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Report examines role of HIV partner notification and online technology

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  1. Spanner1960 1 Jun 2012, 7:59am

    Much that I can understand the motives behind this initiative, it worries me in the extreme.

    I just have visions of getting a phone text with “We think you might have HIV – please call us on 0871 ……”

    1. I couldn’t disagree with you more. If after having sex with a guy, he then finds out that he has an STI, I would definitely want to be notified. It worries me more that not all people would do this. If you are old enough to have sex then you should be mature enough to inform your partners if you later find out that you may have passed on an STI.

      Man up guys.

  2. ”HIV is still a highly stigmatised condition and this can make it very difficult for a person diagnosed with HIV to share their status with other people”
    NB – let’s not forget that with the except of sexual partner notification – Disclosure is something people with HIV don’t have to do and are legally protected by – sharing with family, friends and work, is entirely up to the individual – there is no obligation to do so.

  3. GMFA are the charity that is working with Gaydar, Recon and other in the partner notification scheme. When you attend a clinic the staff there will already have legal duties on how to deal with certain illnesses and “partner notification”. This story, in my view, is in part about the role criminalisation has in HIV disclosure and the failure of govt & the HIV sector to properly deal with testing and safer sex promotion over the years. I have sympathy with John Ten but many can still be traumatised when they get a HIV or Hep C diagnosis for example. Then being questioned about your sex life and who you slept with simply adds to the stress and pressure. I also have issues about who holds data on a persons HIV and how this might be disclosed if matters were to become a criminal legal case. Partner notification of itself isn’t a bad thing but its the operation of it and that it ‘stigmatises’ further that concerns me. I think a ‘joined up’ approach is need to address all the issues.

    1. On the issue of Criminalisation and further information, refer http://benefits.tcell.org.uk/search/node/criminalisation

  4. The Health Service stigmatises gay men as they are the ones they continually pursue with campaigns to get tested, but regardless what they say about confidentiality they still breach. The Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton has just received a fine of £325,000 due to old computers with patients details going missing. I think gay men are given a raw deal as the Health service doesn’t chase any other group of people with such vigor as they do with gay men!

    1. I agree that many gay men (MSM) feel stigmatised / discriminated against by the perception that HIV is a gay problem – its a difficult one, but on balance I beleive that the targeted prevention approach is now having a negative effect on the way gay men (MSM) engage in such prevention messages.

      We should not lose sight of the fact that as a group gay men are at increased risk of contracting HIV – this in my view is one of simple science (the HIV viral load is much higher & concentrated within the gay “community” ergo higher rate if forward transmission).

      We have to find a better way of engaging gay men in their sexual health – STI’s continue to rise and ths is a significant risk factor when considering HIV infection – the presence of another STI can increase the transmission risk of HIV by a factor of 28 during acute infection.

      We need a National education campaign properly funded by the DoH.

  5. Quote from the local newspaper in Brighton “The computers included a database from the trust’s HIV and GUM medicine department.”

    1. This is a very serious breach of Data Protection, which is indicated by the level of fine issued. As you point out, this sort of thing is not good for instilling confidence in relation to confidentiality & trust. Do we know the extent as to how much detailed personal information was on these records? One would hope that the database had safegurds to ensure that patient’s could not be easily identified from such records. Many individuals when attending GUM clinics give aliases to ensure confidentality; I guess the majority give thier correct details.

      Without wishing to play down the seriousness of this unacceptable breach, in the grand scheme of things I am not sure why anyone would find this information “valuable”. Confidentiality is paramount in any healthcare setting, particularly in the area of sexual health but apart from destroying the level of trust we have with any authoritites. Hopefully there will have been no cases of people being “outed” as a result of this.

  6. The fact it happens does not instill confidence in giving personal details especially around HIV issues – trust, confidentiality and safe guarding patients wishes and respect for them is paramount. When breaches of data loss happens there is always a dismissive approach that no patients will have been compromised.

    I still stand by the fact that Gay men are constantly targeted for HIV testing even though heterosexuals are becoming infected. But then again the campaigns will target black Africans for testing even though white heterosexuals are not immune from HIV.

    Testing should be targeted at all then stigma and “HIV is only a gay thing” may not be so prevalent in society.

    1. Sadly there are those that want to perpetuate the idea that “HIV is only a gay thing”. I have always argued against this approach, testing is important for the wholes of the population, with some requiring more frequent testing based on behaviour rather than sexuality.

      I can totally see your point re testing & gay men, it i it is rather like the blood ban on gay men – risk / level of testing should be based on behaviour rather than sexuality. Sadly we cannot get away from the fact that HIV is highly concentrated in the MSM population and therefore testing rates & undiagnosed infections need to be targetted more vigorously.

      A National HIV awareness / prevention / education campaign is urgently required in my view.

  7. Homosexualism makes you deaf 3 Jun 2012, 8:18pm

    “A National HIV awareness / prevention / education campaign is urgently required in my view.”

    No.. it is a nanny that is urgenty required. for you and your ilk.
    Some things are obviously dangerous bleedin stupid. Putting your penis in the fecal passage of another man (even with a sheath) is both an abomination and a gamble, like Russian Roulette. Do you really need to be spoon fed obvious information?

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