Comment: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell about HIV status Tweet Email 30th September 2011, 1:06 PM Michael Lucas, PinkNews.co.uk Back to article Post your comment Comments on this article are now closed. Reader comments Hamish 30 Sep 2011, 1:25pm I disagree, I understand it is difficult for HIV positive guys to hook up and thats a shame. I like to think that if told that someone was HIV positive I would weigh up the options fairly but the truth is I wouldn’t even though the risk is quite low it is still an added risk. I use a condom with everyone regardless but AIDS is such a life changing life destroying illness that people should know that they have an increased risk of catching it. What we need instead is a more realistic view on HIV which shows how difficult it is to catch when practicing safe sex but it is still possible to catch it. 7 Reply Rehan 30 Sep 2011, 1:38pm Honest at least, but surely if you’re using a condom it’s on the tacit assumption that one or the other of you may be positive? -4 Reply Jason Brown 30 Sep 2011, 1:56pm Condoms protect you from many STIs, not just HIV so one can’t make that assumption. 5 Reply Jock S. Trap 30 Sep 2011, 3:14pm Exactly, which is why it is always wise to use a condom. 5 Reply Stu 30 Sep 2011, 2:12pm I thin Rehan and Jason are both right. Many people will see the use of condoms as an unspoken understanding that one or the other (or both) may be HIV+. Its important to understand the “may” can also include those who do not have any knowledge of whether they are positive or negative. The mindset that at least one of the partners may be positive being indicated by use of condoms does not necessarily relate to a preference not to use condoms. Many people will assume with any sexual partner they have no certain knowledge of their status that the other may be positive (and thats in a sense a protective measure). Thus, even though they may use condoms in all or almost all sexual encounters – this reinforces their engagement with safer sex. I agree with Jason that condoms are sensible in many (or most) circumstances due to risks from other STIs, not just HIV. I can understand the argument for DADT – however, on balance, I think honesty is usually the best policy. 2 Reply Staircase2 30 Sep 2011, 3:57pm Thats stupid – the whole idea of the Safe Sex Message is that we ALWAYS use a condom on the assumption that EVERYONE we meet could be/might be HIV Positive. Thats the only way to ensure we stay safe and protect ourselves. 8 Reply Tigra 07 30 Sep 2011, 7:04pm damn right staircase HIV NEEDS a stigma. HIV NEEDS to be scary. The day they discover a cure then HIV cases will rocket in the gay community -5 Reply W6_bloke 1 Oct 2011, 11:15am Stigma is never going to solve the problem and scare tactics do not work. Take the time to learn about HIV transmssion and other STI’s and use a condom – it really is that simple! 3 Spanner1960 1 Oct 2011, 11:24am I totally agree. Scare tactic DO work. I experienced it at first hand, when you see friends and people you know grow thin and die, then it puts your own insignificant little life in perspective: Stop fcking around. -4 Stu 1 Oct 2011, 11:39am @Spanner1960 Your risk assessment needs to be kept up to date and be aware of developments. From the outset, I am not endorsing anything that is unsafe or risky … However, I do think that stimatizing and alienation is based on historical facts rather than the current reality – and thats plain prejudice 2 rottweil 30 Sep 2011, 2:00pm There are two groups of people in this world: people who know they have HIV and people who don’t. A negative test result simply means that HIV antibodies weren’t found on a given date. It’s reckoned that about 25% of the people with HIV in the UK don’t know they have it. Guys who know they’re positive are more than likely to be on therapy to keep their viral load suppressed as far as possible, making them less infectious than the “oh I’ve never had a test” guys, some of whom are in fact positive and likely to have high viral loads, therefore more infectious. Frankly, you’re more likely to catch HIV from someone who hasn’t tested than some who has HIV and is on therapy. The worst fear for a guy with HIV is to pass it on: not only morally, but the law has chosen to poke its nose into the realm of STIs. I make it clear to anyone I’m having sex with that I have HIV and work on the rule that the most cautious guy sets the agenda for safer sex. BTW, how do you deal with other STIs? 15 Reply Jock S. Trap 30 Sep 2011, 3:15pm Excellent comment, rottweil!! 6 Reply JohnK 30 Sep 2011, 8:03pm I agree, very good comment!!! 8 Reply Jock S. Trap 30 Sep 2011, 3:13pm Hamish - I get what your saying but dying of AIDS in this country is rare. More likely HIV related illness or just plan other illnesses. However my point is most people with HIV will not go on to develop AIDS. - As I say I get what you are saying just wanted to point that out… (Hope you don’t mind). 6 Reply Spanner1960 30 Sep 2011, 3:46pm Death may be unlikely these days, but the medication can still have plenty of side effects, and it is a known fact it will knock at least ten years off your life. That is not something to take lightly. 1 Reply Stu 30 Sep 2011, 4:16pm Its very unclear on the effect on lifespan … Recent research has suggested there are no effects … However, it depends is the answer … Whether you catch other conditions because your immune system is weakened … an AIDS defining illness etc … Preferable to avoid HIV (if possible) in the first instance … But equally, scare mongering and alienation (even if that is not intended) of positive people is not a laudable thing … 3 Reply Jock S. Trap 1 Oct 2011, 8:59am Indeed and the fact is the meds that are around now are new so it is too early to say how they will affect in the long term. So Spanners.. fact is false. 1 Jock S. Trap 1 Oct 2011, 8:54am Actually most people living with HIV can expect to live as long a life as anyone else. - Yes the pills have side effects, some nasty ones and yes you are more prone to other conditions but there is no evidence nowadays of a shortened lifespan. As I said people with HIV on medication can expect to live just as long as anyone else. - Fact is you missed my point (purposely I’d imagine), my education that in this country people rarely go on to get AIDS and die of a consequence. Yes a handful do but I think it is important to get that message, that education across otherwise we continue to go on Spanners schools of ignorance, misinformation and scaremongering. 3 Reply Jock S. Trap 1 Oct 2011, 8:58am To put some perspective on your typiocal scaremongering about knocking 10 years off a life… so does smoking, drinking, living in a city…. the list goes on. - Now you see why I call people like Spanner.. dangerous, because it is their complete ignorance and misinformation that kills and probably does guarantee an early death more so than HIV or anything else. 3 Reply Jock S. Trap 1 Oct 2011, 9:02am I will just add that I am also well aware that had I not had the meds that are around now I would have died 3 years ago due to a completely HIV UNrelated illness that made having to go on meds a reality. 2 Reply Spanner1960 1 Oct 2011, 11:33am The attitude to HIV meds has changed. It used to be that doctors would hold off as long as possible after infection before administering drugs, due the nature of them. However this line of thinking has had a complete sea-change and it is now considered that the virus is more dangerous than the treatment, so meds are being given almost immediately upon diagnosis. The long term effects of HIV are not fully known yet, but I am only relaying what I have been told. However, people who have HIV are at greater risk of developing cancer and may also be at risk for co-infections also spread through infected blood, such as hepatitis C, which damages the liver. Fat loss/redistribution, diabetes and neuropathy (nerve damage) are also likely. -3 Stu 1 Oct 2011, 11:46am @Spanner1960 There are aspects of your comment which are factual, aspects which are out of date and aspects which are (whether intentional or not) twisting of the reality. First the things we agree on: Yes, the attitude to HIV meds has changed. There is still an element of holding off (depending on co-morbidities and other issues holding off for a CD4 of 350-500 approx). We do not know the long term effects of some of the medications. Yes there is an increased risk of contracting certain types of cancer, in particular. Things we disagree on: Its not so much that there has been a feeling about the danger of HIV that has changed. It is more that research has shown that meds work more effectively in particular circumstances, leading to a change in how the condition is managed. Meds are rarely given immediately on diagnosis unless CD4 is very low, there are other co-morbidities etc. Many people are HIV+ for 10 years or more without meds, some not as long but most people … 3 Stu 1 Oct 2011, 11:51am … who are diagnosed relatively early will have several years without meds. Those on meds will go on to develop a low viral load and be relatively unrisky to others. HIV has been known for over 30 years now, which is regarded as a lengthy time for developing understanding of illness. Yes, we need to know more – but the understanding is there. Some meds have been around for a long time and their effects are known and are often mitigated against. There is no inevitability that an HIV+ patient will have other issues such as HepC. There is a risk as both are viruses transmitted by bodily fluids but then so are a great deal many more viruses. We need to be aware of HIV and its risks but we need to make sure our knowledge is right and not scaremongering. 3 Jock S. Trap 1 Oct 2011, 1:16pm Again not in all cases Spanner.. You really should get to know the facts before sprouting your rubbish. Doctors are still divided on when is best. I personally knew I wouldn’t start until absolutely necessary because of the affects and I’m glad I did because the drugs 14 years ago were harsher and meant to take more pills usually over 20. So it ifs and buts about when the correct time is. - I guess as someone who doesn’t have HIV it’s easy for you to make such assumptions commiting them, misguidedly, as fact. Fact is you don’t and each of your comment prove that you have no idea what is going on. - Again with you second paragraph, baseless. Fact is they do know the long term effects from those who have had HIV for nearly 30 years and been on the early drug regimes. Many of whom have experienced difficulties in illness usually seen in the very elderly but in HIV patients in their late 40s-50s. … 0 Jock S. Trap 1 Oct 2011, 1:21pm This of course may not be true as newer drugs come out. I only have to take 2 pills. 1 once a day and another twice. Vastly different that having to take 30 pills all hours of the day and night. The pills are seriously strong and some, it is believed, in line with a daily dose of chemo. These are yet to await the long term affect but they keep me alive that this is what matters to me right now. People with HIV are at greater risk of the illnesses true but as well as weight loss the meds can cause weight gain as they redistribute fat through no fault of the person, many ailments, none of which should be a reason for being stigmatised. That comes rom pure ignorance and nothing else. 0 Spanner1960 2 Oct 2011, 4:06pm Maybe it is you who should keep up with the trends. It is standard NHS practice now (within the last 6 months) to administer some drugs immediately. Just because you happen to be HIV+ does not mean you are an authority on the subject, and I have friends in both the medical and pharmaceutical fields that keep me updated, and they would eat you for breakfast, so please stop claiming I know nothing. -2 Stu 2 Oct 2011, 5:11pm @Spanner1960 It may be standard practice at one or two clinics to immediately administer ARVs in all new diagnoses – but I would frankly be surprised … It is certainly not wide spread practice in the UK or western world … In some cases, eg dual infections with HepC or where the patient has a pre existing immunodeficiency from another cause, or for other good clinical reasons there may be immediate commencement of ARVs. In most cases there will be an initial monitoring of both CD4 count and viral load (dependent on what the initial results are) and ARVs will usually only be started when the count is below 350 (although there is a look to increasing this to 500/550 and thus some people are being started earlier). 3 W6_bloke 2 Oct 2011, 6:40pm @Spanner – you are very wrong that meds are offered upon diagnosis. They may well be if an individual is unwell with a very low CD4 cell count. The standard practice in the UK at the moment is to prescribe meds when the CD4 cell count reaches the 350 cells level. There are circumstances where it is necessary to prescribe prior to this, particularly with co-infections and some opportunistic infections that some people get at higher CD4 cell count levels. I have studied HIV / AIDS and whilst I am no expert I have a very high level of knowledge, and totally understand the science and I trust it. Go find the information yourself if you want to meaningfully engage and not rely on others! 1 W6_bloke 2 Oct 2011, 6:52pm Sadly Spanner your comments do show that your knowledge is limited. I would suggest you watch from the sidelines, but rather than heckle, stay silent! 1 Jock S. Trap 3 Oct 2011, 7:22am “and they would eat you for breakfast, so please stop claiming I know nothing.” - Oh I must be wrong then… WTF is that all about? - Again Spanner… you show your ignorance in having very limited knowledge. Learn rather than assume may be the best advice I can give to you. - Both Stu and W6_bloke are correct, you however are just showing yourself up with silly comments like the above. 1 W6_bloke 1 Oct 2011, 3:51pm It is not a known fact that HIV medication can knoack at least 10 years off your life! Where do you get your facts from Spanner??? They certainly are not based in scientific study and research. Personally I prefer to stick with scientific facts rather than outdated perceptions. 0 Reply Stu 12 Oct 2011, 2:20am Check out this latest research which shows the average life expectancy of a man aged 20 starting ARVs has increased by 15 years in the past decade with most recent data from 2006. I would suggest that 15 years is higher now. There needs to be an acceptance that there is some variability too http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-15264972 0 Reply Matthew 1 Oct 2011, 3:14am Hamish is right, tell the truth. There is too much hiding already going on that is killing people everyday. Wear a condom and save your life and that of another. 1 Reply W6_bloke 5 Oct 2011, 11:22am Matthew have you ever stopped to question why some people hide their status? I agree with the sentiment of your statement BUT your choice of wording is questionable because it contains inaccuracies, and is sensationalist – many people turn away from a message when the laungauge used in the message is totally over the top in comparision to the risk. There has to be balance in the message – getting that balance right is very difficult, and we are not there yet. 0 Reply Ged 1 Oct 2011, 12:17pm I agree completely, i’m not potentially putting my life at risk so I don’t hurt the feelings of someone stupid enough to not use a condom. -4 Reply W6_bloke 1 Oct 2011, 4:17pm I think you have missed the point of this article Ged. The author has never suggested that we should stop using condoms. What he has suggested makes very good sense if we are talking about casual sex, but also what I read from this is that there needs to be a much wider debate about HIV but not necessarily at the point of sexual contact. I should also like to bust this myth that because a person is diagnosed HIV postive that does not mean that they stop using condoms, which seems to be a palpable suggestion within the comments to this article. If 2 +ve guys wish to engage in sex without a condom then that is their choice – simple. Condoms are a very good form of protection, with HIV treatment as prevention coming a very close second. Put these two together which is often the case with an +ve person on treatment and you have the very best from of prevention. If you cannot understand this point then I suggest you give up having sex, because that is the 100% safe option is it not? 2 Reply Chas 2 Oct 2011, 3:49pm Hamish, you are oh so wrong. You will realize it one day, provided you make it over the age of 50. For, IF you make it over the age of 50 you, unfortunately, will find that by living according to your current statement you will need to reject almost every one of your contemporaries. You will realise that we all have medical problems. And I hate to think how you will react when the perfect man you find comes home one day and tells you he has Parkinsons, or any one of hundreds of serious illnesses. 3 Reply George 3 Oct 2011, 12:28pm Oh, Hamish, yes, we must at all costs AVOID anything that is life-changing or life-destroying or related to illness. We have a total right to complete and utter selfishness. There is no compunction on any of us to exercise a morsel of compassion. Personally, I cannot wait for the day (and it’s coming very soon) when it will be possible for everyone to have their DNA analysed and all of their genetic predispositions to illness exposed. When that day comes I will most certainly require a copy of a guy’s genetic print-out before I will even consider sleeping with him. At the same time, I will require access to his medical records at his GPs’s surgery. One can’t be too careful. I happen to be utterly perfect and I am sure I will remain in perfect condition until I drop dead (without a second of pain) at the age of 95. Until that moment I wish only to associate with similarly perfect people. -4 Reply Hamish 4 Oct 2011, 12:42pm Go fu<k yourself George, I don't want to catch HIV since when was this a bad thing. As I said I would like to think if someone told me I would weigh up the chances etc but the truth is your asking me to put my life at risk just so someone can get a shag, how selfish of me. 1 Reply W6_bloke 5 Oct 2011, 11:05pm Hamish – view of risk is way over the top as I have found with many contributers that do not understand or want to begin to understant HIV transmission! 1 Reply Hamish 6 Oct 2011, 9:55pm I understand its quite a difficult STI to catch but it is an incurable one and one which can seriously change your life. I would like to avoid this risk at all times and although I don’t rule out HIV positive men I would like to know if they had the disease before I put myself at risk by sleeping with them. -1 TC 30 Sep 2011, 1:34pm Hmmm, I see both sides. I don’t differentiate between HIV, other blood borns and any other type of STI. Use a condom, I’m likely to be safe. For me in my day to day life I tend to go off the assumption that everyone *could* and just practice safe sex. Even if I ask the guy and he says that he’s neg, he could be wrong, not lying but wrong. I see this guys point completely. I think education about sex, safer sex and PEP treatment needs to be out there but also. But we also need to take responsibility for ourselves in that, not relying on what we’re told by hook ups to make our choices. For me it’s either, accept that there’s a risk of HIV, and protect myself. Regardless of my hook ups status. 14 Reply Jock S. Trap 30 Sep 2011, 3:16pm Agreed. The best way to take responsibility for ourselves is to make sure we use a condom No matter what!! 4 Reply D.McCabe 30 Sep 2011, 1:36pm I kind of agree with his writing in parts. My main concern would be that by not asking/telling then the disease could potentially fall off the radar and that is certainly something that is not a good thing. Negative guys who would not sleep with positive guys, while I understand their concerns are being a little small minded. As the article says, if you like someone whats a thin layer of rubber? I’ve had some of the best sex ever with guys who are positive. I’m negative but I have made sure that I have taken the necessary precautions so that I don’t become infected. When I was single, I hardly ever asked a guy what his HIV status was. The only question I asked was whether he had condoms (if I had run out). A lotos the positive guys I met were always open from the outset which I appreciated but it did not frighten me off. 0 Reply Heretobeeducated 30 Sep 2011, 1:47pm My long term partner dies of AIDS many years ago. I was, and am, sero-negative. However, a long time later, I had sex a few times with a guy who, when I told him about my partner, just ‘freaked’ and said that if he had known ‘my background’, he would never have had sex with me! Furthermore, he then maliciously bad-mouthed me around the community re: my apparent ‘dishonesty’. So, in light of this, did I then decide to ‘deny’ my past? Absolutley not! It’s pure ignorance and lack of education on the matter of HIV infection that casued this ‘hysteria’, not my past with a HIV +ve partner. But the diference here was that neither of us knew about his +ve HIV status when we decided to become a couple. I think this article has some valid points to make and mostly, I am in agreement. Where I go ‘Hmm…’ is the part about “If the relationship moves beyond sex, there will be a time when it’s appropriate to talk about your medical histories. ” Well, I’m not so sure. Regardless of the issue being HIV, I think that if there is a relevant health issue that can potentially negatively impact on the longevity of a relationship, then it should be discussed up-front; it’s only fair to the other person so that they can make an informed decision re: their future intentions… 18 Reply B 30 Sep 2011, 1:50pm Very good write up. But as someone that has been working in HIV for over 10 years and also HIV positive, I think it is my responsibility to be very open about my status. Yes I have chatted with many people that have stopped chatting with me cos i told them I am positive and the world did not come to an end. There will always be discrimination, from size, to body to height to weight and these things will never go away. Also with the increasing criminalisation of HIV transmission which is someone Lucas did not address and with the tabloid sensationalisation of such issues, I would rather make it known to a shag that I am positive and he can make up his mind. After all he is a shag and that is all that it is. 13 Reply Stu 30 Sep 2011, 2:17pm Its sensible, because sometimes shags become friends, or more … and then if you havent been honest in the first place and then there are consequences (whether they are more emotional entanglement or transmission of an STI, otherwise or both) there is not the having to say “well, you might think I should have told you that …”. 3 Reply Jock S. Trap 30 Sep 2011, 3:19pm Totally agree B. - Yet again though this falls on the fault of lack of education leading to discrimination which can be quite unwarranted, if all we honest and checked themselves regularly. 2 Reply Atheist 30 Sep 2011, 1:51pm I told now Hubby on our second date (before any sexual encounter) that I was positive. We’ve been together now for 12 years, and he’s still negative. In that time I kknow a lot of guys that ruled out a relationship with me because of my status and being opne and honest about it. I now see a lot of those same guys at the same clinic I attend. I can only draw the conclusion that they all were looking for BB sex and I was deemed too much of a risk, but now they are paying the same price, and I draw no satisfaction from that, I merely make the observation. 11 Reply Hmmm 30 Sep 2011, 1:57pm You’re right, but you clearly are drawing satisfaction from it. -14 Reply Atheist 30 Sep 2011, 3:06pm I draw no satisfaction from seeing another human being in the same condition as me. That’s why I have alway protected my hubby, and will always continue to do so. It’s interesting how someone who doesn’t know me personally can make such a grand statement. I wish I had your insight into other people’s human nature, it may have saved me a lot of heartache over the years. You must count yourself as truly blessed to be soooooo insightful. :) 6 Reply Jock S. Trap 30 Sep 2011, 3:23pm Same situation here, I have been positive for 14 years now and my partner remain negative though in our 19 years of being together we have always been safe not because either of us slept around but because it was just always the way we wanted it. I have since heard the same about ruled out relationships, (funny how I never ask though), because of my status and again it all tends to boil down to myths and misinformation that education should be sorting out. 3 Reply john c 30 Sep 2011, 2:00pm monogamous relationships would solve a large part of the problem. 7 Reply Mendirin 30 Sep 2011, 2:21pm I disagree. There are men who say they’re in monogamous relationships who sleep around. There are also men who say they’re in monoagmous relationnships but whom ‘play’ elsewhere occassionally. What would solve part of the problem is better education, information sharing and initiatives set up to counter this problem at a charity or government level. THT and it’s ilk are largely ineffectual and this cna be seen by the rising level of HIV generally anyhow. They provide advice and stick up posters but they do little else. We need a more peer based initiative. We need something different. 