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House of Lords report: UK HIV strategy is ‘woefully inadequate’

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  1. How much did this report cost? It’s seems to be stating the bloody obvious. Everyone has telling successive governments this for years.

    Are they actually now going to do something proactive instead of cutting funding to HIV charities?

    1. Joss, will you read through the whole of the following web-pages, please? They are both pages which provide excellent reason for funding and research going into the search for THE CURE for HIV/AIDS.

      1. Yay for the cure for Aids. What about prevention? I’m not old enough to remember the 80s and a lot of ppl my age genuinely believe they are somehow invulnerable to HIV and that condoms are optional especially I they’re on the pill.
        I have met people my age who have told me that you can get HIV of a toilet seat or that it’s a gay disease so they don’t have to worry.
        We were told about HIV in science lessons at school but apparently they didn’t learn anything. They will listen to advertising on the tv in cinemas or even online.

  2. According to the World Helath Organisation the number of people living with HIV in the UK is around 85-86 thousand. This figure has stayed the same for ten years now. How is this a “steadily growing risk to public health”?

    1. Jock S. Trap 1 Sep 2011, 9:57am

      Indeed. Being that many of those numbers are people that have lived with HIV for many years, like myself.

    2. ...westie... 1 Sep 2011, 9:41pm

      Mike – your figures are incorrect. It you look on the HPA website you will find all the stats you want. In 2001 there were 24,670 diagnosed HIV positive individuals accessing care and treatment – this figure has increased to 68,786. This is only 75% of the picture as there are approximately 20,000 undiagnosed people out there. This brings the total to 88,786……………does this now pose a rapidly growing risk to public health??? The 25% of untested HIV postive individuals are likely to be highly infectious – so not only are they harming themselves, but they are adding to the public health risk!

  3. radical53 1 Sep 2011, 5:00am

    85-86 thousand is too many. Gay rights has unleashed the time bomb for gay sex, un-inhibited and risky behaviour.

    This is major health issue for the world, and it is getting worse, even in amongst the asian nations the infection rate has sky rocketed.

    This is what happens when you decriminalise and then repress

    it is a financial burden on society as a whole.

    1. Wrong. Decriminalising leads to more openness, less stigma and therefore less need to engage in risky behaviour. Increased “gay rights” brings our existence further out of the shadows and increases the overall health and safety of us all. Which will reduce the financial burden, if that’s what you’re worried about.

  4. This is a social issue which, like teenage pregnancies etc, the UK does not deal with particularly well. Money will be spent on another initiative but will not be particularly successful. The Governing class need to realise that a change in society’s attitudes needs to take place, from prejudice, irresponsibilty and blame to support, responsibility and understanding, if any decent progress is to be made on these sensitive social issues.

  5. Samuel B. 1 Sep 2011, 8:03am

    It is quite obvious that as a community we have been extremely complacent over this issue, let alone the government. I do not think the THT, which was set up as an HIV prevention charity targeted to gay men, has much to be proud about either with its endless namby-pamby HIV campaigns that have had zero impact. I mean, what single post-1990 HIV campaign do you recall has served as a deterrent to acquiring HIV? I notice in my morning paper the THT are now changing strategy to address the record infection rates – a bit late after 20-odd years of twiddling thumbs, isn’t it? It is quite clear that their priority is to get people tested and onto Aids drugs as opposed to preventing the spread of the virus in the first place, so why is this outfit which benefits Big Pharma infinitely more than it safeguards the health of gay men still awarded the lion’s share of the gay men’s HIV prevention budget? Isn’t it time that a new, harder-hitting gay men’s prevention charity was formed?

    1. So Samuel what are YOU going to do about it? Rather than knocking THT from the outside, why don’t you become a member and influence their policies that way? It’s all too easy to criticise, accuse and point fingers when you are sitting on your backside. I do a substantial amount of voluntary work for THT but would be happy to do the same for your “hard-hitting gay men’s prevention charity” when you set up.

