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THT relaunches HIV hardship fund with help from Elton John AIDS Foundation

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  1. Good news.

    By the way has the Terence Higgins Trust decided whether it is a charity for prevention of HIV or whether it’s a charity to help those who are HIV+ yet?

    The HIV rates among gay men means that it is untenable to for the THT to continue both services as they are incompatible.

    My suspiction is that a charity solely dedicated to HIV prevention would be far more effective than the THT which seems more concerned with those who are already positive than with preventing new infections.

    1. At the risk of being crucified, THT are a National HIV and Sexual Health Charity and do not have a sole focus of preventing new infections among gay men.

      Given that is very little appetite amongst the “gay community” to focus on HIV prevention, then I think it is very unlikely that a charity dedicated solely on prevention amongst gay men would survive in the current climate.

      HIV is not a popular charity cause, HIV ranks very low amongst other charities such as the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Charities.

      It is interesting that HIV charities are the only ones where thier effectiveness is directly compared to outcomes. I have yet to hear of the British Heart Foundation being heavily criticised for the number of heart related deaths and illnesses in the UK.

      Charities like THT have developed into becoming “3rd sector” organisations, chasing contracts that the Government outsource to specialists like THT. Given the funding problems this is unlikely to change.

      1. I can see that there is an ideological case for splitting prevention and service provision from each other, but I am not convinced of the practicalities of such an approach.

        There is a great deal of prevention information out there, but like it or not gay men take risks (as do hetrosexual men and women) and often acknowledge that some risks are worth taking because a variety of quite complex reasons.

        Personally I think that perhaps what is needed is a gay men’s wellbeing charity wich encompasses other health related issues gay men face. (mental health, addiction, violence etc). Is there an appetite out there for any of this, or does it just make some of us feel better to openly criticise HIV charities in the vain hope that things will change.

        I watched “We were here recently” back in the 70’s & 80’s there was a great deal of activism and community spirit dealing with gay men’s issues. Gay men need to fight HIV together and move away from seperatism in terms of HIV status.

    2. Given that £2.9million is spent on prevention in England, THt would have a serious income problem of it current £21million of which 60% is statortary funding?

  2. Does T.H.T. Really know what genuine hardship is though? According to the ongoing debate between W6_bloke and SamuelB over in the Dermot/T.H.T. thread the org is sitting on a cash reserve of seven million pounds and owns lucrative properties in prime areas across central London. Anyone from T.H.T. care to comment about this apparent hypocrisy? Indeed isn’t this fund needed for the very reason that positive individuals have seen vital services drastically cut back under T.H.T.’s virtual monopoly in this area in recent years?

    1. It is true that THT have reserves in the region of £7million and I would suggest anyone who is interested in THT finances read the Trustee Report to be found on the THT website. The Hardship fund is something very different to the core services provided by THT. It was “rescued” from the failed Crusaid Organisation and provides much needed small grants to people living with HIV. It is open to debate if THT should have stepped in to protect this vital fund or allowed it simply go to the wall like Crusaid did.

      THT are now the organisation who administers this fund nationally, and whilst the grants are limited they can help individuals overcome genuine financial hardship.

      1. What is the salary of the T.H.T. Chief Executive Nicholas Partridge then? Some disclosure would be useful if he is suddenly expressing (faux?) concern for impoverished positive men. He has been much criticised for his links into the drugs companies. Wouldn’t it be a gesture in this age of austerity for him personally to set the ball rolling with a personal contribution from his almost certainly astronomical salary made on the back of their suffering? Some people have profited handsomely from HIV/Aids. Come on guys – show some real charity for once!

        1. @ Dan
          There are two employees with salaries between 80k and 89k shown in the Trustee report. I presume that these two individuals will also be in the final salary pension scheme, which was closed in March 2004.

          I’m not really sure how director salaries impact on the hardship fund, which is a coalition of funding via EJAF, THT and MAC AIDS fund. It is good news that this fund is niw secured fir the next three years. Is it really helpful to speculate about donations individual employees make to THT coffers?

