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Comment: The way forward for HIV prevention

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  1. I don’t think the actual effects of safe-sex advertising can’t be reliably measured by the perceived effects as reported by the target audience themselves. People notoriously believe different public information/persuasion strategies influence them to a degree completely opposite to the reality! See: the emissions reduction and recycling ads which actually work versus what the public /think/ works most.

  2. Whoops – that should read “can”, not “can’t”.

  3. That’s OK Will; appears that at least 500 gay men will agree with your first posting merely by the fact that they responded to the questions and didn’t opt out. Indeed, it has been quite embarrassing to watch the usual suspects within the various HIV charities squirm and wriggle their way out of directly responding to the gay press’s questions about the implications of this breakthrough survey’s findings, instead attempting to discredit the nature of the questions themselves.

    Seems they were peeved to be caught with their pants down, and their anger piqued that an individual with no allegiance other than to the truth commissioned his own independent sex survey, and in doing so has shown up the annual Gay Men’s Sex Survey conducted by Sigma which, by contrast, forms part of the cosy inner clique of CHAPS organisations.

    Good to see these important questions being asked at last, and the findings which conclusively expose the myths and deceptions long routinely broadcast by the HIV sector now in the public domain. Let’s wait and see whether they continue to lie that hard-hitting campaigns cause stigma among those infected, or maintain the delusion that such ads would only prevent gay men coming forward to be tested.

    Never has the adage “Lies, Damned Statistics and Lies” been so fitting where this thoroughly discredited sector is concerned. Time to cal for heads to roll?

  4. This is great article and very timely. New York Magazine is today reporting some of the consequences of being on anti-viral drugs for long periods of time – people in their 50s having similar immune systems to people in their 80s.

    We are failing our young people with a confused message about the real dangers of HIV. People are making money out of barebacking porn – and the silence surrounding these issues is deafening.

  5. “If there is still such a thing as “gay community”, as Johann Hari described in 2006, then it is the only way forward.”

    I think that’s your answer in a nutshell. If there was one then, there certainly isn’t now. Gay men just don’t give a crap.

  6. Great stuff in this article – I agree totally with it though the questions that seem to have been asked and the some lines in the article are a bit confusing. But yeah the porn industry and the clubs are doing nothing to stem the desire for dangerous sex. Years ago it was a case of “No fcuk, no scuk” signs in clubs back home in the US and anyone breaking the rule being thrown out but there’s no sign of this code in a clubs today, at least in London.

  7. I contracted HIV 5 years ago. But I wont bore you with stories from the years of impact on my working and social life; nor that even on the latest medication there are side effects. Not to mention the stigma in everyday life.

    It is simple – Young men need to be educated that HIV is still a terminal and life effecting illness. In a direct way!

    This approach in conjunction with campaigns such as “always assume your partner has a STI – wear a condom!”. There is something missing from the regular campaigns, although I think they are also useful.

    With a change in approach it may go some way to reducing infection rates.

    Unfortunately it still wouldn’t have helped me as it was whilst practising safe sex I accidently caught HIV, through a cut in my hand. Not everyone barebacks when catching it!

  8. Will, have you ever been in any one of London many gay-sex clubs? If you haven’t, then you really can’t comment. One visit to a London gay-sex club, of which there are many, will open your eyes to what’s going on. Hard-porn f***ing and f*sting videos on continuous loop and the air so thick with poppers . . . I suspect you would think you were in hell. You’ld probably have to go over and pinch the guys waiting in the sling for the next guy to f*** him . . . because you would probably think it was mannequin. Unfortunately not. He’s for real and he doesn’t give a damn who f***s him next and whether or not the guy is wearing a condom. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

    I think you need to get on a plane, Will, and come and have a look.

  9. I’ll second that, Eddie. Three years ago when I was down in London visiting two mates they insisted on taking me to one place and I just couldn’t believe what the guys there were up to. There were HIV posters and warnings on the walls and bowls of lubrication jelly and condoms at the bar but what was actually going on was as if no one had even heard of AIDS or HIV. It was like HIV never ever existed. I saw four guys in a line with the three who were behind screwing the one in front. I saw total strangers peeing all over each other. And there was a section of raked seating which seemed designed so the guys sitting on the top row just raised their legs and the guys standing in front of them could just slip it in. I saw total strangers just going at it with full hard sex with people they had never met before and who they couldn’t even see it being so dark in the place. Nobody seemed to care. There were guys of all ages from late teens right through to older men like me in their 50s, as well older. And all nationalities too. Mostly white, but some blacks who everybody was after, some Asians, Chinese, and quite a few French and Spanish visitors.