      1. Samuel B. 1 Sep 2011, 8:43pm

        So you are part of the rot is what you are saying, Roland? As I implied in my last message, the THT is too entrenched in its ways and has shown again and again that it does not have the will or desire to change track. It is an organsation so thoroughly indoctrinated by political correctness that the need not to offend the feelings of HIV-positive gay men trumps common sense every time. as reflected by today’s appalling conversion rates. THT excels at managing HIV services, but this in itself reveals a direct conflict of interest; how can the same organisation that depends on a constant flow of newly-HIV-converted gay men to maintain and increase it funding lucrative funding also be mandated to be doing all in its power to slowing the spread of said virus? The evidence of the last couple of decades proves that stemming the spread of HIV does not figure on its list of priorities at all and it is time this outfit was held to account for its failures in this area.

        1. ...westie... 1 Sep 2011, 9:25pm

          Samuel B I too am a volunteer for THT and your comments are frankly totally unhelpful and arrogant. If you had any understanding of HIV transmission you would clearly know the importance of improved testing rates and treatment as prevention. HIV has no boundaries so to just concentrate on gay men is very short sighted on your part. Your argument is very much akin to that used by Peter Scott of Status Prevention, and lacks a basic understanding about the wider issues regarding HIV prevention. If it was as easy to educate people to use a condom every time with every person then HIV would not be the problem it is. What are you actually doing to help the cause – apart from being divisive and critical????

          1. “…westie…”, your post parrots the tired old THT line and exemplifies why HIV prevention aimed at gay men has failed in this country. “To just concentrate on gay men is very short sighted…” is an appallingly arrogant statement to make. Two-thirds of people contracting HIV in the UK are indeed gay men, so logic would dictate you would expect to see campaigns that served as a deterrent to acquiring HIV aimed at our community? And deterrent by definition means hard-hitting and impactful (cue THT-ites intaking breath and gasping in horror at such an outrageous prospect!). But as I said, in the PC bubble in which all who serve THT inhabit, common sense and affirmative action always takes second place to diluting and cotton-wooling the message. Your post, just like Roland’s, offers no constructive way forward nor any practical suggestions; just more pathetic attempts at covering up for THT’s negligence and dereliction of duty over two decades. Utterly shameful.

        2. ...westie... 2 Sep 2011, 12:41am

          Samuel, what you fail to add is WHAT YOU ARE PERSONALLY DOING, other than quite frankly being offensive and down right rude to individuals that give thier personal time and effort to help organisations such as THT. You should be totally ashamed of your comments. I am fully aware of the statistics regarding at risk groups thankyou, so do not need to be preached at. Whilst targeting at risk groups is essential the wider population need to be much more aware of HIV if prevention strategies are going to work. You obviously have no idea about the stigma & fear attached to HIV and the direct consequences this has on testing rates, treatment as prevention and late diagnosis. If you want to add logic into the debate then consider this – if you reduce the population HIV viral load by diagnosis and treatment new infections will fall. People on treatment have been proved to be less infectious which is tha basis of treatment as prevention. It is clear you know very little on this subject!

          1. No way. Prevention of infection must always be the main drive, not managing it afterwards. That means pointing out the kind of behaviour that results in infection, and the consequences of catching it. I know that people with the disease will feel offended by it, if they see it as an accusation of being irresponsible or reckless, but the campaign isn’t about them. The focus is on stopping other people catching the disease; surely those already with it can put their pride aside to let that happen?

          2. Why do you keep asking what I am doing? I am not dished out millions upon millions inpublic funds with the remit to reduce HIV conversions among gay men, am I? You constantly ask this question to divert from THT’s failings which I address clearly. As a volunteer to THT you are a part of the proble because you clearly do not use your position to question THT policy around HIV prevention. Show me one single shred of evidence that THT HIV prevention is working? The cost of managing the condition has gone up from £500m in 2006/7 to £760m in 2009/10. An effective HIV campaign that would act as a deterrent is roughly the same as it would cost to treat one gay man over the course of a year who seroconverts through lack of such a campaign. Do the math!! THT is obsessed with getting gay men tested and onto drugs as opposed to preventing the ongoing spread of HIV in the first place. THT’s links with Big Pharma, Glaxo in particular, presented a direct and potentially deadly conflict of interest.

