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London: Voting opens to choose HIV community campaign

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  1. Liking 4 out of 5 of the final entries – I voted for campaign 4 – from my experience of postings on a UK based HIV forum some guys are quick to dispense with condom use without knowing each others status.

    I also liked this add because the message was simple, to the point & targets a slightly different group, which all too often are at a higher risk of HIV infection than they realise.

    It is interesting that the ad 5 has the most votes given its bold statements & colouration – but to me it looks too busy & initially I didn’t read it all the way through.

    Interesting stuff & it’s great to see joe public getting involved in designing campaign ads.

    1. People should not be dispensing with use condoms at all. Men are men.

      This campaign also needs to target all.

      1. Typo: condom use at all.

      2. As adults we have the right to make our own decisions – why should gay men (or men in general as you suggest) be any different to the rest of the population? It is about taking the appropriate steps to make informed choices & taking personal responsibility for the outcomes of those choices. If a couple openly discuss their sexual activities & get tested regularly & trust each other, why should they continue to use condoms?

        This to me is the crux of the matter with HIV prevention – no one wants to talk about it, this is because of the stigma & fear that HIV still prevails around HIV. Gay men need to take responsibility, realise HIV is a threat & do the right thing, use condoms, test regularly, most of all have the confidence to talk about HIV in an adult manner rather than resort to slogans like “disease free only, neg 4 neg only” on dating sites.

        We should not be prescribing sexual behaviour – it is unhelpful & adds to the problem of non-disclosure & incorrect assumptions being made

        1. Thats two different messages in one post W6_bloke.

          “If a couple openly discuss their sexual activities & get tested regularly & trust each other, why should they continue to use condoms?”

          “Gay men need to take responsibility, realise HIV is a threat & do the right thing, use condoms,”

          How many hiv awareness/prevention courses have you attended?

          1. I was making a comment not creating “messages for HIV awareness / prevention”. You have taken selected quotes from my posting in an effort to make them into messages. I do not see my comments to be at odds with each other.

            Why would you assume I have been on any courses, how is this pertinent to my comment? Should I have attended a course to make such a comment, is this a pre-requisite for posting on PN about HIV?

            Do you not think individuals should have the type of sex they want, this is about personal responsibility & if a couple choose to not use condoms then that is their decision surely?

          2. “If a couple openly discuss their sexual activities & get tested regularly & trust each other, why should they continue to use condoms?”

            That is a fail.

            Your knowledge of hiv treatments and medications is commendable. But need to be a lot more aware of how people take on board information about safer-sex.

            Safer -sex is about educating people to make the right choices.

          3. Samuel B. 3 Aug 2012, 8:09am

            Hear hear Batmanz!
            W6 doesn’t seem to grasp the fact that HIV prevention means just that:- clear cut, non-negotiable messages that advise 100% against behaviours known to transmit HIV, not teaching gay men – some of whom are easily impressionable – that HIV is all about personal responsibility and at the end of the day you’re adult enough to decide the sex you want.

            Some of us are looking for the smallest justification to abandon condoms, and when we see such messages – like pull-out-before-cumming campaigns – from the so-called preventionists they delude themselves that their behaviour is being vindicated, which of course in a way it is!

            Years of HIV campaigns utilising such mixed messages, doublespeak and NLP techniques have lulled thousands of gay men – particularly those under 30 – into a false sense of security where condomless sex is concerned.

            W6 writes:- “You have taken selective quotes from my posting…”

            Well you would know all about selective quoting wouldn’t you, W6?

          4. @ Batmanz

            What are your views on this particular statement “HIV doesn’t care how much you love your boyfriend, know your status, know his status, get tested together”.

            Just so I am clear in my own mind you beleive that there are no situations where condom use can be dispensed with (are we to assume the same regardless of sexual orientation)?

            I was not aware that I was undertaking an exam on my sexual health prevention knowledge & skills – I beleive you made a very bold statement about condom use, I have chgallenged this with an example yet you have taken the opportunity to turn my comments into some form of sexual health message. It seems to me that there are not many who wish to debate here, just simply criticise & change the goal posts.

