ford Hickson of Sigma pointing out a minor error in my phrasing, no one else within this sector has done so, resorting instead to cheap jibes about conspiracy theories and, yes, yet more obfuscation! Saying that, in my posting above I did refer to the pharmaceutical industry as a co-founder of the HIV sector instead of a co-funder; clearly a Freudian slip…

    @Carl: In the last ten years THT and GMFA have actively fought against dwelling on any of the debilitating and traumatising downsides of HIV infection in any of their campaigns or literature; information which would impact and make many think twice about the consequences of unsafe, or indeed “safer”, sex. My recounting of what occurred at Gaydar HQ is just another example of how GMFA and THT have vigorously resisted efforts by an extremely powerful and influential organisation to act in the interests of its members. Both charities knew that crystal meth was arriving in the UK and the risks it posed to gay men, so one is forced to ask what conflicts of interest were at play here to attempt to mislead Gaydar that crystal meth did not a potential problem, however minor? Many more examples of their indifference and dithering in the face of palpable threats to gay men’s health can be found at:

    http://www.lifeormeth.com/#/aids-inc-uncovered/4520785349

    As for what information should be provided to HIV+ men, if it is to protect the status of negative men then ignore the advice of “safer sex” campaigns and wrap up at all times. Don’t try to cum like a porn star by pulling out or even cumming all over his back as recent campaigns have urged, because if you do follow their advice you might eventually find yourself being criminally prosecuted for “biological GBH”; a fact conveniently omitted from the HIV sector’s “risk minimisation” campaigns. And if you engage in condom-less sex with another positive man, simply be mindful of the fact that if you develop a mutated strain of HIV then your immune system may stop responding to the class of antiretrovirals you are being prescribed and you may even end up resistant to all three classes of treatment and progress on to full-blown Aids. It just isn’t worth the risk.

    @BSE: To recycle a well-worn quote: “There is something richly
    disdainful and unsettling about the ferocious amount of energy that HIV sector drones are willing to expend suppressing and dismissing any criticism of their dishonest approach to safeguarding human life. If their way is so effective and their case so strong, why the need to try so fervently to extinguish criticism and aggressively smear, bully, discredit and intimidate any opposing viewpoint into submission?”

    And where have I suggested a government “conspiracy”, BSE? Have you been watching too many X-Files re-runs? Certainly, as a responder to ‘Killing Us Softly’ astutely pointed out, Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson may well have approved Glaxo’s PEP for “non-occupational exposure” back in 2006 as indeed he recently mandated Glaxo to provide millions of lucrative doses of Swine Flu vaccination – a vaccination which, incidentally, approximately half of healthcare workers worldwide have said they do not trust and will refuse to take. But to suggest I am hinting at a conspiracy where our beloved, totally scrupulous and uncorruptible Government and the angelic pharmaceutical cartel – who so lovingly place our interests above those of their shareholders – are concerned is pure and utter heresy! Then again, if the Government doesn’t want to provoke such awkward questions and insane theories, it could perhaps explain what it was thinking in awarding THT’s immortal Chief Executive an MBE in the face of record HIV rates.

    @LuciusM: “The fact is, there are many chronic and terminal illnesses which are far worse to experience, genuinely terrifying and which are far harder and less effective to control than HIV.” So that makes HIV alright then, does it, and somehow let’s GMFA and THT off the hook? It is thinking like this which more than anything demonstrates the need for a return to basics. The irrefutable truth about HIV is shocking, and that truth needs to be conveyed in harder-hitting campaigns if people are to take notice. People react to fear: a natural fight or flight response kicks in when they discover they need to change their behaviour in order to survive, whether it be short-term or long-term. The wishy washy PC campaigns of the last ten years have instead sought to shut down gay men’s survival mechanisms and, in the process, been quickly forgotten. How interesting that so many people instantly recall the ice berg and tombstone campaigns of the 1980s. Can anyone similarly recall any HIV campaign between, say, 1999 and 2005? Of course they can’t because, to coin a phrase, the lunatics have long since taken over the asylum, as indeed they have this thread.

    At the end of the day I have no personal agenda at play here other than to join many others in calling for a change in the failed approach to HIV prevention. How many more decades do the GMFA and THT need to get it right? Enough to ensure that they can all retire comfortably on their gold-plated pensions paid for by you and me? I did not request payment from Pink News to use my article, indeed I sold my home in East London in 2003 to fund my work campaigning for crystal meth awareness. It was in the process of banging on their doors for help and assistance but instead being horrified at the institutional obtuseness and refusal to accept any way forward other than their own, blinkered PC thinking that I became determined to speak up for the truth in the face of the HIV sector’s downright deceit and obfuscation which has, I believe, cost countless lives and destroyed many others.

    I am glad that my article has made considerable waves, and I am confident that it will be a factor in helping to catalyse the change that all reasonable-minded people are calling for.

    Sorry to labour a point, but 80+ per cent of Pink Paper’s readers, according to a survey last year, can’t also be wrong…

  29. BSE and SouthCoast,

    Just put your beliefs regarding this issue aside for one hour, and go now to:

    thebody.com

    Explore!

    READ!

    LEARN!

    Then come back and say you’re sorry!

    The evidence is waiting to STARE you in the face.

  30. Monkeychops 2 Sep 2009, 3:59pm

    Interesting discussion, lots of passion and lots of indecision about what is the best way to stop men becoming HIV positive. It’s clearly down to personal responsibility, after all, no-one actually makes you have sex with anyone, but some new action plan is needed to really get gay men to take the message on board.

    Perhaps a proper investigation into WHY gay men are so happy to take the risk of unprotected sex as opposed to how much they do would bear more fruit. The psychology behind it needs to be understood before any course of action can be taken. After all, it’s not just HIV you can catch – are some gay men less bothered about catching other, curable diseases? And also a study on gay infidelity – do we define it in the same way as with heterosexual relationships? How common is it? What do the cheaters and the cheated have to say? After all, does having an open relationship count as infidelity or not? Or only if both partners haven’t consented to that third person? It just shows yet again that monogamy is the only way to really stay safe (other than abstinence, but that really isn’t an option to promote, let’s face it) – and that applies to both partners. I wouldn’t have sex with someone with HIV because nothing is 100% safe, maybe that upsets some on here, but I don’t want to end up another statistic. All of this is exacerbated by the fact that the longer an HIV sufferer lives and the more sexually active he is, the longer he has to infect more people. Not to mention that the number of gay men in comparison to straight men is very small and thus the limited number of sexual partners one can have in any given area is minute.

    Eddy – thanks for posting all the testimonials. It’s information like that, and some may call it scaremongering maybe, that should be thrust in the faces of our kids at school. We only ever see HIV sufferers in very superficial contexts and gay magazines largely just tell you to get tested. They don’t tell you about all the long-term pain and suffering, well not as much as they should.

  31. A HIV diagnosis is no worse than a Type 1 diabetes diagnosis. Both require lifelong treatment. Both can have horrific side effects. Both shorten life expectancy (I know from experience in fact, that diabetes heightens your susceptibility to all sorts of horrific diseases like heart disease; cancer; kidney failure; blindness; amputation even when you’ve been controlling it)

    True HIV is a transmissible disease and has far greater stigma attached to it but in terms of treatment and consequences to one’s health and life expectancy a HIV diagnosis is no worse than a Type 1 diabetes diagnosis.

    You can copy and paste whatever horror stories about HIV / AIDS you like. I can reply with copying and pasting horror stories of diabetes. After all they are both serious but manageable chronic illnesses.

    I really do wonder about the agenda of people who try to make martyrs out of those who’ve had a HIV diagnosis.

  32. Gary Leigh, well done! Don’t let those who don’t want to acknowledge the reality beat you down. Hodson’s errors, as I have pointed out above, are truly alarming! He ought to be deeply ashamed. This matter really ought to come to the attention of the mainstream press. Why not point The Guardian and/or The Independent to this thread, and the two previous ones, particularly “Killing Us Softly”?

    The denial that the HIV/AIDS educators are not doing what they should is akin to the strength of belief that is behind HIV denialists. I’m sure you know about THEM. Just as there are hundreds of people round the world actively promoting the view that AIDS is NOT caused by HIV, we have nutters in the UK who are promoting red-hot sexual desire in campaigns that should be apprising people of the REALITY of living with HIV.

    The denialists have to be fought.

    Take this issue to the mainstream press, Gary. There are responsible and proper journalists out there who will easily pick apart the nonsense spouted by the likes of Matthew Hodson and expose what is going on. Let’s not protect these individuals on their gravy trains any longer. Let’s subject them to intense scrutiny.

  33. Monkeychops 2 Sep 2009, 4:12pm

    Vince – Despite the similarities between the effects of HIV and Type 1 diabetes, diabetes is not a sexually transmitted disease and cannot be passed on unknowingly (or knowingly) from person to person. Like cancer or rheumatoid arthritis. People have more control over whether they get HIV because it is based on personal, human choices. Diabetes is not acquired through choice. These horror stories are designed to show people why the practices involved in the acquisition of HIV are just not worth the risk.

    I would never make a martyr out of anyone who has HIV, in fact I am one of those pushing for more personal responsibility amongst gay men. However, I don’t think it’s helpful to compare diabetes and HIV when their causes are very different.

  34. Monkeychops, #32, you wrote: “I wouldn’t have sex with someone with HIV because nothing is 100% safe, maybe that upsets some on here, but I don’t want to end up another statistic. All of this is exacerbated by the fact that the longer an HIV sufferer lives and the more sexually active he is, the longer he has to infect more people.”

    The matter is very complicated. I don’t want to be identified with the mindset demonstrated above. I don’t believe that it is necessary to swing to the extreme of requiring monogamy, and neither is it true to say that having sex with a person who is HIV is risky. HIV is very difficult to catch, but very easy if you engage in unprotected or certain practices. Moving towards monogamy and abstinence is no solution. People are designed to have and enjoy sex. They will have sex. They have a right to have sex. But in view of the prevalence of this horrendous virus, the sex must be of a CONTROLLED and SAFE form.

    The mission that we have, and which I would urge you to support, is to ensure that the HIV/AIDS charities stop cooperating with the sex industry and stop actively promoting excessive sexualization and hardcore or fetishistic sex. At the same time they must return to constantly publicising the reality of living with HIV.

    Vince, perhaps you have Type 1 Diabetes. If so, I am sorry for you. However, in making it clear to gay men what the realities of living with HIV are, one is NOT making martyrs of people who have HIV. Instead, one is responsibly warning gay men of the actualities of having to live with HIV.

  35. #35: Monkeychops: “I don’t think it’s helpful to compare diabetes and HIV when their causes are very different.”

    But I’m not comparing their causes. I am well aware that HIV is transmissible and that diabetes is not. And I mentioned this in my post.

    My point (which I maintain) is that in practical, day to day terms and in terms of longterm health consequences a HIV diagnosis is certainly no more serious than that of Type 1 diabetes.

    And it is not helpful to anyone to pretend otherwise.

    Any gay man in Britain has heard the safe sex message. If he chooses to ignore it for whatever reason then that is very sad.

    but at the end of the day if he does get HIV he will have access to treatment and if he monitors it closely then he will have a manageable, chronic illness (albeit 1 with a stigma attached)

  36. Monkeychops 2 Sep 2009, 4:37pm

    Eddy – Obviously, no-one wants to be in a position where they cannot have sex, but as we run out of ideas to stop gay men getting HIV, then the only way you will not get it is from abstinence or monogamy. Perhaps it’s this right to have sex with whoever and however they want, regardless of the fact they may already have partners that some gay men seem to believe they have that is the problem. From a human rights perspective, of course we should have the right to do whatever with whoever if it’s consensual, but when faced with a pandemic like HIV and when no amount of persuasion is making gay men practice safe sex, do we really deserve that right? After all, rights come with responsibilities. If gay men learned to wait and get to know someone before they had sex, that would help. Reducing your number of partners, investing time in a relationship and not a series of one nights stands. This would all help, but many gay men will just cry prejudice. If they had better solutions to fighting the pandemic, I’d be all ears, but they are far to focused on their right to have sex. Extreme situations necessitate extreme measures. Why else would we need such extreme horror stories? Gentle approaches just haven’t been working.

  37. Vince, you’re simplying things badly. You say “Any gay man in Britain has heard the safe sex message” as if that’s the end of the matter, as if just overhearing “the safe sex message” is sufficient work on our part to ensure people fully understand the dangers of acquiring HIV. Well, it isn’t enough. The rise in HIV infections is alarming. Do you really care? I hope so. Then massive work has to be done. And the campaigns which have been mounted and which are currently underway are ineffective.

    You seem to feel comfortable with re-stating that HIV is just “a manageable, chronic illness”. Unfortunately, Vince, the restating of his phrase over and over is causing gay men to not take HIV seriously enough.

    Do you want to be responsible for more and more HIV infections by insisting that HIV is only “a manageable, chronic illness”?

    Can you not see that reducing this transmissable disease in this manner and by not emphasing the realities of living with it and by not requiring the sex industry to pull back, and not requiring that HIV/AIDS education stop actively introducing gay men to highly risky environments and situations, one is in fact taking responsibility for the dramatic rise in infections?

  38. Monkeychops 2 Sep 2009, 4:43pm

    Vince – Ok fine, you can live with both diseases. But why is it relevant to discuss diabetes here? Just because it’s manageable doesn’t mean we should somehow dumb down the importance of not getting it in the first place. I do agree with you about the safe sex messages, we have all heard them a million times over and why some gay guys just think they don’t have to comply is beyond me. Gay men are just so selfish and careless it makes my blood boil. I just wish we could find a way to make people change.

  39. Um, Gary, I wasn’t being rhetorical when I asked if you could explain exactly what information you think gay men need “to stay healthy and free of HIV.”

    I would genuinely like to understand more clearly the difference between the information you think needs to be conveyed, and the kind of information provided by GMFA in recent years.

    I’d also like to know your view on the kind of information or messages that should be given to men who already have HIV, given that they unable to “stay free of HIV” because they are already HIV positive.

  40. Monkeychops, regarding HIV infection you say “the only way you will not get it is from abstinence or monogamy”. This is simply not true. It is false. You can have sex with HIV-infected people, and as much as you want and as often you want, and provided you practice safe sex you will NOT acquire HIV. Full stop. There’s massive evidence out there to prove this. There are 1000s of “magnetic couples”, consisting of one negative and one positive partner, who practice safe sex and who remain “magnetic”, i.e. the negative partner does not acquire the virus.

    So let’s not hear that mistaken and frightened belief from you again, OK.

    On the other hand, I agree with you that “investing time in a relationship” is far healthier way to spend part of one’s time than simply meeting different people for sex.

    There are those who are inclined to look for the one faithful relationship of a lifetime, there are those who are inclined to play the field, and there are those inbetween. This is the case whether we are speaking of heterosexuals or homosexual people. What we need to do with EVERYBODY, is peddle no moralistic line about whether it is right or wrong to have one kind of relationship or another, but absolutely ensure that EVERYBODY fully understands the realities of acquiring and living with HIV.

    This is the point. And this is what our HIV/AIDS “educators” have been failing to do. Instead they are playing along with the sex industry (the sex mags, the sex papers, the sex-toy industry, the porn-vid industry, the sex-clubs, the saunas, and so forth) and encouraging people into free-for-all participation down at one end of the spectrum. Let us take no moral attitude against guys and gals (hetero or homo) who want to dress up in rubber and be shat and pissed on in some dungeon. But let us ensure that HIV/AIDS education is not skewed towards encouraging people along to that end of the spectrum, when in fact HIV/AIDS education should be strongly and forcefully apprising people of the awful realities of living with HIV.

