Reader comments · Tory leader David Cameron promises ‘big push’ to curb HIV infections · PinkNews

Enter your email address to receive our daily LGBT news roundup

You're free to unsubscribe at any time.


Tory leader David Cameron promises ‘big push’ to curb HIV infections

Post your comment

Comments on this article are now closed.

Reader comments

  1. John(Derbyshire) 30 Nov 2009, 1:32pm

    It was the tombstone ads and the Thatcher government`s response to the aids crisis that actually led to gay men being stigmatised. I well remember my partner and myself whilst out walking our dog being told by a group of local youths to “make sure you read that poster ad”. The conservatives have nothing to be proud about- and if elected-I guess would soon get back to stigmatizing gay men again.

  2. Gareth Lloyd 30 Nov 2009, 1:56pm

    John, although what you and your partner experienced was awful, we live in a different society now. Would you have seen two men walking hands in the street, probably not. I was at university 10 years ago and it is amazing how society has changed in that time, even 10 years ago being gay was not as accepted as it is today.

    David Cameron’s speech should be welcomed as more does need to be done to tackle the issue. Rather than using this speech as a party political point scoring game can’t the gay community actually pull together and welcome any increase in funding etc, regardless of the political party announcing the policy.

    As for gay men being stigmatized under a conservative Government, this is just wrong. If the Conservatives win the next election they will have more gay MPs than Labour and Liberals put together, something recognised by Stonewall. There are openly gay candidates fighting for seats up and down the country and many gay PPC’s which have been selected for ‘safe seats’.

    People have this opinion of the Conservative party of 30 years ago, as I said before, society was a different place then. Many LABOUR front bench MPs voted for Section 28 etc, something which they are keen not to broadcast.

    David’s speech should be welcomed, the policy of ring fencing health care budgets is the right one and it is great to see Mr Cameron taking this issue seriously.

  3. Gareth Lloyd,

    You sound like a spokes person for the Conservative Party?

  4. Oh no! Not the Tory Public Health campaigns again! Icebergs and tombstones and bunches of madonna lilies….(or were they Peter Lillies?!)…a whole generation never saw them but if they come back I’m off to Join Rupert Everett in Never Never Land!!1

  5. Simon Murphy 30 Nov 2009, 2:32pm

    But Gareth Lloyd – we cannot ignore the fact that the Tories are in alliance in Europe with the Polish Law and Justice Party – a party whose leader thinks that acceptance of homosexuality will lead to the destruction of civilisation. They are also linked with catholic extremist Michal Kaminski – a man who has been accused of being an anti-semitic neoNazi.

    PLus there is the fact that Iain Duncan Smith would be responsible for social policy in a Tory government. This is the same religious homophobe that through his sinister activities in the Centre for Social Justice is trying to limit the parental rights of non-biological gay parents. He is assisted in this by religious zealot Philippa Stroud – another Tory parliamentary candidate.

    These are issues that the Tories are trying to gloss over – their links with homophobic fascists and religious extremists. Well until they have addressed these specific issues it’s only natural that the Tories not be trusted considering how utterly appalling they have been for the last 30 years.

  6. Here, here Simon!!! (some of us don’t forget that easily!)

  7. Talk is cheap … and ‘Cameron talk’ is just worthless. God help us all if he ever gives another ‘cast iron promise’ !!!!

  8. The problem is that there is no point in making money available to fight HIV & AIDS, if on the other hand the same political party panders to people such as the Pope and other groups who are actively working against safer safe practices.

    It sends out entirely conflicting mixed messages. I know its not just the Tories to blame, other parties, including Labour have to shoulder some of the responsibility for this. On the whole it does tend to be the ones who advocate social conservatism though.

  9. One of the biggest HIV problems this country faces is mainly a immigrant African heterosexual one Mr Cameron. Where are the speeches criticizing the catholic position on the use of condoms.

  10. Patrick James 30 Nov 2009, 5:16pm

    I wonder if Cameron’s promise to “ring fence spending of money for tackling HIV” is cast iron?