    It was like another world. A night I’ll never forget. And yes I remember the videos that were on. There was one downstairs and one upstairs both showing pretty full-on stuff.

    All I can say is London’s called “Sin City” up here in Lancashire and it’s pretty clear to me why after what I saw that night. Couldn’t wait to get out of it to be honest. Perfect place to catch crabs at the very least, I’d say!

  10. Well, Chris, London’s “Sin City” is one that is strongly endorsed by none other than London’s home grown HIV charities, the THT and the GMFA. I remember several years ago a spokesman from each of these charities wrote in QX of the need for such clubs, including one called The Play Pit, as people with HIV had the right to social clubs where they could, in effect, breed among themselves, notwithstanding the fact that how does such a club operate a door policy that admits HIV-pos men only?

    I do not, incidentally, recall either of these two idiots writing on sexual health topics before or since in the gay press aimed at negative men; they are only obsessed with pushing for the rights of pos men, and nowadays that includes attacking the new laws designed to prosecute pos men for willful and reckless infection, and for even daring to make the criticism of such men politically incorrect. You couldn’t make this stuff up.

    Oh, and not to mention – a web site supposedly intended to educate gay men about the thrills such aforementioned clubs hold for those curious enough to don a pair of waders, and of course the contrite Play Zone code of “good conduct” which such venues can proudly display as a vain attempt to convince themselves that their patrons only have safe sex on their minds.

    Don’t even get me started on such outfits as Rude Boyz and Fit Lads at supposedly respectable Vauxhall clubs, where mass orgies for club kids are the order of the day and at which barebacking is prolific.

    The HIV sector claims that if such venues didn’t exist then gay men would get their kicks elsewhere. But where, exactly? These venues PROVIDE the impetus for gay men with uncontrollable sexual urges to run wild in; it is cause and effect in motion. Close them down and ban them on health grounds and suddenly that impetus disappears as there is nowhere for them to meet except in far fewer numbers in people’s homes. But then, where would certain sector staffers get their thrice-weekly kicks?

  11. Robert Wade 3 Nov 2009, 6:07am

    How have we allowed it to occur that 26 percent of us consider HIV to be no more serious a condition than syphilis or gonnorhea, while over a third of under-25 year old gay men today harbour this life-threatening delusion perpetuated by HIV charities in recent years? These treacherous organisations should have their funding withdrawn immediately, and those responsible for implementing the policies that have led to this shocking scenario named forthwith, held to immediate account and made to fall on their swords for diluting the serious threat that HIV still poses. And the fallacies behind their reasons not to toughen up on HIV and run the kind of hard-hitting campaigns that helped instill in my generation the need to always play safe and use condoms have truly been exposed. I am 47 by the way; of the age-group that this new survey consistently shows to still generally be wise to the dangers of HIV compared to many 21 year olds. Shocking! And if the HIV lobby dares close ranks and attempt to collude to defend their now statistically proven indefensible practices (isn’t it they, after all, who always religiously cling to the statistics of their annual inhouse Gay Men’s Sex Survey, which has conveniently always shied away from asking the most important questions?), then I for one will publicly be calling for a demonstration of all like-minded, outraged community members on the doorsteps of the London HIV charities’ headquarters. Enough is enough!!

  12. I find the line in the article “‘boredom of safe sex/condoms’ were each cited by 18 per cent of respondents” the most disturbing. Its disturbing that such a large percentage consider safe sex something to be “bored” about. You get bored with breakfast cereals, not protecting your life.

    [And Eddie, just to clarify, I’m not the same Will as in comments #1 and #2, I’m the one from Dublin that you know already]

  13. You all may be interested in this:

    Isn’t it time for things to change?

  14. Interesting article. There definitely is a problem teaching the young about HIV infection. I am HIV and open about it. Twice over the past year I have been told it’s an older persons disease and once as I’ve put weight on recently, been told how could I have it coz’ I’m ‘fat’.

    On the subject of bareback porn surely watching it is a choice just as much as watching a thriller or horror film. Yes some disturbed minds do connect but the majority know it’s just a film. We don’t go following the films content.

    Whilst I agree there is a need for more eduction it often comes with a cost of the people who have it and probably best to teach it.

  15. Interesting article but ought not to be a surprise to anyone who engages or works in the HIV sector. Thank you for articulating and quantifying that which I have been arguing for some time. There are many issues and it’s great that it will now provoke more discussion.

    HIV/AIDS isn’t wholly a Gay issue and one has to take on board that any message should be balanced between full truth whilst encouraging people to test early as the prognosis long term is better.

    I think logic dictates prevention is better than ‘cure’ (there is not cure yet). You need a campaign that tells the truth, that by default would be nothing other than “hard hitting”. It is only through delivering proper clear educative messages that you empower people, with all the facts, to then decide on the behaviours they want to pursue.