  41. Monkeychops 2 Sep 2009, 4:54pm

    Eddy – But what else can we do? Accompany people to every sex date and force them to put on a condom? Or actually go the whole hog and do it for them? It’s as much about one person in the sex situation saying that he will put on a condom as the other person saying that they will not be shagged without one. You keep saying how the current campaigns are ineffective and they may well be – but what are YOUR solutions? How do YOU think gay men could be persuaded to be not only more safe but to actually give a crap about how their sexual practices/lifestyle might impact on others? I cannot see any other way. We have tried frightening (80s style ads), legal protection approach (anonymous testing), state intervention (government-funded awareness programmes), gay venue collaboration (free jonnies and lube handed out), gay pride stands…..almost every resource has been used up. It can only be the mentality of gay men. Perhaps they are just irresponsible innately. Or a bit thick. Or too selfish. Whatever it is, we have not found a way to tackle it and we are just wasting millions on all these campaigns because they are making sod all difference.

    I disagree with your criticism of Vince’s statements on it being a manageable chronic illness. It is, why lie about it? If people think that having unprotected sex is ok because you will only get a horrible illness and not certain death, then that is their problem. And they will think that no matter how much you educate them on the subject. We are educating them now and they are still getting it.

  42. Vince, what has diabetes got to do with this discussion. You are comparing apples to pears. It doesn’t make hiv any less shocking than it’s realities already are and seems to be being increasingly used as a get out clause for the incompetent hiv charities. Saying that I would not wish any type of diabetes on my worst enemy!

  43. Monkeychops, careful, YOU are going to make lots of people’s blood boil if you spout appalling generalisations like “Gay men are just so selfish and careless it makes my blood boil.”

    There are a vast number of gay men who are NOT selfish and NOT careless.

    Some heterosexual men and women are selfish and careless, and so are some homosexual men and women.

    Please start thinking carefully and analysing what you are saying before you write things down.

  44. Monkeychops 2 Sep 2009, 5:05pm

    Eddy – If you abstain from sex, you will not get HIV. End of. If you practice safe, monogamous sex, you will only get HIV if one of you cheats (but then that’s not monogamy is it?). And hence, it’s pretty safe. What really think is missing is respect. The respect for the other partner. Clearly some men are not at all bothered about putting others at risk. If they want to put themselves at risk, that’s up to them, but not others.

    You say we shouldn’t peddle the moralistic line about what lifestyles people lead, but then you say we shouldn’t be encouraging them into sexual free-for-alls and so on. Well isn’t that being judgmental about someone’s sexual practices?

    You criticise Vincent pointing out that HIV is a manageable chronic illness because that will send out the wrong message to guys. But you then state that it’s perfectly ok to have sex with someone with HIV if you are safe (ripped condom anyone?). Are you trying to tell me that is a wise message to send out,especially after berating Vincent?

  45. No one is listening to this overwrought, hysterical doom mongering because it is no longer relevant to them. People have moved on. People get HIV and people are treated successfully. People know that safe sex should be practiced to prevent a whole range of STD’s. They are told so in schools, in advertising, even in teen magazines. The information is out there.

    And people will make their own choices.

    What’s important is that they are not so frightened by the scare-mongerers that they do not get tested early.

    God forbid we should return to the days of the doom laden AIDS campaigns which stigmatised gay men and led to the ‘gay plague’!

  46. Monkeychops 2 Sep 2009, 5:14pm

    “Monkeychops, careful, YOU are going to make lots of people’s blood boil if you spout appalling generalisations like “Gay men are just so selfish and careless it makes my blood boil.”

    There are a vast number of gay men who are NOT selfish and NOT careless.

    Some heterosexual men and women are selfish and careless, and so are some homosexual men and women.

    Please start thinking carefully and analysing what you are saying before you write things down”

    Of course, not all gay men are selfish and careless. But clearly enough of them are to keep us hard at work trying to solve the HIV problem. However, for my own personal safety, I am happy to generalise and be overly cautious. Like I would if I were going into a Muslim country – I’m sure they’re not all homophobes, but we all know that’s where we are highly likely to encounter problems. Are you trying to tell me you wouldn’t assume anything about Muslims, devout Christians or if you were walking through a predominantly rough area of a city? I know a lot of gay men and I have met many more in my life as a whole. Without a doubt, I have found them to be the most selfish of all groups in society. If you think that’s unfair fine, but you’re wasting your time harping on about generalisations. The best thing to do is get on with tackling the problems that lead to the generalisation in the first place.

  47. Monkeychops 2 Sep 2009, 5:18pm

    No one is listening to this overwrought, hysterical doom mongering because it is no longer relevant to them. People have moved on. People get HIV and people are treated successfully. People know that safe sex should be practiced to prevent a whole range of STD’s. They are told so in schools, in advertising, even in teen magazines. The information is out there.

    And people will make their own choices.

    What’s important is that they are not so frightened by the scare-mongerers that they do not get tested early.

    God forbid we should return to the days of the doom laden AIDS campaigns which stigmatised gay men and led to the ‘gay plague’!

    HIV is NOT teated successfully (you still die and you still suffer immensely) and perhaps this scaremongering has come about again because people have got to comfortable with the idea that maybe AIDS is not as bad as we thought. If I were frightened of having an illness, I would get tested. Simple. For cancer, diabetes, HIV, anything.

    Gay men were stigmatised for many different reasons back in the 80s. Powerful images of what HIV can do to you isn’t going to get gay men labelled today because we have educated people enough to know that it is a pandemic and knows no bounds of gender, age or sexual orientation.

  48. “you still die and you still suffer immensely”

    No, on the whole, you dont. That’s untrue. I know plenty of people who have been living with HIV for years and who expect to have a near normal lifespan. I have yet to see one die and I have yet to see one suffering immensely. I have yet to see one who is unable to lead an independant life. I have yet to see one unable to go clubbing, or the gym, or mountain climbimg or develop a successful career because of HIV. You are speaking of a minority (and an increasingly small minority) of people with HIV. You do not speak of the majority.

    I HAVE seen people suffering immensely and dying from cancers. I have witnessed people living with painful chronic conditions and disabilities which prevent them from working or leading an independant life but these people didn’t have HIV. These people didnt have an equavalent drug regime to help them as those with HIV do.

    Your views represent a rather pathetic victim culture.

  49. Monkeychops 2 Sep 2009, 6:05pm

    LuciusM – I wonder if you really know anyone with HIV. Do you think all the effects of that illness have just been invented? It is an insult to sufferers for you to practically compare their illness to, say chicken pox.

    You need to go away and research HIV/AIDS big time. Until you are informed of its effects – and I suggest you visit people living with it – you are in no position to comment.

  50. Gary, Eddy and Monkeychops – observe the debate between Monkeychops and Eddy about the best way forward.

    This is the reality of the difficulty of delivering effective HIV prevention. It is bloody hard to get people, who passionately want to prevent the spread of HIV, to agree on the best way forward. GMFA was formed by people with vastly differing views on the best approach to take, so it evolved into an organisation in which different points of view can be brought to formulate HIV prevention interventions that work for a variety of gay men, to do good without doing collateral damage.

    Do GMFA believe their work is flawless, as effective as it could be and incapable of being improved? Of course not. They’re constantly trying to figure out how to reach men with information that they’ll listen to and take on board, because, again, as Eddy and Monkeychops have demonstrated, that’s bloody hard to do too.

    No-one can guarantee to have the foolproof intervention that will reduce new HIV infections to zero, because no-one has demonstrated that they have such a thing. And of course it is extraordinarily unlikely to exist anyway, unless it interferes with people’s civil liberties in the most draconian way. But hypothetically speaking there must be a ‘best way forward’ right?

    Gary, Eddy and Monkeychops, do any of you think you should be granted the authority to decide what this best way forward is, regardless of who disagrees with you? I’m guessing that none of you is arrogant enough to think you should. So what then? Give gay men the chance to participate in the development and delivery of interventions aimed at their community? That’s what GMFA does. Perfectly? No. Sincerely? Yes.

    It’s understandable, if the approach GMFA takes in delivering health promotion is so vastly different from the approach you would take, that you would ask yourself if they deliberately mean to hide the truth, keep HIV spreading, etc, but if you just stop to think about the other explanations for why your particular view about how to prevent HIV transmission isn’t reflected in GMFA’s work, you’d see that there are perfectly reasonable explanations for this, that don’t involve a big conspiracy.

    Ultimately, if you’re so sure that your approach is a better one, why not stop pouring your strength and energy into attacking GMFA, and just carry on with your approach – doing everything you can to demonstrate how it works better than the approach taken by GMFA. This is what GMFA did, and guess what? THT followed. That, by the way is how it went – THT started imitating GMFA’s work (not nearly as well, I’d agree with you that the Hard Cell website sucks) and not the other way around.

  51. Monkeychops, #46.

    To answer your points:

    “If you abstain from sex, you will not get HIV. End of.”

    True. You will also not lead a normal human life. You can lead a life with a normal sexual dimension without acquiring HIV. You do so by ensuring you always have Safe Sex. Full-stop.

    “You say we shouldn’t peddle the moralistic line about what lifestyles people lead, but then you say we shouldn’t be encouraging them into sexual free-for-alls and so on. Well isn’t that being judgmental about someone’s sexual practices?”

    There is a considerable difference between being moralistic about what kind of sex people may enjoy and being pragmatic. Encouraging people into sexual free-for-alls is not pragmatic. It is in these atmospheres that under the effects of alcohol, recreational drugs, or sheer sexual desire that fear of risks is often abandoned. If people wish to sail close to the wind and seek to remain safe, that is their choice, their risk, their right. It is not pragmatic, however, to urge everyone to stand around at the edge of a cliff. I hope you see the difference now. You can morally chastise people for standing too close to the edge of a cliff or you can take pragmatic action to ensure that as few as possible are encouraged to venture anywhere near the edge.

    “You criticise Vincent pointing out that HIV is a manageable chronic illness because that will send out the wrong message to guys.”

    HIV is a chronic illness that no longer necessarily leads to rapid death. The condition can now be managed. This is a fact. My point, Monkeychops, was that to state this and leave HIV/AIDS education at this, alone, is irresponsible. Much much more has to be said. What does “chronic” mean? It means: intense, severe, lasting a long time, and incurable. What I have suggested to Vince is that it is easy to simply attribute the word “chronic” and pass on unthinkingly. There must be emphasis and analysis of what is meant by “manageable chronic illness”. Manageable means that it does not necessarily result in early death. But that is not to say that the manageability is not fiendish and difficult. A look at the cries for help at thebody.com proves that.

    “But you then state that it’s perfectly ok to have sex with someone with HIV if you are safe (ripped condom anyone?).”

    Monkeychops, I’m not going to let you get away with implying that safe sex involves ripped condoms. Safe Sex, if you study what the term means, does not involve behaviour which is going to cause strong condoms to rip. You also seem to assume that when a condom rips HIV-infection automatically and instantly follows. That is of course preposterous. It is likely that if a condom tears it tears during the thrust of sex and therefore before ejaculation. Safe Sex suggests that if by some chance your condom tears you remove it and replace it with another.

    Monkeychops, you do seem to be governed by rather too much fear, instead of reason. You do seem to assume the worst possible scenario.

    “. . . especially after berating Vincent?”

    I have not berated Vincent. To berate is to vehemently chide or scold. When I disagree that something is true or false, I disagree, and if necessary I will disagree strongly. That is not “to berate”.

  52. Monkeychops, #48, you wrote: “I know a lot of gay men and I have met many more in my life as a whole. Without a doubt, I have found them to be the most selfish of all groups in society.”

    Then, Monkeychops, you unfortunately have mixed with a very limited subset of gay men. You have clearly mixed with a selfish and probably shallow subset of gay men. You clearly have no experience whatsoever of the general spectrum of gay men. They are no different from the general spectrum of straight men.

    I am beginning to perceive hatred of gay men on your part, Monkeychops, and suggest that if you harbour hatred of gay men you get to hell off this website. We don’t welcome homophobes here, no matter how clearly disguised they come.

  53. Dave, #52, you arouse in me the suspicion that you may be so close to the whole merry-go-round on the inner city that you may well not be able to see the wood for the trees.

    This debate may annoy you, but you cannot stop it, it must be had, and it will be had, and it will have an effect. There is clearly discontent and a problem and it will be discussed and it may well snow-ball. The matter must certainly not just be sidestepped or dropped.

  54. Monkeychops 2 Sep 2009, 6:47pm

    “Then, Monkeychops, you unfortunately have mixed with a very limited subset of gay men. You have clearly mixed with a selfish and probably shallow subset of gay men. You clearly have no experience whatsoever of the general spectrum of gay men. They are no different from the general spectrum of straight men”

    You are very arrogant to tell me with whom I have mixed and that I have no idea of the diversity of gay men. With what self-asserting superior authority do you make this claim? To tell me my experience of gay men is not valid because it is not perhaps what you believe is even more arrogant. I am rapidly losing respect for your views.

    I do not hate gay men, but I hate the fact that a significant enough number of them are incredibly irresponsible and leave the rest of us all trying to pick up the pieces. After all, do you hear the voices on here of those men putting themselves at risk of HIV in the way that we have all been describing? No. They don’t want to engage, they want the rest of us to sort it out. It does get a bit frustrating when no matter what we do, all warnings, advice and support go to waste.

    Dave – I agree with you totally. If gay men cannot decide on a way forward, then it either shows we do not understand gay men (i.e. even ourselves) or we are dealing with a societal group that does not want to help itself. I fear we may have lost the battle with this disease long ago. And I didn’t attack the GMFA, regardless of people’s views on here I support any organisation that is attempting to sort this HIV mess out.

  55. Vince and Lucian, you clearly assume that so long as aids meds are freely dispenced all will be fine in the hiv love-in that the hiv sector aspires to. What neither of you or your breathren have answered is WHAT THE F@&£ HAPPENS when public finding to pay for meds for a preventible disease dries up? The current rate of hiv infections is not sustainable considering treatment can cost up to £200k per person over a lifetime. The switch to cheaper and less effective genetics seems inevitable and immanent yet still these sector “drones” are saying if you go ahead and catch hiv worry not cos the meds will ensure a normal life span. By clinging to this lie they are confining hundreds, possibly thousands of gay men to a premature death…..

  56. Debate doesn’t annoy me, Eddy. Unnecessary personal attacks do.

    I’m all for continuing the debate about what kind of HIV prevention would work best, but how about we do it without the unfounded and unsubstatiated accusations of treachery in the community and without the personal attacks on individuals who don’t share our point of view, no matter how frustrating that might be?

  57. re post57 “…What neither of you or your breathren have answered is WHAT THE F@&£ HAPPENS when public finding to pay for meds for a preventible disease dries up?…”

    That’s a crude “what if” argument which could be countered with endless “what if”‘s.

  58. I think some people have strayed into the dangers of a debate like this. When someone presents a premise like HIV prevention is failing and it’s all the fault of the HIV charities, it can easily lead into (and relies upon) some unintended bigotry about gay men, because it’s pretty damned clear that as adults we are all responsible for our own behaviour and not any HIV charity.

    AIDS has been used as a stick to beat us with ever since it was discovered that a disproportionate number of gay men were dying in the 80s.

    To paraphrase a few of the threads:

    “THT and GMFA have failed because gay men are having unprotected sex and HIV is sweeping through the community” – it’s not true. Some gay men have unprotected sex but lots of gay men don’t. Gay men are no different than heterosexuals in that some people have sex without protection despite knowing there could be negative consequences, whether that be pregnancy or an STI, but lot’s don’t. Also, it seems to me that while the numbers of gay men being diagnosed with HIV has increased, it hasn’t shot through the roof like we were expecting or like some people now claim. I haven’t got all the facts here so my apologies if I’m a bit off. Say around 3,000 gay men were diagnosed with HIV last year, well isn’t that a small percentage of gay men in the country? There’s got to be more than 300,000 of us so that’s less than 1%. I would have thought that there were a million gay men in the country so we’re probably talking about 0.3% becoming diagnosed with HIV in any year. And when more of us come forward to test and the number of people diagnosed with HIV goes up, rather than being congratulated for taking responsibility, people just twist the statistic to say that we’re even more reckless. We can’t win. It’s the “gay men can’t be trusted and they’ve all got AIDS” argument that has lead to some people feeling justified in preventing us from giving blood.

