Does this announcement represent the turning of the tide after a doubling of HIV rates among gay men since 1999, and eight years since the UK HIV sector began working to Government specifications? Can the National Aids Trust be specific as to exactly what they are asking MPs to support here? Is it merely more funding to produce yet more ineffective and often incentivising HIV campaigns which this charity has supported as part of the CHAPS partnership and which has led to over a third of under-25s regarding HIV as no more serious than any other STI? Or is this a serious response to recent articles on Pink News and other media of late that have openly criticised the efforts of the THT and GMFA, who have blatantly been prioritising the rights of HIV positive men to bareback above the need to educate negative men how to have safe sex?
Of course it is vital that gay men be educated about how to avoid HIV but it is equally vital they be educated as to why. The latest THT campaign, for example, features two cracked egg shells to resemble cuts in the anus and a sponge to symbolise how HIV is easily absorbed into the rectum, but as with similar campaigns the word HIV could can just as easily be transposed with syphilis or gonnorhea. What are missing are campaigns that highlight why HIV remains unique among STIs in that it remains a terminal condition with many unpleasant downsides which have been hushed up by the HIV sector on the false pretexts of avoiding HIV stigma and to avoid dissuading men from coming forward to being tested – myths which were blown away by a recent independent survey of 500 gay men attending an outdoor event in London. Only 20 of the survey sample agreed with each of these fallacies.
Perhaps this annoucement by the NAT is a direct response to this survey’s findings and the intense debate it has elicited elsewhere, in which case it is a start. But be warned, NAT. As a charity that has supported the kind of insane PC theories that have fuelled the rise of barebacking (including preaching “risk minimisation” and aggressively promoting a “morning after pill” (PEP) for premeditated unsafe sex to name but two) and demonstrably enabled instead of preventing the spread of HIV in our community this past decade, we will be keeping a close eye on developments.
We will not rest until genuinely explicit HIV prevention campaigns aimed at the still negative majority are well and truly back on the agenda, produced by gay men for gay men and devoid of Government interference and meddling.
This does not fill me with excitement. The NAT has demonstrated time and again that when push comes to shove it is aligned with the warped policies of the THT and GMFA that have served only to enable, not prevent, the rapid spread of HIV in recent years. They have had many years of failed HIV campaigns to make this move. Why now? Are they panicking in the light of growing community outrage at recent revelations that the cosy CHAPS inner coterie of HIV charities have been using myths and outright lies to avoid running the kind of blunt, truthful campaigns that would spell out the consequences of HIV infection that would impact and make young men take notice? If MPs of all parties really wanted to demonstrate their commitment to gay rights, they would hold the leaders of these charities to account for their negligence and failures and support the right for gay men to be properly educated from now on, empowering them to make the correct sexual choices in order to protect their health and well being. And they would end the charities’ silence and criminalise bareback porn and demand that sex-on-premises venues clean up their act at a stroke. I wait to be convinced that this is more than a face-saving exercise.
This should be most welcomed. The attitude of young adults seems to be disturbingly naive about HIV. I don’t think though it should be just for young gay men. It need to be rolled out for all young people, as straight men seem to find it hard to grasp just as much if not more so with the beliefs it’s just a ‘gay disease’ as much as young gay men think it’s just an ‘old person disease’. It does also prove the point that this education needs to be compulsary in schools, All schools.
Wow, well done Pink News for pushing the campaign for proper hiv information for gays, especially the ignorant young. I hope the success at winning harder hitting campaigns here will be copied globally. I know that the same levels of ignorance exist in America and Australia where similar softly softly approaches have caused hiv to explode in gay comunities since hard hitting campaigns ceased in the advent of combination therapies in the mid 1990s. Harvey, you mean well but in the UK hiv is a mainly gay disease. Most straights infected with it are Africans who come over for easy treatment. It could be argued that it was those insisting hiv affected everyone equally who did great damage as the governent reapportioned funds accordingly which is why foreigners have sometimes received priority above gay men. Tht is also funded to cater for this sub group – it is not quite the gay mens charity it claims to be!
So maybe if we just leave to straight young to find out for themselves that it’s not just a ‘gay disease’ then eh? It does affect everyone, women and men, white or black… Pass a GU clinic and see how many young people are in there, you may be shocked to see how many straight young men and women leave themselves vunerable to STD’s so why not HIV?