          I wonder what level of salary is acceptable for the top job of a National Charity or should it just be run by volunteers? Interesting debate to be had.

          1. OK so assuming T.H.T. covers their pensions and assuming perks as well then that must work out at over one hundred grand! Throw in the Executive sports car and the expensive central offices they are said to occupy and they are living and working like kings! How do they justify such excess when they are constantly under criticism and savage cuts are being made elsewhere? Will they be forced to take a pay cut and sell a couple of their buildings to pay their way? Still, nice of Sir Nick to throw a few scraps and crumbs to the urchins I must say.

          2. @ Dan
            Have you ever been to the offices at Grays Inn Road in Kings Cross? Not sure I would refer to it as an expensive Central London Office. There are no frills there and I would say it is just a typical functional office…….

            Personally I do not recognise the way you portray THT, but perhaps I am biased because I am positive and have in the past been a service user. Guess that means by comments are not valid!

          3. I have seen T.H.T. buildings in other areas of London, but the very fact their main base is in Grays Inn Road. I mean come on! Are you telling me it has to be slap bang in central London when it could save half its running costs being located a little further out? And those running costs could be improving the lives of service users who I am sure would gladly travel a few extra stops on the tube for. Oops sorry. T.H.T. Isn’t run for the benefit of its service users. Silly me!

          4. THT has three sites in London to my knowledge Grays Inn Road, Lighthouse W London and Lighthouse S London. I have only visit two offices and both were standard no frills functional offices. Perhaps my perception is different to yours but THT does have a high ratio of monies spent on its service users compared to its overheads.

            I guess it’s all about perception, but why not look at the most current Trustee Report and form opinions from that if you area genuine interest in how THT operates.

  3. The drain on the hardship fund is largely from positive africans who come here to use the NHS, and now outnumber native born gay men in the poz population. There are also european gay men who come here to use the NHS… Its difficult but we need to care for our own and stop treating the world and supporting them through benefits and the hardship fund – and yeah I’m poz I see them at my clinic.

    1. Well done for pointing this out, pozman.

      How exactly will these funds be apportioned and allocated to gay men?

      If paid out on a needs-first basis, then clearly incoming penniless African HIV-infected immigrants are going to be first in line and receive the lion’s share.

      How does this improve the lot of some pos men who are living in abject poverty?

      THT was set up in memory of Terrence Higgins to improve the lot of gay pos individuals as much as to prevent the ongoing spread of HIV.

      What would Higgins himself have to say about all this?

      Why is the government not taking care of the HIV-infected African immigrants it is allowing into the country?

      WHY is this burden being shifted onto charities at the expense of those it was set up to help?

      THT has vastly over-stepped its remit in order to claim millions more to fund its services, that’s why.

      And in its abhorrent, unchecked greed to feather its own nest and those of its exec. members, has called open house to anyone and everyone.

      1. THT/TheHardship fund could produce analysis by Equility group, Sex, Age….. at the end of each year to acess if they are reaching particular groups?

      2. I would refer you to the Trustee Report and to the split between Restricted and Unrestricted funding. To the period ended March 2011, Restricted expenditure totalled just over £4million. Restricted funding is just that, it is funds that can only be spent on particular work streams. Part if this funding is work related to African Communities, so it simply is not correct to say that funding for certain groups (gay men) is being cut to fund other projects.

        If gay men want more money spent on HIV services & prevention they should be lobbying thier PCT’s and the Government. Only 21 of the 32 PCT’s provide funding for HIV services, total madness and very short sighted, this is contributing to increased infection rates. This is why I beleive there is no appetite for improved Sexual Health amongst gay men, where is the activism?

        Like it or not £15million of tax payers money to THT is a pittance no after how you look at it.

          1. “Figures in RED are cost or Deficit (a loss).