  11. Simon Murphy 30 Nov 2009, 5:26pm

    No 10: Patrick: “I wonder if Cameron’s promise to “ring fence spending of money for tackling HIV” is cast iron? ”

    Of course it isn’t.

    ‘Dave’ Cameron used to work in Public Relations – in other words he lied for a living in his previous job. I hardly think a professional liar can be trusted to tell the truth

  12. Pumpkin Pie 30 Nov 2009, 6:05pm

    But he added that it was equally important to change attitudes and remove stigma from the disease.

    As John pointed out, it is very, very difficult to simultaneously do both. Good luck to all those who try, but I just hope somebody out there has some bright ideas.

  13. Its imposible to control AIDS when 1 billion catholics are being icuraged to take this attitude.

  14. Are people forgetting that HIV rates among gay men have doubled over the past ten years under New Labour? This is a victory for common sense and a devastating rebuke to the HIV “enabling” sector that has squandered millions of pounds of prevention funding with campaigns and policies that have subliminally encouraged the normalization of HIV while presiding over the social acceptance of barebacking, with not a word spoken out against bareback porn or sex venues where unsafe sex is rampant.

    Those claiming we will see a return to tombstones – namely those who have run HIV prevention into the ground, such as the THT and GMFA – are keen to maintain the current PC approach that has, for its own counter-productive reasons, utilized neuro linguistic tactics to transmit confusing signals and mixed messages that a recent survey found has encouraged rather than dissuaded many gay men to adopt riskier sexual practices and have led to over a quarter of all gay men to regard HIV as no more of a threat than curable STDs; a figure rising to a third of all young gay men. The survey also blew the lid off the HIV sector’s lie that a return to hard-hitting campaigns would lead to more stigma (only 4% of those taking part in the survey agreed that it does), with most HIV-positive people themselves agreeing that such campaigns are necessary to shock gay men back into adopting safe sex as a rule.

    The whole idea of using the stigma card as an excuse not to run upfront campaigns is flawed for the precise reason that the interests of negative men must be placed ahead of the sensibilities of any HIV-positive men who may be offended by ads that emphasize the horrible realities and potential consequences of their condition, notwithstanding the fact that many gay men who have HIV today knowingly took sexual risks and so cannot be considered to be innocent victims, which is what the HIV sector has long portrayed them to be.

    Congratulations to Pink News for its series of articles highlighting the inadequacies of ten years of disastrous HIV education and for putting the need for a return to harder hitting campaigns firmly back on the agenda, and to Paul Burston, Boyz Magazine and Homovision for sustaining the debate that has led to this momentous announcement. The critical thing is that David Cameron follows through and that the annual HIV rates soon start recording drastic declines.

  15. We ARE talking about Conservatives here! Lets not forget the damage caused by section 28.
    The Torys will probably lock us all up.

  16. Gareth at #2 wrote: “As for gay men being stigmatized under a conservative Government, this is just wrong. If the Conservatives win the next election they will have more gay MPs than Labour and Liberals put together, something recognised by Stonewall. There are openly gay candidates fighting for seats up and down the country and many gay PPC’s which have been selected for ‘safe seats'”

    List all your Tory MPs for us, Gareth! A couple of months ago they were saying they HOPED their MIGHT be SEVEN!

    I think we should all be pro much more effective HIV-prevention campaigns, but certainly NOT in Tory hands.

    Never forget who the Tories represent. Cameron can sound progressive and hope we all get sucked in by the new green-tree logo, but they’re the same old queen-loving church-loving establishment party they always have been!

  17. John(Derbyshire) 30 Nov 2009, 8:18pm

    Gerald Howarth Julian Brazier David Wiltshire Christopher Chope- the homophobic bigots are STILL there fermenting their evil ways.

  18. @Eddy – It was Ben Summerskill of Stonewall who has said that “we are probably going to have more out lesbian and gay MP’s from the Conservatives than any other Party”. ( see )

    At the last count, LGBTory managed to list more than two dozen names, already selected, of men and women who are LGBT and will be standing for Parliament at the next General Election for the Conservatives (and there are still more to be selected). These include Iain Stewart in Milton Keynes South and Margot James in Stourbridge (both target seats). The figure of ‘seven’ that you mention was a journalist’s figure and not one that came from the Party.