    “Young gay men don’t care any more and have to be frightened”. During the age of consent bill there were countless homophobes lining up to use the argument that younger gay men were somehow less mature than heterosexuals and needed to be treated as minors. An adult gay man of 21 is as capable as any other 21 year old at making sensible decisions based on facts. If we really believe that 21 year olds aren’t mature enough to deal with the consequences of sex we should never have campaigned to lower the age of consent. But I don’t believe that 21 year old gay men are less mature than heterosexuals.

    One posting I saw on here the other day accused THT of full on child abuse because THT have a website for gay men into SM – and we get the whole gay men can’t be trusted with kids argument raising its ugly head.

    And now the threat that public funding to pay for HIV medication for a preventable disease might dry up. Well gay men are no more and no less entitled to healthcare from the taxes they pay than anyone else in society. That includes people who put on weight (some of whom get diabetes) because they haven’t got a great diet or don’t exercise, people who smoke and put themselves at risk of heart disease and cancer, and yes, people who get pregnant.

    Whatever the best way forward in HIV prevention, some of you need to be careful that you don’t use bigotry to justify your positions.

  59. Monkeychops, #56, wrote: “a significant enough number of them are incredibly irresponsible”.

    Compare the above with Monkeychops’ earlier statement, at #48: “I know a lot of gay men and I have met many more in my life as a whole. Without a doubt, I have found them to be the most selfish of all groups in society.”

    Good, Monkeychops, despite your hysteria, you have actually been listening.

    First all gay men are the most selfish members of society, and now you have toned down a little to “a significant number . . . are irresponsible”.

    Keep going. Long way to go yet, I suspect, before you accept you have been frightfully and outrageously castigating of all gay men, and that in fact the most you are entitled to say is that SOME gay men, just like some heterosexual men, are selfish and irresponsible.

  60. Dave, #58, you wrote: “Debate doesn’t annoy me, Eddy. Unnecessary personal attacks do.”

    Dave, I have not made any unnecessary personal attacks upon you or anybody else. If a poster writes something which is blatantly untrue and it is pointed out to that individual that he or she has said something which blatantly untrue, that is a statement of fact, and it is not a personal attack.

    I suggest that such inability to permit direct refutation of utter nonsense is the sort of dynamic that has enabled GMFA and THT to proceed with unsatisfactory HIV/AIDS education programmes.

  61. It is annoying that this forum has been taken over by self-interested individuals who are repeating the same excuses over and over; e.g. that individual responsibility, not the HIV charities, are to blamne for rising HIV rates, etc. etc. Gary Lee’s article clearly highlighted how the catastrophic HIV rates of recent years are indeed the fault of the charities who are funded to keep them down, but have instead frittered away millions of pounds on crazy projects and ridiculous schemes. Who will remember GMFA’s kitchen gizmo – er – HIV detector campaign even six months from now, let alone 20 years?
    How utterly predictable also to see these same people resorting to the same, cheap, tired old tactics of labelling dissenters as “scare-mongerers” and “finger waggers”. Indeed, much of the vitriol I have seen on this board is not unlike the jeers and heckling I witnessed members of the THT and the GMFA unleash upon the speaker from Boyz magazine at last year’s CHAPS conference, who was invited to put the case forward for harder-hitting HIV campaigns.
    As Gary Lee writes in this thread, in 1990 medical journalist Oliver Gillie, writing in The Independent, described THT as being “rent with political discord and pursuing political correctness at the expense of medical accuracy, and sometimes common sense.” How interesting, then, that in today’s Independent Johann Hari writes- “George Orwell warned that language will inevitably become cluttered with phrases that have lost their meaning – or worse, are actually designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. He advised; ‘If one gets rid of these bad habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step towards political regeneration’.”
    What mainstream, non-HIV sector readers of this forum ought to realise is that many of those posting on this thread clearly worship at the church of political correctness, and will maintain their denial and insistence that they are right and the truth is wrong even if their lives depended on it. This is because political correctness by its very nature seeks to turn the truth inside out and so, when applied to HIV campaigns, we are presented with endless doublespeak and no hard facts.
    Whether or not there is a conspiracy behind the lies that are sending HIV infection sky high, the fact remains that GMFA’s failure to reverse this upward trend is enriching Glaxo’s shareholders immeasurably. It has long been held in my profession that THT has milked HIV for all its worth. There is an almost resigned acceptance that gay men must be consigned to their fate because to speak out about what is going on within the health profession is a strict no-no due, yet again, to political correctness which has run amok in this profession, and the fact that THT is known to force and cajole “non conformists” within the industry into line. It is a pity that Gary Lee omitted this most telling and utterly damning section from his article- “The uncomfortable reality dawns that the palpable failure in one part of THT’s remit (HIV prevention) is creating unprecedented demand in the most profitable part of its core business (HIV support services).” To deny this is to deny that the earth is round and pigs cannot fly. The question we should all be asking therefore is not why HIV prevention has failed on such a monumental scale, but WHY is the funding being given to an organisation whose major pre-occupation – and by association the GMFA’s also – is in enriching itself from the further spread of HIV? How on earth can these organisations be expected to want HIV prevention to be effective when that would put so much of their raison d’etre at stake? It is obvious to anyone who will care to pay attention that THT/GMFA cannot see the wood for the trees because they are looking out for number one and not the average gay man on the street.
    Further, instead of indulging in cheap snipes and PC inanities, the questions which the likes of LuciusM, Dave, BSE et al should be answering in response to Gary Lee’s article are:
    – When did the HIV sector decided to foerego its independence and decide to become an extension of the NHS?
    – What provision has it made for protecting gay men if expensive AIDS treatments do have to be rationed or replaced by cheaper alternatives?
    – How do they justify fund-raising at sex clubs where unsafe sex is the practised norm?
    – Why are they now vilifying those who speak out against reckless HIV-positive men while defending their “right” not to be prosecuted if they decide to have unsafe sex with anyone of their choosing?
    – Why the wall of silence to the two examples in Gary’s article of harder-hitting campaigns in the UK and San Francisco that measurably reduced HIV rates of HIV infection?
    – Why is the mainstream consensus being ignored (82 per cent of Pink Paper readers…etc.)
    – Why do they continue to insist on using HIV stigma as an excuse not to run harder-hitting campaigns when HIV-positive people themselves are offended at being used as scapegoats?
    – Why are the charities now focusing campaigns on the inevitability of contracting HIV?
    – Why no comment about Gary’s observations regarding the hyping and relentless drug pushing of PEP?
    – Where are 20-year-olds like those infected on the bareback shoot supposed to access truthful and hard-hitting information about HIV and why AIDS medications, and the fact that treatments that poison the body over time should not be regarded as a quick fix for inheriting the virus? etc. etc.
    Let’s have less evasion and obfuscation and some honesty and compassion for once in your lives, guys.

  62. Eddy

    I am sure it is just because you feel strongly, and not because you meant to be offensive, but there is no way around it, the following are unnecessary personal attacks from you on this board:

    Post number 15: “Hodson is clearly extremely naïve…”

    Post number 45: “Please start thinking carefully and analysing what you are saying before you write things down.”

    Post number 54: “Then, Monkeychops, you unfortunately have mixed with a very limited subset of gay men. You have clearly mixed with a selfish and probably shallow subset of gay men. You clearly have no experience whatsoever of the general spectrum of gay men.”

    And all I’m saying is that you can present your opinion and refute arguments posted without attacking the people whose opinions you disagree with in this way. If the arguments are robust they will speak for and defend themselves, so it is simply not necessary to make these, or any other kind of personal attacks.

  63. Monkeychops 2 Sep 2009, 8:56pm

    Comment from Eddy:

    “Dave, I have not made any unnecessary personal attacks upon you or anybody else. If a poster writes something which is blatantly untrue and it is pointed out to that individual that he or she has said something which blatantly untrue, that is a statement of fact, and it is not a personal attack”

    Blatantly untrue…such as. Oh, that’s right you called me a Tory and religionist, didn’t you? That’s both untrue and a personal attack. Enough of the hypocrisy.

    Dave, nice try, but you are wasting your breath on Eddy, he isn’t going to engage with you because you don’t agree with him. Personal attacks here are the norm when people can’t really put an argument together. I tried to be civil, diplomatic and democratic at the beginning but it never paid off because they just don’t understand how to. Besides, people on here seem more interested in winning an argument and oneupmanship than actually finding a solution to the problems gay men face. Guess it shows how much insecurity their is in our gay world.

  64. Thanks for the vote of support Monkeychops. I believe that Eddy genuinely cares about the issues surrounding HIV transmission and passionately wants them to be dealt with, which is a good thing.

    I’d just like the debate to move away from personal attacks that don’t help anyone, as well as away from the assumption that one person or another has no valuable contribution to make to the debate or is coming to it with an agenda of derailing efforts to reduce HIV transmission, because I don’t believe that either of those things are true.

  65. Dr. Phil, welcome to the discussion. You have let in a rush of fresh air! Can you get other doctors involved too? Let’s open this debate up wide. Let’s get this problem out in the public arena. If it stays here, then the HIV/AIDS educators simply will come under no pressure to alter course. Clearly they are in denial, they can’t see the wood for the trees, peer-pressure and so forth will not allow the required change of direction.

    Dave, if you think that anyone making statements like
    “Hodson is clearly extremely naïve…”,
    “Please start thinking carefully and analysing what you are saying before you write things down”,
    and
    “You have clearly mixed with a selfish and probably shallow subset of gay men. You clearly have no experience whatsoever of the general spectrum of gay men”
    is behaving unacceptably, then you too are participating in a bullying world where a spade cannot be called a spade, where facts cannot be spelt out and be acknowledged for what they are, where assertions to the contrary cannot be made, and where people in positions of responsibility cannot be called to account. Such a world may well be the world in HIV/AIDS educators aid and abet each other on current ill-considered courses of action and it cannot be allowed to continue.

    I’m blowing the whistle on such a world. Gary Leigh has blown the whistle on that world. Dr. Phil eloquently has. And so have many many others.

    We will NOT be battered into silence, to allow GMFA, THT, or any other similar group to continue on a course that fails to truly and unashamedly instruct and guide gay men away from the realities of HIV infection.

  66. Jesus there are some loony tunes posting on here. Dr Phil, my arse. Stop it man, you make yourself look ridiculous.

  67. Trev, your eloquence is overwhelming.

  68. Well, if anything is needed to hammer the final nail into GMFA’s coffin this board should just about do it. In lining up his hounds to back him up they have instead succeeded only in discrediting Matt Hodson’s excuse of a defense even further, and they have nowhere left to hide now except behind profanities and the grasping of straws. Thank goodness there are people still around to stand up for the truth and against the PC careerists whose single-minded agenda is to destroy our society through their “little me” control freakery. The veil has been well and truly lifted and it’s now down to gay men to reclaim their health and to tell these traitors where to go.

  69. Gary, Eddy and Dr Phil.

    My partner got HIV a few years ago. Did he know before that shag that HIV was serious and life threatening, with the real proespect of long term drug side effects? Yes. Did he know he could get HIV from unsafe sex? Yes. Did he know that using a condom and lube could have prevented that? Yes. Did he know that, by not using a condom with a casual shag, he would be putting himself at risk of getting HIV? Yes. So why did he do it? Because it is sex. Sexual arousal changes us fundamentally. The old expression ‘in the heat of the moment’ remains eternally true and describes, in this context, the changes to our psychological make-up that occur when we become sexually aroused. We do not think rationally at that moment, in the every day understanding of what is rational. So my partner knows that this is why he got HIV. Not because he didn’t know, or hadn’t been scared enough, because HIV was very scary then and it still is; he knew it. He knows he is responsible for the natural history, current state and all possible futures of his health. He knows he didn’t get HIV because a charity didn’t stop him.

    Charities can’t just pop by and slip one on for you in the second before you slide it in. Charities can only strive to inform and educate; truthfully, without over or understating any of that information. Because as soon as they do, we will quickly realise and stop believing them, because we aren’t stupid, and we aren’t, on a day-to-day basis, incapable of rational thought.

    But you will never stop HIV transmission. And scaring people in the 80s obviously worked since we obviously have no epidemic now… so scaring would obviously work again then…? No. I want to be educated, not scared.

    Because of my parther’s diagnosis I’ve learned a lot about HIV, the science behind it, and had to watch my partner deal with it all, and he continues to experience long term health problems. But he knows that this isn’t because a charity did it to him, or failed to stop it happening to him, and so I find certain postings here to be upsetting, distorted and potentially damaging.

    As we all should now, even with all the knowledge and skills we need to keep using condoms all the time, every time, without fail, sometimes that heat of that moment can become overwhelming, and that is all that HIV transmission needs.

  70. Perhaps we should all cast our minds back to the times when we took our first tentative steps into the world of sex. For many no doubt it was a slightly more carefree time before the onset of HIV and AIDS, for others of my age, we knew there was something terrible that we could catch, that had no cure and would kill us unless we used a condom. Do young people today really still have that same sense of danger that we did over 20 years ago?

    The statistics seem to suggest we don’t. It is nothing to do with nanny state to berate organisations well paid to educate our young and help protect them from harm, when everything points to their failing to do so.

    I have HIV and I am absolutely responsible for that. I don’t want GMFA and THT to spare my feelings by skirting round the issue that I have blown my chances and wrecked my future. What is done is done. I am going to die earlier than ever I would have wanted. I have been brought back from the brink of death, but not without cost. I don’t have a ‘manageable’ condition I have one that is taking me closer to my death year on year. It incenses me to hear HIV referred to as a chronic condition. It might be for some, but events have conspired to mean that it is far worse than that for me.

    I read this crap that Matthew Hodson has written and feel like screaming, screw me, save the children. Young people need to know before they embark on their sexual journeys that unprotected sex will ultimately lead to HIV, which in turn will lead to death. Yes, an endless juggling of potions my keep us alive to enjoy a few more years, but death is always a whisker away. Children are not born with a knowledge of the dangers that face them through life. They need to learn that fire burns and they need to learn that HIV kills

    THT and GMFA have lost their way. They need to find it, or else more over and let others take their place.

  71. Joseph – despite the comments about people not being rude to others, I have to say, I find your posting offensively stupid. Far, far less people would be engaging in unprotected sex if they fully knew the consequences of a life with HIV.

    Had the last 20 years the message been pressed home to us all what HIV really meant, I do not believe that HIV infection rates would be anything like as high as they are now. It is the notion that HIV is a manageable condition that is ringing in people’s ears these days, not that it is a death sentence. Who takes responsibility for that if it is not the organisations promoting that message?

  72. Reading the last three posts says it all, really. An HIV Sector crony trying to hold up the crumbling pillars of the fully discredited and hopefully soon deceased GMFA (come on, you lot have flogged the “HIV charities can’t stand by and slip a condom on everyone’s dick” spiel to death on this thread!), and a genuine sufferer recounting what life with HIV has meant for him. Sure, not everyone who needlessly contracts HIV will necessarily have the same experience, but it is a sober message to us all that we must not rest on our laurels where HIV is concerned. Only fate knows who may survive longer than others, but anyone within the HIV sector who from this point on dares to refer to HIV as a manageable condition with a normal life expectancy deserves what is coming to them. Can we now hope that gay mags like QX and Boyz will start putting its readers first by questioning the HIV sector’s useless and highly dubious campaigns and press releases instead of automatically and obediently printing them? And if the charities threaten to withdraw their ads in protest at such impudence on the part of editors who are doing their job, then they should let their readers know and we will make our voices heard and demand their closure.