    As an openly gay HIV campaigner. We remain a stigmatised group however I would and do “lobby” for much more realistic, less “fluffy” harder hitting advertising.

    Finally the Public Health message delivery has moved from Government to the Third sector. It needs to move back and Government needs to take the lead here again.

  16. Dionysian 3 Nov 2009, 1:18pm

    Bring back the ‘Tombstone’ advert from the 1980’s.

    Fine, so it wasn’t aimed directly at gay or bisexual men, but it still scared the s**t out of me and others of my generation. My hubby and I have both recently tested negative, but we still wouldn’t dream of getting up to anything without a condom.

    This ‘softly-softly’ approach obviously isn’t working. Publish the facts and stuff the idea that you might offend some peoples sensibilities. If it shocks people into being safe, then it is worth it.

  17. Chris P you are lucky you only got to see it for that 1 night and to be able to get away from it. I’m a Londoner born and bred and I got so caught up in itI could not keep away. Every weekend I was having the time of my life and every so often I got tested but the result never came back positive —- so I thought I was fine and all the sex I was having would mean it would never happen to me – – – -until it did. I made a decision then that now I am so grateful I did. I moved to the Scottish Highlands. Like Sean says it ain’t worth risking super-infection. Up here I’ve got off the sex-addiction and there’s none of the gaypers round to tempt me, not even any THT leaflets showing horny guys about to shag. Sooooooooooooo grateful I’m outta there!

  18. Robert Wade 3 Nov 2009, 3:53pm

    The introduction of this story states that opinion is divided about the performance of the HIV prevention sector. But surely that is the point of this article; to show that the weight of public opinion is very much against the sector’s methods and out-dated policies? Further, the feedback to date suggests a near 100 per cent compliance with the author’s findings. Hardly indicative of “divided opinion”…

    Among all the embarrassing myths and deceptions exploded by this survey, one should not forget what THT’s misnomered “head of health promotion” Mark Thompson recently told Pink News: “I don’t think there is any evidence that the rise in barebacking is a direct result of the rise in bareback porn. With some people its a case of ‘monkey-see-monkey-do’ but most don’t [take away that message]”. How foolish he, like so many of his comrades, must now feel in light of this new survey, which finds bareback porn being cited as THE leading factor in encouraging unsafe sex among gay men. Word of advice, Mark: stop clinging so religiously to the GMSS survey results, which are often two years out of date anyway, and instead act quickly on all available evidence in the here and now. You and your motley crew have got it all wrong and the cost to our community’s health has been devastating, there is no use pretending otherwise, so learn from your mistakes or find another NGO well out of harm’s way where you can spout your PC-filtered rhetoric and downright nonsense.

    The person who should REALLY be taking responsibility for THT’s failures and neglect in the sphere of HIV prevention, of course, is its seemingly untouchable dinosaur, sorry, Chief Exec. Nick Partridge. Instead, we find that he was not only awarded an OBE earlier this year by the Government, but has been nominated as a “Hero of the Year” by Stonewall at this week’s awards ceremony. How utterly preposterous. I think this speaks more for the cronyism that exists between these organisations and New Labour than for any noted achievements in the field of HIV, let alone prevention. I hope people will see this nomination for the “reward for failure” it really is, and I know if I could afford to cough up £150 to attend I would be banging my knife and fork and jeering out loud when Partridge’s name is read out…

  19. This issue brings to mind Randy Shilts and his book “And The Band Played On” published in 1987.

    Shilts’ premise was that while AIDS was caused by a biological agent, incompetence and apathy toward those who were initially affected by AIDS allowed the spread of the disease to become much worse; AIDS was allowed to happen. This relates to the situation we have today. Now there are powerful drugs available to people who have HIV, but in Western countries (where there is no excuse) the virus is still being spread. Incompetence and apathy are still allowing the spread of the disease.

    Often the most enraging passages in “And the Band Played On” are those recalling spurious US congress testimony, outright lying, and budget bullet-dodging by higher-ups in the US Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, the Center for Disease Control, and the National Cancer Institute. But Shilts also blamed the media. Here in the UK a similar scenario exists still with regard to the year-by-year rises in the numbers of HIV infections in this country. Rather than stop the merry-go-round, the HIV charities, government departments, and the media, are permitting the sex-fest to continue.

    Shilts also blamed the gay community for wasting time fighting against itself when it could have closed bathhouses sooner and fought harder and sooner for better prevention measures. Were Shilts alive today he would no doubt, and rightly, still point the finger at the gay community and the gay-sex industries who, obsessed with money, pleasure, and ME ME ME refuse to point the finger at themselves and clean up the whole act so that sleaze, easy, and casual sex is not encouraged as a gay lifestyle.

