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Video: Spoof Tube announcements prompt gays to ‘mind the gap’ over HIV testing

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  1. Doesn’t this alone tell you all you need to know about the sorry state of HIV prevention education in the UK today?

    Totally and utterly deplorable.

    1. What this tells us is that a well known gay online dating site has teamed up with THT to try and improve regular HIV testing.

      What would you prefer them to do – nothing????

      1. In a word, W6, yes. Anything but make HIV a jovial matter, which it most certainly is NOT!!!

        But then, of course, THT has a long history of making HIV seem like no big deal, which is why they are now pushing testing instead of prevention in order to milk the HIV cash cow even more than they already have done.

        They have created a problem (soaring HIV rates) and, hey presto, the solution (testing! testing! testing!). Their unbridled greed and utter contempt for the wellbeing of gay men seemingly knows no bounds.

        Now I see they are resuming their pushing of PEP yet again. Why are they not striving to prevent HIV spreading and only dealing with the consequences of possible HIV exposure?

        Oops, silly me, because there is no profit in the former.

        Despicably shameless!

        1. Dan Filson 29 Apr 2012, 9:39pm

          Oh for heaven’s sake, the aim is to get people to test annually and if humour gets that message home then that’s the way. You would prefer a man dressed in black and carrying a scythe?

  2. I thought HIV was a serious health condition – seems we can all have a laugh and joke about testing these days. You wouldn’t do it with cancer, or other illnesses. No wonder people will not test!

    1. Cancer and other illnesses are not so highly stigmatised as HIV – at least THT and Gaydar are doing something to engage gay men with the importance of regular testing.

      With 26% of gay men not knowing they have HIV does this not suggest that gay men are complacent and not taking responsibility for thier sexual health????

      There can be no excuse for any sexually active gay man not having a regular STI / HIV test – its a no brainer!

      1. And there can be no excuse for an HIV charity to blatantly ignore its remit to educate young gay men of the risks inherent in HIV infection.

        Bolting the stable door after the horse has bolted will not prevent new infections!

        THT is interested only in flogging HIV drugs and services to its thousands of “clients”, gay men and African asylum seekers alike.

        Wake up people!!!!

        1. @ Samuel Where do you get this phrase “there can be no excuse for an HIV charity to blatantly ignore its remit to educate young gay men of the risks inherent in HIV infection” You know as well as I do that like it or not THT is a HIV and Sexual Health Charity, which is not exclusive to Gay Men. HIV infection does not just occur in young gay men, it occurrs at all age groups (gay or otherwise). It is up to government to get the sex education right in the schools, not just to be left to the charity sector as you seem to imply.

          I do not beleive THT has ever had sole a remit “to educate young gay men of the risks inherent in HIV infection”, it is much wider remit which encompasses improving the sexual health of gay men of any age. Even oldies like me get HIV Samuel, so I do not get this concept that HIV only affects younger gay guys -the fastest growing rates of new infections are within the 50+ population of gay men. Your approach does not ssem to be very equittable

          1. Where have I said that THT has a sole remit to educate gay men only? I haven’t.

            But THT was originally set up by gay men and primarily engaged in targeting gay men as the main at-risk group for HIV infection.

            It’s only been in subsequent years – when the floodgates were opened for mass, unfettered immigration – that THT has been able to exploit the high HIV rates among incoming Africans, during which its resources have more or less been divided into two.

            So zealous has THT been in lapping up extra funds to cater for these incomers that it lost sight of its original remit, and gay men now get such a bum deal.

            Of course many would say ’twas ever thus.

            Are you saying that young gay men coming onto the gay scene should be ignored in all of this, W6?

            Don’t you consider them to be MOST in need of fun-free HIV campaigns to at least ensure the incoming generation doesn’t go the way of the last lot, of whom THT have made a pretty penny flogging endless drugs and services?

          2. THT was set up by gay men because HIV was seen as an epidemic within the gay commumity. The initial aims were to care for those with HIV & to campaign for the development of medical services & research into HIV. Prevention came later once more was understood about how the virus was transmitted.

            Over the last 30 years HIV prevelance has changed dramatically, like it or not THT reflects this change. If you read what I said in relation to HIV and gay men you are either mis-interpreting my words or putting your own spin on them, which ever it is I am not suggesting that younger gay men should be ignored, but we have to focus our efforts right along the spectrum of age.