  73. ” …but anyone within the HIV sector who from this point on dares to refer to HIV as a manageable condition with a normal life expectancy ….”

    Thank you, Rob. This new fashion of referring to it as a manageable disease upsets me far more than wall to wall messages that HIV=AIDS=DEATH, or however you want to word it, ever would.

    I don’t have the sort of HIV that will allow me to live anything like the life I would have wanted, or to realise any of the potential I once had. Given the choice I would have had the one in the adverts. I got the other one, the one that destroys you little by little day by day, eating away at both my mind and my body. The devastating after effects of severe encephalitis will ensure hopefully that I have little knowledge of my last few years before death, until then I will have to cope with an ever decreasing ability to actually cope. Nephritis is destroying my kidneys and I can only wonder what hammer blow life will throw at me next.

    This is the life with HIV that needs to be talked about by THT and GMFA, not some namby-pamby, live a normal life, its-no-worse-then-chilblains, HIV.

  74. Well I didn’t expect that. In what I was presuming was a safe discussion space I give my opinion using my own experiences and get called offensively stupid. I’ve followed these stories and comments to them for the last few weeks but not felt that I would be welcomed to this ongoing ‘discussion’. Now I see I was right. Thanks.

    There’s one very nasty person on here who is obviously using multiple names as the writing style is the same as are the attacks he makes. To that person – You are rude- you don’t know me – I do not work for a charity – those were my words and my opinion, no one else’s – you are obsessed and need help.

    You’ll probably attack me again now under one of your guises, or ‘anon’ as above, but I won’t be reading so don’t bother. I’ve much more important things to do in life than entertain your obsession.

  75. Joseph, #72, you wrote: “Sexual arousal changes us fundamentally. The old expression ‘in the heat of the moment’ remains eternally true and describes, in this context, the changes to our psychological make-up that occur when we become sexually aroused. We do not think rationally at that moment, in the every day understanding of what is rational. So my partner knows that this is why he got HIV.”

    Joseph, what you have stated above is absolutely 100% true.

    Now, please go and look at the following image on a THT HIV/AIDS-education website. I point you to just one of many images that GMFA and THT are using. There are scores more that these organizations are using and have used, and there are scores more which are conjured up in the text that they choose to write and print.

    Click here to see how the Terrence Higgins Trust is using hardcore gay-porn images and sexually-charged text in its mistaken mission to reduce HIV infections

    This image, and the many others, as well as the tone of the text which is being used by the major UK HIV/AIDS-educators, proves beyond all doubt that these organizations are currently working hand-in-glove with the gay-sex industry, promoting involvement in behaviour which significantly raises the possibility of acquiring HIV.

    Joseph, you have rightly spoken of the danger of HIV infection “in the heat of the moment”. Now please consider that presenting young people who are HIV-negative with hardcore gay-porn images and sexually-charged text (as above) can only arouse sexual fantasies, desires, and expectations and encourage kinds of sexual involvement and practice in which those “in the heat of the moment” behaviours which you have described are very likely to occur.

    100 or more gay men, all red-hot, stark naked, at a gay underwear-party or buff-night in a London “sex-club” pub, a sling in the corner, the air filled with poppers, alcohol on tap as well, are much more likely to involve themselves in high-risk sex, than gay men in many other situations. Therefore GMFA and THT should most certainly NOT be introducing such scenarios to young gay men and GMFA and THT should, instead, be working AGAINST the sex-industry so that such environments are not promoted in the gay magazines, newspapers, lisltings, and so forth.

    A major part of the problem is that GMFA and THT are rooted in London and immersed right in the heart of one of the heaviest and strongest gay sex-scenes in the world. Hence, GMFA and THT simply can’t see the wood for the trees. If GMFA and THT were run by gay concerned professionals geographtically well away from the intense gay-sex industries of London, their approach would most certainly be different.

    “Anon”, thank you for speaking out so clearly, bravely, and directly. If other people agree with “Anon”, then please would those people take the time to add a Comment here, and encourage other like-minded people to come and Comment here and elsewhere too.

    We must not let this matter drop.

  76. Dr. Phil wrote: “Who will remember GMFA’s kitchen gizmo – er – HIV detector campaign even six months from now, let alone 20 years?”

    Actually doc, I will probably recall it with abject horror a couple of years for now, but for all the wrong reasons, and least of all about anything to do with HIV prevention. And that is the point all forward thinking people on this thread are making. We need impacting, hard hitting HIV campaigns which stay embedded in the collective psyche but for all the right reasons. If GMFA disagrees that a little fear mongering is vital to save health and lives then it must disband forthwith because its softly softly agenda has been destroying our community by stealth for years now. Would GMFA agree to stand in the dock in a public discussion on this issue, which really needs an airing beyond this forum? It would also mean that people making a stand can do so in person and not under a pen name. Is Paul Burston reading this? How about a follow up to your bareback porn forum Paul, only on a bigger scale? All gay media could be invited along to have their say together along with genuine health professionals who could reveal what it is really like on the front line, having to cope with issuing HIV prognoses daily, then that is something I would pay good money to attend…

  77. Joseph, ignore the rubbish that anon, Rob, Gary, Eddy, Sam etc. and bloody Dr Phil say. He is a distrurbed and troubled man. I wish you and your partner well, and good luck in the future.

  78. The reason I keep mentioning diabetes is simply to draw attention to the utterly absurd manner the gay community treats HIV.

    The reasons the hard-hitting HIV campaigns of 20 years ago worked was because 20 years ago a HIV diagnosis was rightly regarded as a death sentence. That is quite simply not true any more. We live in the UK where a HIV diagnosis today means that you will need to take medication for the rest of your life. Awkward? Yes. Fatal? No.

    Hard-hitting HIV campaigns will not work because gay men know full well that a HIV diagnosis is not a death sentence. But the HIV organisations are being (deliberately?)dishonest by over-emphasising how difficult it is to live with the practical consequences of a HIV diagnosis.

    I find it absurd that the HIV prevention campaigns babble on about what an awful illness it is to catch but if you get a positive diagnosis the message immediately switches to ‘oh it’s a manageable condition.’ Which one is it? Someone is lying to suit the audience.

    There is no excuse for someone to get HIV these days. We all know about safer sex. If people do catch it then it’s because of that person’s choices and actions. I am making no moral judgement on these people – people have many(and sometimes foolish and ignorant reasons for engaging in unsafe sex) However I see no benefit in making martyrs out of HIV positive men which seems to happen a lot (look at this thread). They have a serious illness. They will have to deal with it and if they are diligent in their treatment they will have a normal life expectancy.

    If this is the truth then why do people feel the need to go on and on about how tragic and awful a positive diagnosis is?

  79. Eddy, you said (post number 67):

    “..you too are participating in a bullying world”

    and

    “We will NOT be battered into silence…”

    And you have behaved like a bully and tried to silence people on this board yourself, as follows:

    Post number 42 in response to Monkeychops: “So let’s not hear that mistaken and frightened belief from you again, OK.”

    I’m not trying to bully or silence you, I’m trying to get you to see that attacking people is of no help to anyone. You can still vehemently disagree with someone, express your point of view and challenge the opinions of others without calling them names and attacking them as individuals.

    The result of your personal attacks on Joseph is that he is no longer interested in listening to you or participating in this debate. Continuing in this way, instead of gathering gay men to think about the best way forward, you’ll be pushing them away.

  80. Vince, #80, you wrote: “a HIV diagnosis today means that you will need to take medication for the rest of your life. Awkward? Yes. Fatal? No.” So, “awkward” is the appropriate description you feel, Vince. Having HIV for the rest of one’s life is in your opinion just “awkward”. I suggest you read the above comments. I suggest you visit thebody.com and have a good couple of hours looking around and learning. And if then you still feel that having HIV is simply “awkward”, I suggest you get yourself along to an HIV clinic at some major London hospital and do some research amongst the professionals there. You’ll learn that it’s a damn sight more than your “awkward”. As for the rest of your post at #80, one has to wonder just how much empathy and compassion you possess.

  81. Dave, #81, with regard to others in this Comments section you wrote that I have been “calling them names and attacking them as individuals.”

    Nonsense! And other readers of these Comments can see that what you are saying here is nonsense.

    I accuse though of insisting on an atmosphere where there cannot be plain and direct speech, where people cannot be called to account over a very very important matter. Is this the kind of gagging and silencing atmosphere that is imposed within the offices of GMFA and THT, which means that opposing opinion can be voiced and maintained, which means that everyone just “goes with the flow” and no one dares to dissent? I suspect so. In fact, we have some evidence in these threads that this is the case.

  82. Douglas McBean 3 Sep 2009, 4:22pm

    I hope some frightened inexperienced young lad does not venture on here – poor kid! And for Eddy – please please please be specific, less shrill, more objective and engage emotional intelligence – I REALLY DO want to hear what YOU would do differently and the scientific basis thereon. I am sure the THT/GMFA boys are used to the rants and finger pointing but please lads, can we not leave that to The Daily Mail? This is TOO TOO imoprtant for some of the sh*te I have been reading…who benefits?

  83. #82: Eddy: You say: “So, “awkward” is the appropriate description you feel, Vince. Having HIV for the rest of one’s life is in your opinion just “awkward”. ”

    EXACTLY.

    Having a long term chronic illness is awkward but perfectly manageable. I don’t see diabetics moping on about how difficult it is to have to inject themselves 4 times a day and how they have to do 4 bloodtests a day for the rest of their lives. They simply get on with it. I would expect the same attitude from HIV positive men.

    People who get HIV do not deserve pity or sympathy. They deserve the necessary medical and social support to help them live with their diagnosis. They are not victims. They should not become martyrs. They have a longterm chronic illness and if they are careful with treatment they will have a normal life expectancy.

    That is the reality of a HIV diagnosis today. Perhaps this sounds cold to those men who lived through the time when a HIV diagnosis was a death sentence. However there is a generation of men who never saw that and thanks to the advances in medecine never will.

    It is also the reason that unsafe sex and infection rates are rising. However thanks to the knowledge that HIV is no longer a death sentence I think the ‘always wear a condom or you will die a horrible death’ message is being ignored.

  84. Vince, I don’t know what your problem is but you clearly have one. You don’t want to acknowledge the reality of HIV today. You want to diminish it, for reasons only known to yourself. Maybe you have some disease or other (you keep referring to diabetes) and maybe you feel that more attention should be lavished upon you. Fine, maybe it should. I feel sorry for you, if you are not getting enough sympathy, care, and attention. However, people not getting sufficient attention for one disease does not provide good reason for diminishing the attention that needs to be given to another. Only you know why you have this chip on your shoulder, why the plight of people with HIV irks you. Why not go out and fight for more attention for whatever disease it is that you have got? Wouldn’t that be a more positive thing to do, than to spend your time here insisting that living with HIV is simply “awkward”?

  85. Hi Vince – can you talk me through the ‘advances’ in medical research that are going to prevent my death?

    Unfortunately no one at the hospital seems to be much help on this.

    They are monitoring the damage caused by HIV encephalopathy and the progressive deterioration it causing to my cognitive function and my memory in particular, and they only assurances they can offer me are that the recent stem cell technology advances in the States are not in anyway advanced enough to be of help to me. Maybe you know something different.

    I’m also severely restricted as to the medications I can take because of the kidney problems I have. I’ve blown one of my few options because of the lipodystrophy it caused. I stayed on it as long as I could, knowing that my options were limited in the hope that I could ride it out with exercise and diet, but ultimately the damage was becoming too overt, so I changed.

    I’m now on Kivexa. Fortunately I’m not one of those who suffer hypersensitivity that can result in a life-threatening reaction or death. I believe this affects only around 5%, so a bit of good luck there (if nowhere else).

    Because of my family history of heart disease, I’d ideally not be on the drug because of the increase in risk of heart attack it causes, but its damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. There only seems to be one other treatment option suitable for me at the moment, and if I go on that now and I have any sort of adverse effects I’m screwed.

    Maybe you can suggest a combination that my doctors haven’t thought of that could get round all of this?

    Or maybe you can’t.

    Maybe it isn’t quite as simply as you think.

    Much of the treatment for HIV is little more than experimental.

    Long term trials of drugs are only now showing the effects on the body over long periods of time.

    “ … if they are careful with treatment they will have a normal life expectancy.”

    Where did you read that?

    I couldn’t be more careful with my treatment.

    The problem is Vince it only manages the HIV.

    It doesn’t manage the other problems that HIV has caused.

    It doesn’t manage the side-effects and complications.

    There is noting medically available that will prevent my brain deteriorating.

    My kidneys are going to fail and I cannot grow new ones. My chances of getting a transplant are slim to none.

    There is no medication on the market to bring back the loss of feeling peripheral neuropathy causes in my arms and legs, and there is no cure.

    Increasingly I am afraid to go out alone because I get lost and forget where I am and what I am doing – there is no pill to prevent this.

    I haven’t even touched on the effects of the medication digestive system – the cramps, the reflux, the diarrhoea, the nausea I endure daily.

    I have lost my confidence and my dignity, and I will lose more each day until I die.

    I am genuinely happy for all the people with HIV who live the rose tinted life that you appear to believe that HIV allows us. If I could stick a needle in my arm however many times a day that allowed me to go out to work, to go to the shops, to the cinema, maybe even go out for a drink with friends once in a while, I’d happily do it.

    You say that ‘thanks to the knowledge that HIV is no longer a death sentence’.

    Believe what you will, but you’re wrong.

    Joseph – as for your comments concerning others posting to be upsetting and distorted – all I can say is that you have painted a picture of normality for those of us with HIV that could not be further from mine. Is it better to paint a picture of life with HIV as rosy as that of your partner’s, or is it better to let people now the full extent of the destruction that HIV can reek on a life?

    You, Vince , GMFA and THT obviously think the former, but it hardly much discouragement is it? Might they not feel a little bit sold short if when they actually get it, it bears no resemblance to the life-as-normal variety and is a little more like the living hell version I got picked for?

  86. I see ‘Eddy’ is back from work then. Surely that means Gary, Rob, Dr Phil et al will be soon too.

    Eddy – that post above was plain nasty and personal. If you don’t agree then you have serious problems, along with your alter egos.

  87. Anon, at #87, “Bravo!” for what you have taken the time and trouble to write here. Let’s not allow the denialists to batter us into silence by claiming that we are being rude, or personal, or attacking them. Clearly we are making them feel uncomfortable but unfortunately that is how it has to be for them.

    Anon, at #88, could you please use a different ID to that of the person using “Anon” at #87? As for your suggestion that I am posting under different IDs, I am not. I post only under my name, Eddy. Furthermore, I have written nothing in this thread which is “plain nasty and personal”. I have written things which disagree with the views of those who agree with GMFA supporters and which disagree that living with HIV is now an easy ride. I am entitled to disagree and will continue to do so. Disagreement with what GMFA and THT are doing is why Gary Leigh wrote his article.

  88. In reply, Eddy, I refer you to your post at 86. If you don’t consider that any of that was directed personally at Vince, and based on your own unsubstantiated assumptions of his state of health, then what would you consider personal? Vince had an opinion. You directed your reply in a personal manner and, in my opinion, it was nasty.

    I would also rather you conducted yourself as Douglas suggested at post 84.

  89. Anon, #90, oh, for goodness’ sake, get onto the damned topic and quit this “Let’s not be rude to people we disagree with” nonsense! Use your real name and say what you think and if your argument is shot down in flames, if your cage is rattled and you start to think, then good: young men’s lives are being placed in danger. HIV/AIDS-education apparently consists of exposing young gay men to:

    THT hardcore gay pornography parading as HIV/AIDS-Prevention

  90. Can we stop all this Eddy, Gary, Rob, Dr Phil, me all being the same nonsense please. Several (if not all) of these people have been posting on here for a while quite independently and suddenly a few people (who I have to say I don’t recognise and seems to have sprung up with this pro GMFA/THT article) start accusing them/us of being one.