4 Reply Stu 30 Sep 2011, 3:12pm @ Menderin I agree with you that the solution needs to be more sophisticated than simply saying monogamy will solve it. I would suggest those who have a different definition of monogamy to that which I understand are causing the issue of not solving it, rather than monogamy. Clearly, monogamy can only be a solution if everyone keeps to it. This, in the real world, is unrealistic and, for some, undesirable. I have been in both monogamous and non-monogamous relationships – both have worked for me. I agree education needs to improve re all STIs but also about HIV I disagree with the premise of your explanation that THT are ineffective. THT have some great mentoring, support systems, workshops, campaigning and drop in clinics etc. There is an increase in the prevalence of HIV but you need to interpret where that increase is before you state that THT are ineffective. Given that a significant proportion is from immigrants from sub Saharan Africa, then THT have little influence 2 Reply Mendirin 30 Sep 2011, 4:01pm @ Stu perhaps you’re right. I just see the stats rising and so that’s why I argued that THT is largely ineffective. If they were effective then surely the numbers of new cases of HIV would decrease – but to be fair it’s not just THT’s responsbility. From what I have been told HIV is rising most amongst the African community in the UK in the big cities like which correlates with what you’ve said also. We need more peer to peer support. New initiatives like those undertaken in the Metro centre (London) and GMI Partnership (also London) do great work with gay men and the results are promising. My problem with THT too is that it appears faceless. Something more intimate and based on interaction is a better alternative in my eyes. But that doesn’t detract from the workshops that THT run. 1 Reply Stu 30 Sep 2011, 4:23pm @Menderin I do understand why people are frustrated with THT and other organisations and then form the opinion that because HIV is rising (generally) that this means that those organisations are failing. As I said, Sub Saharan Africans is the group where rises in infection rates and numbers is most prevalent. An area that is more difficult to reach often. You can also see an increase in infection rates being a reflection of the successes of instant testing campaigns, encouraging testing and other education programmes from THT and others. Many people do not know their status and thus the number of newly diagnosed people rising may be evidence of education working. I agree THT could do more obvious contact work. They do some excellent workshops which are far from faceless and their new HIV support website is very well put together. There could always be more done, I guess they need to work smarter to both succeed and build confidence. 1 Spanner1960 1 Oct 2011, 1:30am There are also monogamous men that stay that way. If I ever found any of my past partners fooling around, they were history. I’m fine about people being single and shagging around, but if you are in, you are in, You can’t have your cake and eat it, and anyone who tells you you can with “open relationships” is talking utter bollocks, there is always a loser in the relationship. -5 Reply Jock S. Trap 1 Oct 2011, 9:07am You don’t alf talk a load of b0ll0cks. You spend most of your time condemning “people being single and shagging around”, no way are you “fine” about it. - Your a bloomin hypocrite. -1 Reply Spanner1960 1 Oct 2011, 11:37am I am no angel, I have had my fair share of shags in the past, but never whilst in a relationship, and equally I would never go with anyone else in a relationship, whether their partner was aware of it or not. I have never condemned promiscuity, just the accompanying selfish attitude of many gay men, as well as the predilection to do it in public. -1 Stu 1 Oct 2011, 9:14am Whilst I can see why you might think that, and whilst I accept there is potential for open relationships to add a degree of risk both in terms of infection and in terms of emotional issues, I do think you are judging on other peoples relationships in a discriminatory manner. Having more than two people in a relationship, whether that be full time, or otherwise, or whether that be solely a sexual relationship or whether that has a deep emotional content – does inevitably add potential for complications that may not be there in a relationship where there are two people. However, some people can make these situations work and are very content, happy and emotionally stable. Some engage effectively in safer sex and have strong committed relationships with their partners . Presuming open relationships mean increased infection or emotional problems is like assuming that a male nurse is gay . Sure, some males nurses are gay and some open relationships will have problems, not all though. 5 Reply Jock S. Trap 1 Oct 2011, 11:24am Here! Here! Stu!! Good comment, totally agree. 1 Spanner1960 1 Oct 2011, 11:39am Every “open” relationship I have seen has been where one of the couple decides they are bored and want to screw around. They basically blackmail the other partner into accepting the situation by saying either, live with it, or we are finished. So the other, usually monogamous partner has to suffer in silence. -2 Stu 1 Oct 2011, 11:55am @Spanner1960 Some open relationships are like those you describe, some are not … 0 Stu 30 Sep 2011, 2:25pm Well some problems if everyone practiced monogamy …. but for many reasons that is not everyones choice… Although, that still would still not solve the decision to be made about disclosure of status when meaning a potential new partner …. 2 Reply Stu 30 Sep 2011, 3:13pm meeting not meaning! 2 Reply Jet 3 Oct 2011, 8:45pm Celibacy would solve it too. Neither is particular practical, and neither should be forced on people. 4 Reply CamAm 12 Oct 2011, 6:25am What’s “practical” is relative. Condoms are not “practical” either if people don’t DESIRE to use them, for whatever reason. Yet, that does not stop people from promoting their use. Monogamy with a another “negative” partner is as highly effective as condoms, WHEN utilized. 1 Reply CamAm 12 Oct 2011, 6:39am What’s “practical” is relative! Condoms are not practical if people, for whatever reason, desire not to use them. That does not stop people from promoting their use. A monogamous relationship with another “negative” partner, like condoms, is highly effective WHEN utilized. 0 Reply Gus 30 Sep 2011, 2:00pm Don’t ask don’t tell acts fine if it’s once. Especially if, like me, you have an undetectable viral load and know damn well that it’s highly unlikely I could even infect anyone if it tried. But it don’t work for a guy I want to see again. If you don’t tell first time, when do you? You have to do it some time. I’d do it once I trust the guy well enough not to freak out…and have mainly had good reactions, but a few bad ones. Gus (HIV+ since 1985) 12 Reply Stephen 30 Sep 2011, 2:02pm Great article. And spot on. Ignorance is ignorance no matter how you dress it up. It’s 2011 and ruling someone out because of an HIV status is sad and pathetic. PERIOD. My heart goes out to negative people who live in this fear and ignorance. 2 Reply Robbie 10 Oct 2011, 7:29pm There is nothing wrong with ruling someone out because they are HIV+. There is no such thing as safe sex. There is safer sex, and even then i would rather sleep with someone who is virus free. -1 Reply W6_bloke 11 Oct 2011, 1:12am Everyone should have the choice of who they have sex with, but the thing is Robbie, how do you know someone is virus free as you put it? Are you going to take their word for it or take responsibility for yourself and assume everyone has HIV (which is the safer sex message). Also when was the last time you used a condom for oral sex? HIV +ve people on stable meds and with an undetectable viral load for a period of 6 months or more are considered uninfectious, and therefore treatment as prevention is considered nearly as safe as using a condom – put the 2 together and you have no risk of transmission happening! 0 Reply Mendirin 30 Sep 2011, 2:23pm My opinion is that if it’s for a one night stand then both partners should be responsible enough to use protection. If it’s a developping relationship then you owe it to the your potential partner to be honest. Ultimately I personally wouldn’t appreciate the dishonety – regardless of someone’s HIV status. 12 Reply Bruno 30 Sep 2011, 2:32pm I get sick of seeing young guys, or sometimes, actually, older guys, with profiles spouting nonsense like: “dirty bareback cum slut pig boy, do what you want to me, fill me up….. neg only” 8 Reply Bruno 30 Sep 2011, 2:33pm not sure why that posted there… tried to put it at the end! 2 Reply Jock S. Trap 30 Sep 2011, 3:25pm Now that I agree with. It goes beyond naive just plain stupid. 2 Reply Mendirin 30 Sep 2011, 4:05pm From my knowledge there are websites which encourage “bug-catching”. A positive acquaintance of mine also uses a website where people who are HIV+ meet one another for bareback sex. Surely, being positive they must be aware of the different strands of the virus and how the medication for one strain will be inneffectual against another. I don’t like to judge but the whole notion of “bug-catching” is abhorent to me. 2 Reply John 30 Sep 2011, 2:30pm As one who is open about there HIV I remain convinced that it overcomes more stigma than is creates. It is about education and getting proper messages accross and I know there is much criticism of this and its apparent failure over recent years. I would also note that one needs to also consider rising rates of Hep C infection here. Where I agree is that you should always assume those you have sex with bareback carry an STI and make your choices on the basis of that. A person may be healthy post a last STI test but what about the others they have had unsafe sex with since. Furthermore the Criminalisation of HIV/Hep C and a case recently on Herpes in certain countries makes this comment rather moot. Don’t ask don’t tell isn’t thus as simple. You cannot rely on the honesty of others for many reasons but you can be honest to yourself. It is your responsibility to make choices you are prepared to be responsible for. Some may not have choice but are the minority. 3 Reply Jock S. Trap 30 Sep 2011, 2:59pm An excellent article but have to say I disagree with not disclosing. I’m always upfront and as far as I’m concerned anyone that can’t deal with it in an adult way isn’t worth knowing. - I have recently been discriminated against for being HIV just to stop someone slagging of HIV people coz he thought he always knew by looking. I chose to disclose and was treated badly as a consequence. - It was ok though because I suspected my treatment so managed to just laugh it off to ignorance but for many it is very hurtful. Whatever people think, we are still human beings and deserve to be treated as such, however if you say avoid talking about it as a remedy til later, then say about people kissing and getting abused when they revel their status, imagine the reaction of being told several day, months down the line. …. 9 Reply Jock S. Trap 30 Sep 2011, 3:04pm It is lonely being the way HIV people are treated and it is misguided and through misinformation. Lets face it the people that should be educated and in the know are Gay men but instead they choose to ignore and close of which personally I think is more dangerous. - I remember knowing one bisexual man, claiming to be married with children who only went with people thinking they were negative. Anyone positive and admitted it he ignored for the sake of his family but he was into barebacking… so how does that work. - There is a massive problem, it’s called ignorance but I don’t think lying about your status is the answer. Tell people first, at the earliest point if sex is on the cards. That way it’s out in the open and done with and if they walk away then time is plentiful to find someone more mature. 9 Reply keith 1 Oct 2011, 10:34am AIDS riddled bugger then are you? -15 Reply Stu 1 Oct 2011, 10:48am Shows your lack of knowledge in the area to presume HIV means AIDS Your ignorance is compunded by your use of stigmatizing and inappropriate language – riddled … Perhaps you are riddled with lack of compassion, insensitivity etc or are just a bigot 8 Reply Riondo 1 Oct 2011, 10:58am What an utterly hateful person you are, Keith. Beneath contempt. 10 Reply keith 1 Oct 2011, 11:46am I have no compassion for perverted immorals tbhat perpetuate loathsome diseases that kill even innocent babies. -14 Stu 1 Oct 2011, 11:59am Judgemental, ill informed, ignorance becoming more and more evident the more hate filled your comments are You too are reported 8 rectal breath 3 Oct 2011, 9:04am Yes. I do hate immoral filthy perverted disgusting practices that harm society and spread diseases which kill even innocent babies. Shame you have no social conscience and prefer to promote selfish immoral desire which harms. -8 Stu 3 Oct 2011, 10:56am Your depravity by promolgating ignorance and inaccurate bigoted information is apparent to all. 5 Jock S. Trap 1 Oct 2011, 11:25am Thats just so Uneducated and what causes the problems.. 7 Reply fecal breath 1 Oct 2011, 11:44am Uneducated and HIV free. That is me! -13 Jock S. Trap 1 Oct 2011, 1:29pm Raped and given HIV, educated, committed 20 yrs in relationship and at completely peace with myself, not full of hatred like you. - Guess we both know who is the better person don’t we…(ie not the bastard who supports the rapist). 9 fecal breath 1 Oct 2011, 9:56am You are HIV positive because you ignored the bibles advice to abstain until monogamous heterosexual marriage. This is the result. Unfortunately, immoral, unrighteous rectum fixated perverts such as yourself will sometimes pass their avoidable deadly diseases on to innocents such as babies before they die, adding bloodguilt to their ‘achievements’. -13 Reply Stu 1 Oct 2011, 10:52am So, when people are infected through a rape … you still have this opinion …? Thankfully people with such rabid and ignorant thoughts are in the minority Your ignorant comment has been reported 10 Reply fecal breath 1 Oct 2011, 11:41am Jock S Trap was not raped. It was Jock S Trap I was referring to when I said ” you are HIV positive”. I was not referring to rape victims but rather to the avoidableness of blood borne and fecal borne disease amongst the consenting immoral community.. -15 Reply Stu 1 Oct 2011, 12:04pm Firstly, I have no reason to doubt Jock S Trap when he states that he has been raped – as a survivor of rape myself, I have immense feeling of solidarity and compassion for him in that situation and feel I can trust his integrity given the evidence on PN with much more certainty than I could ever perceive you having an ounce of integrity. Secondly, in my comment I did not refer to Jock S Trap as being raped, you jumped to the conclusion that I meant Jock S Trap. Now, my comment applies equally to any person who has survived rape and contracted HIV or other conditions as a result. Your lack of compassion and ignorance is hurtful to them all. If you did not intend to refer to them, then making such blanket comments are dangerous, wrong and immoral and demonstrate the depth of understanding that you lack. 5 Jock S. Trap 1 Oct 2011, 1:32pm Actually Keith (we know it’s you) Yes I was raped but thanks for clearly supporting the rapist. I have always been open about it hear and in life. I have been with a partner for 20 years with no need for another. Yet all you can do it condemn. - With people like you, I guess there’s no hope. 7 Jock S. Trap 1 Oct 2011, 1:43pm Thank you Stu. - Comments like that do hurt esp when your not expecting them. Though never had anything quite so vicious. Prehaps you can see why I have problems accepting people of religion. This is their hate. - Thing is now my partner is more upset with those comments than I. Again these people never think about the consequences of their hate. What makes people who just want to hurt others then think they are superior esp when they see those that suffer in peace and getting on with their lives. - Personally I can’t be bothered, I really shouldn’t have to justify myself. If only people like Keith could see how hateful they are and see it from the other side instead of the clear selfish pleasure they give themselves by being so cruel. - Kinda makes em nothing more than parasites. 5 Stu 1 Oct 2011, 2:01pm @Jock S Trap No problem. Your comments are always well thought out and your position particularly on the issue of HIV Is well balanced and considered. I do understand why you have an issue with religious people. I do agree that these comments from Keith etc are completely reprehensible. They deserve condemnation. They demonstrate a complete lack of integrity, care and sensitivity – which in my understanding are the values on which the Christian faith is supposedly founded. The lack of integrity demonstrates clearly how “un Christian” they are and in my view how immoral they are. I will say (not as a dig at you – because I completely agree with you) that not all Christians behave in such a way as these idiots. Hope you and your partner have a better weekend! 5 Jock S. Trap 3 Oct 2011, 11:56pm Note… no apology from the person that clearly supports a rapist! 3 Reply Spanner1960 30 Sep 2011, 3:50pm I really wish people would get the term correct: it is SAFER sex, not safe! There is always an element of risk, even using condoms, and I know people that have contracted HIV even though they were careful. One should always assume that any sexual partner is HIV+, just to be on the safe side, but even then, if people know the status of the other person is positive, they may not wish to increase those odds; that is simply human nature. Call me bigoted or scaremongering if you wish, but I for one wouldn’t want to take any more chances than I have to. 6 Reply Stu 30 Sep 2011, 4:26pm No in this instance I agree with you that its safer sex and not necessarily safe Its a personal choice as to whether you adopt a safer approach to sex, but its not just HIV that is a risk factor – there are other STIs too. 6 Reply Paul 30 Sep 2011, 4:00pm My father was a naval doctor and he frightened the living daylights out of me with his tales. I’ve always practiced safer sex always used condoms. Not only is it safer it is more hygienic and as far as I can tell equally as sensuous in anal sex. It is a given and not debatable and if people don’t like it then ‘goodbye and pleased to know you’. I’ve heard all the old excuses ‘ I can’t get a hard on’ or ‘It’s not the same’ or ‘Don’t you trust me’ (Well actually no I don’t). To me it is no different to wearing a seatbelt. It may not save your life or avoid you some serious illness but you have done your best. 8 Reply David 30 Sep 2011, 4:00pm Is there so few LGBT writers in the UK that Pink News needs to hire racist, American pornographers (like Michael Lucas) for them? 5 Reply Stu 30 Sep 2011, 4:28pm So on the basis that Lucas is a pornographer and has strong views on the Israel situation, this means his opinions (particularly interesting ones such as in this article) should be ignored? 3 Reply David 30 Sep 2011, 5:08pm I’m thinking more of his oft quoted opinion that the Arab people have offered nothing to the world and his blatant statement of ‘I hate muslims’ . Racist, bigotted prostitutes are allowed to hold whatever opinions the like. But an open racist should be identified as such. 0 Reply Stu 30 Sep 2011, 9:29pm @David I am going to reserve opinion on Lucas’ being racist – the quotes you give could give that impression, but I don’t know the context they were given in. 4 Reply Jock S. Trap 1 Oct 2011, 9:24am Well I guess when he writes about that I will comment on such but he isn’t. This is completely unrelated and yet a Very important subject to be debating. His opinion on the subject is just as valid as yours or mine and I’ll wait til their is reason to condemn him on other subjects when he makes those articles known. - All you are doing is trying to stop others debating to satisfy your own ego. Thisis not the subject. 2 Reply W6_bloke 2 Oct 2011, 1:57pm It is always interesting when individuals seek to move away from the real issue by bringing in unrelated information into the argument. I have often seen deflection tactics employed to smear a perfectly good debate when considering a very importnat issue. Deflection to me is either based in fear, anxiety or plain ignorance. 3 Jock S. Trap 3 Oct 2011, 7:27am Yes W6_bloke, I agree. It is sad that some feel the need to divert or dtop the debate on what is a very important subject. - I would go with it being because of fear… dare we talk about HIV? Too damn right we do coz it needs to be out there and open. 2 David 3 Oct 2011, 2:58pm The fact that Michael Lucas is an unapologetic racist and a member of the homophobic Republican gay group GOProud is indeed important. It means that his opinions are coloured by his homophobia and racism -3 David 30 Sep 2011, 4:07pm Michael Lucas (who wrote this article) is a member of the GOProud group – the gay Republican group which is very happy and willing to promote discrimination against LGBT people so long as their money is kept safe. Look this guy up. I hardly consider a racist homophobe like Michael Lucas to be an expert on anything except f***ing people for money. Appalling choice of writer. Has Pink News decided to become an officially right-wing news website. 7 Reply Tom_wood 30 Sep 2011, 5:22pm I agree that Lucas is quite possibly the worst spokesperson for the gay community. However, in this instance, his views on Islam have nothing to do with the article, which is surprisingly well-argued. 0 Reply Stu 30 Sep 2011, 9:33pm Yeah, I reserve opinion on his views on Muslims, but even if his views are as offensive as are being suggested then that does not mean that his opinions in other areas are not worth listening to. I thought this article was well argued, I don’t on balance agree with his approach, but he argued his position well. 3 Reply Jock S. Trap 1 Oct 2011, 9:27am Indeed, last time I checked this was a free country. 2 Reply Spanner1960 2 Oct 2011, 4:12pm As long as we agree with you. -1 Jock S. Trap 3 Oct 2011, 7:32am Oh Spanner… dear.. your not getting very far with the bitchin are ya… never mind love…lol 0 David 3 Oct 2011, 3:03pm It is a free country. And I am free to mention that Michael Lucas is a racist homophobe. Otherwise people reading this article might not realise what a hate-filled bigot Lucas actually is. He was in attendance at the GOProud Homocon – where the guest speaker was vicious extremist Ann Coulter. Michael Lucas is a nasty piece of work – ugly on the inside (and the outside). -3 Jock S. Trap 1 Oct 2011, 9:26am Who said he was a “spokesman for the gay community”? - This is just an important article of someones opinion of which we are choosing to debate. 2 Reply Jock S. Trap 1 Oct 2011, 9:25am And yet your choice to comment when you didn’t have to. 0 Reply James! 1 Oct 2011, 11:46am PN is a right wing racist site Ben Cohen is about the $$$ thats why trolls are allowed to post as they get more hits for the google ads -4 Reply Stu 2 Oct 2011, 2:56pm PN is a business – what do you expect … sheesh! 1 Reply Staircase2 30 Sep 2011, 4:13pm I agree with much of this article but not the idea that its somehow ok to wait until someone becomes emotionally attached to you before you tell them about your HIV status. I think thats placing unnecessary baggage on a relationship. I think its better to discuss that far earlier. Its all well and good for Mr Lucas to talk about men choosing not have sex with HIV+ men – but its a fallacy to compare HIV, which is usually a fatal condition if not treated with medication, with “liver cancer, diabetes, sickle-cell anemia, or a family history of mental illness” – none of which are life threatening to a sexual partner. I know how hard it can be for HIV+ men to move on with their lives sexually and emotionally after their diagnosis but thats not the responsibility of potential future sex or love partners: thats a side effect of the condition itself. 7 Reply Staircase2 30 Sep 2011, 4:18pm I deplore any prejudice against HIV+ people. But its important to separate someone not being able to cope with being in an ongoing sexual and emotional relationship with someone who is HIV+ from someone just being prejudiced. One is based on a very real fear for one’s one safety and survival and the other is just blind stupidity, ignorance and insensitivity. While the two areas can overlap its important that we are given that information if already known in order to make an informed decision. Aside from anything else, many HIV+ men find it easier being in a relationship with someone who shares their status and fully understands the issues involved. “Don’t Ask Dont Tell” – kinda removes that potential too. 6 Reply TEEGB 30 Sep 2011, 5:33pm Far too much emphasis is placed on sex these days. It seems to me that far too many people see it as a necessity to get along in a relationship. Whats wrong with a nice sit down, have a chat, watch a movie, go for a stroll, a drive somewhere, cuddles??? This is why I think there are so many problems in society; far too much direction is placed on sex being so important that it is necessary and must therefore be provided on demand. 7 Reply Bradford McIntyre 30 Sep 2011, 6:05pm Michael Lucas’s solution is not only ridiculous… but dangerous! Clearly an example of the kind of thinking behind the new explosion of HIV infections now among gay men. Talking about HIV is necessary! 