          5. All I would say to you Samuel is this – at least have the decency to make your own observations about my postings rather than hang onto the coat-tails of another commentator. What are your particular views on the following statements:

            “People should not be dispensing with use condoms at all. Men are men.”
            “HIV dosen’t care how much you love your boyfriend, know your status, know his status, get tested together”
            “Some guys are quick to dispense with condom use without knowing each others status”

            See if you can debate in a snesible manner about the above statements!

          6. No HIV Prevention ad should ever advise couples to test together:- the implied message being that if you both test negative you can dispense with condoms.

            The fact is many of us make a conscious and calculated decision to do just that based on any number of variables, as if their right.

            But no HIV prevention campaign should be advocating – by implication or directly – that gay men should stop using condoms.

            Condoms where safe/safer sex is concerned must be a non-negotiable one-size-fits-all message, lest we risk repeating the mistakes of the “pull out before coming” campaigns which effectively green lit all gay men to stop using condoms in the mid noughties and succeeded only in increasing user clients for the service and antiviral caterers.

            The same dictum simply doesn’t apply to heterosexual couples as they are not a major at-risk group, unless they are from Sub-Saharan Africa.

            Why do you always argue that the same messages around safe sex should be applied to them also?

          7. “Why do you always argue that the same messages around safe sex should be applied to them also?” –

            One of the reasons is because I do not see HIV as a gay problem – everyone is at risk of contracting HIV, this virus does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or ethnicity. Another reason is that I am aware that there is a growing feeling amongst some gay men that HIV prevention messages are discriminatory; quite simply they want to move away from the stero-typical view that being GAY = HIV. We have seen this type of stero-type being played out with the Tom Daley #teamHIV.

            Why should a gay couple be treated any different from a heterosexual couple, is this not the basis of Equality of Marriage? It is about education Samuel & education in my experience usually enables individuals to make informed choices which fit their particular circumstances. Life is not black & white as you often say, why should sexual health be any different?

          8. Samuel B. 4 Aug 2012, 5:39pm

            A shocking response, what more can one say?

        2. Its a very good message, it reminds me of a campaign which said ‘Protect the one you Love’.

          I have on a number of occasions known of couples in long term relationships who
          dispensed with condom and later tested positive after testing negative.

          Condom use should be promoted to all.

          I tabled the idea of promoting hiv testing
          and annual screening 20 years ago and was slammed for it.

          Maybe I was a little ahead of my time.

          1. @ Batmanz, I agree it is a very good message -it comes from entry four, which I voted for. There are various ways in which this message could be interpreted; one of which could possibly be to that if they are both of the same HIV status a couple MAY consider not continuing to use condoms. Surely you can see that this is a very natural interpretation? Therefore the message in #4 is contrary to your statement “condoms must never be dispensed with”. I agree regular testing is the cornerstone of any prevention strategy & I support your view on annual testing.

            I also know several couples who have made the decision to have unprotected sex prior to getting tested, which as we know is not the best decision to make. Sadly there are many who do collectively make these decisions.What I was trying to point out in my original posting was that life is not black & white.

            I am guessing that you don’t support the concepts of treatment as prevention, PrEP, or any other harm reduction strategies?

        3. One would have hoped that you might have explained why you arive at your conclusion that my response was “shocking” Samuel – sensible debate is good so why not put your views across in a well thoughtout logical way.

          1. Samuel B. 5 Aug 2012, 9:29am

            We have been here too many times before, W6…

          2. Indeed we have – it is unlike you to be stuck for words Samuel, but I note you are very busy with another debate, trying to justify that in cyberspace individuals can make vile comments & make assumptions about complete strangers & get away with it………………….you have no back bone or consistency in your argument because at the end of the day all your bluster on here is about one person – YOU!

  2. “Anyone can vote”? Really? Only Facebook members can vote!

    1. I logged in and just got a blank screen when I tried to vote!

    2. I guess you cannot please all of the people all of the time – seems to me most efforts to help improve HIV testing & awareness are criticised in one form or another – take it at face value this has tro be a good initiative, not perfect but good!

  3. 2 and 4 should both win imho.

  4. Samuel B. 2 Aug 2012, 4:31pm

    How an this be a community exercise open to all if you have to be a Facebook member to participate?

    Does 56 Dean Street seriously believe all gay men spend their social lives glued to computers?