    Style of writing, grammar and use of punctuation all point to each of us being a separate individuals. Is this just some childish tactic to deflect from the issue at hand.

  91. Ryan Haynes says:

    “Unfortunately I have to disagree taking into account direct experiences of people I know and friends who are positive and sexually active”

    Sorry, but that has to be one of the most ignorant comments I have ever heard in an debate on HIV. The fact that someone who is HIV-positive is also sexually active does not mean that they are putting others at any real risk of infection.

  92. It is really difficult to generalise about experience living with HIV I was diagnosed in 1985 and have few problems despite a 250 CD4 count. Somebody diagnosed more recently with the same clinical indicators could have severe and serious issues.

    How the experience of PLWHIV (people living with HIV) feeds into prevention work is going to be contentious the individual experience cannot be generalised, at the extreme the body builders on the Positive Health Scheme will have a different experience to the people in dementia daycare.

    The experience in the provinces will also always be different to London, there are documented sex clubs here going back until at least the 18th Century. Young men come to the big city to avoid the homophobia of the small towns the real issue must be how we stop these young men becoming infected, I’m not sure telling them the symptoms of infection would make a difference.

  93. eddy post91:

    “HIV/AIDS-education apparently consists of exposing young gay men to:

    THT hardcore gay pornography parading as HIV/AIDS-Prevention”

    lolololol

    I should hope these young, gay men are indulging in it themselves! Safely, ofcourse.

  94. Back from my hols and stumbling on this thread rather late, but better than never. Going back to Matt’s article, the main bone of contention is his new “get-out-of-jail” spin based on some sex survey statistic to justify why GMFA will not be toughening up its HIV campaigns, namely:

    ‘The Gay Men’s Sex Survey shows that there is almost universal agreement amongst gay men, irrespective of their age, that HIV is a serious medical condition (1). Therefore, campaigns that only tell everyone how serious HIV is would only be delivering a message that gay men already know.’

    Other posters have already done a good job of blowing this porkie out of the water, namely that if
    almost all gay men already know the hard facts of HIV, then WHERE did gay men in their 20s and younger learn them from, and more crucially WHY has the HIV rate almost hit 3000 new recorded infections for the last few years? If gay men did know the hard facts then most would be taking the appropriate precautions by now, surely, and the rate would be falling?

    Matt sure knows how to spin a yarn and twist the truth, but he does tellingly state the words “almost universally agreement.” What does “almost universal” mean in this context exactly? 99%? 90%? 80%? 60%? Even if there was scope for authenticity in his claim, by his own admission not every man knows the truth about HIV. Why, then, is he so willing to throw them to the wall and continue with his ad campaigns for the withdrawal method and sanctioning of hardcore sex clubs when these naive unfortunates are so clueless about HIV?

    Additionally, by stating that most gay men are aware of the dire risks involved with HIV sets an appalling precedent and could be used by a future cash-strapped or right-wing government to justify withdrawing the right for reckless gay men to continue receiving obscenely priced treatments. After all, in 2009 the gay men’s health charity said all gay men knew the risks involved in contracting HIV, so why should the tax payer continue to fork out millions of pounds to a sector of society that chose to contract a deadly disease regardless? I would add that such a government would use similar excuses to stop treating smokers for cancer and obese people for diabetes. If you think it won’t or can’t happen then you are living in cloud cuckoo land!

  95. PS I would make the point, anon, that so what if Eddy, Gary, Rob, Dr Phil – indeed all sane-minded and enlightened people on here are one and the same person? At least the points they make are a refreshing breath of fresh air amid the rabid rantings of self-interested cliques and the usual suspects who tend to lurk around every corner, and their/his/its truth speaks for itself. And at least they/he/it are preventing these boards from degenerating into a wilderness of complete ignorance and politically correct hysteria and deceit…

  96. “If gay men did know the hard facts then most would be taking the appropriate precautions by now, surely…”

    Why?

    On the basis that HIV will have a devastating impact? But that’s not, on the whole, true.

  97. “PS I would make the point, anon, that so what if Eddy, Gary, Rob, Dr Phil – indeed all sane-minded and enlightened people on here are one and the same person?”

    *sigh*

    so a lot
    so deliberate distortion

  98. Clearly they are not, anon (99), so move on.

    “On the basis that HIV will have a devastating impact? But that’s not, on the whole, true”

    “If gay men did know the hard facts then most would be taking the appropriate precautions by now, surely…”

    “Why?”

    “On the basis that HIV will have a devastating impact? But that’s not, on the whole, true.”

    How is anyone really to know Lucius? We are so far from educating people with any facts about HIV these days, its hard to say what people would think if they were told that some of the starker realities of HIV infection – the point has been made on here that we do it with smokers and year on year the number of smokers is dropping.

    Supposedly I’d be upset though by hard hitting images. That I’m afraid is another reality that has has the THT/GMFA makeover. I would be over the moon if they actually started to be a bit more honest about the real extent of the problems HIV can cause instead of peddling this myth that the meds will make you live for every.

    In the first instance you have got to actually get on them and hospitals are getting later and later at putting people on meds, and increasing this is only prompted by a serious health issue, by which time extensive damage can already have occurred.

  99. “In the first instance you have got to actually get on them and hospitals are getting later and later at putting people on meds, and increasing this is only prompted by a serious health issue, by which time extensive damage can already have occurred.”

    So now the hospitals are involved in some conspiracy too? This is madness and simply not true. The current BHIVA guidelines followed by all UK HIV clinics state treatment initiation should occur before a person’s CD4 count drops below 350. This is up from the old guidelines where the threshold was 200. So treatment these days is being started earler, not later as stated in the above post. Those who start treatment below 350 these days generally have not been returning for clinic follow up, or have been diagnosed late. Fortunately the number of gay men diagnosed late is dropping year by year, and fewer gay men are diagnosed late than any other demographic group. Why? Because of good education and good information they have available.

  100. I would like to state for the record that I have never had the honour of being nor indeed ever meeting Eddy, Phil, et al., though to stand among the shoulder of giants where this forum is concerned is a great honour. Now, Matthew, isn’t it about time you tethered and muzzled your hounds? They have not done wonders for your reputation, have they? This thread alone would be all the evidence that was needed to prove that your “health charity” – which preaches HIV enabling manouvres to clueless kids and whose “shills” loiter at the entrance to dark rooms where pathogens are rampant, begging for donations in order to further your doomsday ambitions – is not fit for purpose. GMFA should be closed down by ‘elf ‘n safety forthwith!!!!!!

  101. Has occurred to me overnight how utterly pathetic and feeble it is of the GMFA supporter(s) to try to diminish and/or demolish our arguments against them by insisting that I, Gary, Rob, Dr Phil, Sam, Anon, and others are ALL ONE AND THE SAME POSTER!

    What does this tell us?

    This accusation tells us that it is entirely beyond the belief of one or more GMFA supporters writing on this thread, that there is a concensus of disapproval of GMFA’s and THT’s current methods of HIV/AIDS prevention! They just can’t BELIEVE, can’t ACCEPT, that there are a good number of people out there, beyond their tight self-preserving little circle, who are blowing the whistle on them!

    Anon #100, your point re. the strategies that have been found necessary after many many years to MAKE smokers stop smoking, namely printing “SMOKING KILLS!” on cigarette packets, passing legislation re. advertisements for cigarettes, and printing pictures of the effects of smoking on packets. Brilliant parallel, Anon. Well thought! Now, supporters of the GMFA’s and THT’s current form of HIV/AIDS-prevention will immediately try to argue that smoking is completely different. But it is NOT. There is much in common. We all know old folks in their 90s who are still always with a fag hanging out of the corner of their mouths. Clearly smoking hasn’t killed them. But yet we don’t shirk the responsibility of shoving the graphic truth of the effects that smoking CAN have at the general population in order to modify dangerous behaviour. Same thing has to happen with HIV/AIDS prevention. There’s this crazy idea at GMFA and THT that “Ooooooh, we mustn’t scare anybody! Scaring people just is NOT acceptable!” Crap, crap, crap! There is nothing wrong whatsoever with scaring people and put fear into people about behaviour that can lead, just like smoking, to serious long-lasting illnesses and diseases.

    Anon of #101. You have been asked already: please respect the fact that Anon at #100 is using the “Anon” ID. Please use a different ID. Call yourself “Anon2″, if you like. But by doing what you are doing you undermining easy comprehension of who is saying what.

  102. Yes please change your monniker or the confusion will just go onanonanon

  103. There are several problems with the arguments being forwarded by those who are in opposition to the HIV charities.

    On the one hand they are using the experiences of long-term survivors to show that HIV isn’t a manageable condition, yet on the other they are conveniently ignoring the fact that the experiences of those long-term survivors (who either didn’t have access to timely treatments or had to suffer quite horridly, and sometimes experimental, debilitating treatments) simply aren’t something which most people starting treatment today will ever have to relate to.

    On the one hand, without actually producing any facts to support their claims, they say that the HIV charities are lying when they claim that gay men do know the risks associated with unprotected sex – and thus manufacture a bogus argument based on the assumption that it is the young and ignorant who are becoming infected with HIV – yet on the other hand conveniently ignore the hard facts provided by the Health Protection Agency’s own figures on rates of infection and diagnosis, which show quite clearly that it is the young and supposedly ignorant under 25s who, amongst the sexually active, have by FAR the lowest rates of infection and diagnosis.

    Contrary to the manufactured claims of those who blame THT and GMFA, it is actually those who are easily old enough to remember the tombstone campaigns of the 80s – and in most cases even old enough to have already been adults and sexually active when those campaigns were still around – who have by far the highest rates of infection and diagnosis.

    In short we have plenty of claims and flawed assumptions being thrown at the charities, but precious few facts.

    continued ….

  104. …. continued

    The likes of THT and GMFA are in an impossible situation. On the one hand we expect them to provide compassionate support to those who have become infected – turning their despair into the realistic hope that all is not lost and that they will live long and productive lives, to die of the same ailments to which we all eventually succumb – yet on the other we are expecting them to disseminate an untruthful and propagandist message which tells people that their life will become instantly wretched if they become infected with HIV.

    It is an unfortunate reality that HIV debates are beset with anger – especially the anger of those who become infected and need someone to blame for the consequences of their own informed choices – and it is a hard fact that most the Johnny-come-latelys, who claim they can do better, are fuelled by this anger of being unable to accept they bear some of the responsibility for the situation they find themselves in.

    I am in no way associated with any of the charities; but given the contradictory demands that are made of them, I think they do a damn good job. No one has shown me that they have a better solution and that they can do a better job of balancing the contradictory demands.

    Most people who become HIV-positive will eventually learn how to deal with the anger – but an unfortunate minority don’t. I fail to see the sense in throwing the baby – and almost thirty years of hard-won experience – out with the bathwater.. and for no better reason than to placate those angry few who are simply unable to accept the direct consequences of their own informed choices.

  105. Eddy says:

    “This accusation tells us that it is entirely beyond the belief of one or more GMFA supporters writing on this thread, that there is a concensus of disapproval of GMFA’s and THT’s current methods of HIV/AIDS prevention! They just can’t BELIEVE, can’t ACCEPT, that there are a good number of people out there, beyond their tight self-preserving little circle, who are blowing the whistle on them!”

    Is Eddy always prone to making such staggeringly flawed extrapolations.

    Whilst, in the absence of hard evidence, it is probably wrong to directly accuse any individual of trolling with with multiple identities – even though the balance of evidence strongly suggests that at least SOME are – the conclusions that Eddy reaches are simply bizarre and those he would like others to arrive at .. because they suit his point of view.

  106. Mark, #105 – 107, wrote:

    “they are using the experiences of long-term survivors to show that HIV isn’t a manageable condition”

    Long-time survivors prove that HIV IS a manageable condition. Why? Because they are not DEAD. People recently-infected and not ill due to medication prove that HIV IS a manageable condition. There is clearly misunderstanding on Mark’s part of the meaning of the term “manageable”. “Manageable” is the opposite of “unmanageable”. An “unmanageable” disease, as AIDS used to be, results in serious illness and death. Therefore “manageable” does not mean “fine”. It does not even mean “awkward”. It simply means that the condition CAN be managed. Now what does that managemeant entail? Is the lifelong daily management easy and comfortable or difficult and uncomfortable, even painful? Chemotherapy on a daily basis for the rest of an HIV person’s life: this alone is a very difficult and demanding thing to manage. If anyone disagrees, go look at thebody.com or other such websites and search the term “adherence”. Somewhere somebody has stated that adherence to taking the daily drugs at the specific time(s), never early and never late because of the drugs’ periods of effectiveness, is the most difficult thing they have ever had to do. But the “management” of HIV entails many more difficulties than just the rigorous and disciplined taking of toxic daily medication. You only have to read several of the posts above to see what management entails. Read the accounts from Anon. They are absolutely authentic. And before you say, “Ah, but it’s not like that for everyone!” remember that old woman of 95 you saw the other day with the fag in her mouth. She no doubt says, “Ah, nothing wrong with smoking. Look at me. Smoked two packets a day, the whole of my life!” Go to thebody.com and just browse the cries for help from the past few weeks alone!

    “the experiences of those long-term survivors (who either didn’t have access to timely treatments or had to suffer quite horridly, and sometimes experimental, debilitating treatments) simply aren’t something which most people starting treatment today will ever have to relate to.”

    This rather ambiguous statement appears to suggest that a whole range of difficulties which in the past have been associated with HIV/AIDS “simply aren’t something which people starting treatment today will ever have to relate to”. Well, unless there has been some extraordinary headline in the major newspaper this very day, TODAY, which I have not seen, then go to thebody.com and simply look at the hundreds of postings from people with HIV just for the month of August 2009! Those people are all on treatment. Yet from all over the globe they have all gone to the trouble to posting as they have on thebody.com because they are experiencing a whole range of difficulties and anxieties. Fact. Go read. Go learn. Accept the facts. Or will Mark’s repost to this be that just ONE or TWO persons have been posting to the hundreds of threads at thebody.com under thousands of different IDs? The lengths that some people will go to maintain their point of view in the face of hard evidence is unfathomable.

    “we are expecting them to disseminate an untruthful and propagandist message which tells people that their life will become instantly wretched if they become infected with HIV.”

    There is clearly a need for Mark to re-read and follow all of the above postings carefully. The gist of the argument is that the methods currently being used are inappropriate, regardless of which section of the gay community is being targeted. The HIV/AIDS-prevention “educators” are working hand-in-glove with the various and many voracious sex industries. Again, click here for just one example of how arousing hardcore gay porn is being used in a badly mistaken drive to prevent HIV infection

    I do not believe that anyone here who is dissatisfied with the current trends of GMFA’s and THT’s HIV/AIDS-prevention campaigns has advocated that pamphlets, advertisements, and websites should tell people that acquiring HIV means “life will become instantly wretched”. “Instantly wretched” is a rather melodramatic term to use and I suggest Mark has used it in an effort to exonerate the current campaigns. A wide number of people have agreed that the HIV/AIDS-prevention message must be strongly deterrent. Nobody has suggested melodrama or hysteria along the lines of “instantly wretched”. The phrase is facile and fatuous.