            Charites do not make a profit or loss they either carry funds over, a Surplus or spend more than they have in income, a Deficit. Charities can also hold reserves to ensure they are able to function where funding is difficult…”

            Thanks Anon.

            Of course charities aren’t in the business of making profits per se.

            What a lot of them have become though – not just the THT by any means – are easy ways to riches for fat cats who award themselves enormous salaries for several says work a week, huge pension pots and endless perks.

            Departure from these charities is often a revolving door into a plumb government job:- particularly quasi-governmental organisations who speak the same clinical language and practise the same crackpot PC theories.

            If anyone wonders why Nick, sorry, SIR Nick Partridge appears to have been flogging a dead horse for the last 21 years, well now you know why!

            He has been taking care of himself:- not the gay community.

          2. I have often heard the THT referred to as the Tesco Higgins Trust by unhappy service users who feel that their individual needs have been superseded by an efficiency-driven (i.e.:- money saving) conveyor belt mentality since the Trust became the pre-eminent provider of HIV services by assimilating smaller service provider charities across the UK and streamlining the one-on-one services they once offered into one, homogenised mass.

            The point being, the poorer standards that HIV service users have come to expect in recent years and the gravy train being ridden by fat cat Sir Nick and his board is directly correlated to THT’s unprecedented cash reserves and its multi-million pound property portfolio.

            A simple equation that can be reached without the assistance of a pocket calculator, by the way.

          3. Do you not think that the decline in funding post effective treatment for HIV has resulted in service level reductions? Many smaller charities lost funding as the effects of treatment meant that hospices and support services were no longer needed and thus these charities eventually had to close, or be merged to ensure some level of basic service was provided.

            I am confused Samuel as I thought your whole argument with THT was about HIV prevention & that too much attention was being given to those with HIV & not enough is being spent to keep -ve gay men -ve. I do not want to get into a heated, protracted debate about this, as you clearly are unhappy about many aspects of the way charities operate. Personally I think your perception is somewhat tainted, as you do not seem to have much first hand experience of HIV services, care & treatment.

          4. I personally wouldn’t complain about Tesco if I don’t have any experience of Tesco as an organisation – I find first hand experience of myself & others provides a much better basis upon which to judge an organisation in a balanced way. I fully appreciate that THT does not have a good reputation amongst some gay men, & certainly there are areas where I can see where improvments can be made, but like it or not HIV treatment & care has changed beyond all recognition since THT was set up, as have the demographics, together with a change in the backdrop of increasing STI infections amongst the general population.

            I mention the increase in the increase in STI infections because this is often a point that is entirely forgotten when it comes to HIV infection rates. Other undiagnosed STI’s act as a very effective vector for HIV transmission, so in making sure that STI’s are tested and treated this has an effect on the incidence of HIV infections from a public health point of view.

          5. Using the example of chlamydia – this is the most rapidly rising infection amongst younger people & gay men. Clamydia may not be noticed in upto 50% of men, but it can significantly increase the risk of HIV transmission, so a “low risk activity” such as oral sex could become a higher risk activitiy if either partner has undiagnosed clamydia or any other STI, and HIV. By increasing the rates of clamydia screening amongst young people THT are improving testing and treatment rates but also able to have those important conversations about consistant condom use (high rates of clamydia are associated with inconsistent condom use and multiple partners) and to encourage youn people to regualrly get checked out.

            Last year over 100,000 clamydia screenings were completed by THT, which meant these individuals will have been provided with some very goods information about STI’s & HIV transmission. To many clamydia screening is not seen a “valid” prevention intervention, but it is vital…..

          6. … engage young people with looking after thier sexual health. These are initiatives that on the surface appear not be helping with HIV infection rates, but they are tremendously important.

            I think one of the differences in our views on HIV prevention is that I take a wide view of HIV infection, & see it more from a public health point of view than rather a narrower gay man or even personal point of view. Of course every new infection will have a profound effect on that individual; I see this a great deal when I am reading & responding to the postings of newly diagnosed individuals on the MyHIV website. I am very concerned about increasing numbers presenting with PCP, KS, Pnuemonia – these are all classic AIDS defining illnesses, we should not be seeing these in the UK. I have to ask the question why these people do not test regularly, GP’s are not picking up the signs of advanced HIV infections, & why people still get “unexpected” HIV infections.