    The Conservatives already have three out gay shadow ministers and this year had a ‘Conference Pride’ event at national conference, which was one of the most successful social events at any social events at Party Conference ever!

    @ Simon Murphy – The Polish Law and Justice Party reject homophobia. As one of Law and Justice’s leading MEPs, Adam Bielan, has said, ‘We are fully committed to human rights and equality under the law, and object to all forms of discrimination, whether on grounds of race, sex or sexual orientation’ (Guardian, 7 May 2009).

    I agree that European Groupings are not perfect, however, and even the Lib Dems and Labour sit with people who have said or done distasteful things on the issue of homosexuality. The Lib Dems’ Latvian allies in the European Parliament, Latvia’s First Party/Latvian Way (LPP/LC), have banned gay pride parades in Riga, attempted to ban discussion of gay issues in the media (Agence France Presse, 7 September 2006) and one of their leading figures, Janis Smits, whom they succeeded in appointing as Latvia’s human rights commissioner, described homosexuality as a ‘plague’ (Guardian, 1 June 2007). Labour’s German allies recently had to apologise for a homophobic slur against Guido Westerwelle, gay leader of the German Free Democrat Party, by Peter Langner of the Social Democrats (Pink News, 30 September 2009).

    Homophobia and prejudice is NEVER to be defended and Simon is right to say this. However, I happen to believe that homophobia is not to be defended no matter which Party or individual is responsible. And that is why we ALL need to be working to end both homophobia and transphobia in the UK and around the world.

    The Conservatives are more likely to form the Government after the next General Election. Let’s grow up about the LGBT debate and realise that it’s not an issue for Party Politics but an issue for Politics as a whole and one on which we can all work together to further the issues, concerns and objectives of the LGBT community, no matter where individuals are or to which part of the community they belong.

  19. We will see just how many Tory LGBT candidates there actually are when the time comes.

    Meanwhile, Matt, as you say that “LGBTory managed to list more than two dozen names” please would you kindly paste the list in here?

  20. Sister Mary Clarence 30 Nov 2009, 11:12pm

    Matt, you’ll find that there are people on here that will always ask you to ‘paste the list on here’ when they don’t like what you say – best to just ignore them.

    Most of those harping on about how great Labour is and how the Conservatives eat babies are either to young to remember the fall of the last Labour government after they brought the country to its knees, or too stupid to actually realise what was happening at the time.

    The Conservatives had pledged to do what Labour should have and, oh dear me, not good enough, because somebody else elected 30 years ago did something bad.

    Life doesn’t move on for these people and no amount of logic or reason will work with them. The fact that the economy is in tatters and will take decades to recover, doesn’t interest them, or affect them it seems. As long as Chancellor Brown and his cronies can keep repackaging European equalities as they own they can do no wrong.

  21. Don’t even bother trying to claim your little Tory organisation represent trans people Matt. Despite repeated requests over 10 weeks LGBTory and the main Tory party could not even issue a statement of support for International Transgender Day of Remembrance on 20th of November. It seems the 161 trans people murdered worldwide including the two in the UK in the last six weeks are not important for the Tory party to comment on or support.

    You where not working to combat transphobia on the 20th of November when your support was needed Matt.

    The whole incident has left the trans community thinking LGBTory is just a vacuous spin machine. I am sure many of our allies look at it the same way.

  22. Patrick James 1 Dec 2009, 12:02am

    I would like to say to Matt that it is the political consequences of the Conservative Party’s new grouping which matter for gay people, and everyone else.

    By creating this new grouping the Conservative Party has elevated these small extreme right wing parties. The Conservatives are dependent on those parties remaining in the grouping and so it has given them a very large amount of power relative to their size.

    The whitewashing of these small right wing parties is at the very least unseemly. Take for example the Polish Law and Justice Party. You might be able to quote rather grand statements from them declaring how they are against discrimination, but I think it would be hard to find Lesbian and Gay rights activists in Poland who believe this.