7 Reply SeanR 30 Sep 2011, 6:22pm I took Lucas’s comment as being provocative, I think he actually wants more communication, he just stirs a bit by saying ‘no talk’… I actually think he’s asking us to be more ‘adult’ and empathic to the minority within our minoritized community and become more inclusive … but that’s just my take. Part of the explosion in HIV infections is people actually thinking (from misinterpreted media reports) that it isn’t a serious illness as it is not entirely the death sentence that it was,yet there are enormous life consequences to becoming HIV+. Another dimension I’ve heard of is ppl seeking to ‘convert’ in a quasi-religious fashion, which I’d link to self-esteem issues (another sexuality issue again). 4 Reply SeanR 30 Sep 2011, 6:13pm Great comments on this thread guys, thanks such food for thought! On Michael Lucas, well I *think* he is suggesting that we should see a person and not solely s.o. with HIV who we swat away like a fly. So he is being critical of the ways ideological views and lack of education about the virus are implicated in intimacy. While a few of you point to his GOP politics/ career ambit, I am sure many also watch his movies, huh? ;> The late US activist Eric Rofes said that there should be room in the great big tent for all categories of gay men from virgins to sex pigs and barebackers, so I think Lucas’s piece relates to that – so don’t shoot the messenger. I love how there are commonalities here about the multiple contexts and dilemmas about disclosure, intimacy, desire, etc. – all the elements of ‘doing intimacy’ and how we have to navigate these issues ethically & respectfully -we’re not nuns! Be an open minority that ‘listens’ as we ‘consume’, & reduce HIV folks stigma by inclusiveness. 2 Reply Tigra 07 30 Sep 2011, 7:02pm I hope that’s how he means it but let’s not forget that this man profits from all manners of sex and risky fetishes. 1 Reply Riondo 30 Sep 2011, 6:16pm On the whole, I think being honest from the start is the best policy. Concealing HIV status from someone you have ongoing contact with who is even moderately bright and observant must be pretty difficult, and discovering deliberately hidden information is very bad for trust in a relationship. A quick fling may be a different matter, of course, but in all circumstances it should go without saying that strictly safe sex should be practised. 2 Reply SeanR 30 Sep 2011, 6:26pm Again Riondo, you’re rightly alluding to the problematic issue of disclosure, risk and intimacy. Why is a quick fling any different? We need to respect folks, even tricks on the way home… 2 Reply Tigra 07 30 Sep 2011, 6:52pm Absolute rubbish The stigma is good, why should we condone and congratulate ppl for having HIV? If you get it through unprotected sex it’s your own fault. The last thing we should be doing is encouraging people to take risks because there’s almost a cure or wasting money convincing people it’s societys fault they got infected. If you have unproteted sex with someone and don’t know they are clean and get HIV then it’s your own fault and nobody elses. I don’t say this as someone hateful but as the voice of reason and common sense. Gaydar and fitads are full of guys asking for unprotected sex, these people are exactly the ones who will then complain it isn’t their fault they are infected. -9 Reply ...Westie... 30 Sep 2011, 9:13pm How can stigma ever be a good thing – it is stigma that creates barriers to people getting tested and results in late diagnosis and further transmsission. What is it with the word “clean” that guys use. The opposite of clean is dirty – as an HIV positive individual I do not consider myself dirty. 5 Reply Sister Mary Clarence 30 Sep 2011, 10:45pm “Gaydar and fitads are full of guys asking for unprotected sex, these people are exactly the ones who will then complain it isn’t their fault they are infected.” No luvvie, these are the ones that already have it, so have stopped using condoms to protect them from what they already have when they have sex with someone else who already has it as well. Keep up luvvie 1 Reply Spanner1960 1 Oct 2011, 1:23am That’s crap actually. I have actually heard of cases of people intentionally trying to catch a dose. Much like cruising, some people like the elements of danger with sex. It takes all kinds I suppose. -1 Reply Tigra 07 1 Oct 2011, 2:46am What ever their reason…if they get it, then it’s on them. The first thing a first aider is ever taught is that gloves are your best friend and to treat blood as the most corrosive substance to man simply because of the risk of any disease/sti/std transmission. Now i could quite happily have HIV+ friends, but what i will never have is a HIV+ partner. Sorry to anyone with HIV/AIDS but however you got it, i can’t risk getting it myself from you even with condoms. I take responsibility for my own actions because no one else will. Westie i use the word “clean” because as someone who has never had a relationship without condoms and with regular testing i would know exactly where an STI/STD came from. Could you? I would class myself as “clean” from that. To Sister Mary Clarence…right on sis! This community needs to realise some of us will get HIV and bickering over who’s fault it is isn’t helping. Take responsibility for your own actions. When it comes to your life only you can save it. -1 Reply Stu 1 Oct 2011, 9:24am @Tigra Depending on how often you have sex etc etc you may not know … You may use condoms all the time (they are not 100%) effective, you may be tested every 3-6 months … So you then become positive in a test – which is clearly an upsetting and disappointing occurance. You havent had any IV drug use, blood transfusion or trauma. So the most likely outcome is you had an incident that you were not aware of when using a condom. So we need to consider the guy(s) you have been with since the last test (and additionally a 3 month overlap from before the prior test). Now, when I am single there are likely to be more than one guy in that period. How do you know which one had a condom problem if it was not identified at the time? We can take responsibility for our own actions by using safer sex but its not 100% reliable. Some of us gay or straight will contract HIV. Some people’s behaviour will be more risky and make it more likely but some will be “surprisingly” infected. 3 Stu 1 Oct 2011, 9:31am @Tigra I agree it is our responsibility (as far as possible) to try and ensure we look after our own heath. Having contracted HIV, there is a joint responsibility to look after any potential partner and ensure they make an informed choice based on risk (even though that increase may legitimately be marginal in safer sex happens). Lots of comments on here have said it is better to assume that a person whose status you do not know (and intend having sex with) is positive. Equally, if you are positive it might be helpful to assume that every person who you intend having sex with is negative, to reinforce your responsibility to look after their interests. I find the use of the word clean and unclean to be inappropriate and unnecessarily stigmatizing. We would call someone with influenza, tuberculosis or chickenpox unclean and all can be infectious and fatal – so why HIV? It demonstrate ignorance – the risk of someone HIV+ with an undetectable viral load of transmission is low … 3 Jock S. Trap 1 Oct 2011, 9:33am You seem to think your the only one with a choose about relationships but your attitude already makes you very unattractive that I’m sure most people with HIV wouldn’t want a relationship with a bigotted creep like you. - Thank God there are decent people out there. 1 Jock S. Trap 1 Oct 2011, 9:35am plus the term ‘clean’ is offensive. Just because I have HIV doesn’t make me dirty nor you ‘clean’ - Your discrimination shines through and frankly your attitude contributes to the dangers, it’s just a sad fact you’ll never see it til it’s too late. Also betting all else will be blamed. 2 Jock S. Trap 1 Oct 2011, 9:38am Stu - Indeed, I agree and have always said each person is responsible for their own action but people like Tigra inflame the problem with their ignorance and separation of people when they should grow up and know better. - Treat people how you wish to be treated Tigra and if your going to treat people like @ssholes you can only expect it back. 2 Stu 1 Oct 2011, 9:38am … in fact, incredibly low. Whereas the risk of someone who is not aware of there status is much higher (although not certain). Someone not aware of their status is likely to have a much higher viral load and thus be more risky and discussed even though risk can be minimised with safer sex – it does not negate the risk entirely. Spanner1960 – yes some people do go out to get infected – to get “bred” – I can not over state how unwise this is. Whilst HIV has no significant change to life span compared to smokers or diabetics etc etc, that does not mean it is a condition that patients should self select. I believe most gay men do not engage in deliberately risky activity with the intention of contracting HIV. We need to be as safe as we can, but we need to be educated about the impact of HIV as even the most safe person may still contract the virus and stigmatization is wrong. 4 W6_bloke 1 Oct 2011, 11:32am Tigra – I am wondering if you ever engage in any sexual contact – as you seem so fearful and frankly very ill informed. Do you ask your potential hook ups for proof of status I wonder. With 26% of gaymen being undiagnosed the only person who really knows thier status is someone who has actually taken responsibility and tested and taking meds. Personally I do not beleive that anyone can claim to be HIV negative, I would prefer to say of unknown status! I would be interested to know if you use condoms for oral sex – oh of course you probably dont have sex! Total idiot you are adding to the problem of forward transmission with your approach – well done! 0 W6_bloke 1 Oct 2011, 11:39am I dont thin k I have ever come across a more judegmental person as you Tigra. Because I am HIV positive you have made the assumption that I never use condoms and that I have a string of casual partners. You are very naive in your thinking about getting an STI – and you are probably one of the individuals that are most at risk of getting HIV because you have such a very poor understanding of the virus. It must be a real blight on your life being so fearful of HIV/STI’s. I’d rather be positive and happy than like you mate! 1 Jock S. Trap 1 Oct 2011, 1:47pm Oh Well said W6_bloke!! 1 Tigra 07 2 Oct 2011, 12:53am You can call me judgemental all you want but most gay people getting HIV are getting it from unprotected sex. I choose not to have sex with anyone who i know has HIV and generally have relationships rather than one nighters, and i’ve also never asked a partner if they have HIV or AIDS as i work on the presumtion that they “A” don’t know and “B” won’t get to have sex anyway if the relationship doesn’t really get that far. Everyone’s choice is their own but we all know a cure for HIV will lead to more gay people doing risky things. The more acceptable being gay has become over the years, the worse it’s got. Gay saunas encourage a lot of unprotected sex too -1 W6_bloke 2 Oct 2011, 2:18pm From your last comment Tirga it seems you have let the mask slip – you seem to have a huge problem with your sexuality and gay men in general, and you are using HIV as a vehicle to voice your problems with your sexuality! As for your comment with regard to a cure for HIV and the effect this will have on new infections within the gay population where on earth do you get this idea from – it is total nonsense. I suggest that you deal with your feelings about being gay and stop entering debates you know very little about! -1 Stu 2 Oct 2011, 3:03pm @Tigra My major concern in your comments was not that you “choose” to not have sex with HIV+ people (although I think one part of your clarification that you presume new potential partners are unaware of their status gives more balance to your views). My concern was that you regarded being positive or negative as being clean or unclean, given the use of some of your terminology in your comments. These are disparaging and stigmatizing phrases (and whilst I accept they are relatively widely used, that use does not make them acceptable). I also felt your desire to blame people for becoming infected is unwise and patronising. Reflect on my comments above where I explain how its difficult to determine time of sero-conversion if you have consistently used condoms and had no other risks. Its not the black and white issue you seem to perceive it as. I accept you may not wish to condemn those with HIV but ultimately your approach and choice of language can be interpreted in this way. 3 Stu 2 Oct 2011, 3:07pm @Tigra I also agree that there is some underlying latent condemnation of homosexuality within your comments which smacks of stereotyping and personal discomfort. I also agree that if and when there is a cure for HIV that this will have a positive impact on society in general (not just the LGBT communities – HIV does not discriminate on grounds of sexuality). 2 Spanner1960 2 Oct 2011, 4:55pm @W6_bloke What is it with you and your armchair psychoanalysis? Just because people don’t have sex, or conform to your template of what gay lifestyle is about, you immediately brand them as somebody with a problem. It seems anybody who goes against the gay norm must be “self-loathing”, or anybody unwilling to shag anything in trousers at the drop of a hat is “fearful”. My only problem is people like you who on the one hand attack people for using stereotypes, yet simultaneously enforce ones of your own choosing that fit your way of life. -2 Stu 2 Oct 2011, 5:26pm @Spanner1960 I must be reading a different conversation here. Where did w6_bloke refer to self loathing or a particular type of behaviour that should be the norm? I don’t recall w6_bloke promoting promiscuity, he did talk about an irrational fear of HIV but not saying that this is solved by promiscuity/ Your interpretation of his words are somewhat different to mine! 2 W6_bloke 2 Oct 2011, 6:34pm @Spanner I am not engaging in “armchair psychoanalysis” as you put it – I am going on your comments where you clearly agreed that the safest way not to get HIV is not to have sex – now in many of your arguments you have been inconsistant and you often contradict yourself, and you have confessed that you are not interested in the subject matter, yet in the next sentance you have made highly stigmatising and streo-typical remarks. You can’t have it both ways – so I really have to question your motives in engaging in this very important debate. 1 Tigra 07 3 Oct 2011, 8:03am Im the most patriotic and gay friendly person my age you will find so your analysis is way off. I even go to pride every year just because i see it as every gay person’s duty to show their face as a mark of respect for the original marches. I do class people as clean or unclean though and have no intention of changing that. Read a few fitlads profiles and see if they disgust you as a few do to me. Im not homophobic, im HIVphobic. I love gay people but hate STDs And STIs, and can see the only people loving them as the ones that have them imho. 0 W6_bloke 3 Oct 2011, 8:53am Tigra – HIV and any STI have no boundaries, and hating them will not make them go away. As I have elluded to previously you are living in fear because you would rather bury your head in the sand than actually confront what is quite frankly an irrational fear. I wonder if you actually know any +ve people, or if you have just made your mind up based on some cruising website. (interesting that you would use such a site, when you only do relationships). If other HIV positive people want to sero-sort then how is that going to impact on you? The term “clean” when used to suggest someone is HIV / STI negative is totally disgusting, and if I applied the opposite word “dirty” to a particular race I would be quite rightly shot down and branded a racist. You really should be ashamed of yourself as a human being to continue to think in terms of clean or unclean – it shows you are a weak and fearful young man, who will learn the hard way! 1 Tigra 07 3 Oct 2011, 4:21pm “The term “clean” when used to suggest someone is HIV / STI negative is totally disgusting, and if I applied the opposite word “dirty” to a particular race I would be quite rightly shot down and branded a racist.” You can f*** off with that statement, i know many people who would quite rightly be offended with that and if you want to play the race card then you can f*** off. Having an STI or STD is in NO way comparable to race W6_bloke. I won’t have sex with someone who i know has HIV or AIDS, as many people wouldn’t if you asked. I know a few activists but i don’t know anyone with HIV or AIDS. Anyone with a view like W6_blokes is an extremist who cannot bare a discussion with someone who has a different view. Argue all you like, i’m not ever having sex with someone with HIV or AIDS and that’s my personal choice. It would be stupidity to risk my own health when there are so many decent people out there who bother to take precautions and have safe sex. -2 Reply W6_bloke 3 Oct 2011, 5:02pm I totally agree that the statement I made would offend – BUT you are quite happy to use offensive wording & think it is ok. You have double standards & your prejudice is obvious for all to see. Also you seem to make the asumption that +ve people only engage in unsafe sex, which is just streo typing people to suit your anxiety. I am not an extremist Tigra – I am just here to correct the myths and stigma that you wish to promote. Your views on HIV and HIV people are disgusting, andf your claims to be such a gay friendly individual are not borne out in some of the comments you have made. You say you do not know anyone with HIV, I bet you have had sex with an HIV positive person and you just don’t know it, or don’t wish to acknowledge it. Also if you are going engage in this sort of debate, please get the terminoloy correct, HIV is a virus, AIDS is a group of opportunist infections that are associated with HIV infection. Good luck mate cos you are going to need it in life 0 Tigra 07 4 Oct 2011, 3:14pm Maybe i have had sex with a positive person or two, but it was safe sex and as already stated i wouldn’t ask someone if they had HIV but assume they had as everyone should in this day and age. You don’t need to wish me luck W6, i’m regularly tested and practice safe sex. Maybe you should too and you wouldn’t have HIV -2 W6_bloke 4 Oct 2011, 6:14pm Assumptions, assumptions and more assumptions……………there are 5 main ways HIV can be transmitted, unprotected anal or vagina sex, intravenous drug use where works are shared, vertical mother to baby transmission, breastfeeding and infected blood products. As I am male this rules out 2 of these routes of transmission. For all you know Tigra I could be an IV drug user (more stigma & discrimination no doubt) or have been infected by a blood transfer. In addition given that 5% of HIV infections are estimated to be as a result of giving oral sex in gay men, which label or transmission route are you going to decide best fits me in your warped mind? You really have no compassion at all – there could be HIV positive people reading the crap you spout that may have been infected by not having unsafe sex, again your tiny mind cannot understand this. You are a complete disgarce and all you spout is rubbish which bears no relation to the real world. 2 W6_bloke 4 Oct 2011, 6:27pm @Tigra Your arguments are weak, inconsistent and bear no relation to scientific fact (this has been noted by others who have contributed). With someone who has no moral fibre it is difficult to believe anything you write on here. Whatever your hidden agenda is and I beleive you have one that is to stir up fear, stigma, discrimination and discredit the contributors on here who are themselves HIV positive take it else where. You consistently have chosen not to engage with the wealth of scientific evidence that has been provided by myself and others……………….I will repeat that you are weak, fearful and devious individual! 2 Jock S. Trap 1 Oct 2011, 9:30am Thanks, I was given through rape but nice to know you condemn everyone. - Your “voice of reason and common sense” is hateful, discriminating and bigotted. - I guess ignorance is bliss. 4 Reply Tigra 07 2 Oct 2011, 12:39am i never said anything about rape Rape’s not funny, it’s serious, and it should alwaysbe reported to police When i condemned unsafe sex with strangers i never mentioned rape because it’s clearly not a choice both people made 1 Reply Stu 2 Oct 2011, 3:11pm @Tigra07 I agree rape is serious and far from funny. I think the decision of whether to report a rape to the police should remain solely with the survivor, although it often helpful to explore the three options – reporting to police, not reporting, having forensic evidence stored by a rape crisis centre in case decide to change mind re complaint to police in the future. 2 Reply Tigra 07 3 Oct 2011, 7:58am A lot more of us have experienced rape than is reported and i regret that i never reported mine when i woke up with my current partner having sex with me. At the ti e i didn’t report it as i was still in the closet. Needless to say it gave me the strength to end that relationship and come out but i have no plans to ever report it myself. I have no proof it happened and no intention of bringing anything like that up with police personally although i accept i probably should as now this person could do it again to someone. Although it’s not politically correct to say so, it did make me a stronger person than i used to be but i would never do nothing if it happened again. -1 Stu 3 Oct 2011, 11:15am @Tigra 07 The issue of rape of men (both within and outside of LGBT communities) is consistently under reported. I personally did not report my experience of being raped, and this is despite myself having been a sexual offence liaison officer in the police in my past. I also have a sense of responsibility at times that there may have been other survivors I could have assisted in preventing by assisting the police in getting him off the streets. I think we have to accept that there is a condition known as rape trauma syndrome and that we did not choose for this to happen for us. Having not decided to report it at the time, I now feel it is pointless doing so now for complex reasons. Its not our responsibility if they offend again. That said, they are complex emotions and thoughts and thats part of the trauma syndrome. 2 Chas 2 Oct 2011, 3:57pm Tigra07, you’ve just thrown your credibility out the window by saying “Stigma is good”. Stigma means hatred and judgement and bigotry. You need to learn that the fault of AIDS is a virus. If there is anything that you MAY feel anger towards it is towards the virus. 3 Reply max 19 Oct 2011, 11:22pm Well done Tigra 07! Stigma is good! Lets stop treating all HIV+ men as victims! Most of the men these days contract HIV through reckless behaviour! They dont care about themselves, have no self respect and respect 4 others nor 4 the society that is prolonging their lives to the cost of the taxpayer… and in return they go on BBing, infecting others and catching other diseases themselves! Unfortunate if u got infected through rape or an accident, but lets not pretend all HIV+ men are so unfortunate! 10 years ago we wouldnt even hear about BBing! Now it became a norm! Thanx to HIV+ men! -1 Reply W6_bloke 21 Oct 2011, 12:30am Why not go the whole hog and just lock us all up max or make us pay for our meds, segregation in society seems a good idea as well – I suggest you start an E petition to number Ten and get it debated in the House of Commons. What irrational planet are you on max? Planet fear I suspect. 0 Reply Kyle 30 Sep 2011, 7:15pm Wow, what an idiot Michael Lucas is. The mind boggles at how stupid his idea about DADT on HIV status is. This is bad advice. Dangerous. If you have HIV you should be upfront about it. Putting someone else at risk, however small the risk, is wrong. 5 Reply ...Westie... 30 Sep 2011, 9:00pm Kyle just because a person is HIV positive it does not mean they are putting someone else at risk. It is attitudes like the one you have displayed that are dangerous. HIV postive guys who are on stable treatment are far less likely to cause forward transmission of the virus than undiagnosed individuals. I suggest to learn a little more about how transmission occurs and the level of risk associated with stable drug treatment. You seem to have an irrational anxiety about HIV transmission. 4 Reply Kyle 1 Oct 2011, 10:14am If a person is HIV positive it does mean that they could be putting someone at risk. If they are HIV positive, they are more likely to spread the disease than someone who is not HIV positive. Not being honest about HIV status is dangerous. I suggest you are the one who needs to learn about HIV, instead of burying your head in the sand. -3 Reply W6_bloke 1 Oct 2011, 12:07pm I am very well versed in sexual health and HIV as I have a nationally recognised qualifiaction – so please do not preach to me about HIV. Being a positive individual I consider myself an expert as I live with the condition and take a very active part in my treatment and welfare. Having sex period could be putting someone at risk of HIV transmission do you not understant that point? If not why not – it is very simple. Stigma, discrimination and the use of inappropriate words to refer to an HIV positive individual only results in increasing fear, and this in turn leads to people not wanting to test and get the appropriate treatment. I am far from burying my head in the sand as I will always question people like you and the self confessed bigots who seem to be very proud of that label – to me it is a disgusting way to think about another human being. 