    Shilts’ book is given massive weight by its revelations and evidence that hundreds of people could have acted to prevent thousands of AIDS cases. His book is regarded by many as one of the most important books of the last 30 years. His message still pertains today: because today hundreds of people in positions of responsibility could be taking action to stem the relentless surge for more and more sex in seedier and seedier situations. Isn’t it extraordinary that most of the gay sleaze-joints of London lie directly behind M15’s headquarters in Vauxhall!

    Shilts himself had been a frequent user of American saunas/bathhouses and gay clubs before the danger of HIV was understood. While he was writing his book he took his first HIV test and on the day he sent the final manuscript to the publisher, he learned the result: he was HIV+. Shilts was only 42 when he died of AIDS on 17 February 1994. He wrote the last chapters of his third book from his hospital bed, and in an interview with the New York Times he said, “HIV has made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity.” How pertinent is that to today’s situation! It’s ego and vanity which is stopping those in the HIV charities from having the gumption to stand up against the unending media-led urge to partake in the sex-fest. And it’s ego and vanity that are stopping all the 1000s of gay men who frequent the slease-pits of London from pulling themselves up short.

    Shilts also revealed in his final years that he had received a great deal of abuse from gays for the articles he wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle in which he supported the closing of all bathhouses/saunas and suchlike. Furthermore he revealed he received a great deal of abuse for having written “And the Band Played On”. He said that it was common for him to be spat upon when walking through San Francisco’s gay Castro District. How this is to today’s situation with regard to our calls for a stop to London’s sex-fest and for a stop to the kind of HIV-prevention campaigns that actually FOSTER involvement and engagement in risky practices in risky contexts!

    History will look back on what’s happening now and see the truth, just as it looks back and sees how gay men fought against changes in those early days of the epidemic.

  20. Ryan Haynes - fyi radio 3 Nov 2009, 5:39pm

    FYi RADiO is recording a show on Monday 16th November on Sex, Porn and Health. We would like some of you to come and take part.

    Please get in contact if you are willing to join us in our studio in Stratford.

  21. The problem with these London “Sin City” postings is that they give a false impression of what is really going on with HIV infection rates around the country and contribute to men outside London, or men who don’t use sex clubs, thinking that it is safe to take a few risks with men from their area, or with men in their bedroom. The truth is that while London has the largest number of men diagnosed with HIV each year, the greatest increases in HIV diagnoses are happening outside the London area. HIV is on everyone’s doorstep and in our bedrooms.

  22. shayne chester 3 Nov 2009, 10:04pm

    The problem of HIV/AIDS orgs. refusing to be honest about the realities of living with the virus are not confined to the UK. Here in Sydney, we have the same situation. Our local NGO, ‘acon’ promotes the notion that living with HIV is a happy picnic on the beach. There idea of a safe sex campaign was to have some hotty models hand out bananas in the street. IUn fact, out of $10 mill in funding, they only spent about a $1/2 a mill last year on programmes and services. Naturally, emails to acon questioning the negligence, and pointing out the results of this survey, are unanswered. Meanwhile, for dozens of HIV+ men that I know, living with HIV is a nightmare of ill-health, mental issues, HIVphobia, poverty and isolation.

  23. An extraordinary article has just appeared in “New York” magazine. Make sure you read all five pages. It’s titled

    “Another Kind of AIDS Crisis”

    “A striking number of HIV patients are living longer but getting older faster—showing early signs of dementia and bone weakness usually seen in the elderly.”

    Click here to read of what’s emerging as the reality of living with HIV and HIV medications

  24. I am not surprised that the usual suspects from the HIV sector have not invaded this discussion board with their usual pathetic excuses and lame rhetoric. They have been truly rumbled, and in the glaring light of the facts as presented by the Soho Live survey and recent authoritative reports from the US that conclusively prove that ARVs wear down the body and shorten life expectancy by 20 years or so, all of which debunk their lies and fallacies, no wonder they are all lost for words. Indeed, I trust they are all too busy preparing their resignation letters even as I write. Well, we can but hope…

  25. Well, Codex, maybe it’s because they are all fully aware that Gary Leigh’s survey was deeply flawed – using leading and misleading questions that no respectable researcher would ever deem worthy of a legitamate study – and that a vast majority of the posts here come from a small minority of people using various pseudonyms to try to make it look like the study has mass support.

    Maybe they also have better things to do getting on with their important work rather that enter into a stupidity fight with people who think things like this are real:

  26. Positive guys bb with each other – it is their choice and they should not be stigmatised or “prosecuted”! This is bigotry from those who don’t understand. The risks to their health are minimal if on medication – there are a tiny number of recorded cases of people who have picked up other HIV strains.