    I wonder if the British Conservatives LGBT group would consider going to the Polish pride event next year and explaining to Polish LGBT people why it is good for them that they have given the Law and Justice party such a massive boost in prestige and power?

  23. My goodness, so people would prefer to maintain the current status quo in HIV prevention and continue to see 2700+ men a year become infected than see a return to harder hitting campaigns that make an impact and force people to stop and think about the consequences of contracting a lethal virus? A virus that will, in conjunction with the toxic medications, shorten your lifespan by an average of 21 years and, by age 50, impair brain and immune system functioning comparable to that of an 80+ year old – facts that the HIV sector have deliberately suppressed in favour of sugar-coating HIV and deluding gay men into believing that it is a fully manageable condition and that you can live a normal and healthy lifespan? These lies have lulled gay men into a false sense of security, and in tandem with ads for PEP for pre-planned “unsafe sex” and whose efficacy is unproven have sent HIV rates soaring into the stratosphere. The charities also will not speak out about barebacking, period, because they have shown time and again that they would sooner defend the rights of HIV+ men to have the sex they want than protect gay men from becoming infected with campaigns that properly inform and fully educate about the serious downsides of HIV infection. It is shameful listening to these knee jerk Tory party reactionists who would prefer a business as usual approach to HIV prevention than urgent action being undertaken to reverse the colossal damage wrought by agencies like the THT and the GMFA in recent years.

  24. Good to see any politician pledging to take HIV prevention in a radical direction. BUT, much as the Iceberg campaigns are said to have “worked”, they only did so in such a way as to scare the living daylights out of people rather than educate them about the realities of safer sex and what is/isn’t safe. There have been reams and reams written about this issue, the general conclusion being:

    1. Thatcher – or, rather, Norman Fowler – led the world in producing the tombstone campaign which resulted in a dramatic reduction in STIs (and a lower HIV incidence) compared to some other European countries

    2. But the campaign was WRONG! It said that anyone could be affected by the virus and was based on estimates that up to 750,000 people would have died from AIDS by 1991. When this didn’t materialise, people thought the government had overreacted, and relaxed their ways (as people always tend to do after the fear wears off – c.f. smoking adverts).

    3. It has been argued that the ‘de-gaying’ of AIDS via this ad campaign led to the increase in gay men getting HIV in the 90s.

    4. The campaign resulted in massive hysteria and fear of HIV, which translated into fear of gay men, haemophiliacs and drug users.

    5. Section 28 made it impossible to provide the education that was needed to make sense of the reality of AIDS and what people need to do to protect one another and themselves.

    6. MPs are not likely to be best placed to come up with HIV campaigns…

    Discuss if you will!

  25. Patrick James 1 Dec 2009, 12:44am

    Dear Sister Mary Clarence

    I do remember very well the labour administration of the 70’s and of course the coming of Thatcher in 1979.

    The potted history you have given really is just the Conservative party “version” of that time.

    I believe the crisis which came to a head in the late 70’s would have been much better handled by James Callaghan than by the terrible conflict initiated by the Thatcher administration.

    The destruction of British manufacturing industry in the 80’s was very foolish imho. If we still had that manufacturing part of the economy today we would be living in a more stable economy. In the 80s Germany and the other major European economies were investing in their manufacturing industries not destroying them. That is a major reason why Germany today has a much broader and more stable economy than ours.

    I remember a great many things from the 80s. Respect for the UK around the globe was damaged very badly by the Conservative administrations refusal to support sanctions against the South African apartheid regime. This was astonishingly mean spirited and I don’t think the UK has ever fully recovered respect from that time.

    The Conservative party’s alliance with the extreme right wing parties in their new European parliamentary grouping has for me a strong resonance with their tacit support for apartheid in the 80s. The consequences will be the same. The rights of disempowered people will be damaged. The UK’s reputation will once again be dragged through the mud.