1 Reply Kyle 1 Oct 2011, 6:08pm So you think people should lie about their HIV status? And how am I a bigot for saying that people should be honest with someone they have sex with if they have HIV? It’s people like you, telling others not to be honest about their HIV status that put others at risk. 1 W6_bloke 2 Oct 2011, 12:40pm As I have said previously I nor the writer have not suggested that individuals lie about thier HIV status – this is something you seem to really not want to acknowledge – BUT I do not see the point of every HIV postive person disclosing their status so that you can feel more in control of your obvious anxiety. There can be no justification for your views on HIV and HIV positive individuals! There is no scientific evidence to suggest that HIV diagnosed HIV positive people put others more at risk – quite the opposite if you wish to engage with science and research. Anxiety is not a good think – especially with regard to sex, put a condom on and chill out m8 1 Kyle 2 Oct 2011, 5:59pm You obviously have issues and are very senstivie about HIV. I don’t mean to cause offence. I just think people should be honest about it. And you are burying your head in the sand if you can’t alk openly about who you are. If I have an illness, and I don’t talk about it, it is because I can’t be honest about who I am. HIV DADT is as stupid as DADT in the military. It makes the subject of HIV taboo, it turns the virus into something to be ashamed of – why else wouldn’t you be honest – and you are encouraging that. For what? So you can have sex with more people? -1 W6_bloke 2 Oct 2011, 6:22pm Kyle Far from being sensitive about HIV I am passionate that +ve people are not treated unfairly or as second class citizens – in my private life I am totally out about my status and I contribute to HIV forums, group discussions and have invovlement in HIV charities. Deflection tactics don’t work with me esp when someone tries to get personal with me. You clearly stated early on in this discussion that +ve are a higher risk and more likely to pass on the virus – this is incorrect and many on here have tried to explain that, I note you have changed your stance somewhat, and now your argument is about honesty. I have never made a comment to suggest +ve individuals should not be hoenst, if you read up you will find I have stated honesty is the best policy several times. What I dont get is why in your opinion a +ve individual is somehow being dishonest or lying if they do not disclose to you at the first opportunity. 2 W6_bloke 30 Sep 2011, 9:30pm Kyle people who have HIV are not putting others at risk, where do you get that notion from? HIV positive people on stable treatment are much less likely to be uninfectious than undiagnosed individuals. I would suggest that you need to learn a bit more about HIV, how it is transmitted and what conditions are necessary for infecetion to take place. 2 Reply Jock S. Trap 1 Oct 2011, 1:51pm Exactly. - Fact your are more likely to be safer having sex with someone knowing their HIV+ diagnoses than someone who doesn’t know if they have HIV or not or lie and yet it is always the honest people that get the abuse, the stigma not the deniers.. 2 Reply Kyle 1 Oct 2011, 6:47pm Are you for real? You think people who are HIV+ are not putting others at risk when they lie about their HIV status? Eh? Where do I get the notion that having sex with someone who is HIV+ poses a risk of being infected with HIV? OMG, the mind boggles, and you think you know it all about HIV? People who are HIV+ are the most likely to put someone at risk of catching HIV, because they have HIV, and can therfore spread the infection! Duh. It’s not rocket science. There is a small risk of being infected with HIV through oral sex, if a condom breaks, and yet you are advising someone to lie about their HIV status. Wow. And you call me a bigot? If someone knows they are HIV+ they should be honest with their partner/s. That way both people can be safe, and they both know the issues. I have a couple of freinds who are HIV+, and I know they wouldn’t dream of lying to their partners about their HIV status. You call me a bigot for saying it is dangerous to lie to someone that you are HIV+. -2 Reply W6_bloke 1 Oct 2011, 7:08pm I have never stated that people should lie about their status, and you have moved this debate on to suit your own ends. If an HIV positive person has safer sex with another individual in a casual situation why should the positive person disclose thier status? If we are talking about regular couples rather than Mr right now then of course it is in the best interest that HIV is openly discussed – I have never suggested anything to the contrary. You are deflecting away from the statement you continue to make that a person who is confirned HIV positive is more likely to put others at risk – this is incorrect and is dangerous. Go and read up fella and then form an up to date opinion instead of attacking with your poor understanding. 1 Reply Jock S. Trap 2 Oct 2011, 8:29am Agreed. It’s worrying that clearly there is a ‘code of practise’ that when HIV men speak of safer sex others bypass the message to assume the worst and don’t think that is discriminatory or damgerous. - Apparently you can’t be honest and be talking about being safer in sex because you’ve already been judged. 3 Jock S. Trap 2 Oct 2011, 8:25am Kyle - Your ignorance and lack of knowledge is what will put You in danger. - Polite advice = Please learn properly about HIV before assuming. 2 Reply Kyle 2 Oct 2011, 5:29pm Before assuming what? If you think it is wise not to tell someone you are HIV+, then that’s your way of dealing with it. I personally would never lie to someone about my HIV status. If they asked me I would be honest with them, and if I was going to have sex with someone I would tell them I was HIV+. I prefer honesty, you don’t. Polite advice = be honest. Ask and tell. There’s nothing to be ashamed of if you have HIV+. Brushing it under the carpet which is what HIV DADT does means there is something wrong with it. There isn’t. But people have a right to know IMO. -3 W6_bloke 2 Oct 2011, 11:03pm This regard to your most recent comment Kyle, you have changed your opinion somewhat from your original posting. This is fine but I would ask you to have the grace to say that you did not understand the argument, but now you do. Is that so difficult given all the scientific fact that has been provided for you to form an opinion. I am passionate about prevention and also passionate about making sure that incorrect statements are corrected, because if the correction is not made then myths continue to circulate. I will always challenge poor information. My interest in prevention & sticking up for positive individuals often puts me at odds with myself, because these two areas do not always sit comfortably together, because of conflicts in interest. One thing I will not tolerate is stigma & discrimination & I am not ashamed of that. I still beleive your originally posted comments are incorrect & are stigmatising. I have no agenda here other than to correct poor information. 2 W6_bloke 2 Oct 2011, 6:09pm Kyle I see there seems to be a softening of your approach to +ve guys – yet you still seem to think +ve guys MUST disclose their status to you. Why is this? Would you really disclose personal information in the way you expect a +ve guy prior to getting into bed with him? Please do not use the excuse of risk of transmission here, because frankly it does not cut it if you think rationally about it – if a +ve guy uses a condom where is the risk, so why should you be told something that is private to that individual. Not telling is not the same as lying, but it seems to me you see them as one in the same. If you asked me my status I would tell you – I tell guys anyway, but not everyone is as confident as me, and this has to be respected! Positve guys should have the choice about who they tell, and to expect them to disclose to the world is frankly ridiculous – end of. 2 Reply Kyle 2 Oct 2011, 6:31pm A softening? I was never hard. I think you and others who are HIV+ misinterpret my honesty, maybe it’s the way you are reading my comments because you are over sensitive about the subject. You think positive guys should have the choice? Don’t you think that negative guys should also have the choice to know if someone has a STI before they have sex with someone who knows they are positive. I would never ask someone if they were positive, I would always be safe, but if I were HIV+ I would always be honest. You are agreeing with a man who is encouraging people to be secretive about HIV. He is making it more taboo. The idea of HIV DADT is as stupid as DADT in the military. At least the article means Lucas’ll have had some more hits on his porn website, which specialises in barebacking. Lucas is hardly the best mouthpiece for HIV education is he? -2 W6_bloke 2 Oct 2011, 7:16pm Again Kyle you have moved away from your original assertion – please be honest about this as you clearly are a man of total honesty! Perhaps your words are mis-interpretated because you are using the wrond words? I stil don’t get your view on why +ve guy MUST disclose when they are having safer sex. To say that negative guys should also have a choice is one again deflecting from the question. Why in your view should a +ve guy disclose to a complete stranger when he is using a condom? If you take the time to read my comments I have not agreed in total with the writer – what I have done is try to dispel myths and provide some scientific argument into the debate. You made an assertion early on that +ve guys are of higher risk and are more likely to infect others – is this still your view, if it is then please provide your reasoning based in science and not personal opinion. 0 Kyle 2 Oct 2011, 7:37pm Erm, it’s quite simple actually, and not a personal opinion. Someone who is HIV+ is more likely to infect others than someone who is not HIV+ because, well they are HIV+. If someone doesn’t have HIV, then they can’t infect someone else. But if someone has HIV, then they can. That’s not complicated science to me. It’s quite simple. If you have HIV, you can give it to someone else, if you don’t then you can’t. I get the point that some people might not want to have sex with you because you are HIV+, I’m sorry about that. It wouldn’t bother me personally, as long as you were honest. But don’t take it out on me and call me disgusting and a bigot, like you have above. I’m neither. I just believe in honesty. You don’t. -2 Stu 2 Oct 2011, 10:19pm @Kyle I can see the logic in what you are saying, but it is very much overly simplistic … Firstly, many people are not aware of their HIV status and presume to be negative and would declare themselves as negative Secondly, those who are not tested and are unknown positives tend to have higher viral loads (based on the reality of how HIV progression occurs post diagnosis). Those with higher viral loads are much more infective than those who are undetectable due to ARV management. Thus a “negative” person is feasibly a much higher risk than a positive guy who is undetectable. 2 Stu 2 Oct 2011, 10:27pm @Kyle I must say I disagree with Lucas’ views and I agree with you that honesty is the best policy, but there has to be honesty and integrity on both sides (both partners regardless of their status). That includes if one partner is negative that they understand that a positive partner is not necessarily a high risk (especially if condoms are used) compared to a person whose status is unknown. I think there has been some misinterpretation of what you say, maybe some of that lack of clarity comes from both sides. I do think you are trying to be balanced. We need to try to find a way of reducing stigma that also encourages honesty. 2 W6_bloke 2 Oct 2011, 10:34pm Once again Kyle you are ducking the issue – you made a sweeping statement that you are unable to backup. If someone who is +ve always uses a condom how are they more of a risk than someone who is HIV negative? This is the whole basis of safer sex – put a barrier there to stop transmission! Ok accidents happen, but even then transmission is unlikley to occur, statistically less than 1% for a single exposure. I will ask again if you think a +ve person who is on stable treatment, with an undectectable viral load (just so you are clear undetectable means <40 copies per ml of blood) & uses a condom poses a greater risk than that of someone who does not know their status (assumed negative) .You made an assertion that confirmed HIV positive individuals are a risk & are more likely to pass on the virus. This is incorrect! Also with regard to honesty I have clearly stated at least once in my responses that honesty is the best policy – you have chosen to ignore this. 0 W6_bloke 3 Oct 2011, 5:47pm Stu I wish I had your calm and supurb ability to get your point across – you are very effective in the way you craft your postings. I am learnig from you, but often my frustration boils over as has been the case several times in this thread. Sadly I also tend to “mirror” how the other party is communicating, which is never a good idea! Keep up the good work fella, I hope to take a leaf out of your book! 1 Stu 3 Oct 2011, 7:11pm @w6_bloke Thanks for the compliment. I try to be tolerant even if I don’t accept arguments, although I’m not convinced everyone on PN would agree with that! Your input is great and thought provoking and (I think) we are pretty much a similar wavelength in terms of ensuring honesty, safer sex and trying to reduce stigma simultaneously – difficult, but worth striving for. 1 W6_bloke 3 Oct 2011, 7:54pm You are very welcome @Stu Yup we are on the same page and you are right it is a difficult balancing act. Whtat frustrates me most is that even when good scientific facts are provided it is still difficult to get through and explain things. I am an optimist when it comes to HIV – my pint is always half full – I am where I am and I am luckt to feel confident enough to try and stick my head above the parapet – sadly many +ve I know are not able to do this. Stigma has to be tackled if prevention is to work effectively this was acknowledged by the recent House of Lords report. Also the more people know about an illness the more re-assurance they will feel, well that seems to be the case from my experience with support groups, forums and helplines. 0 Stu 3 Oct 2011, 10:02pm @w6_bloke Absolutely, prevention will never have a chance to work if we continue to have irrational stigma. Too many people will be afraid. It may take some time, but I too am optimistic. I think HIV is already viewed by some realistically, and others are coming round – but there is a lot of damage done by a mix of lies that are presumed to be factual, aoutdated information, sheer ignorance or a combination. HIV awareness is crucial for all people whether positive or negative at last test. Education is crucial – not just in facts, but in attitudes too. I like the passion you speak with. 1 Spanner1960 4 Oct 2011, 9:28am And HIV Negative people are even less risk than HIV+ ones, whether they or diagnosed or on medication or not. -1 Reply W6_bloke 4 Oct 2011, 10:48am Given that 26% of HIV infections are undiagnosed, which is circa 22,000 in the UK, that is 22,000 people with uncontrolled viral replication – a huge pool of virus that is totally unchecked. What do you mean by HIV Negative Spanner??? Does it mean “untested” therefore the person considers themselves Negative? Does it mean the person tested Negative 6 months ago and has had multiple sexual partners since that test result? Does it mean they have not waited long enough since a possible exposure and they get a negative test result? Does it mean because the person is only top he considers himself Negative? Does it mean because the person does not have anal sex therefore must be Negative? Unlike getting a +ve HIV result getting a negative test result applies to the time that the blood was drawn, any sexual activity after that point could result in HIV / STI transmission. 2 Reply W6_bloke 4 Oct 2011, 11:13am The perception of what negative means is a very grey area, it is open to interpretation, and I firmly beleive it is not a useful term. I would prefer to say of “unknown status” and that may not sit comfortable with many individuals but for people engaging in casual sex, having multiple sexual partners, where they do not know the sexual history of that partner, this in practice is how they should view thier status. Or to put it another way – every sexual partner should be viewed as positive. As I know you like to keep up to date with all things HIV – I would ask if you are aware of the concept of “Treatment as Prevention”? or indeed “The Swiss Statement”? There is mounting evidence that +ve people on stable treatment, who do not have any other STI and have a viral load of < 40 copies /ml of blood, are considered ununfectious. Now if you put this concept together with effective condom use it is a belt and braces job – the risk is minimal. 1 W6_bloke 4 Oct 2011, 11:40am And before anyone raises this issue – I am not advocating that condoms are not used when having sex with a +ve person, but merely demonstrating that someone who is HIV positive is likely to be a less risky or safter sexual partner in terms of HIV transmission, than someone who believes they are “negative” or indeed of “unknown status”. And for those who think I am promoting HIV and unsafe practices here, what I am promoting is that +ve people do not pose the greatest risk of HIV transmission, and in saying this I hope that this will change some of the attitudes and perceptions that having sex with a +ve individual something to be avoided at all costs! HIV will not kill you BUT ignorance will! 0 Spanner1960 4 Oct 2011, 5:05pm When I say negative, I mean negative, uninfected as a fact. Whether they have been tested or not. Stop trying to split hairs and argue semantics. I stated “And HIV Negative people are even less risk than HIV+ ones, whether they or diagnosed or on medication or not.” Is that statement true or not? -1 Stu 4 Oct 2011, 5:28pm @Spanner1960 Your statement is true, but given that a negative test result is only a snapshot in time and there is the window of opportunity that makes diagnoses potentially uncertain (thus clarification testings are make when known exposure has occurred), it can not be taken as totally reliable and thus makes safer sex all the more important. Although those who regularly do test and get negative results are less risk than those who are positive and under treatment who are less risk than those who claim to be negative but have never been tested or are infrequently tested. 2 W6_bloke 4 Oct 2011, 7:27pm @ Spanner The only way an individual will know they are either +ve or negative is to have a test – This is fact. There are 22,000 untested undiagnosed positive people in the UK, this is something you seem to not understand. Of course if someone does not have the virus how can the virus be transmitted?? That said there are many HIV anxious people that link HIV transmission to a particular sexual act and test and test and test, get multiple negative results and still believe they are infected. This irrational anxiety is because of poor information, education and blights the lives of these individuals. Should we not try and prevent things like this happening? (I know you don’t like to help others so it is down to those of us who really care) 2 Stu 4 Oct 2011, 11:38am @Spanner1960 I agree any person with HIV poses a potential risk to others of being able to pass on the HIV virus. That said, those who are on treatment are a much much lower risk. As W6_bloke has said we need to look at how we define and determine someone is HIV negative. The only way I can see that we can categorically “know” that someone is negative is for three stages to occur: 1) They have a test immediately prior to sex that is negative 2) They had a similar test three months prior that was negative 3) They have not engaged in any sexual or other risky activity in the intervening period … Otherwise there is a risk. Those who have never been tested are particularly risky and much more so than those who are positive. 2 Reply Spanner1960 4 Oct 2011, 5:07pm You are doing the same as W6_Bloke: I am referring to people that are not infected, not whether they have had tests or not. Stop muddying the waters with extraneous crap. HIV neg people are zero risk. Hiv+ people carry a risk, however small. -1 Stu 4 Oct 2011, 5:21pm @Spanner1960 If they cant fit the criteria of the questions that I have put above then they can not say with complete certainty that they are “negative” I am not “muddying the water” its factual. “negative” is only a snap shot in time. 1 W6_bloke 4 Oct 2011, 10:40pm @Spanner as I have said before you have a fixed view on this subject, and you will never change. I cannot respect that and to me you are just here to troll, its as simple as that. 1 David 3 Oct 2011, 3:08pm Then again considering that Michael Lucas is a racist homophobe perhaps he wants more people to be infected. His widely acknowledged homophobia and racism would indicate that his opinions on any matter should be taken with a large pinch of salt. 0 Reply bystander 30 Sep 2011, 8:40pm The nub of Lucas’ argument seems to be “lets not talk about HIV then we can all have more sex without thinking about the status of the other guy and poz guys will get laid more often”. Hmm.. thats gonna make everything much better.. 12 Reply Daniel H 30 Sep 2011, 9:14pm Ugh what a poorly informed article that STILL stigmatises HIV. Only by being open about it and talking about it, does the stigma go away. 10 Reply W6_bloke 30 Sep 2011, 9:57pm I would agree that being open about HIV and taking about it does help reduce stigma – the message I took away from the article is that if you are having safer sex then there really is no need to talk about HIV status – it is hardly “sexy” telling someone you have just met that you have a virus just before you have sex with them. There is far too much mis information and anxiety about how HIV is transmitted, HIV is a relatively difficult virus to contract as it is extremly delicate when conpared to Hep C for instance. I also wonder how many individuals tell their sexual partners that they have other health related conditions before havng sex. An HIV postive person on stable treatment using a condom is extremely unlikely to pass the virus on. 1 Reply WildOrchid 30 Sep 2011, 10:20pm I disagree with the author, in part because of the recent trend for prosecuting people for doing just as the author advises (no disclosure, but safer sex) and in part because it doesn’t solve the problem. The guys that are the most infectious get negative antibodies test results. When the antibodies appear they lower the viral load. They are as “dangerous” as those who have full-blown AIDS. I suspect that a great number of new infections are from the guys who just got the virus themselves. PCR tests tell you sooner, but apart from porn performers, who has access to them? That’s why we have to put less emphasis on asking about the HIV status (or presence of other STDs) and more on condoms or choosing less risky sex acts. Condoms are very effective – we have to tell that to the post-abstinence-only crowd. People in relationships where one is + and the other is – , have sex, but don’t convert, ’cause they use condoms have a very important message to the young. 0 Reply W6_bloke 30 Sep 2011, 11:02pm Testing technology has improved in recent years, and most modern due tests look for both anitgens which are produced a few days after infection and peak prior to antibodies appearing. These tests are accurate after 4 weeks of infection. It is not helpful to use the term “fullblown AIDS” as it means nothing and just creates fear. The number of people with advanced HIV infection or AIDS if you have to use that term in the UK is low. Approx 500 individuals die on average because of this – 500 deaths too many, most of which could be avoided if people tested routinely. It is correct that most forward transmsions occur from undiagnosed individuals because of the very high level of virus that can be present. On a wider scale if you reduce the population viral load you slow down transmission rates – this requires effective condom use, regular testing and getting people on effective treatment. 0 Reply W6_bloke 30 Sep 2011, 11:13pm With regard to transmission and the law – in Endland & Wales there is no requirment to disclose your status in relation to HIV, Hep C, Herpes or any STI. A prosecution can only take place if transmission has occured. Also if the person uses a condom and that condom fails that person has still taken reasonable steps to protect thier sexual partner and possibly would not face prosecution. The moral issue is different – if there is a condom failure then it would be wrong not to disclose status – but even with a condom failure there are many variables that would possibly rule out transmission occurring. There is evidence also that some people avoid testing because if you do not know you have an STI you can’t be prosecuted – how helpful is that? 0 Reply Stu 1 Oct 2011, 9:50am You are right W6_bloke, although part of the very poorly written guidance by CPS on biological GBH does state that if a person was aware of their status and has not informed their partner of their status and then transmission occurs that it may be in the public interest to prosecute. I don’t disagree that there may be some rare situations where biological GBH is a justified charge (and I can think of a notable case in Teesside involving a heterosexual HIV+ man where the legal and moral case was clearly made out). However, the guidance on prosecution is clumsy and does not acknowledge the decreased risk of those HIV+ people who are undetectable. Also, some of the science used by the FSS has been shown to be questionable. Proving that sero-conversion was due to a particular sexual encounter will not always be scientifically straight forward or possible. We need to maintain a law so that those clearly deliberate attempts to infect (and those where it also succeeds) can be … 2 Reply Stu 1 Oct 2011, 9:51am … prosecuted. However, there have been many cases of unwarranted and unnecessary prosecutions showing that the current CPS guidance is uninformed and arguably prejudiced. 