    The people I know who bb in clubs are the positive guys playing with other positive guys, or those who are in denial (wont get tested). That is why it seems very common. I play regularly in these clubs and condoms and gloves are certainly used.

    People on this post who don’t enjoy or understand the finer points of such envirnoments should stay away. Negative guys should play safe!!

  27. Terry in Oz 4 Nov 2009, 7:45pm

    “Enigma” two questions to you:

    1. Print here the questions that were given in the Soho Live survey and try your best to convince us that they were “deeply flawed” as you protest.

    2. Print here your proof that all the people in this comments section who agree with Gary Leigh are, as you imply, just one or two persons pretending to be different people. (What is your problem? Why can’t you accept that in a country of 65 million people there should be more than just a couple of people who are of the same mind as Leigh!)

  28. OK let’s just let gay men have their sex-clubs, their orgies, and their barebacking parties and let’s just keep giving them the antivirals as more and more of them get infected. And so what if the numbers of gay men getting infected goes up and up and up? It’s all their own doing. Looking at that website link above for a public orgy at that gay club in Bermondsey it’s pretty clear that gay men quite clearly prefer their pleasures over the difficulties of becoming positive and having to deal with HIV and antivirals for the rest of their lives. And when the numbers of infected men get so high that the government can’t afford to foot the treatment bill any longer, we can easily just turn round without any guilt at all and tell them that it’s all their own doing and that if any of them want access to the antivirals they’re going to have pay for them. Sounds like the easiest way of dealing with this whole situation in my view. You want you’re club, you want to bareback? Fine. You pay for all HIV treatment antivirals. Sounds fair enough to me when we have women and others who are having to dealing with certain cancers and other diseases that the government won’t fund.

  29. An interesting interview with the author on the web site –

    On bareback porn:

    “Bareback porn is a convenient scapegoat for the HIV sector right now, which is perhaps why they won’t condemn it. People are increasingly blaming bareback porn for the HIV crisis and demanding it be banned when it is the HIV charities’ policies and inaction that have actively encouraged and fomented the environment in which this form of “entertainment” has thrived. Had they not done so it would not be necessary to ban anything. Bareback porn and bareback sex clubs are merely symptoms of their failures and negligence.”

    On sex clubs:

    “We have surely reached a precipice when THT, via, and GMFA, via its fundraising links with club nights like Filth and Central Station, are effectively endorsing and promoting environments and behaviours that are recreating the same conditions that existed in the bath houses and sex dens of New York and San Francisco in the early 1980s while simultaneously neglecting the needs of under-25s who are barebacking in ignorance.”

    Strong stuff and oh so true!

  30. Strong stuff and yes so true, Rob. Like a breath of fresh air. So sweet to hear the truth so honestly and simply spoken.

  31. Biohazardmen Organisers 6 Nov 2009, 1:37pm

    I wish to refute some of the misinformation put about by our bareback parties by people who have clearly misunderstood the nature of the events we hold.

    Firstly, our parties are for HIV POSITIVE MEN ONLY. Everyone who attends MUST agree to our terms and conditions which include a statement that they are HIV positive and that they accept the risks involved. So we do NOT contribute to the spread of hiv to those who are negative.

    Secondly, we are doing nothing illegal. The Court of Appeal has decided that “reckless transmission of hiv” is an offence (Grievous bodily harm) and rightly so; however, as to the issue of “consent to the risk”, the Court has said very clearly that where the status of the person is disclosed PRIOR to the sexual contact, and both consent, then there can be NO liability (civil or criminal) for anything as both have assumed the risk – “volenti non fit injuria” is the legal term – “a volunteer assumes the risk” – is long established principle of English law. Clearly, as everyone at our party is already HIV positive and has agreed to the nature of the party, everyone is there by their own choice. There certainly, by definition, can be no transmission to someone who is hiv-negative, unless of course they have lied on the admission form. In that case, they cannot possibly turn around and say they did not contribute to their own infection in any event as they have lied – which is not our responsibility.

    Thirdly – we see this as an issue of INDIVIDUAL CHOICE. All those saying that hiv-positive men should not be allowed to bareback with others are completely missing this point. Who are you to say what we can and cannot do? What gives you the right to tell us how to have sex in an informed, consensual environment? Some of the arguments put forward on here against our parties are simply illogical and irrational – for example, no-one would suggest that skydiving be banned because it is inherently dangerous, nor would anyone suggst that someone injured in a skydivign accident ought to pay for their own care on the NHS. Similarly with smokers – they do not have to pay for their NHS care, despite “contributing” to their iwn illness (according tot some). I therefore wholly reject the notion that somehow we are not “worthy” of NHS care simply because we choose to have unsafe sex with those who are already infected with HIV. In any event, as the recent Swiss Statement has shown, in fact those who adhere to a HAART regimen are virtually “non-infectious”.