  26. John(Derbyshire) 1 Dec 2009, 12:58am

    One thing Matt says IS true. The conservatives WILL be forming the next government. But-one thing I know- they may try and try and try-as they always have-but they will NEVER destroy us! I think-ultimately-their pathological hatred of gay people will eventually destroy them.

  27. Simon R, the iceberg and tombstone campaigns were intended to scare the bejesus out of everyone because at the time nobody knew what the long-term prognosis was, nor how infectious HIV was or how many people would get infected. The widely view was that hundreds of thousands of people could be dead within the first decade, and therefore the attitude adopted at the time was to rightly scare people into submission until the facts were known. As such these campaigns were pitched perfect in the circumstances, and it is frankly ridiculous to suggest that the Tories are planning the return of similar campaigns to scare people out of having sex because we now known that HIV is in fact a very hard virus to contract, even during unsafe sex. The campaigns that we will see soon will be hard hitting but honest campaigns depicting the downsides of infection which have been criminally hushed up by HIV preventionists until now in the name of political correctness; namely to avoid offending those with the virus. This insane approach has demonstrably served to soften and minimize the threat posed by HIV and consequently has had the effect of allowing HIV to flourish through ignorance. Hopefully we will also see a crackdown on the social and cultural acceptance of barebacking, and irresponsible campaigns that encourage “risk minimization” instead of condoms every time. In fact I would like to see organizations like the THT and GMFA prosecuted and those responsible held to public account by individuals who followed their advice and became infected with HIV, as these charities were publicly funded to safeguard their health but systematically failed them in many ways.

    The Conservatives have been mooting harder hitting campaigns to respond not only to the HIV epidemic but to tackle obesity, drink problems and other STDs too. A consultation paper launched by Cameron in 2007 proposed ring-fencing budgets for public health intervention to ensure money was better spent and stated: “[New Labour] has failed to respond adequately to these challenges which have led to increased health inequalities and worsening trends in the health of individuals which will eventually manifest itself in falling life expectancy.”

  28. Patrick James 1 Dec 2009, 2:57am

    I’d like to comment to John in Derbyshire, I don’t think that it is at all certain now that the Conservatives will be winning the next election.

    Cameron has been making very serious mistakes. The “cast iron promise” issue proved very revealing to the public that he is not to be trusted. His support from James Murdoch backfired spectacularly with that grimy business with the grieving widow. The attack on the Muslim schools was a further disaster.

    George Osborne is hugely unimpressive and it would be very difficult for Cameron to dump him between now and the general election.

    There isn’t widespread belief now that the UK economy will benefit from wide-ranging cuts, there is an understanding now that such cuts might even damage the UK economy.

    So I think the election victory is far from certain.

  29. Sister Mary Clarence 1 Dec 2009, 6:11am

    Patrick, I think it is you who is providing the potted history. The unions destroyed the last Labour administration and ultimeately themselves under the Thatcher government, taking with them whole swathes of British industry. The country was being absolutely held to ransom by these thugs and their actions led the the extreme response by a Conservative government, which Labour didn’t have the balls to carry out.

    On the subject of the next General Election, the Conservatives are going to strom into power – you lose all credibility when you stary spouting rubbish abut Labour winning

  30. FACT – Gay men have suffered far far more under the policies of gay men working within the London HIV sector than they ever did under the policies of a Conservative Government. Today over 50,000 of us are infected with a killer disease, many thousands completely unnecessarily but for the want of honest upfront HIV prevention campaigns and education. Bloody hell! How was THAT allowed to happen?!

  31. Jemma Haynes 1 Dec 2009, 11:34am

    Comments like ‘they will destroy us’…..god, I’m not even that political but can see these pathetic comments will just be from some idiot labour supporters. They will use anything at the moment to smear the conservatives as they can see they have done nothting for this country over the past 12 years and they are on the way out, good riddance!

  32. Matt Sephton 1 Dec 2009, 11:37am

    @Abi1975 – LGBTory (The Conservative LGBT Group) is a group that highlights issues that affect every letter of LGBT.