2 Stu 1 Oct 2011, 10:00am @W6-bloke Testing accuracy has increased. Even if the centre taking the test is using better detection systems (and I accept most are) then some centres are wording the need for confirmatory tests as being a further test as (using words to the effect of) “the first test has indicated we need to check for something else, but we don’t have a definitive answer as yet”. Its not best practice, but I have heard many stories of this happening! I agree “fullblown” AIDS is not a helpful phrase. I have more discomfort with the phrase “fullblown” that with AIDS, although I accept advanced HIV is a more accurate description, I am comfortable using the phrase AIDS defining illness. With good treatment and compliance, and self management in terms of maintaining a healthy lifestyle – the incidence of advanced HIV infection can be virtually eliminated (largely the case in the UK, New Zealand, Germany etc). If we can reduce population viral load then we can slow down transmission. But to …. 3 Reply Stu 1 Oct 2011, 10:02am … ensure that we can be effective in encouraging regular testing, condom use etc etc then we need to educate and de-stigmatize rather than scaremonger. 3 Reply MapDark 1 Oct 2011, 3:49am HELLO! OF COURSE I won’t sleep on purpose with HIV + people! You’d have to be a complete idiot to do that on purpose! It’s not discrimination , it’s just common sense! Condoms break! you already can’t be 100% safe with HIV negative people , why tempt the devil with people you know for sure have a deadly disease !? If I had HIV I would want ALL my potential partners to know. And I EXPECT all my partners to give me THEIr status. Better me passing for a horribly HIV bigot than actually getting the damn thing! Lucas’ advice on the subject is absolute RUBBISH and is so dangerous I’m surprised inknews even thought it was acceptable to publish it! 6 Reply W6_bloke 1 Oct 2011, 10:51am It is a real shame thgat you live in suych fear of HIV -it is clear from what you have said that your fear is irrational and you have not taken the time to educate yourself – which is the biggest problem that adds to forward transmssion of HIV and other STI’s. If you want to be 100% safe in life dont have sex and dont leave the house! 1 Reply Spanner1960 1 Oct 2011, 11:47am That’s precisely what I do. -1 Reply Stu 1 Oct 2011, 12:08pm Are you agraphobic, Spanner? -2 Reply Spanner1960 2 Oct 2011, 4:13pm Nope. I just have no reason to bother with other people unless I actually have to. Sociophobic might be a better term. 0 Stu 2 Oct 2011, 5:31pm Its always interesting to hear other peoples viewpoints and get some background as to what makes them tick (or not). How do you explain the dichotomy of you choosing not to engage with others unless you have to, yet you willingness to debate (and engage with some) on these boards … just curious … 3 W6_bloke 1 Oct 2011, 4:01pm Spanner if your statment is correct that you do not have sex because of the fear of HIV transmission this is indicative of a severe anxiety disorder, and I am sure there is suitable interventions that can help with this. I am always amazed when I hear stories of people constantly testing negative for HIV and still are fearful that they are HIV positive, despite having adequate counselling etc. This kind of anxiety is in itself a mental health issue and not related to HIV / STI’s. 2 Reply Spanner1960 2 Oct 2011, 4:15pm I do not have sex with people because I find the entire thing pointless, and frankly, boring. I have better things to do with my time than poke other people with bits of my anatomy. Apart from that, most gay men are a bunch of wankers anyway. 0 Stu 2 Oct 2011, 5:33pm @Spanner1960 Some of us are sexual beings … Not saying being sexual or asexual is either right or wrong, but just because many gay men are sexual beings does not make them wrong …. 0 mac 20 Oct 2011, 12:32pm well done MapDark. it is your right to choose who u have sex with! and if u dont feel comfortable with +ve men, then dont have sex with them… its your right and your choice! 0 Reply W6_bloke 21 Oct 2011, 8:06pm I would agree that everyone has the choice of who they sleep with, but you do not have the right to be so judgemental about positive gay men – it is the virus you should be angry about not the people who have it. Ignoring and hating something does not make it go away – fear should be confronted not ignored, 0 Reply radical53 1 Oct 2011, 4:37am Honesty is the best policy. Be upfront, expect rejection, but being honest will be beneficial in the long run for you and your partners, if you score. More EDUCATION is the key here too. This is what is missing and that is why there is so much ignorance and stigma with HIV?AIDS. 13 Reply W6_bloke 1 Oct 2011, 11:09am I would agree that honesty is the best policy BUT as we can see from some of the comments, honesty can leave an HIV postive person with the view that what is the point because of the fear and stigma we have to deal with. I do not accept the premise that we should expect rejection – we have a virus as many other people do. How many guys have been tested for genital herpes or the wart virus? Not all infections show symptoms with these two STI’s and they are very common with many people not knowing they have them. HIV is a treatable condition and for the majority of individuals starting treatment today the meds are very tolerable and safe. You are right to say that education is the key here, but in my experience there are many gay guys who have such fixed views that are so outdated that trying to educate these individuals is always going to be an uphill struggle. Sadly it is usually these individuals that are often most at risk through sero-sorting or not testing. 0 Reply myself 1 Oct 2011, 9:05am An eye opener this article but bareback in monogamous relationship has no equal. But that is just me. Good luck and love to all who seek it. 6 Reply fecal 1 Oct 2011, 11:30am You don’t mind having fecal matter on your penis and risking Human Papilloma virus then I take it? -11 Reply W6_bloke 1 Oct 2011, 11:42am HPV is a very widespread virus as you are probably aware, but how many buys actually get checked to see if they have HPV and get checked for pre cancerous anal mucosa cells. Having sex is a risky buisness but being informed and having regular check ups can overcome all of this – it really is that simple! 2 Reply Jock S. Trap 1 Oct 2011, 1:57pm Ignorant and Never heard of a douche eh?… typical. 5 Reply rectal breath 1 Oct 2011, 7:42pm Better not to have to douche and rsik HPV. The colon and rectum are full of residual fecal matter. the penis is never supposed to be in contact with another’s faeces. Disgusting and perverted but you cannot see it! -5 Reply Jock S. Trap 2 Oct 2011, 8:32am Disgusting and perverted because all you view is sex not people. 4 James! 1 Oct 2011, 2:28pm Thats what gets me hard 2 Reply myself 3 Oct 2011, 5:40pm I take it all right thank you. 1 Reply Spanner1960 1 Oct 2011, 11:53am This whole argument is a difficult one. On the one hand I feel that actually frightening people into being responsible is the best course of action, however it does stigmatise those with the disease and puts them in a very bad light. If we do the opposite and regard HIV infection than nothing more than something like Herpes, others will view this as almost an occupational hazard of being gay and treat safer sex with little interest or concern. I think it has got to be stressed that HIV is a killer, no ifs or buts, and that even under medication it is no easy ride, so it is imperative that people manage their own sexual health and not rely on others to tell them they are HIV or not; if you go on the assumption that everyone is positive, you won’t go far wrong. 1 Reply Stu 1 Oct 2011, 12:13pm Thats quite an insightful comment, Spanner1960 I think you are trying to bridge a difficult path and recognising that an answer to one part of the problem can cause other issues. HIV in itself is not a killer, its a co-morbidity, AIDS defining illness etc that causes death. Some of which may have occurred to some of those patients whether or not they were HIV+ That is not to say it is not a significant problem, it is. We need to educate, we need to encourage people to behave responsibily whether they are positive, recently tested as negative or uncertain. We need to try to ensure that we minimize the number of uncertains. In order to make sure that more people are tested, we need to destigmatize HIV (otherwise they wont come and be tested)> There have been some steps forward including some London A&E departments running routine HIV tests – which is sensible. Maintianing a stigma (whilst having some arguable benefit in terms of fear – fear is a motivator for all) alienates. 6 Reply Spanner1960 2 Oct 2011, 2:56pm It might be insightful to some, but everyone else here just thumbs me down. Says a lot for the average IQ of the people inhabiting this forum. 3 Reply W6_bloke 2 Oct 2011, 3:10pm This has nothing to do with IQ and all to do with the science and research that has been going on over the last 30 years with regard to HIV. Now just because you obviously take on interest in keeping up to date then I really feel you are in no position to make the comments you make Spanner. If you are so concerned about the continued high level of new infections why don’t you get off your arse and help the cause rather than hinder??? It seems to me that those who complain the most do very little to change the situation -and that can happen in all walks of life. Stop being an armchair “expert” and do something constructive! 0 Reply Spanner1960 2 Oct 2011, 4:19pm Who’s complaining? It’s doesn’t affect me either way one jot. These people in the most part bring this on themselves and then expect everyone else to run around and pander to them for being fcking idiots; why should I be expected to help anyone?, they have never done anything for me. I am simply sitting back and watching the world implode on itself. 3 Jock S. Trap 4 Oct 2011, 8:56am Wow, bitter much? -2 W6_bloke 1 Oct 2011, 12:15pm In the UK HIV is not a killer – where on earth do you get that notion from? Have you not moved on since the ’80′s??? The only reason there were 500 HIV deaths last year is because people test very late – sometimes only getting a diagnosis when they are extremely sick. These people have been in denial and this could be down to many factors. A fine balance has to be struck which says that HIV is an infection that no one wants – (which is true of all illnesses, we would all like to be healthy and not suffer with any diseases.) and at the same time making sure that HIV is not considered so scarey that people avoid testing until it is too late. Meds are very tolerable these days and the majority of individuals starting treatment have no problems, so it is not correct to say that being on meds is no easy ride. Prevention is a very difficult area to get right and actually the gay community need to stop creating divisions and come together to tackle this very difficult area. 2 Reply Stu 1 Oct 2011, 1:05pm @W6_bloke I think (if I interpreted him correctly) that Spanner1960 was trying to bridge the gap between ensuring that HIV is not ignored and that education is good and appropriate and there is sufficient public health action to encourage safer sex, whilst reducing the stigma that is unnecessary. I agree HIV is not a killer (well not in the UK until you have an unusual co-morbidity or are diagnosed incredibly late). It is a fine balance and prevention is important, but part of this is by not stigmatizing people so they are more frightened of finding out they have a particular condition than they are of finding out they have another eg tonsilitis, diabetes etc. Not trying to minimize the viewpoint on HIV but overly stigmatizing it is unhelpful, I agree. 6 Reply Spanner1960 1 Oct 2011, 1:10pm Did I say “in UK”? Untreated, HIV will become AIDS, and as Stu rightly points out, is not lethal, but ultimately, it amounts to the same thing by allowing opportunistic infection to kill, Pneumonia being the biggest. I have seen people go from healthy to dead in less than a year. There are now estimated to be about 40 million people living with HIV/AIDS, of which less than 20% receive medication. I am well aware that in the UK, it is not the major problem it once was, but I do think this leads to a false sense of security where ignorant people assume “It’s all OK now and they’ve found a cure”. We still need to reiterate the point that a) prevention is better than cure and b) left untreated, you will die. The whole point of my argument is that this is a double-edged sword; if you make HIV look safe, people will become complacent about safer sex, but if you make it look dangerous, you risk people not being tested, and HIV+ people being ostracised. I see no easy way through this minefield. 1 Reply Stu 1 Oct 2011, 2:18pm I think Spanner1960 is right in his assertions if we consider a global context. The difficulty is that the reality in the UK for someone without co-morbidities and diagnosis that is not late has a much better prognosis than someone diagnosed in sub Saharan Africa, Latin America or Southern Asia (to give some examples). It is indeed a double edged sword, but the issues of poor prognosis are often used as tools to scare monger about the condition within the UK. That deepens the stigmatization of both the condition and those living with it. Its a difficult balance to achieve, because we need to ensure education about HIV and prevention continues and is as effective as it can be made, but we also need to ensure this education in itself does not cause prevention opportunities to be missed because the audience become so terrified they can not seek out testing. Its important to be honest about the treatment regimes in the UK. By making people aware of a better prognosis it can… 4 Reply Stu 1 Oct 2011, 2:21pm … destigmatize the condition and make people more willing to seek early testing. Not every person who becomes positive will go on to develop pneumonia or any other AIDS defining illness, many studies are suggesting that in many cases there is no detriment to life expectancy. It is a hard balance to get right, but honesty and integrity in the information being provided by professionals, patients and within the media and public are essential in trying to make this work. 5 Reply W6_bloke 1 Oct 2011, 3:07pm Spanner We make the same point but I have chosen my wording rather more carefully in the hope that we can get away from the scaremongering and sensationalist sound bites that are so often used to describe HIV and people living with HIV. As previously stated prevention is a very delicate balance which it is difficult to get right. All gay men need to be interested in HIV and STI’s and we should work together to find these solutions rather than continue the divisions that are so evident from the comments made in response to this particular article. I am really rather discussed that in 2011 there are some gay men that seen almost proud to be bigots and take the moral highground. These people need to be really ashamed of themselves. -1 Reply Spanner1960 2 Oct 2011, 2:48pm I never choose my wording. I shoot from the hip and speak as I find. If you don’t like what I say, fck off elsewhere. The bottom line is gay men are selfish, egotistical people in the most part, and the only way you will get them to respond to things like this is to scare the living crap out of them. If you look at the stats, the HIV prognosis rates plummeted when people realised they could contract a incurable terminal disease just by shagging. Since then, the mortality rates in this country may have fallen, but HIV+ rates have continued to climb as many now see it as part of the risk, and “so what, I’ll just take the tablets.” damn it, you can even get post-shag get-out-of-jail-free tablets now. I do not see myself as a bigot, but sometimes people need a bloody good slap round the head to wake them up to the reality of the situation. I’m sorry if this reflects on the rest of the positive people out there, but I’m afraid they literally made their bed, and now have to lie in it. It’s not like 30 years on they hadn’t been warned. (That is excepting the rare instances where people were infected through no fault of their own, such as transfusions, rape etc.) It doesn’t surprise me in the slightest that many gay men won’t have anything to do with HIV+ men. It just reinforces the stereotype that many of us have known to be the truth for years. 1 W6_bloke 2 Oct 2011, 3:16pm So not only do you have a problem with HIV postive men but also with gay men. You have made one or two valid comments in your last posting but they are lost in the noise you make about your outdated idea about HIV and prevention strategies in general. If as you say is correct, you are in no position to make these assertions as you do not have sex. As I have already stated in reply to another of your comments stop complaining and get of your arse and do something about it – simples! -1 Stu 2 Oct 2011, 3:23pm @Spanner1960 I know you shoot from the hip, and thats why I often end up disagreeing with you, although in some instances the debate is more interesting than infuriating! This issue is a complex one, and whilst I agree with you on some of the issues and see what you are trying to see a solution that ensures education is effective and that people are risk aware and risk averse, you also recognise that some (if not all) methods of doing this can undermine that education process partly due to stigmatization of positive people. I think you stereotype a great deal. There are selfish, egotistical gay men. There are also selfless, socially aware gay men. There are promiscious gay men who sexually behave in a manner that portrays LGBT people in a very bad light, not all gay men are like that – some of us are relatively responsible. HIV is not a terminal illness. Also, you can put riders in re rape, transfusions, trauma infections etc but whilst you genuinely may mean that, it … 1 Stu 2 Oct 2011, 3:29pm … is likely to still stigmatize positive people (including those who sero-converted as a likely result of rape, transfusion etc) because they remain positive and the sterotyping commentary relates to positive people and sttigmatizes all people who are positive. The rider just does not work. Whilst giving some people a metaphorical slap around the face may have the outcome (for some) that you would hope, the collateral result is that others become stigmatized. Its difficult. The stereotype is only truth for some people, and actually is a misrepresentation of what most gay men are and their attitudes and behaviour. 1 Spanner1960 2 Oct 2011, 4:30pm Stu: I can only base my comments on the knowledge I have been given, or my own personal opinions. Stereotypes do not come out of thin air. They are the average / median of all the available evidence. I base my opinions on what I have experienced personally, and I have found considerably more of your former description than the latter. I appreciate that HIV+ are liable to be stigmatised, but in the majority of cases it is self-inflicted and therefore I do offer my condolences, but my sympathies lie with those yet to be infected, rather than those that have already proven themselves irresponsible or incapable of managing their own sexual health; If nothing else, let it be a warning to those thinking about unsafe sex: If you catch HIV you may not die any more, but consider the social implications of your actions. Maybe that might frighten enough queens into thinking twice if a slow lingering death is no longer an option. 1 Spanner1960 2 Oct 2011, 5:04pm @W6_bloke: I have no problem with gay men, positive or otherwise. I have little to do with any of them and choose to simply observe, and occasionally comment, from the edge of the pitch. 2 Ged 1 Oct 2011, 12:15pm That’s his plan? Bury our heads in the sand about the issue? Brilliant… 6 Reply W6_bloke 1 Oct 2011, 12:17pm What would you propose Ged? -1 Reply Kyle 1 Oct 2011, 6:13pm I’d propose people be honest about their HIV status instead of lying to someone. 2 Reply Jock S. Trap 2 Oct 2011, 8:37am I and most people are but for some they may resort to lying because of others discriminatory behaviour. - You can’t blame all on the person with HIV person when like you with such an attitude have to take some responsibility too by stopping making the HIV patience feel like the victim. - There is such a way of accepting people have HIV and being polite and honest. 1 Reply Jock S. Trap 2 Oct 2011, 10:40am Sorry that should have read - “You can’t blame all on the person with HIV, people like you with such an attitude have to take some responsibility too by stopping HIV patients feel like a victim.” 1 Spanner1960 2 Oct 2011, 4:44pm I agree, but equally, one should not feel offended if the response is “Thanks, but no thanks”, when people mark their self-preservation as a higher priority than your sexual kicks. 2 Kyle 2 Oct 2011, 5:43pm I don’t have a problem with anyone who is HIV+, I don’t blame anything on someone who is HIV+, I do take responsibility, and I don’t want to make anyone feel like a victim. If I met a guy who was HIV+ and I was into him, I wouldn’t have a problem sleeping with him and being safe. But if I met a guy had sex with him and then he told me after that he was HIV+, I’d never speak to the lying idiot ever again. I just think people should be honest,(and not just about HIV) and I think Michael Lucas is encouraging people to be dishonest about their HIV status. DADT was implemented in the military because it was taboo. He is making HIV taboo by advising people to not talk about it. There is nothing to be ashamed of having HIV+, he is making it something to be ashamed of. -1 Stu 2 Oct 2011, 6:09pm @Kyle I agree that a DADT approach to HIV could result in making it even more taboo. I also agree that generally honesty is the best policy. I also have no problems in having safer sex with a positive guy that I fancy. I also have no problem in that developing into a long term relationship if it works out. Him telling me he was positive would not upset me at any time he told me, and I think we probably agree so far. I would try and understand however, the reasoning why he had not told me earlier – there can be stigma and depending on how they have been responded to in the past may impact on the willingness to disclose. I think Lucas’ approach is interesting and we certainly need to think about how we reduce stigma and improve education and testing up take – but on balance I think honesty is a primary issue and particularly so in a relationship situation. Given that many relationships begin with a bit of fun, that honesty should be always there. 3 W6_bloke 2 Oct 2011, 11:41am The writter has never suggested individuals lie about thier HIV status – if you wear a condom when you are having anal or oral sex (just o be 1000% safe) then there really in no need for an HIV positive individual to disclose his status. This is not lying, it is called risk assessment based in scientifitc fact. In my experience people with anxiety around HIV will develop all manner of ways in which they think HIV can or will be transmitted, and they tend to say the same things when challenged over and over again. It is a real shame that this happens BUT Kyle you are only adding to this anxiety which does not help reduce infection, it really is that simple. 0 Reply Kyle 2 Oct 2011, 6:52pm It’s simple. You agree with a man who is encouraging people to not talk about HIV, I don’t agree with that. I think honesty is the best policy. You agree with a man who thinks that not talking about something makes it go away. I don’t. It doesn’t. I think that whilst what Lucas proposes would mean HIV+ guys might get a few more shags in the short term. It also means that HIV becomes something that you shouldn’t talk about, which I think is dangerous. HIV is still a major problem, thousand of people are infected every year, it’s not something we should just chill out about, as you suggest. It’s something we should be very aware of. You might be a good guy and always wear a condom, but others are not. A climate of secrecy over HIV is not good. 0 Jock S. Trap 4 Oct 2011, 8:58am Now your just making it up as you go along Kyle. Think you need to re-read comments to actually see what is being said. -2 Kyle 4 Oct 2011, 6:21pm Jock. I’m not making anything up. Why are you making that up? I think you need to re-read some comments to see what W6 is actually saying. He’s saying that he shouldn’t have to tell anyone who he has sex with that he is HIV+, something to do with risk assessment or something. Maybe you should tell me what part of my comment I’ve ‘made up as I’ve gone along’? 