            There is no one quick fix to this solution & gay men need to come together to help tackle the problem – HIV should not be stigmatised it must be normalised & acknowledged that it is a condition that is easily prevented by wearing a condom – why is that so difficult to understand? It’s not rocket science is it?

          3. The THT are doing brilliant work with http://www.ygm.org.uk which is advertised through youth groups etc.

          4. A great resource but it seems a real shame that it doesn’t seem to be well advertised / sign posted for younger gay men.

            I think there is a problem with the various websites and it is not always obvious where to get information easily and quickly.

            Cheers for the link poz bloke

          5. What work are they doing exactly, poz bloke, by way of HIV education and prevention?

            Or is it just the usual hard sell for PEP and frantic call to testing?

            Wherever you find THT’s tentacles outstretched and no matter what organisation they are wrapped around, it is invariably to flog a drug or a service for which it receives a cut.

            The days of real charity – i.e. dispensing straightforward information to young gay men to enable them to make empowered and informed decisions around the type of sex they have – are sadly over.

            After all, where is the profit-moptivated incentive in THAT??!!

          6. Have a look at the site Samuel, then pass judgement

  3. There have been several good initiatives by various organisations reported here, but they have not attracted any interest…..yet put up an article about the level of new HIV infections amongst gay men and wow you get a multitude of interest.

    Shame those who are so vocal when the HPA figures are published do not have the same interest in the more positive initiatives / reports on HIV.

    Just totally underlines the complacency as I have previously mentioned. Gay men need to take responsibility and test, where is the issue.

    There are more community testing initiatives and a test can be completed in 15 minutes or so – you can now even test at home thanks to an initiative between Gaydar and 56 Dean Street.

    There is no excuse not to test these days, I really don’t get this reluctance to test.

    1. Reluctance to test is down to stigma and discrimination – doesn’t help that gay men are repeatedly targeted as the source of infection which creates the stigma in the first place.

      What has happened to universal testing??

      Also people don’t want to test because of breaches of confidentiality which are still apparent in our wonderful NHS!

      1. The point is, Comical, testing is a red herring. There is no way that THT, for all its rallying cries, will prompt all gay men to come forward to be tested.

        And even if they did, that will not change sexual behaviour one iota. It will be straight from the clinic to the nearest sauna or darkroom for some, even on receipt of an HIV diagnosis.

        So again, ask yourselves, who REALLY benefits from this rallying call to testing…

      2. “Reluctance to test is down to stigma and discrimination – doesn’t help that gay men are repeatedly targeted as the source of infection which creates the stigma in the first place”

        I couldnt agree more with this statement – I am pleased that there are imdividuals that actually acknowledge that stigma and discrimination is a REAL problem, and not something that is made up by the HIV charity sector as some would like us to beleive. I am not sure what you mean by universal testing – I have long argued that HIV is not just a gay mens problem, but my experience from previous postings on here suggest that gay men should have special treatment because they do not know their own minds and are incapable of taking responsibility for their own actions!

        We have to acknowledge that gay men are at a much higher risk of getting HIV, viral load within this group of people is much more concentrated than in the general population. I do not think confidentiality is a big issue / or it shouldnt be!

        1. @ Samuel whilst we have very differing views on THT – I really do not understand why you cannot embrace this initiative, I think I am correct in saying that you have critical of sites like gaydar, but now they are taking a more responsible role in trying to get better messages across to gay men. You may think testing is the wrong approach (because you have a particular view on big pharma / meds etc) but you have clearly stated here that you test regularly, so why should there not be more effort to get people to follow your fine example & test on a regular basis – I really do not understand why you say testing is a red herring. If we can close down the level of undiagnosed people who are highly infectious then the number of new infections will eventually decrease, I’m not sure why you do not seem to understand this concept.

          You know as well as I do that effective prevention requires many differing messages that reach as many people as possible

          1. W6, I am absolutely 100 per cent for testing.

            What I am against is that organisations like THT have now made testing the solution – THEIR solution – to stem the ongoing spread of HIV when the theory behind this approach is absolute hogwash, as I have explained.

            If I believed for one minute that THT et all genuinely believed there was merit in pushing for testing ahead of impacting prevention campaigns, I would be all for it.

            The fact of the matter is that the HIV industry created the problem of mass HIV infection in the first place by diluting and dumbing down the prevention message, and now their solution is one that suits them because they will profit handsomely from it, while at the same time allowing infections to flourish among gay men new to the scene who are now being totally overlooked.