    “It is an unfortunate reality that HIV debates are beset with anger – especially the anger of those who become infected and need someone to blame for the consequences of their own informed choices”

    Mark appears here to be attributing motive. There are some posters on PinkNews threads who sincerely believe that ALL gay men are utterly selfish, however there are many within the gay community who work and speak from a commitment to altruism. (Altruism is, very simply, the opposite of selfishness.) There are many here who believe in altruism and some of us adhere to the belief with tenacity – despite whatever efforts are being made to intimidate us into silence. Tenacity is my middle-name! And there are a good number of other readers of PinkNews who are as tenacious as me, if not more so. And by the way, I am not HIV positive.

    “the balance of evidence strongly suggests that at least SOME are [posting to this thread under different identities]”

    That’s an extraordinary claim, particularly, as has already been pointed out by another poster, there are clear linguistic markers to demonstrate that a good number of different people posting here agree with Gary Leigh’s point of view. Anyway, given that Mark has made this extraordinary claim, he must now present in list form, point by point, his evidence proving all or most voices in agreement with Gary Leigh article are in fact just one or two people posting under different identities. We await the evidence.

    I understand that PinkNews has been working hard to make it impossible for people to post under multiple identities from the same ISP address. This explains why in recent works these threads have been relatively free from homophobic religious bigots coming here to queer-bait. Some new arrivals who have appeared this week in support of Matthew Hodson’s denial of Gary Leigh’s propositions do not appear to be aware of this.

  107. “I understand that PinkNews has been working hard to make it impossible for people to post under multiple identities from the same ISP address. This explains why in recent works these threads have been relatively free from homophobic religious bigots coming here to queer-bait. Some new arrivals who have appeared this week in support of Matthew Hodson’s denial of Gary Leigh’s propositions do not appear to be aware of this.”

    Not true. Look below

  108. Me again, but a different name eh?

  109. …. and again. Oooh I could use as many names as I like

  110. LOL @ Eddy

    You are either totally deranged or semi-illiterate – because those are the only two plausible explanaitions for the sort of preposterous misrepresentations you are coming up with here with regards to what I have said and what I must believe / think – i.e. ascribing undeclared beliefs that you would like me to hold, so that you can fabricate arguments against things I haven’t even said.

    And yes, as one of your probably multiple personalities has already pointed out, there are clear linguistic markers .. and those strongly suggest that YOU are posting with multiple personalities; but unfortunately that alone isn’t proof that you are.

    No shout all you want you pathetic little man, but that doesn’t make any of your banal clueless drivel any the more true .. but the more I read of your drivel, the more convinced I am that you are just another inept troll.

  111. Multiple personality 4 Sep 2009, 1:29pm

    And just to prove the point that Eddy is talking rubbish when he makes claim about the difficulty of posting under multiple personalities from the same IP address.

    Me thinks the deranged Eddy doth protest too much.

    Mark

  112. I had a proper look at the Hard cell site today it seems reasonable (look at the “Things To Know” page) to me compared with work like the Aids Committee of Toronto are doing (http://www.actoronto.org/bdsm) and the first page has appropriate warnings, this is targeted at a specific hardcore group if you don’t like it don’t read it but leave it for those that do I for one am glad the THT use the funds I donate for this important work.

  113. Mark, you labour on and on about the “contradictory demands” made alone the HIV charities without oroferring the obvious solution – that the remit fir HIV campains should be taken away from them because there us a clear conflict of interests at play here – providing “compassionate” (that’s debatable) supper to pozzies while feeling the pressure of the community at large toughen up their campaigns. It’s a no-brainer! Thy can then laugh all the way to the bank while it flogs it’s services and without inviting suspicion of collusion with big pharma for putting out hiv ebabling campains and programmes! No doubt my posting will stir up yet more paranoia among the hivmafua that I am Eddy, anon mk1 etc. Pathetic!!

  114. Mark fails to rise to the challenge again. In this thread and others instead of rising to the intellectual challenge of debate he screeches out accusations like:

    “multiple personality order”
    “preposterous misrepresentations”
    “staggeringly ignorant”
    “instantly wretched”
    “you pathetic little man”

    I think readers will agree that all of the above utterances demonstrate a strong tendency on Mark’s part to high melodrama and hysteria.

    With regard to the possibility of multiple posting, I see from the above that it is in fact possible to do it. However, the fact that Mark has demonstrated he can do it, does not prove that all of the people in this thread who have been agreeing with Gary Leigh’s article have been doing it. I certainly have not and as has been stated by several of us there are clear linguistic markers to prove that all voices in agreement with Gary Leigh are NOT one and the same.

    Anyway, given that Mark has made this extraordinary claim, and now believes he has proven it by posting under a different ID himself, it remains for him to present in list form, point by point, his evidence proving all or most voices in agreement with Gary Leigh article are in fact just one or two people posting under different identities.

    We await Mark’s evidence.

    We also await any reasoned responses to the points presented in #108.

  115. Did I say supper instead of services? Damn spell checker!! And in the last sentence I was if course referring to the ‘hiv mafia’…

  116. Any name you like 4 Sep 2009, 1:59pm

    “We await Mark’s evidence.

    We also await any reasoned responses to the points presented in #108″

    Who are ‘We’? Your different personalities? The Borg? Or have you just decided that you have the right to speak for others when you should just be speaking for yourself?

  117. Ps: why don’t we invite the editor of Pink News to aujuducate on this debate? It is impossible debating rationally with pc terrorists as they resort to evasion, paranoid rantings and self righteous indignatin whenever cornered. They love their stats, so do they also insist the Pink Paper misrepresented it’s survey results about 82percent of it’s readers wanting harder campains? These denialists are running/ruining gay men’s health for god’s sake. There is a word for a situation like this – INSANITY

  118. Jean-Paul Bentham 4 Sep 2009, 2:17pm

    What an education! Thank you so much, EDDY, for your level-headeness and your exemplary patience throughout this gibberish coming from whoever and whatever…of course with Monkeychops, all you have to say is “up” and he/she will say “down” just so he/she can get as much media coverage as possible. Haha.

    MC is a born comédian, an escapée from Cirque du Soleil! har-har-har! And to think some people are moronic enough to support him/her because they can’t recognize a cyberspace shape-shifter when they see one…and one who is up to no good except to see his name as often as possible in print.

    Eddy is clearly the expert here…most clearly, obviously, evidently and all that. Yea Eddy!

    Monkeychops hardly knows the difference between a toenail and a kidney, but he/she sure knows how to copy and paste while drinking straight whiskey from the bottle. ha-ha-ha. Tu me fais rire.

  119. #86: Eddy: You say: “Vince, I don’t know what your problem is but you clearly have one. You don’t want to acknowledge the reality of HIV today. ”

    Actually Eddy – it is you who are not acknowledging the reality of HIV today – it is a long term, manageable, chronic illness. Why do you find that definition so hard to accept.

    I am certainly not diminishing the seriousness of a HIV diagnosis. But I am not so obsessed with it that I don’t realise that a HIV diagnosis is no worse than a diagnosis for any other long term chronic illness.

    Why are you making martyrs out of HIV positive people? What’s your agenda for doing so?

  120. #87: Anon:

    Your side effects sound pretty bad and you have my sympathy.

    When were you diagnosed? When did you start treatment?

    Perhaps you could explain to me why the side effects of your HIV are worse than the side effects from any other long term chronic illness? Because the clear implication you are giving is that your illness is somehow uniquely awful.

    I would reply by asking you to prove that.

    I’m not trying to be mean. I simply do not understand why people are making such victims out of HIV positive people. Who benefits from this?

  121. “On the one hand they are using the experiences of long-term survivors to show that HIV isn’t a manageable condition, yet on the other they are conveniently ignoring the fact that the experiences of those long-term survivors (who either didn’t have access to timely treatments or had to suffer quite horridly, and sometimes experimental, debilitating treatments) simply aren’t something which most people starting treatment today will ever have to relate to.”

    Mark – just to clarify, I was diagnosed 6 years ago – I am not and am unlikely to be a ‘long term survivor’

    However I think part of the point really is, yes current meds do mean more +ve people can reach the stage of being long term survivors, but perhaps we should look at that and the quality of life they are actually able to enjoy having endured the infection for years and the toxic medications we require to keep it at bay.

    I can reel of far far to many people I know who have died through HIV/AIDS – whether that be the disease itself, its complications, or those who just couldn’t take it any more and ended their own lives.

  122. Irregular Paul 4 Sep 2009, 2:39pm

    I think Mark hit the nail on the head when he talked about anger. A minuscule vocal minority can’t let go of the anger at becoming HIV-positive, so they lash out at the easy target.

    The other vocal angry groups, stirring up the brown stinky stuff about THT, are some of the DLA claimants who are angry that THT quite rightly didn’t adopt a position that was four square behind those who were losing their long-term DLA, or because THT has the common-sense not to be echoing the calls of those who simply don’t understand HIV and demand the immediate and unilateral dismantling of the perfectly rational restrictions on blood donations from men who have sex with men. The fact that they seek to represent a broad spectrum of opinion, rather than a single narrow activist agenda, does not make them bad.

    Collectively, I can honestly see nowt but wholly irrational anger from those I pity for not being able to understand that there isn’t always someone else to blame for what we perceive as disadvantaging us.

    Another thing that amuses me is to see the likes of Eddy lashing out and trying to use symptoms to counter the claim that HIV is ‘manageable’. There is nothing in the definition of ‘manageable’ which says that it means free of symptoms and free of the need to make lifestyle modifications. It simply means that it is quite possible to live a semblance of a normal life with the condition; just as most diabetics and asthmatics do with their conditions, neither of which are without side-effects of both the condition and the medications they take.

    Anyway, all I have left to say is that Eddy and his sockpuppets are clearly in desperate need of counselling. THT can help to arrange that for him.

  123. My goodness, the lack of compassion and the level of denial of just a few people is breathtaking. It seems clear there are some gay people who are almost as much without feeling as those two young brothers up north who battered the two little boys. Sorry, but that’s what you remind one of.

  124. I wasn’t going to comment again but the ever wonderful Andrew Sullivan who’s book “Love Undetectable” was hugely important for me and for my money the best commentary on living with HIV I’ve read. Links to this website with some new HIV prevention posters that are shocking http://animalnewyork.com/2009/09/evildoers-doing-it-to-promote-world-aids-day/

  125. My link to AS’s site didn’t work http://www.andrewsullivan.com

  126. It’s getting rather tiring hearing from people who keep on stating, as fact, that GMFA are lying about HIV and distorting the truth. Eddy is one. Now, Eddy uses postings from individuals in discussion forums on The Body (www.thebody.com) to back up his arguments. The Body is indeed a large and well respected US HIV information website, and I presume that Eddy would agree that its information is truthful.

    Now, one of the the accusations is that GMFA is distorting and lying about HIV or deliberately witholding information about HIV so as to ensure that infections rise so that drug companies who they are in cahoots with can sell more ARVs.

    Think how ridiculous this sounds. Paranoid conspiracy theory in action.

    However, if this were true then you’d expect the information on GMFA’s websites to differ and contradict that on websites that are trusted by those who accuse GMFA.

    So, since The Body is trusted by Eddy, take a look, not at the forums, as you can find a whole range of opinions and experiences there from which to pick examples to back up any point of view, but at the actual information that The Body gives out about HIV – life expectancy, dealing with drug side effects etc. Now compare that information with that given out by GMFA on http://www.gmfa.org.uk/positive. If you like you could also compare the information with that given out by NAM, another UK HIV organisation, well trusted for its treatment information by clinicians and patients alike – NAM’s range of booklets are used in London HIV clinics by doctors to give to their patients so they understand the facts about HIV. See http://www.aidsmap.com and in particular http://www.namlife.com.

    You see, the information given out by all these sites around the facts about living with HIV is pretty much singing from the same songbook. So, if GMFA are distorting and lying then so must the others, including The Body. And if this is true then why would Eddy use it to back up his arguments?

    The thing is, the experience of living with HIV is different for everyone, but the truth (certainly in the developed world) is that the majority of men diagnosed these days will be able to live a relatively normal lifespan and tolerate their meds pretty well. That is the truth as detailed on each and every respected HIV information website. At the same time none of these websites expresses the view that living with HIV is easy. So whatever people try to say about GMFA lying and distorting, simply looking at their wesbite, which is ‘Health on the Net’ accredited by the way (see http://www.hon.ch), and comparing their information with others, shows this to be untrue.

  127. Sam says:

    Mark, you labour on and on about the “contradictory demands” made alone the HIV charities without oroferring the obvious solution – that the remit fir HIV campains should be taken away from them because there us a clear conflict of interests at play here

    And exactly does that solve any problems? The only no-brainer in that is that you then end up different organisations, with different functions, giving out diametrically opposed messages .. with the one trying to encourage safer sex giving out a message that is either demonstrably false (and therefore without much credibility), or exactly the same sorts of messages that are currently being given out by GMFA and THT.

    Rather than being a no-brainer, I think your “obvious” solution will be more at home with people with no brain. And why? Just to pander to the paranoid minority and their childish Big Pharma conspiracy theories.

  128. Any name you like 4 Sep 2009, 3:47pm

    “It seems clear there are some gay people who are almost as much without feeling as those two young brothers up north who battered the two little boys.”

    Eddy, really, that is offensive. Comparing some gay men with two violent and disturbed youths just because they have an opinion that differs from yours.

    I have reported your comment.

  129. Eddy, given that most of #108 was you making bizarre points to counter things I hadn’t even said – because, in a vain attempt to discredit what I was saying, it was convenient for you to extrapolate my beliefs – there is nothing of substance for me to respond to.

    Whilst that sort of tactic is a trusty fall-back tool for skilled trolls, you have neither the skill nor the knowledge to carry it off.

    I have still to see you, or anyone else for that matter, put forward a coherent and convincing argument in support of what Gary says. Just as there isn’t always someone to blame for an accident, there isn’t always anything other than the strange workings of the human mind to account for the fact that some people just lack self-esteem, don’t care, misguidedly think that love will protect them or that sometimes the most basic human desire for hard raw sex will sometimes win the day .. and that sometimes the gamble doesn’t work in your favour. No amount of education / intervention will deal with any of those issues.

    Adrian:

    Can I take the liberty of adding the National AIDS trust (www.nat.org.uk), the British HIV Association (www.bhiva.org), HIV i-Base (www.i-base.info), the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (www.nice.org.uk), the World Health Organization (www.who.int) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (www.unaids.org) to that list of apparent co-conspirators in the wonderful world of Eddy and the Sockpuppets.

  130. That’s certainly an interesting view on it Paul – alternatively it could be that a few people with an altogether less rosy outlook on HIV infection, would actually like those people who have not succumbed to infection to know exactly why they should be doing all in their power to avoid that infection.

    No one has yet explained why it fine to scare the living crap out of us of an evening with adverts following tubes running through hospital corridor after corridor until we finally reach some poor cow sucking on her last breath, to warn us against smoking and yet THT and GMFA don’t want to upset anyone and present unrealistic images of HIV sufferers.

    It might not be so bad if they showed people the two extremes, you might be like this, all fine and lovely, or you might be like this, your life utterly destroyed. But to just airbrush the negative out as though it doesn’t exist is just unacceptable. No one is asking them to lie, just to present an honest account of the potential consequences of the disease.

    What do the GMFA/THT lapdogs on here think would be lost by showing both sides on the coin? Perhaps one of you could take a moment from slagging of Eddy to answer that point.

    To Vince’s comments (122): I have never said my side effects or any of the other problems I suffer are any worse than anyone else’s with any other condition. I have however made the point that clearly HIV is not manageable in every case. Not a message that I ever hear from THT or GMFA. I cannot as a result of HIV and the complications it has caused live a normal life. I haven’t suggested that HIV is the only disease that brings about this situation. Again though it is not a message I have heard from THT or GMFA.

    You say, “Because the clear implication you are giving is that your illness is somehow uniquely awful”. In actual fact the reality is very different. I always make the point to those close to me that there is always someone worse off. There are people on other continents unable to get the medication that sustains me. Who do not have a roof over their heads or food to eat. In many respects I am very lucky. I have so many things to be grateful for.