0 W6_bloke 4 Oct 2011, 11:05pm ……..HIV positive people should not be forced into disclosing thier status just to satisfy your level of anxiety. I will repeat that there is no Law in England and Wales that requires this. Now you may be talking about a moral issue here, but someone who takes all the precautions necssary to protect their sexual partner is not being immoral, of a bad person. I converse with many many +ve individuals and time and time again confidentiality and disclosure comes up, and I am not tlaking just about gay men, I am drawing from my experience from all population groups. You have to understand if you have any compassion that not everyone who is positive has the confidence, ability and social skills to be up front, this is what happens in reality. I personally have for the last 2 years always disclosed my status, following an abusive incident that happened in my home – I would never want that to happen again, but this happens to +ve people………….. -1 W6_bloke 5 Oct 2011, 12:05am ………..whilst I use science extensively to back up my opinions I am a pragmatic person and whilst you think you may know how you would react to an HIV diagnosis, until it happens you will never know. I know many +ve people that have been both verbally & physically abused because they have disclosed their status, is this really warrented? We are talking safer sex here, not unprotected sex. Kyle you say that you do not have a problem with having safer sex with a +ve person, I really do not see what your concern is. Are you telling me that in reality that you have never had sex with a +ve person without your knowledge???? . If there was a move to make all +ve people disclose their status prior to sex, testing would go down and infections would increase, how is this helpful? You are confusing your personal views with a rational view of risk, based on science. I am undetectable & use condoms, what more can I do to reduce the risk? Telling you won’t reduce the level of risk! -1 W6_bloke 1 Oct 2011, 5:10pm I was at the Positively UK Conference last wk & one of the messages from the networking and activist workshops was that HIV needs a role model – someone in the public eye who is prepared to stand up and say they are HIV Positive. Maybe this is pie in the sky thinking but from the postings I have seen with regard to this article there is a great deal of work to do in terms of reducing fear, anxiety, stigma and individuals being happy to be labelled as biggots for their own selfish very misguided reasons. The only way to reduce HIV transmission and that of other STI’s is for the gay community (if it still exists) to work together regardless of HIV status to solve the problem. In these times of financial difficulties we need to do more for ourselves and not expect the HIV charities to actually put the condom on for us! Positive people have in my opinion been far too silent over the treatment metered out by the biggots and uneducated. It’s time for a step change. 2 Reply JohnK 2 Oct 2011, 12:09am Chris Smith revealed his HIV+ status in 2005 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4219501.stm 5 Reply W6_bloke 2 Oct 2011, 12:25am Chris Smith was mentioned by some at the conference I mention, but he is not really a houshold name which many younger gay guys will see as a role model – but it is great that he had been open and upfront about his status. 2 Reply Stu 2 Oct 2011, 3:34pm Chris Smith will be a great role model to some I think it would be better if we had several role models, of all ages, orientations, races, both male and female etc. That is not to “promote” HIV as being desirable but to demonstrate the integrity of some HIV+ people and attempt to de-stigmatize 3 Reply concerned 2 Oct 2011, 9:13pm We’re in a strange place with HIV. A role model is in an odd concept now since there is a perception particularly among young ppl, that HIV is no more serious than diabetes, for example. I saw a post on youtube recently in which someone (young) suggsted that thanks to medication “hiv is like an allergy” now. My point being that for many, hiv is too insignificant an issue to warrant a role model; it would be like a having a role model for any other sexually transmitted disease. The introduction of ARVT has given rise to a “so what? Its no big deal” attitude so I am not sure that a role model would really make any difference in terms of reducing stigma; the stigma isn’t as bad as it used to be in any event largely because the media have laid off the issue. The real issue is getting people clued up on hiv, testing and managing their sexual health, to prevent transmission in the first place. We could do with a role model for all that. 1 Reply Stu 2 Oct 2011, 10:39pm Whilst I agree that for most people HIV is no more serious than diabetes, there are role models for diabetics. Many health based charities use celebritie who suffer from conditions they fund to boost both campaigning and fundraising. Examples include Steve Redgrave for Diabetes UK, Max Clifford for the Prostate Cancer charity and many others … 3 Reply Stu 2 Oct 2011, 10:40pm Why shouldnt HIV have a similar approach – possibly even more important given the stigma? 3 Reply roland 3 Oct 2011, 2:24pm From the House of Lords Select Committee Report on HIV and AIDS, published last month: During the course of our work, we have heard numerous examples of stigma and discrimination. These include: • People not wishing to share cups or cutlery with people living with HIV; • People living with HIV finding themselves homeless and ostracised by their communities; • Graffiti being sprayed on the homes of people living with HIV; • Bullying of the children of people living with HIV; • People losing their jobs following disclosure of their HIV status; and • Most worryingly, we have heard evidence of stigma being encountered from healthcare professionals, including patients being refused treatment by doctors and dentists. Stigma and discrimination DO still exist. 2 Reply Stu 3 Oct 2011, 3:19pm Stigma and discrimination do exist and are wrong. Role models visible in the public arena may assist with tackling this – with the support of others in campaigns etc. I have also learnt of some excellent practice in terms of education, healthcare provision and response from friends and colleagues of those who do disclose. We need to model good practice, de-stigmatize, and aim for prevention whilst ensuring people are aware of the real risks and real impact of HIV 2 Reply Jonathan 1 Oct 2011, 11:53pm I understand where he is comin from and agree to a certain point. I was in this situation myself not too long ago. Met a guy online, talked for about a week or so through email/phone/text and finaly went on a great date. Then he texts me and tells me he’s positive…and was non nonchalant about it like he was saying the sky is blue. Now my Mom has been a nurse for 25+ years so I know I couldn’t get anything from him by kissing (which we did alot) it was the way he told me that threw me…I felt like he should have told me in person and he got mad when I said this changes things. He took it as I didn’t want to see him and called me HIV phobic, when all I meant was it required a discussion about his medical status/history and whether he was taking care of homself…no one wants to get involved only to watch you slowly die before them. So I encourage anyone who is HIV+ to tell someone you are seeing that you are serious about to have that discussion, if its a hookup wrap up!!! 6 Reply W6_bloke 2 Oct 2011, 12:38am It is a real shame that the guy had to tell you by text, particularly if you both felt that something was developing between you. I have to question why he handled it the way he did as it sounds to me like you understand HIV transmission, and had he spent the time talking with you then maybe you guys would still be seeing each other. When you say that you said to him “this changes things” were you referring to him being +ve or the way he handled disclosing to you? I think alot of guys find disclosure a minefeild – it is never easy, and it sounds like he has difficulty with approaching this subject – which given some of the comments I have read in relation to this article I totally get. Perhaps he was taking the easy way out, or perhaps he was just too anxious or embarrassed to tell you to your face – I am not in a position to answer those questions. The “don’t ask, don’t tell” phrase has an underlying message which is use a condom, enjoy sex, dont stress about HIV. 1 Reply W6_bloke 2 Oct 2011, 12:45am I await the deluge of comments by the stance I take on this, but in the formative period of anything serious between two guys there has to be trust and the ability to feel comfortable about talking properly about HIV – this article has a wider issue that many on here have decided not to acknowledge. HIV needs to be discussed in an appropriate and informed way – not just when you are about to have sex with someone you have just met. HIV is an illness that we can all do without and requires more than lip service paid to it, esp as there seems to be such poor understanding of the virus. 1 Reply Spanner1960 2 Oct 2011, 2:54pm You are basing your entire concept on the premise that there is a potential “relationship” on the cards. 99% of gay hook-ups are purely for sex, nothing more. Many see the situation simply as “I have two shags, one is positive, which one do I go home with?” I think you and everyone else knows the answer to that one. -1 Reply W6_bloke 2 Oct 2011, 3:04pm I have no idea how you can make that statement spanner, as we are clearly not reading the same comments. Perhaps you can answer your question to me, because I am not blessed with your foresight, with regard to an individual having a “choice” of partners with differing HIV status. I am unclear what your point is with this particular comment! 0 Reply Stu 2 Oct 2011, 3:40pm Every time I have been single and out “on the pull”, I have usually found a guy I am interested in (or not as the case may be) but then I haven’t asked his status so that I can then go and compare that to other potentials in the bar, club or wherever …. if I find someone I am interested in, I usually stop there and my prejudices (not that I have any re a guy being positive or not) would not kick in. Then if something developed between me and the guy then I would want to know about his status, not that in terms of relationship it would matter to me. It might matter in terms of how well he was and how much he cared for himself and whether he was detectable etc so that good choices could be made for both of us. But I really can’t remember picking one guy or another because of something like HIV status, its usually looks, attitude, personality, horniness etc. 3 Reply Samuel B. 2 Oct 2011, 12:10pm Michael Lucas may talk complete bullsh*t when it comes to his unswerving blind spot over the Israeli’s blatant and unjust brutality against the Palestinians, but he actually makes a good point in this article. 1 Reply Robbie 10 Oct 2011, 7:44pm Long Live Israel! 0 Reply Chas 2 Oct 2011, 3:46pm Hamish, you are oh so wrong. You will realize it one day, provided you make it over the age of 50. For, IF you make it over the age of 50 you, unfortunately, will find that by living according to your current statement you will need to reject almost every one of your contemporaries. You will realise that we all have medical problems. And I hate to think how you will react when the perfect man you find comes home one day and tells you he has Parkinsons, or any one of hundreds of serious illnesses. -1 Reply Kyle 2 Oct 2011, 5:32pm I didn’t realise you could catch parkinson’s disease from someone else. -3 Reply Chas 2 Oct 2011, 8:19pm Kyle, it has not been stated that one can catch Parkinson’s Disease. The point of my message was to highlight the futility of Hamish’s excluding attitude. Quite clearly people like Hamish won’t even have an affair, never mind a relationship, with a person who suffers from a blood-borne disease. Yet, people with communicable do live happily and have intimate relationships with people who do not communicable diseases. So then, what is Hamish REALLY on about? His attitude can only be: build a wall around yourself and keep all illness and sickness on the other side. I think it fair to assume that Hamish is not a doctor or a nurse. Hamish will feel very differently, and will expect others to think differently, when he hits 50 or 60 and he begins to succumb to medical problems. 1 Reply W6_bloke 2 Oct 2011, 3:58pm Lets bust some myths! HIV is a delicate virus and is difficult to become infected with – scientific fact If there is already an undiagnosed STI present this increases the likelyhood of transmission – scientific fact Having multiple partners in the same sex session increases trauma and the liklyhood of transmission – scientific fact Wearing a condon provides the best form of protection to prevent HIV transmission – scientific fact +ve guys on meds with an undetectable viral load for a period of 6 months or more are 96% less likely to be infectious – scientific fact There has to be a clear transmission route for HIV to gain access to the blood stream – scientific fact The likelyhood of becoming infected during one exposure is less than 1% – scientific fact There has to be both quantity and quality of the virus present for infection to occur – scientific fact Some people are more susceptible to becoming infected like all illnesses – scientific fact 3 Reply W6_bloke 2 Oct 2011, 4:11pm 5% of all HIV infections seen in gay men are through oral sex – scientific fact. 0.04% is the risk of transmission per oral sex exposure – scientific fact Strategic positioning plays an important role in HIV transmission – scientific fact 26 % of HIV positive gay men do not know they are infected – scientific fact Undiagnosed HIV +ve individuals are most likely to be responsible for forward transmsision of HIV – scientific fact Over 50% of HIV cases are now diagnosed late – scientific fact There were 500 mostly avoidable deaths last year because of late HIV diagnosis – scientific fact. HIV is avoidable – wear a condom and avoid risky sex; not the HIV positive people many seem to think carry an extra risk. The most risky people to have sex with are the untested and undiagnosed. Get tested regularly & above all do not rule out having sex with +ve man – he is much more likely to have your welfare at heart and is more likely to keep both parties safe – its as simple as that! 1 Reply Stu 2 Oct 2011, 4:30pm Absolutely, W6_bloke Also some other facts Thos people who are unaware of their HIV status and who are positive are much more likely to have a high viral load and thus be much more risky in terms of transmission – Fact Some of the side effects of ARVs are conditions that some people would get regardless of whether they were positive or not – Fact Whilst there are some people in the LGBT communities who seek risky behaviour, on a whole the LGBT communities are much more HIV aware then their heterosexual counterparts – Fact The rate of growth of HIV infection in heterosexuals is larger than the rate of growth of HIV infection in LGBT people – Fact Stigmatizing people is weak, ineffective and damaging – Fact 4 Reply Spanner1960 2 Oct 2011, 4:33pm CITATION REQUIRED. :) 1 Reply Stu 2 Oct 2011, 5:40pm I shall produce some if you really want some Spanner1960 :-) 3 Reply W6_bloke 2 Oct 2011, 5:53pm Let him find his own, but as he is so dis-interested in the subject matter I have to question your motives spanner! Why would anyone get involved in such a discussion when all they want to do is shout from the side lines and not get stuck in with the subject matter and help solve the problem? 0 Reply Spanner1960 2 Oct 2011, 7:54pm Just because the Arctic icecaps are melting and I get in heated debates about it doesn’t mean I want to go there. I’ve already told you my solution: Frighten people. Fear is the greatest motivator of them all. Unfortunately you are more worried abut the backlash it might cause on those that have already ignored the warnings. 2 W6_bloke 2 Oct 2011, 8:00pm Spanner some people have fixed views that can never ever be changed despite the weight of evidence to the contrary – you are one of those individuals. The sad thing is that your views may be adding to the problem and not helping solve it…………..oh yer I forgot you dont do helping others do you, well lets hope you never require any help from another person. No man is an island mate – good luck to you! I will leave you to your agenda what ever that is! 0 Reply Spanner1960 4 Oct 2011, 9:40am The trouble is, you only see this problem from the perspective of an HIV+ gay man. You are by definition, a minority within a minority. Most people just want to get on with their lives with as few a complications as possible. I appreciate that my approach may not do the likes of yourself a particular service, but it will ultimately help prevent the majority of people out there that are negative to remain that way. It is only by frightening people that you will get the message across. Take for example wearing seatbelts, drink driving or various other safety ads. They don’t pander and ask people to do the right thing; they demonstrate in graphic detail what happens if you don’t. The same needs to apply to sexual health. Maybe if they showed people’s dicks dropping off on the back of a pack of condoms, that might do the trick. ;) 2 Stu 4 Oct 2011, 11:49am @Spanner1960 I hear your argument, and it has some coherence … There is justification in using fear in some public health and public safety messages. It worked (to an extent) with drink driving, seat belts etc and with the initial iceburg HIV campaign in the early 1980s. That said, we are now adopting a more sophisticated approach to driving issues due to a hard core that need a different approach and shock value does not work. In the same way, stigmatizing with HIV does not work. HIV is not just the problem of those who have HIV but those who may get it whether through their own risky behaviour or bad luck. Some people take all necessary precautions and still get it – sometimes because everyone believed their partner was negative (including the partner and medics etc etc) but because a negative test is only a window in time, there are always going to be some cases that are surprising to those who are diagnosed. These are rare but we need to bear them in mind. There are … 0 Stu 4 Oct 2011, 12:00pm … more of these rarer cases currently is higher due to the risks associated with those who have not been tested and thus potential viral load is much riskier. If we continue to stigmatize HIV then their willingness to seek testing is unlikely to improve and thus this risk will grow. If people are genuinely keen to reduce their risk, then they need to understand the nature of that risk – including the reality of risk from those with HIV and the reality of the risk from those who have not been tested (and possibly claim to be negative or negative at last test). Its a combination of fear and hope that inspires people to take responsibility with health. If you look at cervical cancer, there was huge update of testing when Jade Goody was diagnosed, partly out of fear of young girls dying. Partly out of hope they would be able to be treated and not suffer like Goody. Coupled with this was massive public education. HIV needs a little fear, a lot of hope and realistic education. 1 Spanner1960 4 Oct 2011, 5:18pm Stu: By the same token the same happened when Freddie Mercury died. The man looked as sick as a parrot, and I think it genuinely frightened people that thought “if it can happen to someone as rich and famous as him, it could happen to me as well”. People have been lulled into a false sense of security because people are no longer dying, so many assume it has all gone away. If George Michael or Will Young or some popular star today were to die from it, you know for a fact it would have a massive impact on the safer sex message. 0 Stu 4 Oct 2011, 5:41pm @Spanner1960 Two points, first of all I agree if a major celebrity died from advanced HIV or complications from HIV then that would almost certainly impact on the public mindset that probably would encourage some to engage (more often) in safer sex. Some would still bury their heads in the sand and believe it wouldnt happen to them however. Also, just because this is likely to have a good impact does not mean I want a celebrity to die (!). Secondly, the reality is that since 1991 (when Mercury died) the treatment and prognosis of HIV patients in countries such as the UK has improved immeasurably. As you rightly say “people are no longer dying”. Its important that we are honest and that includes a realistic appraisal of the risks. As we have discussed stigmatization reduces the willingness of people to seek testing which increases the wider risk to society. Therefore, it is imperative that we are honest about risks and impacts not give a message that is 20 years out of date. 0 mac 20 Oct 2011, 12:21pm Last year has seen the biggest increase of new HIV infections ever! FACT! no comment. 0 Reply W6_bloke 21 Oct 2011, 12:42am ……..and have you ever considered that perhaps more people are testing now or that they are being diagnosed when they are admitted to hospital? This is a complex area and it is not as simple as you make it out to be max, if it were then I think we would be in a better situation. What is your answer to reducing infection rates? Serosorting, stigmatising the condition perpetuating fear, or just segregate the unclean from the clean? 0 Reply Peter 2 Oct 2011, 4:06pm It is shameful that PinkNews has chosen NOT to report the death of a true gay hero, Dr. Robert Frascino, who died last week. See over 400 tributes to him from all over the world, at : http://www.thebody.com/content/64008/remembering-robert-frascino-md.html 1 in 7 gay men in London are estimated to be HIV positive, but news which is of interest to that seventh of the gay population has been avoided by PinkNews. To quote the words of blogger PrairieMary on this particular matter: “By denying the death – and thereby the existence – of a man who was so deeply loved and so great a contributor to our modern lives, those who sell “propriety” are simply widening the gap in our society between one kind of person and another – even though AIDS is an equal opportunity infector. When even the gay community rejects one of their own heroes they reveal the reservoir of guilt and shame that still prevents a cure. They are ostriches who reveal their plumed rears.” 2 Reply roland 3 Oct 2011, 2:16pm I am so sad to hear of Dr Bob’s death. He helped me enormously when I was diagnosed – both directly by responding to my queries to The Body, and indirectly by reading his replies to others. A great guy. 2 Reply kim in berlin 2 Oct 2011, 9:11pm sometimes i have encounted hiv negative people who are engaging in unprotected sex .. and upon my disclosure of being hiv positive they freak out … well … shouldn’t the hiv negative people take some responsibility for their own behaviour? this small example is why i prefer to hook up only with hiv positive people, because at least they truly understand the situation. 8 Reply Spanner1960 4 Oct 2011, 5:23pm Absolutely! Except in rare circumstances, everyone is responsible for their own sexual health. Again, this reiterates my point that many gay men, particularly the young ones, think HIV/AIDS is a product of the 80′s and it’s all long gone. Just as a side note, I assume you are aware it is still not safe to have unprotected sex, even though you are both positive? -1 Reply Stu 4 Oct 2011, 5:45pm Everyone should take responsibility for their own sexual health and consider their responsibility towards their partners. I don’t think everyone has the attitude that HIV is long gone. Some are ignorant and sometimes dangerously so … some have an evolved and up to date perspective on the reality. If both positive then safer sex is still recommended as sub types could be different etc etc …. 2 Reply Robbie 2 Oct 2011, 11:39pm I personally only sleep with people who to the best of my knowledge DO NOT have HIV. I wanna keep as safe as possible. Call me whatever you want. I have nothing against people with HIV (exept from the minority of people who were deliberatly trying to get it) But i know the vast majority of people do not. Anyway what i was trying to say is that i do not want to sleep with people who are HIV+. It is a personal choice. I think that people who are HIV positive need to be upfront about their condition with people they are having sex with or people they are wanting to have a relationship with. It is only right. If i had HIV, i would be honest with people who i was sleeping with, or potentially getting in a relationship with. I know that may well limit the amount of guys that HIV+ people sleep with. But its always best to be honest and there will be people who will be willing to have protected sex with them anyway. 0 Reply W6_bloke 3 Oct 2011, 12:30am Robbie you may be interested to know that 26% of HIV positive gay men do not know they have the virus – these figures can be confirmed by visiting the Health Protection Agency website. I am genuinely interested why you have come to make the personal choice you have. What information has persuaded you that people who are confirmed as being HIV positive are not for you? Given the statistic is it realistic to avoid positive guys to the best of your knowledge (which I interperate as being to the best of their knowledge) as you cannot tell if someone is positive by looking at them, or by their behaviour. I am interested what the concerns are for you, as you may not be making a fully informed decision. There is a very clear correlation between high viral load and forward transmssion, is this something you have taken into account in your decision. I am not trying to be clever here, but just trying to understand your decision. 