          7. …………something is wrong and it isnt just HIV charities, there are many elements that add to the ever increasing new HIV infection rates – we need to spend more money and perhaps re-assess who does what if we are really serious in tackling HIV in the UK.

            Sermons over……………….

          8. Not sermons at all.

            I think what you have to say is really interesting and merits some consideration before jumping in right away with a response.

            I really admire you for the impassioned insight you have provided in this debate derived from your own experiences instead of instant resort to statistics and academical studies.

            Indeed you have won over my respect ten-fold from previous debates, or should I say slanging matches which really got neither of us anywhere.

            We are clearly coming at this from both ends of the spectrum.

            Let me call a couple of mates who have recounted their THT services experiences to me and post a response when weighing this all up.

            I should also say I have been on the inside, so to speak, and so know how much of THT and similar agencies operate, so I am not talking without firsthand experience myself.

          9. Thank you for your comments, looking forward to reading your next posting.

            I am actually a very practical individual, & try where possible to combine this approach with my interest in HIV science. I am very passionate about being open & honest about HIV, which today is a very different situation than even 10 years ago. I wish more people could feel they could just be open but sadly there is a long way to go on this.

            I know individuals that are “hiding” their condition, unable to sometimes talk about their fears and therefore get the right level of support. Gay men view HIV in a very different way to the general population in my opinion, there is a great deal of judgement, fear and denial going on, & often this manifests itself as “negative gay men” being hostile to +ve gay men.

            I think gay men need to acknowledge that HIV is among them & we are all at increased risk of infection, this is not to say infection is inevitable, it’s clearly not!

          10. The Chelsea & Westminster NHS Trust have developed a new clinic evening called “Code” which is aimed at those gay men who are into the harder sex scene.

            I think this is a great initiative but possibly the way it is marketed could suggest it is incentivising hard core sex, personally don’t see it, I can see why others may think differently. Perhaps advertising agencies do not see that making something look sexy may encourage that type if behaviour, but sex does sell!

   page 11 for the ad pages 8 to 10 for the info. Be interesting to see your comments Samuel.

          11. Hi W6, good to have slept on it.

            Firstly, let me make absolutely clear, I wholeheartedly support, 100 per cent, services for HIV pos people:- that has NEVER been in contention.

            But when the molly-coddling of HIV pos people comes at the expense of providing adequate and effective prevention services aimed at neg gay men, then of course this is clearly a case of conflicted interests that must be pointed out, as I and indeed many others have done.

            As I have suggested previously, the “PC-ness” of the HIV sector is what ensures that the needs of pos individuals comes way before the real need for neg men to be consistently educated about what HIV is and the consequences of HIV infection.

            I do not think any reasonable person could claim that this has not been the case, and is indeed what lies at the core of today’s endemic HIV rates.

            Coming from your point of view, as a user of HIV services, then of course as a recipient of these services you will be gaining some net benefit from the…

          12. millions in funding the THT receives to provide these services, as opposed to the paltry amount it receives for HIV prevention which even then it fritters away with no impact whatsoever on HIV rates.

            It is a damning indictment of the THT when funding for its annual sex surveys is withdrawn because it was found to be colluding with the supposedly impartial academic conductors of the survey, Sigma, with whom year after year it twisted and distorted the results to provide a false positive evaluation of the THT’s HIV prevention strategies.

            One of my pos friends I managed to speak with actually said that despite being referred several times he had “no desire to be commodified by THT”, implying that he felt he would be handing over an element of control over his own life, and has managed perfectly fine without them.

            Another I haven’t been able to reach, but I know his opinion of THT is not good because he was using their services until a few years ago and one by one they were being cut…

          13. back citing lack of funding one minute while announcing the opening of new offices the next.