          3. …westle… “if you reduce the population HIV viral load by diagnosis and treatment new infections will fall.”

            Erm, there have been blanket campaigns over the past 2 years urging gay men to get tested for HIV. Two years later the latest HIV stats record that for the first time ever over 3000 gay men were diagnosed HIV-positive in the previous 12 months. So, far from falling, record rates are actually INCREASING, giving THT even more seroconversions to manage and even more public funding to apply for as a direct result. I am not saying there is some sinister conspiracy that is allowing this to happen. Rather, THT’s role as a services provider is now so far at the forefront of its activities that it has quietly forgotten its responsibility to effectively educate around HIV prevention, and where it does is more concerned with protecting the sensitivities of its service users than in giving young gay men in particular the graphic messages they need to serve as a deterrent to unsafe sex.

          4. “Stigma and fear” are the same old worn-out excuses THT has used ad infinitum as excuses NOT to run effective HIV campaigns. This excuse may have been valid 25 years ago at the height of the epidemic, but how on earth can it possibly still be being used today when acquiring HIV is increasingly seen as a badge of honour among clueless, uninformed gay youngsters, some of whom regard HIV infection on a par with gaining admittance into “the tribe”? For how much longer is this community going to put up with THT’s incessant excuses and its Chief Executive Nick Partridge’s periodic speeches where we admits that more needs to be done but then immediately reverts to business as usual? Roland/…westie… (evidently the same person), wake up to the suffering your organisation’s ill-conceived priorities have inflicted on near enough two generations of gay men and BE the change you wish to see where the unrelenting spread of HIV is concerned.

          5. Thank you westie. And to Samuel – at least westie and I are doing something about it whereas you have failed to answer the question about what YOU are doing about it. Other than insulting other people.

          6. Oh my God, if the defensiveness and cowardly deflecting tactics displayed by the likes of Roland and “westie” are typical of those who work at the Terence Higgins Trust, be it volunteer or executivess on six-figure salaries and gold-plated pensions, then the prospect for gay men’s health in the UK is utterly dire.

            Listen up guys! You are volunteers in a charity which, as part of its mandate, is funded to prevent the ongoing spread of the hiv virus among gays. Got it? Other gays are more than entitled to comment on your abject failure to do this. Jeez, I imagine you both to resemble the typical PC clipboard loony of the type that has also run down the NHS with its bureaucratic pontificating and obfuscation.

            You argue that you give your free time to helping which is all good and well but the figures prove that you are working blindly and aimlessly where hiv prevention is concerned. Maybe your time would be better spent on other pursuits for all you achieve for our community.

    2. ...westie... 2 Sep 2011, 6:35pm

      Samuel B
      You obviously have a huge problem with THT and I would urge you to take that up with them directly. I have not participated here to deal with your abuse! If I strip out your issues in relation to THT then I don’t see much substance in your argument.
      I am unclear what prevention looks like for you? Condom Police maybe, extending the criminalisation of HIV so that +ve individuals are by law required to disclose their status to all sexual partners? No mention of risk reduction strategies? Perhaps you need to get a rudimentary understanding of the natural history of HIV and then try to work out how prevention strategies actually work in the REAL WORLD. Behavioural change has to be ONE of the planks of any prevention campaign – like it or not you will never ever convince ALL gay men or MSM to engage in safer sex practices and use condoms for both anal and oral sex – and they have a right to make informed decisions about that!

      1. ...westie... 2 Sep 2011, 6:38pm

        This is a very complex area as you well know, so don’t try to make out this is an easy nut to crack! Both negative and positive gay men need to work together to sort the problem.

        I have my own clear views on prevention and where I can I try to influence policy. I take an active role in looking at new ideas and methods of delivery of prevention messages. You only have to log onto a gay men’s dating site and challenge myths surrounding HIV and STI’s to understand that some gay men are not interested at all in being educated and they are often hostile towards ideas that do not match their inaccurate knowledge.