1 Reply mac 20 Oct 2011, 1:06pm what a surprise: again W6_bloke: why cant u accept some of us -ve men choose not to have sex with +ve men? You are +ve right, maybe u should have thought harder about your own safety! so stop telling us how we choose to be safe! About 3/4 of HIV+ men BB! do i want to catch other nasty diseases from them that are much easier to catch than HIV? NO! i choose to have sex with negative men that are disease free and care about their sexual health too… that way there are 2 of us watching over the safety! guess what, at the age of 43 im still negative and never ever had any STD! You are not exactly a living proof of how to be safe and not to catch HIV, are u? 0 Reply W6_bloke 21 Oct 2011, 12:21am As I have answered later on in this thread you are making an assumption about how I contracted HIV! I guess it doesn’t really matter because as your ignorance is so evident that you don’t care. You have no compassion or understanding and allow your irrational fears to dangerously cloud your judgement, I hope you use condoms for oral sex, 5% of infections in gay men happen this way! But then all your conquests come with a disease free &’clean certificate from the GUM clinic – if I were you and thank goodness Im not I would get clued up on HIV as you never know what is around the corner! Take good care :-) 0 Reply W6_bloke 3 Oct 2011, 1:09am If this article has shown me anything it has is that there is so much work to be done in terms of education, de-stigmatisation of what is just a viral condition! How do you educate people who have such fixed views and cannot be persuaded by science and reason? I have always believed that stigma and separation on HIV status within the gay population has not improved & given some of the comments I have read here this has been confirmed – big time. I have to ask myself why I spend time fighting the cause to try and stop new infections and at the same time trying to get others to understand that as +ve people we are not biological timebombs – but human beings that are no different to anyone else, apart from having a treatable virus. I get the feeling that many gay men are very intolerant & are not prepared to stand together to help reduce new infections and stigma. Its a real shame! 1 Reply Kyle 3 Oct 2011, 6:28pm If your comments have shown me anything, it is that there are men who are HIV+ who still have sex with ‘strangers’ and think it is wise to not tell them they are carrying a fatal disease which can be transmitted sexually. And you think everyone should just ‘chill out’ and not talk about it. Chilling. -2 Reply W6_bloke 3 Oct 2011, 7:03pm This was your 2nd posting Kyle ” If a person is HIV positive it does mean that they could be putting someone at risk. If they are HIV positive, they are more likely to spread the disease than someone who is not HIV positive. Not being honest about HIV status is dangerous.” This statement is sweeping & factually incorrect, and instead of admitting this you have tried to deflect the conversation into areas such as people lying about their status being dishonest & then making personal comments about how sensitive +ve people are & that I encourage people to lie. All I did was explain why the statement you made was incorrect. There are others who have tried to explain to you that someone who is +ve is not necessarliy more infectious or likely to spread the disease, yet you still are not prepared to acknowledge this. All I have said is based in scientific fact – there is in my opinion no HIV negative, “HIV status unknown” is a much better way to view the situation in practice! 0 Reply W6_bloke 3 Oct 2011, 7:18pm HIV is not a fatal disease – and HIV positive people have the same rights as everyone else to have an enjoyable sex life. Again I have to stress if a condom is used where is the risk? I will once again reiterate that in the event of a condom failure the risk of contracting HIV in one exposure is less than 1%. A condom failure will happen despite your knowledge of a person’s status, and a responsible +ve person, which most of us are are, will take the appropriate action to minimise the risk of transmission – advise you to get PEP within hours of the accident happening. We can do no more, and all things in life involve risk, but the assumption that HIV status MUST be disclosed would I believe be in breach of that person’s Human Rights. You may find that understanding the science of HIV may provide you with more re-assurance than taking another person’s word about thier status, perhaps then you will chill out! Actions speak louder than words……..think on 2 Reply Kyle 3 Oct 2011, 7:26pm HIV is not fatal as you are taking medication. Stop taking your meds and you’ll soon find out it is. People who are Hiv+ are more ikely to pass on the virus than those who are HIV- because they have the virus, why can’t you understand that? And why do you keep telling me it is factually incorrect? It is a fact that someone who is HIV+ can pass on the virus, whereas someone who is HIV- cannot. -1 Reply Stu 3 Oct 2011, 7:37pm Kyle, I agree with some of your message but … Why would someone on ARVs who is well managed and has good control of their health, stop taking the medication? Thats like suggesting an insulin controlled diabetic is ok until they stop taking insulin – why would they? Of course, someone with HIV is more likely to pass on the virus that someone who is negative as the negative person has no virus to pass on. The issue though, is that a significant number of people who declare themselves as negative are actually positive but have not been tested. Thats a significant risk. Those people are more risky than a person who knows they are positive and much more likely to transmit the virus whether through unsafe sex or condom failure. You seem to be determined to weigh responsibility on the shoulders of the known positives but those who dont test have a greater responsibility. 2 W6_bloke 3 Oct 2011, 7:44pm You are a typical politician – change the story to suit you. Lets try another angle……….how do you know someone is HIV negative? What does being negative mean to you? Of course HIV cannot be transmitted if it is not there in the first place. But that is not what your post I have quoted indicates; you made a very generalised statement which I answered in a factual way, and since then you have changed your wording to make that argument very specific and narrow. As most people in the UK with HIV are on stable meds then in practice HIV is not fatal – lets deal with what actually happens rather than your narrow point scoring. You have not acknowledged any scienfific fact in your arguments just just to say that in your world +ve people do not have the right to confidentiality about thier health, even when they take all the necessary proven safeguards to protect their sexual partner. What dont you get about that? 1 Spanner1960 4 Oct 2011, 5:32pm Thank you Kyle. You beat me to it. W6_bloke: “HIV is not a fatal disease.” What planet are you living on!? I thought you were supposed to be an “Expert”? HIV IS a fatal disease unless a strict regime of medication is administered. If you can even state obvious facts without bending them to fit your own political perspective, who can say if anything else you say is true? There are probably people on here that are unaware of the true facts that need teaching and it doesn’t need people like you obfuscating the information for your own personal ideals. Get your fcking act together! 0 Stu 4 Oct 2011, 8:29pm @Spanner1960 HIV is not a fatal disease Insulin dependent diabetes is not a fatal disease Asthma need not be a fatal disease All require the patient to take their medication appropriately and have good regard to their health So, your point that HIV is not a fatal disease provided you take your medication – the point is? 2 W6_bloke 4 Oct 2011, 11:50pm @ Spanner shall I put in capitals for you? HIV IS NOT A FATAL DISEASE IN THE UK, THIS IS BECAUSE WE HAVE EFFECTIVE TREATMENT AND THE VAST MAJORITY OF PEOPLE WITH HIV ARE IN RECEIPT OF CARE AND ARE EITHER ON MEDS OR BEING CLOSELY MONITORED PRIOR TO STARTING MEDS This point scoring is very tedious and frankly a complete waste of time – as I have said before, those with HIV anxiety often go around in circles stating the same thing, but with a slightly differing angle. I have witnessed this on HIV helplines, group sessions, forums etc etc. It is no wonder that HIV infections continue to rise, you can’t educate people who dont want to be educated 1 Stu 3 Oct 2011, 7:32pm @Kyle What is even more worrying than positive men who have sex with others whilst not declaring their status …. The fact there are men out there who do not know their status and say they are negative because they don’t know different. They have engaged in risky behaviour and dont get tested either because of fear (from the stigma of HIV), ignorance or laziness. Research has shown that a some of these men are positive with high viral loads meaning they are much riskier than a positive man with an undetectable load due to ARVs etc. I agree that honesty is important, Kyle, but I am more worried about those men who are not honest with themselves first and don’t get tested. 2 Reply Greg 3 Oct 2011, 2:24pm I think you should always presume the person you are having sex with is poz. G-d knows many guys have had sex with pos guys without realising it. 9 Reply Stu 3 Oct 2011, 5:24pm Mostly that is because those poz guys do not know themselves that they are poz – its a risk having sex with someone who is poz and under treatment (very very low if using condoms). However, if either the condom breaks or you engage in unprotected sex then if you are with a guy who does not know his status then the risk is much higher than a poz guy on treatment. 2 Reply W6_bloke 3 Oct 2011, 6:17pm I would agree with both of you, and from my reading of the various comments there has never been a suggestion that condoms are not the best protection there is (followed possibly by treatment as prevention). In fact if I have read the writer correctly he has never suggested not using condoms. I am of the view that an individual is either positive, untested or of unknown status. I really don’t think the term HIV negative is helpful, as a negative result only shows that the person was antigen and antibody negative at the time the blood was taken. Every sexual contact after that point could result in the transmission of HIV or any STI. It seems that this is a really difficult point to get across, perhaps because having a “negative” label somehow provides reassurance that all is ok. 1 Reply W6_bloke 3 Oct 2011, 6:29pm …..also it worries me that there seems to be an undertone that HIV positive individuals never use condoms, engage in risky sex, & therefore pose a high risk of infection. HIV is a complex virus which is unpredicable – we are constantly learning more and more yet a cure or vaccine is still years away. In the 80′s the gay community seemed to come together to fight HIV – yet as time has gone on HIV positive guys are finding themselves marginalised. I have lots of communication with people who never tell anyone their status apart from the ones cloest to them – they are so fearful of the reaction they are going to get, they seem resigned to living a “double life” with thier friends and work colleagues. This is not how things should be in 2011, This fear is not about lying or being dishonest, it is based on media coverage, poor use of language when describing HIV and so on – these people feel judged and isolated. The gay community need to come together on this subject ASAP! 1 Reply Tigra 07 3 Oct 2011, 4:25pm Damn right Greg. It is everyone’s personal right to do what they want and sleep with who they want. But at least do it safely if you do not know each other’s status. 8 Reply Tigra 07 3 Oct 2011, 4:26pm I bet that comment still gets marked down by the Pro-HIV lobby here 2 Reply W6_bloke 3 Oct 2011, 4:46pm I think the strength of feeling towards your comments Tigra are testament to your distastful position you occupy with regard to HIV. There is no pro HIV lobby here, but a group of individuals who by using science and common sense in their approach totally get the situation with regard to HIV. HIV is a virus, but still 30 years on the people who live with this virus have to be subjected to your anxiety induced irrational fear. There are many people who believe they have been really careful when having safer sex, and yet they get a suprise result. I wonder how you would feel if that happened to you? Or perhaps you met a guy (who considered himself to be “clean” to use your words) and this developed into a relationship (as we know you only do relationships) and he got sick – only to discover that his sickness was because he had HIV. What would you do I wonder? Could you cope with such a scenario? You are another person who will never be educated, which will put you at additional risk -2 Reply Tigra 07 3 Oct 2011, 9:19pm I have no irrational fear w6 i just don’t want to have sex with people who have HIV. That is MY personal choice and making out that everyone should be forced into having sex with positive people is disgusting. Now drop it as i’m not going to agree to it. It’s not my fault some people have HIV but i don’t want it myself and the easiest ways to avoid it are 1) always have safe sex 2) don’t sleep with people who have HIV 2 Reply W6_bloke 3 Oct 2011, 10:07pm Tigra – where have I stated that people MUST be FORCED into having sex with positive people. I notice you have decided not to provide an opinion on the possibility of you getting HIV – perhaps you are invincible, or teflon coated. There are many many individuals who get a suprise HIV diagnoses, myself included. Who are you going to blame for that should it ever happen, & dont say it won’t becasue unless you are totally celebate there will always be some level of risk! As others have fully explained someone who thinks thay are “negative” could be extremely infectious and you would happliy have sex with them, yet you openly reject someone who is on stable treatment and is possibly uninfectious – yes I said uninfectious! (this is based on scientifitc evidence btw) It is a no brainer, but because you harbour prejudice you could be putting yourself at greater risk than you realise. Ah well as you keep saying it is your choice – lets hope you dont regret that choice! 0 Jock S. Trap 3 Oct 2011, 11:54pm lets hope you always know.. 0 Stu 3 Oct 2011, 5:28pm @Tigra07 I entirely and completely support yours and everyones right to be able to choose who they sleep with regardless of the selection criteria that they use. I abhor your comments that there is a pro HIV lobby on here. Everyone has been keen to say (including you) that a combination of prevention through safer sex and honesty is a sensible partial answer to the issues of disclosure. It is complex and there needs to be destigmatization of people who are positive. Thats not to glorify the virus – quite the opposite, and if you perceive it as “marketing” the virus then your concept of what has been discussed on this thread is quite muddled. 1 Reply Tigra 07 3 Oct 2011, 9:25pm There really isn’t a pro HIV lobby, just W6_bloke who believes we should be forced into having sex with HIV positive people because everyone can’t make up their minds, and uses lies to try and smear someone he is arguing with. If ever there was a HIV activist, it’s him. 0 Reply Stu 3 Oct 2011, 10:17pm Nothing that I have seen of what w6_bloke has had to say caused me to believe that anyone should be forced into having sex – thats a choice … Not sure which lies you believe he has told … if you are aware of some dishonesty on his part, I would encourage you to disclose it … If you are talking about facts, then I must be lying too because I concur with the scientific evidence he has given. For me, I think you are entitled to your call to make (in the same way as anyone else is) decisions about who you do and do not wish to sleep with. If part of the decision making process for you includes reference to the other guys HIV status – thats something for you to work out with the other guy. I do think, that some of the assumptions you make are inaccurate based on scientific evidence – but still your choice to make. I do find you language about being clean or unclean offensive. I find w6_bloke a passionate guy who (and I sure I will be corrected if I am wrong) believes in safer… 3 W6_bloke 3 Oct 2011, 10:18pm Too right I am an activist @ Tirga and I aint ashamed of that! The world needs activists when there are individuals with your way of thinking! Can you please give examples of when I have suggested that people be forced into having sex with +ve people? Can you please provide an example of when I have lied? Can you please provide an example of how I have tried to smear someone? 3 Q’s can you perhaps answer them? Your use of “playground” words to describe HIV infection are disgusting and shameful and you should appologise to any HIV positive individual who has had to read them. You are a self confessed HIVphobic person which is nothnig to be proud of! -2 Stu 3 Oct 2011, 10:24pm … sex and honesty. He recognises the severe stigma that HIV+ people face and seeks to ensure that a balanced view of HIV issues is achieved. By having honest conversation about the facts, rather than the fears, often stigma and prejudice can be broken down. If w6_bloke is an activist of any sort, on the evidence of what I have seen I would perceive him as an activist for people with HIV, rather than an activist for HIV. That may sound like semantics but there is an important difference. HIV+ people are not served by people who “market” HIV or seek to promote risky behaviour or inaccurate information, and I do not see that being done here. 3 W6_bloke 3 Oct 2011, 11:01pm Thankyou for your support Stu – stupidly I have allowed myself to be drawn in to arguments that are pointless – perhaps I trust the science too much, but if we cannot do that where are we left with? I firmly believe that the severe stigma that exisits with regard to HIV is having a direct effect on increased forward transmissions, late diagnosis and 500 deaths last year. My mantra is “HIV will not kill you, ignorance will” and I really do stand by that. Now if I am to be accused of anything it is that perhaps I expect too much of people in terms of their understanding of HIV. I find it very easy to work through some of the more complex stuff, and I have had to study the social and legal issues that confront +ve people from all different population groups in depth. I do a great deal of work on HIV forums and I have a 75% good comment rating in over 600 postings – I try very hard to make living with HIV a little easier. 0 W6_bloke 3 Oct 2011, 11:11pm ………..I am not looking for a pat on the back here, and I am not being flash by using numbers, but it seems this is the best way to try and demonstrate that I am genuinely committed to reducing new HIV transmissions. Trying to balance the fight against stigma and also wanting to prevent new infections do not often sit well together, and I understand that there are those people who think that HIV postive people are only interested in looking after themselves, and this critisism has also been levelled at HIV charities – there is at times a conflict that is difficult to overcome. If HIV cases are to be reduced in the gay community then the division that exists needs to stop and there needs to be more trust on both sides. Saying things like DADT is a way for +ve guys to get a few more shags just shows how much work there is to do – there are countless comments on here that are borne out of fear and prejudice, and sadly stigma is often confused with personal choice. 0 Jock S. Trap 4 Oct 2011, 12:18pm Please do provide proof where W6_bloke has even suggested that people should be forced into having sex with HIV people. This is debate, something you’re clearly having problems with alongside your irrational fear of HIV+ people. - Your argument is weak at best, ignorant at the worst. - If ever there was a naive and irrational bigotted person, it’s you. - You may think your discrimination is best and no one can blames you for not wanting to sleep with HIV people, totally your choice but there are ways of putting this about nicely but sadly your ignorance will be your own downfall. 0 John 4 Oct 2011, 12:35am What a pile of crap! This is a disease that can kill the other person. It is NOT like having diabetes or cancer or whatever. Those diseases are not transmitted to the other person. Honesty is absolutely important and essential. If someone who is + doesn’t tell me up front, be assured I will take any and all legal action against him. Not telling me his status is no different than attempted murder. 5 Reply W6_bloke 4 Oct 2011, 12:41am ………………………wrong wrong and wrong that is all I will say as I really do not have the stomach to engage with such obvious ignorance! -4 Reply John 4 Oct 2011, 1:11am Though you may think it is ignorance, I consider it to be extremely logical. It is my opinion and nothing more. I have had two very dear friends of mine die from AIDS and I do not want to see anyone else die from AIDS. Their having AIDS did not lessen my love for them or keep me from embracing them. Thank you for your opinion and for not engaging in an argument. I do not want to argue, only to express my opinion. I wish you well. 0 Reply Stu 4 Oct 2011, 12:19pm @John I am sorry your friends died. I recognise your opinion is your right to hold. I have responded with my views on your opinion and the reasons I feel it is unhelpful. I dont wish to argue, but your points did require a response in my opinion. 2 Reply W6_bloke 4 Oct 2011, 3:19pm I totally agree with you Stu – and you have provided a very good response – thankyou! 1 John 9 Oct 2011, 8:23pm Thank you Stu for your comment. 2 Stu 4 Oct 2011, 12:11pm @John Lets take your points one by one … 1) In the UK the liklihood of HIV related illnesses killing someone who is diagnosed early (through responsible testing) is extremely low. HIV iteself is not a fatal condition. So your comment is inaccurate. 2) No one has suggested that the transmission of HIV is similar to diabetes or cancer. It is an established view of eminent clinicians that the prognosis of well managed HIV patients is no different to those with diabetes who are well managed. Of course, there are poorly managed HIV and diabetes patients who both have worse prognoses. So your comment was inaccurate and misleading – you were quoting something that had not been said. 3) Honesty is important and essential. No commentator on here has disputed that. 4) Even under the bizarrely and misinformed guidance for crown prosecutors on HIV transmission deliberately, there is absolutely no legal recourse for a charge of attempted murder. The guidance is unreasonable and … 0 Reply Stu 4 Oct 2011, 12:17pm … prejudiced, but is much more temperant in its interpretation of events than you appear to be. Your understanding of criminal law appears grossly inaccurate. The level of proof for attempted murder is highly unlikely to ever be able to be fulfilled in transmission of the HIV virus. If I wanted to kill someone (and for an attempt of murder there has to be a desire to kill that person) then I would personally choose something that wasnt left to such chance. The risk from unprotected sex with a positive person is low, thats not to say it does not exist, it does, but given how unlikely infection is to occur then proving murderous intent is unlikely. Thats not to say there are not some rare cases of deliberate infection which do justifiably require criminal prosecution – they are rare. What is particularly disconcerting is that those who know their status can be prosecuted (despite the risk being lower) whilst those who are reckiess and do not know their status can not be … 2 Reply Stu 4 Oct 2011, 12:22pm … successfully prosecuted, which is crazy given their risk of infection is much higher. Your comments about prosecution and interpretation of the facts being inaccurate in part helps stigmatize HIV and thus deter some from seeking testing which worsens the risks for everyone, positive and “negative”. 3 Reply Kyle 4 Oct 2011, 6:07pm Actually Stu, 1. HIV may not be the killer, but it can lead to AIDS which does kill. But it is not the HIV or AIDS which is the main killer, it is other illnesses that are related to immunity. And not only that, the side effects of HIV meds can be horrendous. Your ‘chilled out’ stance on HIV suggests it’s not really something to worry about. Which is worrying. 2. W6 has likened HIV to other ailments when trying to justify why he may not tell someone he is going to have sex with that he is HIV+. I think someone even mentioned parkinsons earlier. 3. W6 has disputed that honesty is important. He has asked me repeatedly why he should have to tell someone he is HIV+ if he uses a condom. Which makes me think he has sex with other men, knowing he is HIV+, and does not tell them. Worrying. 4. The CPS does have policy for prosecuting reckless sexual transmission of infection. http://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/prosecution/sti.