            A friend of mine, a city lawyer, volunteered a few hours of his week a few years back to the THT imparting legal advice to clients free of charge.

            Even he was told not to come in any more when the THT announced the closure of this vital department that provided such a key service.

            I think if you are a relatively newcomer to the THT and have nothing to measure against the services that were available, say, ten, fifteen years ago then you may be satisfied with what you are receiving.

            But it is simply not correct to state that recent lack of funding, as you suggest, is to blame for the THT cutting back its own services and those of smaller charities it snaps up as their income has risen steadily, consistently and easily in line with inflation, or more, more or less since its inception.

            So where is all the money from this cost-saving going?

            On its bureaucracy and fat cat excesses!


          14. “Tesco” allegory presumably refers to the streamlining and assimilation of its services.

            Where they once tended to be individualised and tailored to each service users’ needs, particularly among the regional service providers, nowadays more of a one-size-fits-all approach is applied, both for efficiency, time-saving and, ultimately, “profit-driven” (i.e.:- more to spend on perks and to add to the cash surplus for a rainy day) purposes.

            Where we especially differ, I feel, is in your stated declaration that you regard HIV as more of a public health issue than one that concerns only gay men, which is undoubtedly true.

            And the only reason we differ is that you see no reason why one organisation should not be catering for both groups.

            But do you not see in all of this how neither group is really benefitting to the full extent it should because the diversification of needs is, frankly, vast.

            Therefore overall services are lacking because THT is trying to be all things to all…

          15. people:- a jack of all trades, if you like, and a master of none?

            Do you not see that THT’s dominance in all things STI is the straw that is/has broken the camel’s back?

            There are three things that, if implemented, would radicalise HIV serves and HIV prevention in this country overnight, namely:-

            1) THT returns to its original remit of catering entirely for gay men, and stops applying for funding to cover all HIV-infected minorities,

            2) THT focuses only on providing top-level HIV services, and stops applying for funding to also provide HIV prevention services,

            3) THT pursues a more open-minded, holistic approach alongside its politically correct way of doing things.

            What is the one thing standing in the way of these common sense objectives being realised for the good of all?

            Greed. Plain and simple.

          16. I do not share your latest analysis and your view on how HIV services & prevention should be shaped in the future. Sadly you bring nothing new to this debate, so it is on that basis that to continue this discussion is pointless.

            Just out of interest how much should a chief exec of an organisation responsible for a budget of £22million be paid in your opinion Samuel.

            Companies like Tesco pay thier top people up to 30 times that of the lowest paid, yet THT this is just 3.5 times…….perhaps the lowest paid at THT are vastly overpaid?

            I’ll it at that but I would say that if you are genuinely concerned you should perhaps become a Trustee where you will be in a better position to shape policy.

          17. W6, you clearly don’t see the problem incumbent with THT being a bureaucratic monster that exists primarily to hoover up all existing funding while providing little in the way of value for money in return.

            How you can even begin to compare the salary of Patridge with that of the Chief Exec of Tesco is beyond me when the latter blatantly exists to wring as much profit out of its customers as it can.

            It has shareholders to appease, after all!

            The difference being that THT is supposed to be serving the community it swallows up funds to provide for but is behaving with Tesco-like monopolistic and profiteering values.

            It is disgusting that “Sir” Partridge has bastardised the THT for his own means.

            Get rid of him, trim down as I outline above, and pay the top cat £40k top whack, no more.

            The culture of greed and excess we unfortunately subsist in should not come at the expense of so-called “charity” itself!

            Still, debating with you was nice while it lasted, W6. All the best to you.

    2. Paul Halsall 26 Feb 2012, 11:09am

      I find this complete lack of sympathy with other people with HIV to be quite disgusting.

      1. And I find the fact that gay men with HIV in the UK today are getting a 2nd-rate service heinous, and all because a charity set up to support them became too big and greedy for its boots when it decided to be the nation’s one-stop-shop for all pos people.