    Lucky or not, I wouldn’t wish this on anyone in the world and as long as organisations paid to educate fail to educate about the dangers of HIV many others will follow the same path.

  131. Oooh, you mean those evil shady underhand organisations? lol

    Agreed Mark – they all deserve equal and due respect.

  132. Any name you like 4 Sep 2009, 4:41pm

    “No one has yet explained why it fine to scare the living crap out of us of an evening with adverts following tubes running through hospital corridor after corridor until we finally reach some poor cow sucking on her last breath, to warn us against smoking and yet THT and GMFA don’t want to upset anyone and present unrealistic images of HIV sufferers”

    You can quit smoking – and the ads try to scare people into quitting.

    You can’t quit HIV – scaring particularly vulnerable newly diagnosed men with a terrible and probably unlikely vision of their future is not the same.

    That’s why there is a difference

  133. “Just as there isn’t always someone to blame for an accident, there isn’t always anything other than the strange workings of the human mind to account for the fact that some people just lack self-esteem, don’t care, misguidedly think that love will protect them or that sometimes the most basic human desire for hard raw sex will sometimes win the day .. and that sometimes the gamble doesn’t work in your favour”

    Mark, that’s the task that you’re actually being paid to deal with. If you can’t do it, the maybe you should stop taking the money and move aside for someone else.

    It is widely accepted (possibly outside your organisation) that there is increasing ignorance of the safer sex message, particularly among young people. This was your job to educate. You failed.

    HIV infection rates are increasing amongst the gay community. It was your job to reduce this. You failed.

    Why then do you think you have the right to should down anyone who shows the slightest dissenting opinion?

    Maybe its time to listen to the thousands upon thousands who are all giving the same message. The hard hitting campaigns were effective, or at least MORE effective that what you are doing right now.

  134. Mark, isn’t the very fact that the UK’s largest gay news resource considered it in the public interest to run Gary’s groundbreaking article? If that isn’t support enough I do not know what is? Also, Homovision ran a parallel story showing the hiv sector up for the betrayers of gay men’s health you really are, and from what I hear Gary’s article is triggering debates throughout the gay media network. I sense this is just the beginning. Well, the beginning if the end for you guys and a return to compassionate values where gay men’s health is concerned.

  135. Any name you like – I think the ad is actually about avoiding/reducing the risks of cancer – can’t quit cancer last time I checked.

    I guess however simply they put these things, some people will always get the wrong end of the stick.

  136. Apologies:

    “Why then do you think you have the right to should down anyone who shows the slightest dissenting opinion?”

    should read:

    “Why then do you think you have the right to shout down anyone who shows the slightest dissenting opinion?”

  137. if you do a Google search on “killing us softly by Gary Leigh” you will also note that dozens of gay news outlets globally are linking to this article. It is making great waves everywhere because it is waking people up and making everyone see how we have been decieved and conned all these years. You guys are toast!

  138. Any name you like 4 Sep 2009, 5:36pm

    Oh dear. Many news stories are picked up by agencies and feeds evenrywhere all the time and often automatically. Just because you have some Google links doesn’t mean people agree with you. You’ve got a picture of people waking up to this wonderful reality you believe, but the truth is it’s just some links.

    Oh, and can ‘those guys’ have some marmalade?

  139. I totally get what you mean comparing these org’s to the brothets in today’s news Ed. It takes a considerable lack of empathy and compassion to be capable of wittingly standing by whileothers suffer. You only have to listen to the robotic pc. retoric these soulless drones keep parroting over and over to come to the conclusion that they are devoid of humanity. No wonder so many of them get their kicks at Hard On once a month. Guys, I feel your pain, but why are you unleashing it onto the rest of us by sleepwalking gay men into hiv? Is it your revenge on what you percieve to be a cruel world? Victims!

  140. Forgive me for entering the debate so late in the day and for asking the obvious, but ….

    What the hell is anyone in their right mind, let alone anyone from GMFA, doing by giving credence to a halfwit such as Gary Leigh by responding to him? And shame on Pink News for ever giving a voice to people spreading lies and the sort of paranoid fabrications which rank right down there in the darkest sewer, along with the effluent of AIDS denialiasm, or his friends who used to claim that using poppers was what caused AIDS. If this is really what Pinknews is about, then Pinknews is getting deleted from my bookmarks for good.

    Lest we forget, Gary Leigh is the man who has repeatedly claimed that HIV agencies, and countless tens of thousands of doctors and researchers around the world, have secretly joined a mysterious brotherhood of global conspirators who have wittingly both facilitated and deliberately accelerated the spread HIV (and several other health conditions). Don’t believe me? All this and all manner of other crackpot theories are right there on his website: http://www.lifeormeth.com

    Who in their right mind can really believe that such a conspiracy could go unnoticed for even a year, let alone nearly thirty years? The simple answer is that no one in their right mind can ever believe this, and that anyone who does believe is condemned by that belief.

    It even as if this man is a credited authority in his trumpeted field of crystal meth awareness, so why should anyone believe that he is a voice worth listening to when it comes to HIV?

    Since Gary so loves to quote people, here is a quote he has used himself:

    “Condemnation without investigation is the highest form of ignorance.”

    .. and the one concrete fact about Gary Leigh is that he has never lifted a finger to investigate anything and just made it all up on the hoof. That, and no other reason, is why Gary Leigh and his crackpot theories were shown the door by both THT and GMFA. The rest of this nonsense was just fabricated in a lame effort to exact revenge on those who called what they saw.

  141. This is the classic gambit when you know else is lost – if you can’t shoot the messenger then discredit and smear him. ‘Barry’, if only you could step back and see how desperate you sound. You know the game is up, why not just go quietly. I am not familiar with the crystal meth site but that is by the by – the fact is Gary’s article has triggered unprecedented debate. Again its like comparing apples with pears. Killing us Softly stands up on it’s own merits and no one has yet bend able to pull it apart. That’s good enough an endorsement of it’s credentials for me!! Oh yeah. From what I do understand Gary is something of a community hero for acting to raise awareness about crystal when the org’s refused. Again, conflict of interest issues guys?

  142. Anon said:

    Maybe its time to listen to the thousands upon thousands who are all giving the same message

    Thousands upon thousands? Really? Please do keep right on exaggerating, Anon; because the trick of exaggerating a few hundred crackpots into suddenly being “thousands upon thousands” does more than I ever can to discredit your own words. Even if it were your imaginary thousands, that is still just a minuscule percentage of people living with HIV and I dare say that I could find far more people who actually believe that Hitler’s final solution had merits.

    Anon also claimed:

    It is widely accepted (possibly outside your organisation) that there is increasing ignorance of the safer sex message, particularly among young people. This was your job to educate. You failed

    My job and I failed? Not only is what you claim not widely accepted, but nor have I failed. And exactly what mysterious organisation is that your paranoid mind imagines that I am a part of?

    Anon, if you are what you say you are (and I have to confess to having serious doubts that you are) then I am truly sorry that treatment hasn’t worked for you (either because it failed or because you chose to not to take it) then I am truly sorry; but the overwhelming evidence out there is that it works for the vast majority of people and that less than 200 people/year of the 80,000 or so HIV-positive individuals in the UK now die of AIDS-related conditions.

    Gary said:

    You guys are toast!

    In your dreams, but keep trying.

    Gary also said:

    Mark, isn’t the very fact that the UK’s largest gay news resource considered it in the public interest to run Gary’s groundbreaking article?

    No – and I’d love to hear your coherent argument for exactly why it makes it “ground-breaking”. As Barry has pointed out, it is actually quite shameful that Pinknews would actually sink to such depths, because it is akin to (only a lot more harmful than) them giving credence to claims that Elvis lives – i.e. barking mad.

    And finally, ‘Sam’ (whatever) said:

    This is the classic gambit when you know else is lost – if you can’t shoot the messenger then discredit and smear him.

    Sam, do you realise just how totally desperate that makes you sound? Barry hasn’t smeared anyone. If you care to look at the link he has provided, you will see that what he says is an almost word for word quote of Gary Leigh’s own words (and get serious, even Gary Leigh can hardly claim to have been misquoted / misrepresented on his own website, can he?). You do yourself no credit; because if anyone is playing the classic denialist gambit, then it is you – when you deny Gary Leigh the credit for his very own words, there for all to read in black on white on his own website. Now, if you really want some of the robotic rhetoric you mention, then look no further than your own speedy denials.

  143. “In Norfolk, sexually transmitted infections are on the increase again and partly this may be as a result of some of those early messages being forgotten in the absence of new and hard hitting campaigns aimed at the sexually active population.”

    Source: NHS Norfolk

    “HIV specialists have called on the government to launch a new hard-hitting campaign to increase awareness of the disease.
    It follows a continued rise in HIV infections across the UK over the past year.
    But a survey by ISIS Research suggests most specialists want a new campaign similar to that used 20 years ago.
    Source: BBC News
    I’m blessed with better things to do in my life than internet research all evening Mark – the above would suggest its not just a few people on here who agree with my original statement.
    “And exactly what mysterious organisation is that your paranoid mind imagines that I am a part of?”
    Apologies if you’re not but I had assumed from all your grandstanding in support of THT/GMFA that you must be on the payroll. I was wondering a bit earlier this afternoon exactly how much real work was getting done in their offices with half the staff franticly posting on here to justify their jobs.
    “Anon, if you are what you say you are (and I have to confess to having serious doubts that you are) then I am truly sorry that treatment hasn’t worked for you (either because it failed or because you chose to not to take it)”
    It has worked for me though Mark, that has been my point, but it doesn’t fix all the other stuff that comes along as a result of having HIV. This appears to be the issue that THT/GMFA are happy to gloss over.
    “….it works for the vast majority of people and that less than 200 people/year of the 80,000 or so HIV-positive individuals in the UK now die of AIDS-related conditions.”
    My understanding was that the Health Protection Agency (HPA) put the figure at more like 500 HIV and AIDS related deaths. Additionally closer inspection of causes of death that have been carried out indicate that the figures are probably higher –cancer, hepatitis B & C, cardiovascular disease, bacteria infections, viral infections and suicide in +ve patients that resulted in death are often recorded as just that irrespective of the effect that HIV had on the patient.

  144. anon post100: “How is anyone really to know Lucius? We are so far from educating people with any facts about HIV these days, its hard to say what people would think if they were told that some of the starker realities of HIV infection – the point has been made on here that we do it with smokers and year on year the number of smokers is dropping.”

    Actually, check the data. The Dept of Healths figures are now showing that smokers are no longer quitting. In fact, they suspect that smokers are increasingly obstinant about NOT giving up in the face of what they perceive to be scare tactics and bullying.

    But this is just a red herring. The fact is that an HIV+ status is child’s play compared to lung cancer and emphysema.

    There’ll be no cashing of benefits cheques on the way to the gym with an oxygen tank, metastasizing cancer cells, coughing up blood an almost certain probability of a terrifyingly gruesome death. Because unlike HIV, lung cancer is a truly horrific condition which prevents sufferers from leading a normal and having an independent lifestyle.

    Any kind of suggestion which hints at similarities between smoking,cancer and HIV is like suggesting the flu is as bad as ebola.

  145. Anon said:

    It has worked for me though Mark, that has been my point, but it doesn’t fix all the other stuff that comes along as a result of having HIV. This appears to be the issue that THT/GMFA are happy to gloss over.

    Do make your mind up; but as for either GMFA or THT glossing over treatment side-effects, that is complete and utter nonsense. They don’t scare people by saying that everyone will get the worst extreme of side-effects, but they are both very clear about saying that the worst kind of side-effects can happen.

    My understanding was that the Health Protection Agency (HPA) put the figure at more like 500 HIV and AIDS related deaths.

    Well, inconvenient as it may be that the HPA figures contradict your invented figures, your ‘understanding’ is obviously wrong then, because their figures are still there in black and white for all to see and haven’t changed since yesterday.

  146. LuciusM:

    A detailed picture of the nation’s smoking habits, and desire to quit, are available from the Office for National Statistics to mark No Smoking Day on Wednesday 11 March 2009.

    • Smoking fell to its lowest recorded level in 2007 – 21 per cent of the population of Great Britain aged 16 and over.

    If there is an increase they must be growing their own because tobacco sales are also falling.

    “The fact is that an HIV+ status is child’s play compared to lung cancer and emphysema.”

    As for the gym dig, again I think that’s the point being made. With the rosy picture of HIV that is being painted by THT/GMFA those people who can’t take the trouble to look any further might assume that we all trot off to the gym after work every night (before trotting off to the nearest sauna/sex club (Playzone of course).

    If we’re unsure where they are, naturally we can always check them out on the THT website:

    tht.org.uk/informationresources/safersex/playzone/playzonesinlondon/

  147. Mark:

    “Do make your mind up” ….”

    To be absolutely clear:

    The medications I take reduce my viral load and raise my CD4 count (they work)

    However:

    Despite the meds I have suffered HIV encephalopathy (swelling of the brain, resulting in serious brain injury and causing ongoing loss of function)

    I have peripheral neuropathy brought on my the HIV infection, causing loss of feeling in my arms and legs at times, and at other times (usually the night) considerable pain and discomfort.

    I still have obvious signs of wasting following Lipodystrophy despite every effort to reduce its appearance. Diet and the (hospital) gym has helped improve this but its still fairly clear something has been very wrong.

    I have a hereditary condition affecting my kidneys which limits my treatment choices.

    I am even without my current medication considered high risk for heart disease (although I neither smoke, drink or am overweight, and had always throughout my life taken regular exercise.) Kyvexa increases that rise significantly according to the long-term trails results that were published earlier this year.

    I do not in general tolerate the daily medications for HIV, or the large amounts of pain medication I also often require. Further medication is required to reduce the ill effects of other medications.

    So to be absolutely clear, the meds work in relation to controlling the HIV infection, but the illness is much more than just the infection itself.

    If I die of a heart attack, aided by the HIV meds I am taking, I very much doubt HIV will be mentioned on the death certificate.

    Similarly, I am continuing to lose brain function following the infection. Should this lead to my death, I am not clear again how this will be recorded on the certificate.

    If in the end the thought of slipping slowly into dementia and death and/or the loss of major organ becomes too much to bear and I decide to go up to the roof and toss myself off (pardon the pun), the death cert with record suicide as the reason for death rather than HIV or kidney failure.

  148. In other words, there is a lot more wrong with you than HIV and even without HIV and HIV meds, you would still have very serious underlying medical conditions that would quite independently limit your prognosis, so why should HIV necessarily ever feature as your cause of death? Just because someone is diagnosed HIV-positive doesn’t mean that every health event from then on is HIV-related (although, for some strange reason, most pozzies actually do seem to think that).

    In that case I could just a well sit here and say that they should say that there are people who have had HIV for more than 25 years who are fit as a fiddle, have never had a single day off sick from work, take one pill a day, tolerate their meds perfectly well, never see their GP and only see an HIV specialist once a year. That is what living with HIV is like for me.

    The truth is that neither is very representative of what it is like for most people living with HIV.

    You still haven’t shown that GMFA and THT gloss over the extremes. I have seen plenty adverts in the gay media labouring the fact that living with HIV isn’t a walk in the park and that there is a side-effect load to HIV meds.

  149. thetruthalwayswins 5 Sep 2009, 1:44pm

    And anyone curious to learn about Gary’s struggle against these organisations who profess to have your best interests at heart and what is really going in our name, please see:

    http://www.lifeormeth.com/#/aids-inc-uncovered/4520785349

  150. Definitely not Gary Leigh 5 Sep 2009, 1:56pm

    “thetruthalwayswins”? You do realise that everyone knows you are Gary Leigh and hence knows you are making yourself look foolish. I know you’ll deny it and I don’t particvularly care, but seriously Gary, if you want to defend yourself agaist Barry’s email why not just use your ownm name?