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criminal_transmission_of_HIV -3 Reply W6_bloke 4 Oct 2011, 6:38pm @ Kyle Lets go through each one point by point 1. In the UK (and I know you like to deflect the discussion) there are very few deaths related to advanced HIV infection – fact not fiction 2. It is true that the original HIV meds did produce severe side effects – BUT the meds used today are much more tolerable, safer and more effective than ever – fact not fiction 3. I have not likened HIV to other ailments, what I have said is tha tHIV is a virus, just a virus – many people harbour the anal wart virus / gential herpes virus and dont know it both cannot be cured – fact not fiction 4. I have never said that anyone should lie or be dishonest about their HIV status – fact not your perception 5. Yes I have stated that as long as +ve person uses a condom then there is no need to disclose their status, there is no law in England & Wales that says that disclosure is a must. Have you not heard of confidentiality and the data protection act? …con’t 0 Reply W6_bloke 4 Oct 2011, 6:48pm 6. You have clearly not read the CPS policy fully or you do not understand it. Stu has clearly set out the crux of the guidance, perhaps some bedtime reading will persuade you that you are not looking at the policy correctly and you have chosen to pick out the sound bites that suit you best. 7. It was me who said chill out, so please do not level that at Stu. I am chilled out about HIV and this is because I have chosen to engage in all the science, I play an active part in my care, and actually I am no less a person now than when I was before I had HIV. I can honestly say that HIV has made very little difference to my life, in fact it has possibly saved my life, as I have been forced to deal with some life long demons. As I have an undetectable viral load <40 copies / ml blood , and the fact that I always use condoms when having anal intercourse, the risk I pose to another person is extremley minimal, therefore why should I be forced to disclose my status? Explain please? 1 W6_bloke 4 Oct 2011, 7:05pm I think what you are still suggesting Kyle is that someone who is confirmed at being HIV +ve is of much greater risk than someone who is either untested or someone who has recevied a negative test result, but has since acquired HIV and do not know it – there are approx 22,000 people like this in the UK (check the HPA stats as obviously I cannot be trusted as I am +ve). So if you don’t know you have HIV yet you have a Viral Load that could be in the millions it is somehow more acceptable to you than someone like me making a very clear risk assessment bhased on hard evidence and then engaging in enjoyable sex? It is a no brainer, and I really don’t understand why you don’t get it. In the time I have been +ve I have tried both approaches, not disclosing and being open and disclosing to everyone. I state on my online gay dating site profile that I have safer sex and that I am HIV +ve. What more do you want me to do I wonder. Getting an HIV diagnosis is a journey and there are………… 1 W6_bloke 4 Oct 2011, 7:13pm any HIV positive people who do not have the confidence and ability to disclose to their sexual partners. Why is this so wrong, are these people not allowed to have a sex life? Your insistance on knowing the status of a confirmed +ve individual is borne out of fear, anxiety, ignorance and a failure to understand viral transmission correctly. Life is not black and white Kyle and I am affraid you have to learn to respect that just because an individual prefers to keep thier status confidential this does not make them a bad person who should be avoided at all costs. If we lived in a tolerant society there would be no HIV stigma or discrimination, and I would out a bet on that new infection rates would drop year on year. I really wish this was the case, but isn’t. You could do alot to help this, but from what I see you shout loud and do nothing – why not try and be pro-active and help reduce HIV stigma and in the process reduce new infections – your call Mr 0 Reply Stu 4 Oct 2011, 8:37pm @Kyle 1. Please re-read my comments, no where have I said that HIV is nothing to worry about. It is. One of the reasons I am keen to remove stigma for HIV is to increase testing so that more positive people can be identified and given treatment so that risk for the population can be reduced. Wanting to maintain stigma and thus not increase testing to reduce risk is a very worrying state of affairs and you seem unconcerned about stigma. HIV does not kill. AIDS defining illnesses can kill but this is very rare in the UK, that doesnt mean it does not matter it does, but we need to be realistic about risk. As for side effects with meds – yes some do, but much less frequency that 10 years ago. Live in the clinical present rather than the past. If you think I have a chilled out stance on HIV you misinterpret me. I am concerned about HIV, I am concerned about people not being tested, I dont think panicking helps in public health however. 2. There has been comparisons made between… 1 Reply Stu 4 Oct 2011, 8:42pm … HIV and other medical conditions, and that is understandable to compare a medical condition against another – clinicians do it all the time. However, no one on this thread has compared the transmission of HIV to Parkinsons, diabetes or any other condition. That is what was alleged. 3. I don’t agree with w6_blokes stance (as suggested by Lucas’ article) on non disclosure in safer sex situations which are one offs or casual. It doesnt sit comfortably with my own ethics. Thats my stance however. Others have to answer for their own stance, and that includes the other partner also asking and offering their status. 4. I know the CPS has a policy on transmission of sexual infections. If you read my comments I say its a prejudiced and discriminatory policy which is ill informed. To have an opinion on the policy – the policy has to exist! 1 Reply W6_bloke 4 Oct 2011, 10:07pm @Kyle My understanding of the law on the transmission of HIV / STI’s is as follows (In both cases transmission MUST BE PROVED to have taken place – to be clear, the HIV from the positive person has been proven factually & scientifically to have casued HIV / STI infection in the previously negative complainant) Section 18 Offences against the Person Act 1861 – This deals with intentional or attempted intentional transmission of a sexually transmitable infection. There have to date been NO prosecutions using this section with regard to transmissions of sexual infections. This is because it is difficult to prove intent to infect & none have been brought before a court. Section 20 Offences against the Person Act 1861 – This deals with reckless transmission & there have been 13 prosecutions to date, and one recent prosecution for reckless transmission for Herpes Virus. This is currently being appealed and the person who was convicted is currently on bail having initially been jailed. 1 W6_bloke 4 Oct 2011, 10:19pm My opinion is that of NAT and THT with regard to the criminalisation of HIV and other STI’s. The latest conviction with regard to Herpes was ridiculous and there is now evidence that the conviction is not safe. Will be be locking people up for passing on Flu or Chickenpox – which can be fatal. The use of the law in this way dose nothing to help reduce new HIV infections, in fact there is evidence to suggest that it discourages testing because if the person does not know they are infected they cannot be prosecuted. Obviously there are situations where it is appropriate to use the law, but these are exceptions. With regard to my personal stance on non disclosure when using a condom I beleive it is perfectly acceptable for an HIV positive person not to disclose their status in a casual or one off situation. What is to be gained by this in reality? Positive individuals have the same right as anyone else to confidentiality and also the right to an enjoyable sex life…… 1 W6_bloke 4 Oct 2011, 10:32pm …..confidentiality is extremely important to many HIV +ve people, & it is their fundamental right for this to be maintained. I really do not see why if the +ve person engages in safer sex why there should be an automatic right for the other person to know. This has been the basis of the safer sex message – if effective barrier protection is used this will prevent HIV / STI infection. I am a pragmatist I don’t think it is helpful to harbour anxiety about what if or might be. If there is a condom failure this would not be intentional – generally condom failure only happens when the condom has not been put on correctly, and this includes making sure it is in date, the packaging is in tact and it has a safety mark on the packing. If the world was perfect people would be open about everything, but it isnt and confidentiality has to be respected – maybe others would like to think differently, perhaps call THT Direct and ask their opinion. (Assuming you feel you can trust an HIV Charity) 1 Tigra 07 4 Oct 2011, 3:06pm You could have phrased that better John but you are right and i agree. Honesty is important and essential and AIDS is incredibly dangerous and will have a life changing impact. Protect yourself by all means at your disposal and help prevent you and others from getting this. If everyone did this then AIDS would not be so widespread today. 5 Reply W6_bloke 4 Oct 2011, 3:34pm Sadly Tigra both you and John are incorrect as has been fully explained by Stu. You are showing your total ignorance once again by referring to AIDS (advanced HIV infection as it is referred to by clinicians today). The number of deaths related to advanced HIV infection in the UK is very small. The only reason that people still die of advanced HIV infection is because of the fear, stigma, discrimination that individuals like you want to perpetuate. You and your comments are adding to the HIV problem, is that something to be proud of??? Only someone of your lack of understanding and compassion would use the accronym deliberately in order to scaremonger and insight stigma and fear! I also note that you have been unable to substantiate your wild accusations about me and this goes to show that you have no integrity or an ounce of moral fibre in your body. You should be really really ashamed of yourself. 0 Reply Spanner1960 4 Oct 2011, 5:40pm “Advanced HIV infection as it is referred to by clinicians today”. Ah right. Another way of avoiding the obvious and imposing stigma. When I was a kid, we called it “VD” – since then, it’s been STD, STI, GUM, and numerous others. It’s a bit like renaming Windscale to Sellafield, as if changing the name would make a scrap of difference. 0 Reply Stu 4 Oct 2011, 5:54pm Some of those names changed because the new description was more accurate when more understanding of the issues was achieved scientifically … so not all of the name changes were due to window dressing issues – although I concede some were … There is debate amongst clinicians about the use of the phrase AIDS – but given that few HIV patients go on to develop AIDS, it is an argument that is less relevant. A couple of clarifications: The term AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) applies to the most advanced stages of HIV infection. The definition of AIDS includes all HIV-infected people who have fewer than 200 CD4+ T cells per cubic mm of blood. The definition of AIDS also includes 26 clinical conditions that affect people with advanced HIV disease. Most of these conditions are opportunistic infections. Also some info on acceptable terms: http://www.unaids.org/en/media/unaids/contentassets/documents/document/2011/jc1336_unaids_terminology_guide_en.pdf 1 Spanner1960 4 Oct 2011, 11:26pm @Stu: Actually the definition of AIDS varioes from country to country. USA defines AIDS as <350 CD4+ -1 W6_bloke 5 Oct 2011, 12:26am @spanner you Kyle and Tigra have reduced this comments thread to a point scoring exercise – the level of deflection, splitting of hairs and also personal undertones is shocking. Science, research, specialists in the feild of HIV medicine, public health, epideniology would not agree with many of your flawed arguments and inaccuracies. Instead of shouting loud and doing nothing why don’t you do something to help change the situation with regard to stigma and increasing levels of new infections. I work very hard to help reduce stigma, discrimination and provide a balanced view on the risks associated with HIV infection, to promote the fact that it is better to know your HIV status, and that meds are tolerable and safer today. If I can stop at least one new infection then I will have had a very positive effect on that one person.” What have you done today to make you feel proud”? BIG FAT NOTHING in relation to the topic being discussed. Sad very sad 1 Stu 5 Oct 2011, 12:34am @Spanner1960 Although each country may define things differently, many countries use the same definitions (this is the case in the management and diagnosis of many conditions). There is a single European definition of AIDS and a small number of WHO conference definitions that have been adopted by most countries in Asia, Africa and the Americas. Unless my information is out of date I have the US definition as being a CD4 count below 200 http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5710a1.htm The European definition (and Canadian) is very similar to the US without reference to the very low CD4 count. 2 Stu 5 Oct 2011, 12:37am @Spanner1960 I have to say that I am not sure of the relevance of differing definitions of AIDS in terms of this debate … Many of the definitions are very similar as I have stated. 1 Spanner1960 6 Oct 2011, 9:31pm W6_bloke: I think this topic is winding to a natural close. All I can say is either you define HIV/AIDS one of two ways: 1) As a life-threatening illness that can be managed with careful, expensive medication, that if left untreated or not properly administered, does and will kill. 2) Nothing more than something akin to Herpes. It cannot be eradicated, but it is no longer a problem to most people. If it is the former, then people need to be warned of it and told in no uncertain terms what it could do to them; if it is the latter, then it really is no big deal, and you should get off your high horse and stop playing the martyr/Samaritan, making such a big deal of it and get on with your own life. You cannot have it both ways. Maybe I am living in the past, but unlike many on here I have seen the terrible effects of AIDS first hand and lost many friends to it, so I remain highly aware of what it is capable of, and still treat it accordingly. -1 Jock S. Trap 7 Oct 2011, 11:30am Then we have a serious problem if you continue to treat people living with HIV as AIDS patients. - It isn’t people living with HIV that are causing the problems here it is bigotted people like you, who claim to know everything whilst actually knowing nothing. To put the fear into people to tell about themselves and scare others resulting in them not having the test. I mean why would they when people like you will condemn them however or if ever they caught HIV or for probably even get tested for such a thing. - People like you are far more dangerous and toxic than Any person living with HIV and so long as people like you condemn all the problem will not get better. - You moan about it and blame everyone else but when it boils down to it the only people to blame is yourselves. 2 W6_bloke 7 Oct 2011, 9:16pm @Spanner I think you have really shown where the problem you have lies…………..life is not black or white, sex and HIV is not a black and whits subject. Having understanding, compation and the aboiulty to understand something like HIV requires someone to be able to occupy the middle ground and take an objective view on things. I look forward to the next HIV related topic, and hopefully you will have had the opportunity to get a more up to date, reasoned and balanced view on metters relating to HIV, and other STI’s. 1 Jock S. Trap 7 Oct 2011, 11:12am Trouble is negative attitude towards people living with HIV can mean some will not tell through fear of discrimination like you but Also most importantly it will stop other being tested because of the way you treat with is far more damaging, risky and dangerous. - That is the result of you and other attitudes like yours. Because of it, HIV will never been brought under control which in the end makes you more to blame for the problems than the people you blame living with HIV. 2 Reply W6_bloke 8 Oct 2011, 4:10pm Well said Jock Stigma = fear = less testing = more infectious undiagnosed people = more new infections = population viral load remains high = we will never reduce HIV and new infections It’s a no brainer, so I can only conclude the HIV phobics have no brain! 2 Reply LA 7 Oct 2011, 5:56pm Still there is ignorance in 2011 and education is still badly needed among gay men. You cannot catch AIDS. Aids does not exist as an illness. You get infected by the HIV virus that can lead to an aids defining illness.Many STI’s are out there and avoiding a HIV poz guy making it “difficult” for them to hook up only adds yet another generation to an already long standing stigma associated with HIV. Gay men are there own worst enemy when it comes to sexual issues… sorry guys but hey… some reality may hurt. You are more likely to catch herpes or warts when using condoms than it would be to catch HIV. I just found this subject somewhat outdated and a bit demonising. 1 Reply Mark 8 Oct 2011, 12:40am I absolutely agree. It’s absurd to ask hook-ups their HIV status and expect any kind of useful information. They might not know they were infected recently or they could choose to lie. After all, you’re a stranger, they’re horny, and they’ve been taught by many negative guys that disclosure leads to rejection. If the guy says he’s negative, you might do things in the heat of passion you wouldn’t do with someone who is positive. I think it actually increases the risk to be told someone is “negative”. So talk about HIV if you’re dating (at the appropriate time), but not for a hookup. It’s stupid and dangerous to rely on such information to make decisions – just use a condom! 4 Reply steven 8 Oct 2011, 11:51pm This coming from a guy whose porn company insists on knowing the HIV status of his performers even though they use condoms. 2 Reply Clark 10 Oct 2011, 8:14pm Well a condom is all well and good for anal sex, but how many gay guys would use one for a bj, for deep throating ( high risk ) and cum swallowing ( High risk-not when it reaches the stomach but during the mouth ). If people with HIV find it hard to hook up then thats life, im not sure id even want sex if I had it! Even safe sex with a HIV+ person is deemed high risk, why? Because someone who doesn’t have it cant give it you ( though bareback is still dangerous) , someone with it can give it you, simple. If someone had the plague you wouldn’t use a condom, you just wouldn’t go there. So why should we be so liberal to a ( slightly more tame now a days) but still deadly virus. If a potential partners got it I would want to know, if it was passed it on knowingly and they never said it is actually a criminal offence called MANSALUGHTER! So yes they should declare it, simple. -4 Reply Stu 10 Oct 2011, 10:52pm @Clark I would direct you to the poorly written and researched CPS guide for prosecutors on biological GBH (which would be the preferred charge for intentional or reckless transmission of HIV): http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/h_to_k/intentional_or_reckless_sexual_transmission_of_infection_guidance/ However, it could be useful to read this commentary also: http://www.bhiva.org/documents/News%20and%20Announcements/Consultation%20Documents/CPS%20031106%20STI%20consultation.pdf Manslaughter would be highly unlikely to be a preferred charge (if any were brought). Part of this would be due to HIV not being a fatal illness. 1 Reply W6_bloke 11 Oct 2011, 12:48am ………….and what are your thoughts on treatment as prevention Clark? Are you aware of the effect of viral load on infectiousness? Also how do you know someone does not have HIV? Take it on their say so or just guess? Look forward to your comments! 0 Reply W6_bloke 11 Oct 2011, 12:55am “Even safe sex with a HIV+ person is deemed high risk” – on what basis do you make this assumption. I am HIV +ve but have an undetectable viral load (less than 40 copies per ml of blood). Someone who claims to be “negative” could have a massive viral load in the millions per ml of blood) – which one are you gonna have sex with Clark? It’s a no brainer really! 1 Reply mac 20 Oct 2011, 12:55pm W6 _bloke….you are HIV+ for a reason! so stop telling us how difficult it is to catch it! and get off your high horse and let us to protect ourselves! even if it means rejecting +ve men! its our choice and our right! 1 Reply W6_bloke 21 Oct 2011, 12:07am You protect yourself in any way you want but just member that a poz guy on meds is likely to be uninfectious, can you say the same about the guy who thinks he is negative? That’s your starter for ten buddy. Oh yer how did I become infected mac – answers on a post card you might just be very surprised, but perhaps you have a crystal ball or is it just that you are making inappropriate assumptions – surely not, being judgemental is not very attractive is it ? Enjoy having sex with the next “negative” guy you come across ( no pun intended). 0 Reply kelan 13 Oct 2011, 3:27pm I disagree, in part, with Michael Lucas’ comments. If someone asks you whether you are HIV, you should treat that person honestly and understand that man is at least looking after his own sexually health. The man possibly doesn’t know everything about HIV, but you should tell them the truth…..if they stick around then you have a chance of explaining to them that there is a safe way to have sex. If however they are not interested, then you have to let them make that decision themselves. At the end of the day each man is responsible for their own lives…..if they want to be with a HIV + man….then it is up to them. In the same way if a man wants to be with some one with any other STDs. Unfortunately…..I don’t know everything about HIV, but I have met people on antiviral treatments, and the side effects, I feel, are pretty life changing as well (even if HIV does not lead to AIDs) 0 Reply W6_bloke 13 Oct 2011, 10:23pm Hi kelan – I am not sure that the author is suggesting that if an HIV positive person is asked about thier status that they should not be honest, or deliberately lie in order to possible have more sex. My analysis of the situation is that if everyone assumes that they have HIV and practices sfaer sex, then there is no discussion to be had. Yes condoms do fail, but that is a separate issue, and in my experience no HIV positive individual wants to infect someone who beleives they are HIV negative. As for anti-retrovirals these have moved on big time, and whilst some of the side effects that were evident in the very early years are irreversible, the second generation meds are much more tolerable and have better short term side effect profiles. Most ARV’s are now dosed once a day which enables the person to get on with life and not have to constantly worry about when to take thier meds – sure it is life changing, but so are many other long term conditions. 0 Reply matt 19 Oct 2011, 6:56pm Nice article but its a bit unrealistic…Of cse its a big issue….and yes people need to be safe always…..But in anything other than casual sex..it is important to disclose….. 0 Reply max 19 Oct 2011, 10:58pm Lets not pretend HIV does’t exist! This is not a way forward to deal with the issue!!!! While i understand some HIV+ men can face a rejection after disclosing their poz status, HIV- men have the right to protect themselves i what ever way they feel comfortable with. I’m HIV- and i always have safe sex yet I choose not to have sex with HIV+ men. Reason no1: Accidents happen. A condom breakage or a condom slip. It has happened to me few times. no2: Most of HIV+ men BB! They may be carriers of other nasty diseases that are much easier to catch than HIV! no3: Having sex with a HIV- man that also cares about his own health means there are two of us watching over the safety. no4: A HIV+ is not putting his health at risk by having sex with HIV- man. Unlike the other way round. And finally, HIV+ men are not the only group who can face a rejection! So get used to it! At the end of the day it is a small price to pay for (as it is in many cases) a reckless behaviour! -1 Reply max 20 Oct 2011, 2:12pm after reading all the comments on here i cant help noticing how W6_bloke attacks very -ve man who chooses not to have sex with someone that is HIV+. I’m sorry W6_bloke, since you are +ve yourself, i dont think you are in the position to tell us how to be safe! and please stop telling us how difficult it is to catch HIV! the latest new HIV infection statistics are telling a different story! also id like to know what are your long term strategies to combat the rise in HIV infection… because IT IS NOT WORKING!!!!! So time to start re-think your strategies and face the real world! +ve men are BBing! Hep C is rife within the +ve community! lets talk why -ve men shouldn’t reject sex with +ve men! We do, and it’s our choice and our right! So get over it! You have no right to “educate” us. You have failed to educate and protect yourself. You also state that HIV is “just a viral infection”! I wonder if people that have no access to their HIV treatment feel the same!!!!! -1 Reply W6_bloke 20 Oct 2011, 11:33pm Max how do you know that the guys you have sex with are HIV negative, this is made very difficult in practice as 26% of +ve gay men are undiagnosed.