        Now I have absolutely no axe to grind with Africans and other foreigners for coming here for free treatments and services. Who wouldn’t travel far and wide for life-saving drugs?

        No, it’s successive government who imposed this intense burden with their lax immigration policies, and who haven’t provided the necessary funding to cope with the increased demands on the NHS and service providers – nor ensured that an infrastructure is in place to support incoming pos people to these shores, thereby leaving THT to gobble up all available funding to cater for them – that’s to blame.

        No doubt I’ll be vainly branded racist by those subscribing to the same crackpot mindset that allowed this appalling situation to develop in the first place.

        1. Put simply, if the government refuses to control our borders properly, it should be providing appropriate funding for an organisation to be set up to deal specifically with pos immigrants and asylum seekers:- organisations run by people who are fluent in the 2000+ African languages and who understand its many cultures.

          In fact, if you think about it, a charity set up by and for gay men that expands its remit to cater for the needs of incoming Africans is virtually an oxymoron and almost certainly asking for trouble when you consider that homosexuality between men is illegal in 29 African countries.

          How on earth does the THT cater for two such diametrically opposed populations simultaneously?

          Quite simply it is trying to be all things to all men and clearly failing miserably.

          No wonder gay pos men complain about getting such a bum deal these days when the THT has so compromised its standard of service by selling out in this way.

  4. dAVID and Dan both raise valid points of concern.

    As Dan suggests, it would be interesting to hear from actual spokespeople from the Trust to respond to these points.

    W6 has said he is not affiliated with any of the HIV charities, so isn’t it time they stepped to the mic and accounted for many of these same key concerns that keep arising?

    To name just two:- how the likes of THT account for what they spend, and the clear conflict of interest that exists in the same charities providing HIV services while also being funded to prevent the spread of said virus?

    I have propagated elsewhere that these two activities are mutually incompatible when handled by the same agencies because political correctness is the central tenet that guides policy and central decision-making within these organisations, and their overriding central plank is to reduce HIV stigma.

    A noble cause, undoubtedly, yet the zeal to stamp out HIV stigma – which in itself is arguably ultimately futile when most HIV…

    1. stigma is generated from within the gay community, not without – is directly correlated to rising HIV rates.

      After all, in setting out to destigmatise something, the obvious solution is to normalise it and therefore popularise it:- an aim that is propelled to some extent by the fact that many within the sector are themselves HIV.

      That is not to suggest a conspiracy of sorts:- simply that those funded to represent the interests of HIV pos people cannot possibly be expected to channel the same level of enthusiasm and/or commitment into the equally pressing need to reduce HIV rates.

      W6 himself implicitly states that there is no appetite or will to reduce HIV rates. In these same agencies, clearly, but that isn’t necessarily the case in the wider community at all when independent surveys consistently show the mass of gay men against the prevention policies of the THT, GMFA et al.

      Gay men have constantly called for HIV prevention to be reassessed, and articles demanding this have…

      1. been a constant source of copy for magazines such as Time Out, Attitude and Boyz, to name a few.

        Yet the call is consistently ignored by an HIV sector that refuses to engage with the rest of us and sticks glue-like to the already settled and not-to-be-questioned PC approach to HIV prevention, which has consistently and cumulatively proven to be a monumental failure.

        The definition of insanity, after all, is to keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results each time.

        W6 may well resign himself to the notion that gay men themselves are complacent around safe sex and lack the will to want to keep HIV at bay.

        But it is the HIV charity sector that continues to hoover up prevention funds which yield campaigns of less and less substance each time while refusing, for example, to condemn the bareback pornification of gay culture or to engage in a debate with critics of its incessantly PC approach.

        No, it is abundantly clear that the lack of appetite stems from…

        1. the charity sector’s own indifference in taking the bull by the horns and thinking outside of the box for a change:- at the least adopting a more holistic approach (that is, not completely manacled to the same old PC tick-box, scientific/academic-driven way of doing things).