        I know when it is time to bow out of a discussion and the time is now, because it seems to me that you have a very closed mind, have few solutions of your own, and just want to have a go at THT – I’m not here for that! If you are not already involved, I suggest you ask to volunteer with the Status Prevention people (or person) as you share the same overbearing narrow values!

        1. ...westie... 2 Sep 2011, 6:42pm

          And the same goes for you William – I do not need to be preached to by someone as arrogant and rude as you! If you have a beef with THT sort it with them and not volunteers that do an enourmous amount of good work in many different roles! One day you may need the support of a volunteer – think on buddy.

          1. roland chesters 2 Sep 2011, 7:47pm

            I’m with westie on this one. And we are not the same person. How idiotic to think so, just because we may have the same opinion. Until you Samuel and you William have something constructive to say I fail to see the point in carrying on this discussion.

  6. RazorGrrl 1 Sep 2011, 8:04am

    ” Gay rights has unleashed the time bomb for gay sex, un-inhibited and risky behaviour.

    This is major health issue for the world, and it is getting worse, even in amongst the asian nations the infection rate has sky rocketed.

    This is what happens when you decriminalise and then repress

    it is a financial burden on society as a whole.”

    Radical53, May I ask your source for this information. You do realise HIV isn’t selective. It doesn’t discriminate, it doesn’t mind and person or any sexuality.

    Do you nothing about HOW HIV can be contracted, sorry, obviously not.

    As for a financial burded, how about all the smokers and drinkers who want lung and liver transplants because they just want to drink and smoke their lives away!!!

    You comments and thoughts are that of a 5 year old, they make no sense and are just here to inflame the topic.
    I suggest you go to a laboratory and ask how HIV is contracted. All imbeciles are a burden to society, so we’ll be shipping you out!!

  7. Jock S. Trap 1 Sep 2011, 9:55am

    More does need to be done. Better advise too to cater differently to different people. If we continue with a one size fits all it will never get taken seriously.

    Have noted how some of the mainstream press are covering this, “Aids action ‘woefully inadequate'” being one headline that already is misleading and adds to the ‘woefully inadequate’ information to the wider public being that Aids in the UK actually kills very few people, nowadays.

    The House of Lords are right with this but they should also make sure that mainstream media report it responsibly and as relevent not scaremongering inaccuracies similar of that of the 1980’s.

    They also need to treat this more as an equal disease. Yes I know it hits some communities more than others but the problem is while we continue to separate we continue to let people think they are immune.

  8. It’s blatantly obvious why anti-HIV campaigns are failing – it’s because HIV is no longer regarded as a killer.

    And in fact this is correct.

    Early diagnosis and treatment makes HIV a far easier condition to manage than diabetes (try dealing with 4 injections; 4 blood tests and a constant concern that you’re at risk from keeling over into a coma if you skip a meal).

    HIV is a serious condition whch is complicated by stigma.

    However the reality is that for most HIV patients they are dealing with a lifelong chronic conditon – not a death sentence.

    I know that many people will start making accusations against me for my comments.

    So be it.

    Dealing on a day to day basis with diabetes is far more complicated and difficult (with even more hideous potential complicatiions – heart attack; stroke; cancer; blindness; amputation) than HIV.

    1. Jock S. Trap 1 Sep 2011, 10:28am

      You have a point… to a point but HIV does have more complication.

      It means your are more prone to infection and other problems.

      Plus the medication is can be very harsh and lead to complications such as heart attack, stroke, cancer, thyroid problems, neuropathy, paralysis, kidney and liver failure, leading to transplants plus many other conditions. Some HIV treatments have been described as living on chemo and yes these fact are needed to be put out their.

      Not everyone has an ‘easy ride’ with HIV, in fact most people don’t. It can be managable but that does come with complications.

      I don’t disagree with you but HIV is not an easy illness to deal or cope with and stigma is one emotional side effect of which there are many, both mentally and physically.