    Some of us actually have real lives, don’t you know!!

    Come on guys, open up the voting to all!

    It would also be pertinent to explain the selection criteria for the five finalists.

    Anyway, kudos to all who entered!

    1. Samuel B. 2 Aug 2012, 4:32pm

      PS: if this is to be an annual initiative, count me in for the next one!

  5. What is it with gay men and toilets and what is that ad implying, exactly?

    That the four men are checking each other out and are about to engage in an orgy on the spot and are potentially at risk because one doesn’t know his status?

    We don’t all hang around lavatories, and on this basis I hope this idea fails.

    I note two ads mention the words “near-normal life expectancy”.

    What does that mean exactly, when recent studies suggest 15 years on average will be knocked off your lifespan if you zero-convert?

    That is hardly near-normal.

    Again, it is important we get some background on the selection process, as such wording implies the ads have either been put through a PC processor, or more honest, truthful messages were omitted.

    Were there really no submissions that actually focused on the potential pitfalls of receiving an HIV diagnosis itself, or were they automatically censured?

    I do find that somewhat hard to believe…

    1. Oh do indulge us Sanuel – what yould be your slogan for a print campaign to encourage every sexually active gay man to get tested for HIV at least once a year (this was the remit for the posters).

      Please provide the link to the particular study you quote “recent studies suggest 15 years on average will be knocked off your lifespan if you zero-convert?” There is clear evidence that prompt diagnosis & the commencment of treatment at a CD4 cell count of 350 significantly improves life expectancy – this is pertinant to this particular poster campaign. Late diagnosis & a CD4 cell count below 200 can reduce life expectancy.

      Your statement about sero-conversion & a reduction on average of 15 yrs to life expectancy is incorrect, particluarly in the UK. Our HIV health care is second to none in the world; longterm outcomes in the US are poorer because only 45% of people who need treatment receive it, often older drugs are used or sub-optimal regimens are taken.

      1. Happy to indulge you, W6:

        “Between 1996 and 1999, the average life expectancy was 30 years. Ten years later, this had risen to almost 46 years.”

        So, a 21-year-old contracting HIV today can currently expect to live up to his 65th birthday on average.

        Now, the average lifespan for men in the UK is currently 81 years.

        Mathematics was not my best subject at school, but even I can work out that that is 15 lost years to HIV…

        1. The detailed version of the same studies conducted by May M et al shows the full picture:

          “Life expectancies continue to improve, however. For people diagnosed with HIV during 2006-08 who have maintained a CD4 count of over 200, life expectancy at age 20 is now equal to that in the general population”

          “But further analysis showed that starting HIV treatment promptly significantly improved prognosis – which approached normal levels for patients who initiated therapy at a level indicated by current guidelines”

          Nothing is black or white Samuel – the essential caveat you have not taken account of is that prompt diagnosis & treatment – this can add an extra 10 yrs to LE!

          As always the devil is in the detail which is your weakness

    2. I agree that entry #2 could re-ijnforce a certain stereotype – but often posters in the gents situated above the urinals are a good way of advertising / promoting things – most of us using a urinal would prefer to look straight ahead as opposed to looking down or left / right.

      Take things at face value rather than looking for the hidden meaning is my view on this, that is why prevention messages should try to be succinct & engaging, rather than two or more messages that appear to be directive in nature.

    3. It would seem that you are not as in touch as you would like to think Samuel as currently entry No 2 (the one you have been highly critical of) is in the top spot with 38% of the vote!

      Given that soical media such as Facebook are used very much by the younger generation & the rsults thus far seem to suggest a more light hearted approach to getting serious messages over is the way to go.

      This certainly signals to me that the “preaching of thou shalt not” is very much old hat as I have been saying for a very long time. Will you take this at face value Samuel or try & put some kind of negative spin on these results so far?

  6. Interesting results so far in the voting for the best poster campaign:

    1st = entry No 2 (the guys at the urinals)
    2nd = entry No 5 (undiagnosed HIV)
    3rd = entry No 1 (don’t be a cock)

    It would seem that the more “lighthearted” posters are striking a chord with the voters – both the top entries haver good messages, but no2 is perhaps inkeeping with the type of posters we are used to seeing?

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