  151. “In other words, there is a lot more wrong with you than HIV and even without HIV and HIV meds, you would still have very serious underlying medical conditions that would quite independently limit your prognosis,”

    Mark, now you are being intentionally dumb?

    Failing getting hit by passing buses, without HIV and the complications it has brought on, my life expectancy would be the same as anyone else.

    The point of repeating it all and laying it out clearly was to avoid your apparent misunderstanding.

    Having done that, the world is still flat apparently.

    Abject denial – always a good way to win an argument.

  152. Jean-Paul Bentham 5 Sep 2009, 11:38pm

    This has been a highly educational thread for me. Thank you all, and more, more ,more.

  153. thetruthalwayswins 6 Sep 2009, 11:48am

    What does it matter who “thetruthalwayswins” is? The truth is the truth, whoever speaks it. If this is the only retort you can muster then you obviously accept the testimonials as being genuine, thereby destroying Barry’s attempt at character assassination which is all it was. The truth always wins…

  154. I am noticing a strong streak of self-pity in ‘Anon’s’ posts. He cannot seem to grasp that his experience of HIV is just that – his experience. It is not the experience of everyone. Nor can he seem to grasp that the bad side effects he is experiencing is not unique to HIV sufferers. People with other chronic of serious illness also experience nasty side effects. Unlike other illnesses ‘Anon’ seems to think that his illness is uniquely awful.

  155. not at all Vince, I would rather my experiences serve as a warning to others not to be beguiled by the polished little PR campaign that makes people think that HIV is just a bit awkward, and an inconvenience from time to time, that combination therapy is key to eternal life and that PEP should replace the use of a condom.

    It isn’t about comparing or playing off one illness against another. We don’t say to people soak up all the sun you can, we can cure most skin cancers, so why do place so much emphasis on letting people know that once they have HIV everything will be rosy. It is about giving people the necessary information to allow them to make informed decisions. Giving people partially true information about the consequences appears to be taking all fear of contracting the illness away for some poeple at least, resulting in an increase in risky behaviour.

    Clearly you think that’s wrong.

  156. What’s going on in this thread is frightening and actually horrific. Gay men, all in London no doubt, though not ALL gay men in London, with a very very strong interest in keeping things just as they are are fighting dirty to ignore the truth.

    Countless times above readers can see that readers including myself have carefully and successfully demolished wild arguments, evidence has been requested from those making extraordinary claims to the contrary, and it is CLEAR that the the GMFA/THT supporters are simply NOT LISTENING, NOT READING, and NOT CARING TO UNDERSTAND. It is as if they are drugged, or like religious zealots single-mindedly refusing to consider any thought or possibility of changing the current situation. Reasonable challenges have been issued. The denialists haven’t met them, because they can’t meet them.

    One is reminded of San Francisco back in the early 80s when AIDS exploded onto the scene and many very sensibly called for the bathhouses to be shut. But there was fury, anger, and an extraordinary outcry from those gay men who wanted the merry and money-making party to continue on just as it was.
    Presented (in Comment #25 above) are quotes from hundreds of HIV people from only August 2009 which prove inarguably that having HIV is a serious life-long condition despite the advent of the daily chemotherapy provided by antiretrovirals. It has been suggested to the denialists that they go and read the thousands more such pieces of evidence from people who have HIV. It is deeply alarming that after these references having been provided HIV/AIDS continues to be callously and coldly dismissed as mere “child’s play”.

    No one has or can present a similar list of quotes from people with HIV who all say that HIV is just fine and dandy. But the denialists, those with a strong interest in keeping the status quo, the sex industry, rolling along as it is, lambast and absolutely ignore the voices of those who have HIV and those calling for a very different form of HIV/AIDS prevention campaigns. They simply will not hear of it. They chant, “No, no, no” in contagious blind refusal.

    The denialists in this thread have even been seen resorting to suggesting that there is only one person writing in support of Gary Leigh and that that person is using many different IDs! It has to be noted however that this accusation came from a denialist who was so sure of his assertion that he was tricked into demonstrating that he HIMSELF could post multiple messages under different IDs. Therefore if anybody has been posting under multiple IDs, there is good reason to suggest it has been a vehement supporter of Matthew Hodson’s stance.

    The denialists have also taken to crucifying Gary Leigh, lambasting his website although it is quite clearly evidence of an extraordinary altruistic mission on Gary’s part to help break the horrific and demonstrable hold of crystal meth on gay communities all around the world.

    One can only suspect that money is involved here. It is money and the party and the good times that is stopping some people from acceptance of the truth. The punters want their sex-clubs, they want to continue to get up in the early hours of Sunday morning to go off to the clubs, get high on drugs and pump away into the early hours in the backrooms. The sellers want the door-charges, the sales. The dealers need to keep selling the drugs. And thus they’re all fighting hard and dirty, and from all angles.

    Gary Leigh, for your efforts to expose what is going on, you are a hero. You’re doing a brilliant job. Keep at it. One day you’ll be recognised for it. Don’t ever give up. You’ve had so much success already. You’ll have much more.

  157. Hey Eddy, the rabid disease and common purpose affecting these hiv loons is their loyalty to the doctrines of political correctness? Have you seen the link provide in thetruthalwayswins last post to Gary Leighs run in with these psychotic creatures? I just spent an enlightening if in-nerving weekend digesting it and am now fully aware of the deranged mind sets we are up against. I am sure making those working to blow the whistle will found the info contained therein to be invaluable: clear cut examples of how they have worked agInst our best interests to follow a PC agenda that seeks to disempower our community through ignorence and disease. I have made the link viral among all my Face book contacts. I want to see this go super nova. These are exciting times because positive change could be coming sooner than we imagine. Power in truth!

  158. Jean-Paul Bentham 8 Sep 2009, 9:43pm

    Personally, I find Eddy’s comments relatively easy to understand.

  159. tongueincheek 8 Sep 2009, 10:22pm

    I want to state for the record, as a 21-year-old gay man, how utterly appalled I am by the vicious, unprovoked attacks that are being heaped upon our marvellous HIV charities, who work selflessly and heroically to improve the lot of gay men in the UK.

    For the record, early last year I was an extremely confused 20-year-old who had not come to terms with his sexuality. Living a sheltered upbringing in Pease Pottage in East Sussex, I was curious to know more about the exciting gay life which I knew existed 50 miles up the M23. So one day I set off by train to London and made it to the thrilling streets of Soho which I had heard was the gay mecca.

    Venturing nervously into my first gay bar there I picked up my first copy of QX magazine as if it was the Holy Grail. I took it home and religiously explored between the pages to discover what gay life was really all about. Lots and lots of sex! Oh joy! And clubbing! And drugs!

    And… there it was on page 5, ‘Hardcell.org.uk’, a new web site designed by the THT to educate all curious gay men, it said. That’s me, I exclaimed, and proceeded to explore its contents. In a day I learned all there was to know about barebacking, bondage, breath control, catheters, cock and ball torture, corporal punishment, enemas, felching, fisting, saline, scat, tit torture, watersport and a cornucopia of other activities. The way these acts were described seemed like near-transcendental experiences. It was only on my third visit to the site that I discovered a “things to know” section cautioning about some of the potential downsides, but since these were not highlighted risks compared to the thrills of each activity I didn’t pay much attention to these.

    Well, it was all very well knowing the A/Z of gay sex moves – now I wanted to try them out for myself (well, perhaps drawing a line at scat…). So I got myself a Gaydar profile and found the search facility most useful for finding men who could teach me each category individually, which necessitated a trip up to London each weekend over the duration of the following summer. One of these guys offered to take me to a club where I could witness these acts live for myself, and what’s more it was endorsed by the THT, so what better seal of approval could I hope for?

    So thanks to THT I was fully initiated into the gay world and at last felt a sense of belonging. However, I was also aware of the nasties that lurked and played safely with condoms. Although I knew people made greater play of HIV than other STIs, I knew that that was one nasty to avoid altogether.

    Just to be certain, I called the GMFA helpline for some guidance on HIV. “Oh, it’s not the big killer it used to be 20 years ago,” I was told. “In fact, it’s now completely manageable, and if you do contract it then expect to live a normal lifespan so long as you adhere to a regimen of antiretroviral medications.” Hmm, maybe not so bad, I thought out loud. “Oh,” added the GMFA receptionist, “if you are planning unsafe sex, remember there’s always PEP on hand…”

    Things were looking decidedly rosier than the grim picture that had been painted about the so-called dangers of gay sex, for example among those who rant and rant on here about the need for harder hitting HIV campaigns. What utter killjoys! Hyperbole invented by some miserable old self-hating b^st^rds to stop the rest of us having total freedom to have the time of our lives!

    At my third attendance to the hard sex club in South London I met Barry, who coincidentally enough turned out to work for one of the main London HIV charities, and he introduced me to a couple of his friends who were having a great time in the sling room. Unfortunately, that was also the occasion I came into contact with Tina, aka crystal meth. “Take this, it will make you feel like God,” was all I needed to hear. Well, I had no prior knowledge of how invincible Tina made you feel – it wasn’t mentioned in any THT or GMFA literature I had come across – and I have to say I slipped up that night and went bareback. But not to worry, the PEP adverts all over the gay press clearly confirmed that you can plan a weekend of unsafe sex and turn up at the STI clinic on Monday morning for treatment!

    So, on Monday morning I hopped on a train to the main STI centre in Brighton and was prescribed my first course of PEP! I really felt like I had the gay life down to a fine art by now, like I was ticking off all the essential things a gay man needs to do by the time he reaches 25. Well, according to the HIV charities at least. Be fisted (tick!). Go to an underground sex club (tick!). Use PEP (tick). etc. etc. I truly felt like I had arrived and was finally initiated into the gay world.

    I endured the 28 day course of PEP and was chronically sick for most of that time, enough to make me realise that a planned weekend of unsafe sex was just not worth it. So I vowed to myself always to play safe from now on, even if I was now taking crystal meth on a regular basis and its use was erasing all memories of any safe sex message from my mind. I also followed through on the advice of the STI clinic and had an HIV test just to make sure that I had not been infected. The result came back positive.

    I immediately contacted the THT for advice and information, and, God bless them, they were only too pleased to tell me about all the many services they offered that were now available to me, and told me about all the various drugs that I would need to stay healthy. In fact I found their keenness to sign me up to as many of their services as possible to be most touching. These people are really there for me, I thought. There really are angels walking among us and I am truly blessed.

    So now I really, truly feel I have arrived as a gay man! I receive an endless free supply of prescribed medicines to keep me fit and strong and live a normal life span, and if I play with other positive men then I don’t need to use a condom! And for my part I can always say I contributed to THT’s cash flow by being another HIV statistic to add to their business plan when they go cup in hand to the government to fund their public support services.

    It’s a win-win situation really, so whenever all the nay-sayers and doom merchants on here keep going on and on about how these charities have let gay men down and even hinting that they may be working to some sinister agenda I just want to scream out loud SHUT THE F^CK UP, YOU HEAR!!!!!

  160. Comment #161 is a brilliant contribution to this thread. It is a most believable illustration of the situation that has been created by some of our UK HIV/AIDS “educators”.

  161. Thanks for your contribution @161, tongueincheek. A clever way to show what is going on from the point of view of an imaginary gay man entering the gay scene for the first time. It would be laugh-out-loud funny in places if not for the fact that it is so frighteningly close to the truth in the experiences of many.

  162. FYI: The International Mr Leather event has banned bareback porn a good move!
    http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php?AID=22759

  163. tongueincheek 12 Sep 2009, 1:34pm

    Thanks for that info Joe, though no doubt the THT ad GMFA will be sending their message of strongest condemnation preaching censorship, freedom, the right to decide, etc.

  164. tongueincheek 12 Sep 2009, 1:39pm

    What the hell, here’s the full text. Would that Matthew Hodson, Will Nutland and the rest of the betrayers of gay men’s sexual health possessed so much wisdom and compassion as this old leather veteran. Will they ever speak out against bareback porn? Are you kidding me?!…

    “International Mr. Leather ( IML ) President Chuck Renslow announced recently that vendors participating in the leather market—one of the annual IML convention’s most popular attractions—would no longer be permitted to sell or distribute materials which “promote or advocate” barebacking. The decision will mainly affect pornography vendors who sell materials depicting condomless sex.
    Citing the LGBT community’s ongoing struggle with high rates of HIV infection—particularly among young men who have sex with men—Renslow wrote in a letter to vendors, “Too many in our community believe HIV/AIDS is curable or manageable. Too few understand that HIV/AIDS infections dominate life. We believe that it is our duty to inform and educate.

    “Not having experienced the deaths—the loss of loved ones—which preceded [ HIV/AIDS ] medications,” Renslow wrote, “we have an entire generation who may not fully appreciate or comprehend the severity of the situation.”

    In an interview, Renslow told Windy City Times that his decision to ban barebacking found its inspiration in a project of President Barack Obama and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC ) called Act Against AIDS. “The CDC contacted me to see if I could help stem the rising ride of HIV infections,” he said. After the CDC contacted Renslow, he said, he considered using his position as a prominent member of the leather community to advocate for safer sex practices.

    Act Against AIDS, which was launched by the Obama administration in April, is a five-year, $45 million campaign designed to combat HIV infection, various components of which are specifically tailored to reach populations at high risk of infection.

    Although he discussed it with the IML executive committee, Renslow said, the choice to ban barebacking porn was ultimately his. “I made the final decision,” he said. “Me, using my stance, to prevent barebacking.”

    “Greed and avarice must not supercede the health of our community,” said Renslow. Though he anticipates a loss of revenue, he said that he won’t know how much money IML stands to lose until next year’s convention.

    “I don’t care what two consenting adults, who are informed, want to do,” said Renslow. But, he said, “the younger generation has not suffered the loss of AIDS.” His decision, he said, is for that generation.

  165. “Greed and avarice must not supercede the health of our community,” said Renslow.

    Indeed and this points to the crux of the problem we currently have in London and the major centres.

  166. Mr. Hodson should be forced to resign on the strength of this pithy defence. How dare he suggest that the reason he does not run hard-hitting campaigns is because most gay men know the dangers of HIV so it simply isn’t worth the effort. He should equally fall on his sword for his outrageous comments about bareback porn. Heinous! I can imagine how he gets his kicks, but someone with such a dangerous outlook on sexual health should be allowed nowhere near this industry. Perhaps he should be directing bareback porn instead? Or appearing in it?

  167. shayne chester 24 Sep 2009, 5:47am

    Matthew Hodson reflects the popular view behind the AIDS industry, we mustn’t stigmatise the disease, or those affected by it. It’s a cosy view, which perpetuates the myth that if you HIV seroconvert, it’s only a matter of a couple of pills a day and life will be a walk on the beach. Sure, everyone knows “that HIV is a serious medical condition ” but what we are not told is that what you do get, if you’re unlucky, is six months in hospital on intensive chemo to treat an HIV-related cancer, and good luck with surviving that; diarrhea so common that if you pass a firm stool you send out emails to all your friends, less libido than a tortoise, resistance to meds, entrenched poverty and the associated depression and isolation, and other metal illnesses, an awful lot of ‘sero-apartheid’ and ignorance about ‘AIDS’ perpetuated by those paid to advocate for you and so on. It’s been about six years since I got HIV and I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. Not that I am having a poor white boy whinge here, but I just think we the RIGHT to honest and EXPLICIT information, so that we may make informed choices about an activity that may well mean the loss of so much in our lives.

    So, to those who take millions in community funding and have made careers out of us pozzies but still can’t get the basic message out there, here it is: “don’t get a stranger’s cum or blood in your blood.” There, wasn’t too hard, was it?

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