    We will continue to offer the hiv-positive men of London the CHOICE to have sex as they wish in a safe and non-judgmental environment.

    The Biohazard Team

  32. Biohazardmen Organisers 6 Nov 2009, 5:31pm

    You are all missing the point I made about PERSONAL CHOICE.

    It appears that you are a bunch of social nazis intent upon imposing your own view on others.

    Its very simple – people CHOOSE to do this whether you like it or not.

    What my doctor thinks about what I do is totally irrelevant. He is there to ADVISE me – not to TELL me what to do.

    No one has yet put forward any cogent arguments as to why people should not be free to do things as they choose which may involve risk (such as skydiving, or smoking). Doctors would advise against both those things but ultimately it is the CHOICE of the individual as to what they do and NO ONE has the right to say that they cannot do it.

  33. Biohazardmen Organisers 6 Nov 2009, 5:35pm

    “Dr Chris” says: “I suggest you wake up and get real and I would fully support any action to make such behaviour illegal.”

    Would you also make it illegal for men, in the privacy of their own homes, to have unprotected bareback sex? How on earth could you frame such a law? And on what grounds?

    We live in a FREE society where people are free to make choices for themselves – not to be dictated to by people who have no right to tell anyone how to live their lives.

  34. Chad (and other dimwits),

    BH men threatens no-one that does not want to be infected. They are not breaking any laws. People can choose to go skiing, horse riding, etc and break their neck! No one one rushing to close down the slopes or pass a law for them! In France alone about 140,000 injuries occur each year – about 12,000 serious, requiring hospitalisation. Lock them up I say, it’s costing a fortune!!

    You are a bunch of controlling, facist, bigots. It is EDUCATION, EDUCATION and FREEDOM of CHOICE. Get it!

  35. Godwin’s law (Reductio ad Hitlerum) strikes again with Kevin’s comments.

    Aside from the issues about reinfection which are contentious and the Swiss study might be right, there are alarming rates of hepatitis b infections, syphilis is on the rise and a surprising number of blokes are having to explain why they have given regular partners crabs after a visit to such venues.

    I was diagnosed in 1984 now after 25 years knowingly living with HIV I can say I have never had unprotected sex since then and my partner of the last 16 years is still (as of June) negative there are lots of responsible +ve gay men, most of us I would guess, the users of sex clubs are a small minority.

  36. Self-regulation! I like it!

    An unknown concept to some people! LOL.

  37. Just a line urging that we are in danger of losing sight of the message of original article here, and that is to educate our community properly about safe sex and the reality about HIV still being a chronic terminal disease. The HIV charities are clearly not going to do this for us so we must find other ways, and also take them to task and shout LIARS the next time they spout one of their myths or plain lies that have served to keep us ignorant. HIV is not a badge of honour or rite of passage as so many young gays have today been led to believe, and they must STOP being taught about “risk minimization” techniques instead of “use conmdoms at ALL times”, which I know for a fact is part of the GMFA agenda for all so-called safer sex campaigns (I know this because a friend of mine works in this organization and is secretly appalled by the kind of things that are discussed at GMFA meetings in which the term “safe sex” is now anathema). I really do believe we have reached a situation where there is some kind of an agenda/drive to make the HIV+ status itself the status quo among gay men on the back of feeding the support services and ARV industries.

  38. Ford Hickson 10 Nov 2009, 3:12pm

    Anal intercourse with condoms is risk reduction, not risk elimination. Anal intercourse WITH a condom is an HIV risk.

    In Sydney, Australia. 1-in-300 gay men who “use condoms at ALL times” get HIV each year (Jin, 2008). In Seattle, USA, 1.5% of HIV negative gay men who “use condoms at ALL times” test positive for HIV each year (Golden, 2008). Why are people on this board urging men to take HIV risks?

  39. Mr Hickson, as representative of the Sigma group the community has not been well served by your endless statistic spouting. Where has it got us after all? As a member of the CHAPs line-up you are a member of the consortium of groups that has sought to feed us meaningless statistics and empty rhetoric for many years, so why believe anything you say now? Haven’t you been reading people’s responses closely enough on here are sensing the communities anger since some rather more meaningful statistics emerged as the basis of this Pink News story? I for one will not fall for your spin anymore, or the way you impartially comment on the results of your own collusive surveys (hardly independent, eh?). We want effective action to bring down the hiv rates to 1999 levels, not more of the same old same old from your likes. In light of recent, more meaningful statistics being reoprted, your head along with others within the sector should be bowed in shame or on the block. You have betrayed us, so stop your smoke & mirrors act and JUST GO AWAY!!! Thank you.