          Similarly, when the HIV charity sector is primarily occupied in addressing the possibility of already having contracted HIV and consistently stresses the inevitability of ending up with the virus (ie:- saturation PEP ads, the THIVK campaign, the ongoing frenzy calling for all gay men to come forward for testing, etc.), the question the rest of us are forced to ask is:-

          HOW and WHY did they lose sight of the prevention message in the first place and, with it, the freedom of choice that once enabled gay men to make fully-informed decisions – and therefore take full responsibility for – their sexual health?

          If it is because the likes of THT really have lost sight of what they once were – a grass roots charity…

          1. that existed to protect the health and interests of gay men, pos and neg – and are now a 3rd sector organisation making much of its income serving the African immigrant population who comprise the majority of heterosexual HIV-infected people in the UK while chasing every STI-related grant available – then there is the answer in itself:-

            It is simply now too big and profit-driven to care about its original core objectives.

            Unless we demand accountability and a completely new approach to protecting the rights of negative gay men to remain negative, then as is startlingly evident throughout the United States, before too long a pos status WILL be the dominant status in ghettoized gay communities here as well.

      2. “W6 himself implicitly states that there is no appetite or will to reduce HIV rates.”

        I don’t recall saying this Samuel, so you will have to remind me of where I have suggested there is no appetite to reduce HIV rates amongst organisation such as THT. I do recall saying that the gay community seems to have no real appetite to work together to reduce HIV infection rates. I do not beleive that that a separatist ideology is helpful to the fight against new HIV infection rates.

        1. Apologies if I appear to have misread what you were stating, W6, but I do not believe I have.

          I merely pointed out that what loss of appetite there is is directly born of the indifference of HIV charities themselves and that there is in fact a huge appetite for change elsewhere.

          The only problem is that the HIV charities won’t engage with outsiders because they refuse to step outside of the narrow confines of their PC box and don’t want open minds who question their “group think” mentality.

          And so we are stuck with their failed policies and set-in-stone approach because they hoover up all available prevention funding.

          That’s all.

          W6, have you thought of applying for the post of THT press officer? You do an awfully good job of defending them against the mass onslaught of criticism they seem to be facing day in and day out.

          Not just on here of course, but there’s has to be some of the worst press against one organisation ever, stemming from as long ago as I can remember.

        2. Samuel with all due respect why would you suggest I should become a press officer for THT, that comment just isn’t really called for & I will not rise to it. My experience of THT as a service user has been a good, and many of us are thankful for thier help & support.

          As a volunteer I do not necessarily agree with everything THT do, but I am also aware that there are many indviduals within THT who are progressive in thier thinking and at doing a good job.

          Please do not put your personal spin on what I have clearly stated, it is not helpful and again seems to be designed to get a particuar reaction. If you want to debate then do so on the basis of what I have written. If you can’t do that then there is no point me contributing.

          1. Sorry W6, that was not intended to be a dig.

            I was merely pointing out that you actually do a very good job speaking up for the THT when they themselves never respond to the kind of complaints being aired here.

            Why won’t they rush to defend their policies and account for their mistakes?

            Is it because many of the complaints are simply too close to the truth?

            I understand your loyalty to the THT deriving from your own personal satisfaction with the service you have received.

            But over the years I’ve also heard and read – within the gay press among other outlets – about the various ways THT abuses its dominant position, some quite horrible and corrupt.

            You do wonder how certain people within the THT have stayed in their positions as long as they have.

            No accountability, no contrition, and most of us seem to forget very quickly, thereby sustaining the status quo.

            Thank goodness there are still outsiders determined to see change happening and who will not rest until it comes.

  5. Part of the problem with prevention is the way it is commissioned both Nationally and on a regional basis.

    Many HIV charities have lost funding up and down the country as the pot of tax payers money has seem a real terms increase given the level of rising nfections rates.