      1. Jock S. Trap 1 Sep 2011, 10:42am

        I have to add that the medication process can be problematic too.

        Yes many can take newer, fewer drugs but those drugs haven’t been around long enough to know the long term side effects. Many have horrendous side effects and if your only allowed to miss about 2 a month before risking the HIV coming back. That in turn, means your on a par with many who cannot take new treatments and have to suffer a regime of many pills and injections for each problem. Each run the risk of further problems and medication for which the HIV medication causes.

        1. I agree with the points you make. I am well aware that HIV can cause many lifelong problems and have many complications.

          I was merely rasing the point that HIV charites seem to be operating as if a HIV diagnosis in 2011 is as serious as diagnosis as it was in 1985.

          That is no longer the case. HIV is a serious, lifelong chronic condition, As is diabetes (although any Type 1 diabetic in the world would gladly swap several injections and blood tests on a daily basis for a tablet regime.)

          I personally think that the best way to reduce the HIV rates is to perform HIV tests on patients as a matter of routine when going for any medical treatment at a doctor or hospital.

          The greatest risk for spreading HIV is by those who are unaware of their status,

          That’s who need to be targetted.

          1. The other differences between HIV and diabetes are that (1) many GPs will deal with patients with diabetes on a much more regular basis than they will HIV+ patients. I continue to be astounded by the lack of knowledge of this condition successive GPs have demonstrated to me when I have declared the condition to them. (2) Diabetes does not suffer from the same stigma as does HIV/AIDS, probably because it is not connected with sex.
            I do not want to diminish the problems that diabetics have to live with. But neither do I feel it is helpful to compare the one condition with the other.

          2. From the House of Lords Report:
            “One assumption is that because of these medical advances, acquiring HIV is consequence-free. This is not remotely the case. We have been struck by the evidence given to us of the serious medical and mental health problems that remain for many with HIV.[15] Many feel themselves isolated because of their condition[16], and the issue of stigma has been constantly raised.[17] The vast medical advances should not, therefore, breed a false sense of security. Patients can now live with HIV, but all those infected would prefer to be without a disease which can still cut short life and cast a shadow over their everyday living.”

          3. Who in their right mind would want to acquire Diabetes? Uuurrrggghhh. Ditto hiv.

            Comparing Diabetes and hiv is like comparing apples and oranges. Similarities couldn’t and shouldn’t be made.

            The only thing they have in common is that they are most uniquely and deadly diseases replete with potentially severe life-eroding symptoms.

          4. Comparisons can be made between diabetes and hiv though.

            Both are lifelong, incurable, chronic conditions which require daily treatment and monitoring for the rest of your life; and even if a diabetic or hiv patient is very carefuil about their treatment they are still more likely to die earlier than the general population from medicalo complications caused by their condition.

            HIV and Type 2 diabetes are largely avoidable if you take certain precautions (safe sex always or healthy diet,lifestyle and weight in terms of Type 2 diabetes).

            I believe that HIV patients can learn a lot from diabetics about coping with and treating a chronic condition.

        2. For women, there are difficulties with pregnancy- apart from adding to the risk of pregnancy, there are risks of passing the disease to the baby, and the fact that it is a killer of children. You are therefore right, the analogy with diabetes misses the point

          1. Actually a pregnant diabetic woman is much more likely to have a diabetic child than a non-diabetic woman.

  9. one minute this counrty imprisons a man for passsing on a sexual infection , then wants us to come forword and be tested. As some one who used to have a regular sexual health test and have always practiced safe sex. I no longer have that check up. Too much to risk.

    1. The legislation only covers those who it can be proven WILFULLY or MALICIOUSLY infected another person. Unless, hidihi, you are intending to go out and deliberately infect someone (if you were HIV+) then I don’t see what the risk is. Small risk against that of not being tested, not being diagnosed and only finding out too late, surely?

  10. radical53, the HIV pandemic is affecting more heterosexuals in emerging nations around the world than gays.