            They were at school, and now their own community is turning the other cheek and leaving them to work out if HIV is a risk worth taking.

            How did it ever come to this?

          2. I am not sure you understand the theory behind testing and the very clear link between treatment & the prevention of forward transmission. This is a very well recognised approach the world over, and had for the first time been recognised in the draft British HIV Association Treatment Guidelines. Are you really suggesting that epidemiologists, infection control experts and HIV experts are completely wrong in the approach to testing and treating?

            THT take and other organisations take thier lead from well controlled studies that provide high quality evidence, and base their campagins on this so that measurable outcomes can be demonstrated. In the recent Clever Dick Campaign over 7000 gay men completed the Sex Score Survey – that means that 7000 gay men completed a risk assessment of thier own individual risk of contracting HIV or another STI…….

          3. The “Mind the Gap” Campaign is a London only initiative which has been funded by the Pan London HIV Prevention Programme, so there are many stake holders involved other than THT. We have talked about the commissioning of prevention campaigns previously, and the problems inherent in this unweildy system.

            We live in an age where marketing and advertising has become much more sophisticated, and this is reflected in the way prevention campaigns are developed and structured. There are limited resources available as we know, so any collaborations where the messages can reach the desired target audience in large volumes has to be a good thing in my view – why not make going for an HIV test seem less of a drag and something “normal” to do.

            Since the start of this year we have seen two campaigns from THT, “Clever Dick” and “Mind the Gap specifically targetted at gay men – no one is turning the other cheek as you put it!

          4. W6, I totally get what you are articulating (very concisely, I would add) and it is clear we share the same passion for dealing with HIV:- we are just seeing things from totally opposite tangents.

            Good for you for contributing to such an important debate when so many others these days appear to no longer care.

            As you say, gay men need to come together to tackle the problem, which means debating much like we are here.

            But where is the debate outside of these forums? There isn’t any. And that alone is a damning indictment of where we as a so-called “gay community” stand today.

          5. “…we have seen two campaigns from THT, “Clever Dick” and “Mind the Gap specifically targetted at gay men – no one is turning the other cheek as you put it!”

            True, W6, but who is evaluating the efficacy of these campaigns beyond THT’s own hand-picked focus groups?

            We already know the THT were rebuked and reprimanded for colluding with their CHAPS partner Sigma in evaluating their work based on the old Gay Men’s Sex Surveys.

            Where is the transparency to show that these new campaigns actually have any impact?

            I’m sorry but I find the “Clever Dick” campaign to be yet another end-of-the-pier nudge-nudge-wink-wink example of how flippant and innuendo-ridden HIV campaigns of the last ten years have become.

            Where is the change in approach that Nick Partridge promised 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, etc. years ago?

            That’s right, a load of hot air, until the next time the THT is hauled over the coals for their mistakes and derelictions of duty.

            It is high time for a new broom to sweep clean…

          6. @Samuel From your most recent comment & others you have made in the past, you seem to be very anti Nick Partridge, I have never met him. I am not particularly interested in the hierachey as most of my experience of THT is at the volunteer / people who do the work. There are some very talented individuals who work & volunteer for THT – I am also aware that many people are trying to change the organisation with fresh thinking.

            I understand that having the same figure at the top of an organisation usually results in poor performaqnce. I guess I would have to agree that a change at the top may not be a bad thing. It is a real shame that you (and other gay men) dismiss the efforts THT are doing in relation to HIV prevention. One person does not make the organisation, I recently suggested that THT need to reconnect with gay men in its 30th Anniversary year. I will be disappointed if I do not see any initiative on this.

            On balance I still think THT do very good work!

          7. It has been known for quite some time that Mr Patridge is in cahoots with Glaxo, stretching as far back as the early 1990s (do we really need to go there?).

            How does this entwinement ensure the best outcomes for the gay community in respect of reducing HIV rates when GSK have shareholders to appease?

            I am sure that there are some talented individuals within THT, but this has not and does not translate into lower HIV rates.

            Nick Partridge is considered a relic from a bygone generation of gay men, and hopelessly out of touch with what it is to be young and gay today.

            How do we stand a chance when all THT policy has to be approved by this man who refuses to budge and make way for newer, younger blood while appearing to put the interests of his pharma funders before that of gay men?

            His constant blustering whenever held to account for THT’s appalling failures says it all. He promises change every time but yet all we get is the same old same old.

            The man is a traitor to us all!

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