    If London is anything to go by the cmmissinng process is chaotic at best and in my opinion just does not make sense. The process seems very complex with service providers all bidding against each other with very few identifiable outcomes by which prevention can be measured.

    The “Smart Arse / Clever Dick” campaign is an example where by using the Internet outcomes can be directly measured and the effectiveness of the campaign identified.

    It will be interesting to see what happens when prevention responsibility is given to Local Authorities under the proposed changes to the Health & Social Welfare Bill. I suggest much more chaos to come and more money wasted, which leaves even less for service providers to bid for.

    1. Of course there was a time when government had no interference with charities at all.

      Charities were once run by genuinely committed volunteers who’d raise funding among their own interest groups and supporters to campaign impartially and steadfastly for their cause.

      It is very troubling to see THT now so beholden to a government that has its own agendas in apportioning funding hither wither, and which is lobbied heavily by Big Pharma.

      THT has shown it can organise fund-raising events:- why not just up the ante and get the gay community to dig deeper?

      If THT became a cause that the community saw as worth supporting again – that is, a grass roots charity that really takes care of its own and is not tempted by greed and avarice in overstepping its remit – then we may see real results.

      It is, frankly, appalling for any charity to be sitting on £7m cash piles and portfolios of lucrative properties in prime central London when they are giving comparatively little back in real terms.

      1. It could be possible to go back to a charity in its purest form with no tax payer money being contributed…….THT would have about £5million a year to spend from personal donations, based on the year ended March 2011. Apart from the cuts to services the National network would cease to exist which would be a disaster for areas outside the large urban areas.

        Are central Government or local Government really geared up to provide prevention initiatives, particularly in the present financial climate. As I have stated earlier Commissioning of HIV prevention services needs to be streamlined and provide clear outcomes so that there can be no doubt about what works and what doesn’t.

        1. Yes, £5m a year, but it would be run as a far more tightly-knit operation:- not the sprawling monolith it resembles today but a return to basics.

          If you recall the early pre-government funded days of HTLV3, amazing things happen when community bands together for a common, worthwhile cause.

          People offer up their spare time freely if they know they are not going to be exploited or profiteered from, and space is usually freed up within other organisations to cater for a cause that has community interest and well being at its heart.

          THT has, through its own greed and determination to monopolise all things HIV, alienated just about every area and edifice of gay community, who rarely praise it and certainly owe it no favours.

          THT is now dependent on the teat of Whitehall for its succour and sustenance.

          You really expect us to believe this is a charity still built mostly on a genuine built-in compassion to do all it can to aid pos people and prevent the ongoing spread of HIV?

          Er, no.

          1. As Jako describes below, THT is too bound up in, and consumed by, bureaucracy and all the PC-driven insanity that involves, and which surely account for at least half its annual running costs in terms of the excessive numbers of staff it employs, the computerised systems it operates and the properties required to house them.

            Whenever did bureaucracy creep into the straightforward role of providing basic and simple HIV services and running HIV prevention strategies?


            Wherever bureaucracy rears its ugly head, you know that lives will be playing second fiddle to the bottom line.


        2. “Are central Government or local Government really geared up to provide prevention initiatives, particularly in the present financial climate.”

          Do they really have any choice, considering that for every person who does seroconvert, the estimated drugs bill to treat the for the rest of their life is £500,000+.

          Effective and impactful HIV prevention is a no-brainer is any sane society. Unfortunately we are living in one in which common sense count for very little…

  6. When I was involved with THT in the late 80s, the aspect of the then infant organisation, was that their on the ground/in the home involvement with our then dying men, was miniscule. It was if the 24 hour reality of the last days of the dying didn’t factor into the way ahead. Buddies then had no hand-books to help us navigate our way through the myriad of bureaucracy within the NHS and dep of Social Security. My anger then was the gap between the on the ground reality and the expanding bureaucracy that was the THT. When my first non gay Italian man died it was Crusaid that helped with the cheapest funeral I could find ( Co’op ) after THT refused the measly then 100 quid.

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