    This is no surprise. Sex and HIV education in all schools should be mandatory, irrespective of parents’ wishes. Let’s face it, most parents are ignorant or just not prepared to do what they’re supposed to do, inform their children about responsible sexual behaviour. It’s not just a gay issue, far from it.

    1. well said

  11. Bitches killing themselves, black community buries its head like these idiots.

  12. Lord Fowler said: “Acquiring HIV is not remotely consequence-free. People can now live with HIV but all of those infected would prefer to be without a disease which can cut short life and cast a shadow over their everyday living.”

    It is good to hear this being stated so boldly and loudly by a member of the House of Lords, for the UK’s HIV trusts and charities have been, and are, perpetuating the LIE and MYTH that having HIV is no longer a big deal since the arrival of HIV drugs.

    HIV is a dreadful disease and this must no longer be denied. Furthermore, it’s about time people stopped being so passive and started demanding more work and effort go into finding THE CURE.

  13. The USA spent 700 billion dollars on its military budget in 2010. The UK spent 67 billion. China spent 120 billion. etc. etc. Just combine all these military budgets together and there you have enough money to find a cure for HIV, cancer, and every other ailment, and end famine, and poverty. But, alas, the bullshlt governments (all of whom are heterosexual) prefer dropping bombs on people to curing those who are suffering. It’s a sick world we live in. And some stupid government advertising scheme with tombstones isn’t the answer to HIV. Finding a cure is the answer.

  14. The report states “The cost of managing the condition has gone from £500m in 2006-07 to £760m in 2009-10.” Clearly there is an implicit suggestion that the mounting cost of treating HIVers is becoming unsustainable and something needs to be done. Unless those funded to prevent the spread of HIV in the gay community drop the PC pandering and begin to promote harder-hitting campaigns that serve as an effective deterrent to reduce transmissions, then cost cutting will almost certainly be made in the area of HIV drugs and HIV services funding. In this respect, Those with HIV as much as anyone else should be pressurising THT et al to be toughening their stance around HIV prevention. Out with the egg shells and sponges; campaigns should be reminding youngsters of the very REAL and often severe, health-impacting circumstances of acquiring HIV today. It may not necessarily be the killer it was – different people react in different ways to HIV acquisition – but it sure ain’t a bed of roses.

    1. ...westie... 2 Sep 2011, 7:12pm


      What do you mean by harder hitting campaigns William – do enlighten us with your expert knowledge in this area. Some workable practical examples would be great – I’m all ears

  15. concerned 2 Sep 2011, 9:06pm

    What we need is an education campaign – a month long series of tv programmes looking at HIV/AIDS – “HIV Month” or something like they do with other issues with each prog looking at a different aspect of HIV/AIDS e.g. global affect, the growth of HIV in the middle east, affect on the gay population; the affects of living with HIV; no holds barred, the real experiences of ppl living with HIV; hard hitting mythbusting etc etc this kind of thing. Some decent analysis with real lived experience. I mean we dont hear anything about the mortality rate or how ppl cope. The only prog that was broadcast recently was Stephen Fry’s thing several years ago.The public need to see what it really means to live with HIV and the affect on lives. The lack of any public discourse of these issues makes HIV invisible and appears to suggest that everything is hunky dory when clearly its not and thats a scandal.

    1. ...westie... 2 Sep 2011, 9:31pm

      A balanced national educational campaign is certainly part of the answer, I am totally in agreement with that. Factual, real and myth busting information is essential if the general population are to improve their understanding of HIV. It is vitally important to engage with people living with HIV as they provide “authenticity” of how things have changed for them as a result of initial diagnosis through to the advances in treatment etc.

      I am somewhat concerned that “hard-hitting” to some individuals means using graphic scare tactics as a vehicle to bring about behavioural change. A balance needs to be struck to encourage greater testing and openness about HIV, yet at the same time ensuring that HIV is seen as a serious condition that can have serious health consequences.

      How many posters on here have contacted their MP to lobby for more spending on HIV prevention or engaged in the various calls for evidence on HIV and health related subjects?

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