    Despite what you say, we DID give support at Transgender events in the UK this year to mark 20th November and 11th Annual Transgender Remembrance Day, including in Manchester, where we had a number of members present at the beacon of Hope in Sackville Gardens. We were moved by this event, gave statements to the BBC and Twittered on the subject as well. We don’t profess to be miracle workers but we ARE involved for the good of all in the LGBT community.

  33. Matt Sephton 1 Dec 2009, 11:41am

    @Eddu – are you also asking Ben Summerskill to name HIS list of MPs that will be out LGBT Conservatives after the next election when he said quite clearly “we are probably going to have more out lesbian and gay MP’s from the Conservatives than any other Party”? ( see )

    I’m not dancing to other people’s agendas on this thread, as I’ve said on other threads. When we want to broadcast as comprehensive a list of people who are happy to be named as our out LGBT Parliamentary candidates, we will! Watch this space!

    If as many people think they don’t exist as are making it sound like that’s what they think, you will be in for a very big surprise indeed!

  34. Patrick James 1 Dec 2009, 4:59pm

    Hi Sister Mary Clarence

    I don’t think you understand the events of the 70s with respect to the trade union movement in the UK.

    Labour’s approach was to isolate the radical element which was dangerous within some unions. This was absolutely the correct strategy but the Conservatives in the election campaign demonised all trade unions. A parallel in form if not quantity today would be to simply demonise all Muslims as being terrorists.

    The consequence of demonising all trade unions was to massively increase the power of the unreasonable minority within the trade union movement. This of course led to the conflict with the trade unions in the early 80s.

    I very much doubt that the Conservative party will be “storming into power”. Fortunately the majority of the People in the UK have much more sense than that.

    Personally I think that a Labour victory at the next general election is quite possible. If not a hung parliament is also very likely.

    Very many people don’t want a return to the 80’s in the UK. They do not want a return to the duplicity of cutting benefits to the poor whilst removing taxes for the wealthy. They do not want benefits and tax breaks managed to suit a Conservative view of how they should live their lives.

  35. David Gold 1 Dec 2009, 11:40pm

    I am delighted that David Cameron has led from the front on this and made a point of recording this video. A clear commitment to help prevent infection, to raise awareness and support those infected is both vital and responsible. It does little to help the LGBT community to use such an important and serious issue to score cheap political points.

  36. Sister Mary Clarence 2 Dec 2009, 12:13am

    Patrick I think you’ll find that it was more to do with the 1976 sterling crisis than anything the Conservatives did or didn’t do.

    Callaghan had to fight to keep his cabinet in place and functioning with far left factions did their best to destablise and promote thir own agenda. Whilst the Tories may have capitalised where they could, the responsibility lay more with the enemy within I would have thought.

  37. Matt at Comment #18 on the following page:

    stated “LGBTory managed to list more than two dozen names” with regard to LGBT Tory candidates likely to stand at the next general election. He was then asked at Comment #19 to kindly paste in his list.

    Note everyone that he FAILED to do so.


    Because he can’t. There is no list of more than two dozen likely LGBT Tory candidates for the next general election!

    Pro-LGBT Tories? Don’t make us laugh!

  38. Matt Sephton 3 Dec 2009, 6:59pm

    @ Eddy – Yes, everyone please note that I REFUSED to paste a list of LGBT Parliamentary candidates here!

    As I said, I don’t make announcements on Pink News news threads! I do things properly and will NOT be ‘pasting a list’ of Conservative LGBT Parliamentary candidates here!

    For information, however, I AM happy to say that one of our LGBT Parliamentary candidates has already posted on this thread and another due to be selected has also! I mentioned Iain Stewart and Margot James (Conservative Party Vice Chair) in key seats the Conservatives should easily win and the Conservatives also have no less than THREE openly gay shadow ministers!

    If you’re so interested in a list of names of openly LGBT Parliamentary candidates, keep your eyes open and you’ll have quite a surprise at some point in the future! :)

  39. Make way for the Tories – May 6th 2010

These comments are un-moderated and do not necessarily represent the views of PinkNews. If you believe that a comment is inappropriate or libellous, please contact us.