  40. Ford Hickson 10 Nov 2009, 4:13pm

    Why are people on this board urging men to take HIV risks with getting f**ked by casual partners with condoms, an act which threatens a persons life?

  41. Dr Hickson have you no shame? How date you try your tricks on a discussion board commenting on the discreditation of you and your HIV sector henchmen? How dare you output the idea that protected sex us unsate sex on the basis that one in several hundred condoms break or whatever. This is the safest form if penetrative sex as well u know, but you twisted CHAPies are pushing condomless withdrawal methods as equally valid options. THAT is why your days are numbered. I have already written to my MP and have bern assureef that moved are afoot to consign your insane and dangerous logic to the dustbin of history. As Dot says, clear off traitor!!!!!!!

  42. I agree that there is a real sense that the likes of Ford Hickson, Matthew Hodson, Will Nutland, Mark Thompson et al have betrayed our trust and the “gay community” as a whole for whatever purpose, malign, nafarious or otherwise. There is simple no sense or rhyme or reason to their policies or the politically correct rhetoric and ideologies that drive them. Whatever happened to good old common sense? Was it really Mark Thompson, press spokesperson for the Terry Higgins Trust, who recently on this very site declared – “I don’t think there is any evidence that the rise in barebacking is a direct result of the rise in bareback porn. With some people its a case of ‘monkey-see-monkey-do’ but most don’t [take away that message]”.

    With ridiculously daft, opinionated statements like these churned out on a regular basis in the clear ploy that they become accepted fact, the only monkeys I see here are the ones named above who have ambushed HIV prevention and, in true 1984 fashion, turned its cause upside down and inside out to become the opposite of what it claims to be. Consign them to history and let’s have some new blood who don’t come programmed with a belief system that runs counter to preserving our community’s health and well being. Thank you, Gary Leigh, for putting your money where your mouth is and exploding their world of distortionsm, delusions and fallacies, and for letting some truth to shine again on our world.

  43. I so clearly remembr that HIV page that appeared in all the mags showing two real horny young guys naked in some woods or something and about to f*** one standing close behind the other in the f***ing position. It was a whole page ad and in colour and it was real horney. Yes there was words somewhere along the bottom or the top saying to do it with a condom but the image was like so horny and encouraging you to have sex with strangers. Anyway there were lots of ads like that —– and they sort of made it fashionable to get into that sort of scene —– and now I’m HIV positive. That’s my story and I bet I’m not the only one.

  44. why is this gary idiot still being given a platform? are PinkNews that desperate for ‘news’ ?

  45. if you ask me this GAry Leigh guy has really got a point. thanks Gary for blowing the whistle¬!

  46. A world without AIDS is closer than we think and

  47. Watching the film clip I hope in the longer version there is coverage of those of us ARV’s have worked for diagnosed in ’85 it has not been an easy journey but I’m alive because of the pills.

  48. Obmode, this suggestion is utterly foolish. If you are a member of the public don’t waste your money on paying for a ticket to watch this rubbishy piece of film.

    Instead, just consider the following:

    Millions have died by being infected by a virus, the HIV virus.

    Antibodies to that virus are detectable in those who have been infected by it.

    ARVs largely disable the virus and have enabled millions of infected people to live, albeit with side-effects and the relentless effects of the small but powerful amounts of HIV which remain present in very small concentrations in certain parts of the body.

    This whole “House of Numbers” lark is nonsense, and totally irresponsible misinformation.

    And please consider this: by spreading news of this rubbishy sensationalist film you WILL cause some people to avoid ARVs and thus die.

  49. House of Numbers is nothing more than a denialist pile of s**t… for further reading about its lies please read:

    Real Answers to the Fake Questions in “House of Numbers”

    Pernicious film of Aids denialist propaganda

    obmode is a serial spammer who posts the same comments on any forum that discusses HIV & AIDS in an attempt to recruit people to the death-cult of HIV denial.

  50. Well, said, BSE!

    Here’s another link that exposes this glamorous piece of irresponsible film-making:

    Note, in the above article: “18 doctors and scientists interviewed for the film have issued a statement saying that the director was “deceptive” in his interactions with them, that it perpetuates pseudoscience and myths, and that they were selectively quoted to make it seem as if they are in disagreement and disarray”

  51. Very confused here. I like to think I have an open mind but the hypothesis presented by this film – that Aids is not caused by HIV and that it is all just one big scam – is just too outrageous and horrific to contemplate. I would like to think such theories belong to crackpot conspiracists, but then I see respectable and thought-provoking reviews of House of Cards have appeared in mainstream periodicals like the LA Times and The Spectator of all places. What is going on here?

  52. Eek, it has also won a number of fringe film festival awards across the US. I don’t categorise leaders in the field of creative arts as crackpot conspiracists! Maybe worth checking out if it hits UK…

  53. Rob, do NOT be confused by either of those two poor or absurd reviews!

    With regard to the couple of paragraphs written by one “Gary Goldstein” in “The Los Angeles Times” firstly note that Goldstein says: ‘As documentaries go, Brent Leung’s “House of Numbers” is not especially well-organized or focused. It plays as if the producer-director decided . . . it was time for a “state of HIV/AIDS” update . . . and then figured out what his film would really be about. . . [The film’s] inconclusiveness is bound to sadden or infuriate anyone who’s lost a loved one to AIDS’

    The rest of Mr. Goldstein’s two paragraphs do not assure one that both paragraphs have not simply been dashed off very carelessly and irresponsibly simply just to fill a newspaper column. It would be foolish to attribute any authority to Goldstein’s appraisal other than his noted observation that the film is poorly organised. I suspect that this Los Angeles person was considerably seduced by the film’s dramatic and glossy “24-style” presentation.

    As for the other review you say you have been “confused” by, note that it was written by Neville Hodgkinson AND that it was published by a magazine widely accepted as being very right-wing Tory. People have often asked what planet Spectator writers exist on. Anyway, go to your local library and spend an hour perusing past issues of The Spectator. If you like right-wing Tories and their minds, you’ll enjoy yourself.

    As for this particular writer, Neville Hodgkinson, he is widely known as an AIDS denialist, a crackpot Tory journalist.

    Please take careful note of the following:

    In 1992–1993, The Sunday Times, where Hodgkinson served as scientific editor, ran a series of articles arguing that the AIDS epidemic in Africa was a myth. These articles stressed argued that antiviral therapy was ineffective, HIV testing unreliable, and that AIDS was not a threat to heterosexuals. The Sunday Times coverage was heavily criticized as slanted, misleading, and potentially dangerous; the scientific journal Nature took the unusual step of printing a 1993 editorial calling the paper’s coverage of HIV/AIDS “seriously mistaken, and probably disastrous.”

    Rob, wandering around on the internet is pitted with dangers. It is not a respectable local library full of generally reliable information and texts. In damn twat and upload any foolish drivel they like. BEWARE.

  54. Well, i have been called a climate change denialist for looking on the internet for the truth beyond the BBC six o’clock news and discovering that the earth is actually cooling down, not heating up, so my inquisitive mind needs to look into this a little further to satisfy itself either way. It is important to note that Aids itself is not a physical disease but the effect on the body of a depleted immune system, and I do see how out in Africa with the conditions people live in their wasting could be attributed either to Aids itself or simple malnutrition and other diseases. But that does not explain why healthy people in the West get diagnosed with HIV. Much to investigate!

  55. Rob, “healthy people in the West get diagnosed with HIV”? Nope. No way. If the highly sensitive tests that now exist result in the diagnosis of HIV, then the individual is generally not “healthy” though he or she may APPEAR to be healthy. To be found to have HIV is to have a very serious condition. Only a small number of people called “non-progressors” have been observed to carry HIV and not become subject to seriously compromised immune systems . . . so far.

    By the way, sorry about my last line in my previous posting. I was writing in haste. I meant to say (with regard to all content available through the internet) that “Any damned twat can upload any foolish drivel they like. BEWARE.”

  56. Of course Hodgkinson is going to be defending the film BECAUSE HE IS IN IT! It should be noted that Hodgkinson’s denialist articles were published under Andrew Neil, then editor of the times. What does that have to do with it? Neil is the Chairman of Press Holdings, which owns the spectator…

    The fact that House of Numbness has won awards shows two major points:

    1. As one would expect lovies at film festivals are not experts in HIV (and probably any of the subjects they screen films about.)

    2. Awards at film festivals count for s*&T.

  57. don’t want to change the subject to climate change, but evidence the earth is cooling at the moment does not conflict with climate change!!!!!!!!

    climate change works like this: (climate change for dummies!)if you keep pumping out noxious gases and if you keep reducing earth’s green lungs, then without any doubt at all you’re gonna screw up the atmosphere …………………. and if you screw up the atmosphere you screw up climate.

    what i keep noticing is the number of opinionated people with there noses stuck in the air who just aren’t up to holding all of the data in their poor little heads at once – nobody can do it perfectly but some people are just soooooooooooo pathetic at it!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (sorry if you suffer from a disability)

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