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Poland: HIV infections on the rise for gay men due to ‘risky’ sexual behavior

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  1. This article again underlines the importance of engaging with those MSM who have a history of risky sex as a result of taking drugs.

    Traditional methods often do not work in this population group so it is important to ensure there is good information about the risks attached to different sexual activities is available as is providing honest information about risk reduction strategies.

    In the UK the ground breaking clinic CODE @ 56 Dean Street offer such information & support for both positive & negative MSM who engage in the harder sex scene.

    THT offer web based information on the Drugf*ked & Hardcell websites. This is vital information for this cohort of individuals because this group are likely to habitually engage in risky behaviours with drugs, alcohol & therefore sex becomes high risk. THT “SexScore” helps MSM identify their individual risk & provides detailed information about how to avoid HIV.

    Hep C is also a growing problem with co-infection with HIV often being diagnosed

  2. “Recognition that HIV/AIDS is a chronic disease that does not significantly alter the lifestyle”. Really? Maybe we should all move to Poland

    1. But that’s an accurate description of HIV?

      If you are diagnosed early and are careful about treatment, then HIV is an easier condition to manage than Type 1 diabetes.

      1. I agree that prompt diagnosis is essential to ensure best outcomes. The majority of individuals promptly diagnosed today or in the last 5 yrs can expect very few complications. Starting treatment when required & being adherent reduces most of the risks associated with HIV itself. Having informed discussions about treatment options is also essential to ensure that treatment fits in with the lifestyle of the individual & also possible side effects or adverse events can be avoided.

        I am due to start Protease Inhibitor mono-therapy (1 drug rather than 3) in a few weeks; not because my current meds have stopped working or side effects, but because it is now possible to simplify my treatment. This is better for me in the long term & also I will be saving the NHS some money – we both win! I have always been fully involved in my treatment & care which has helped me manage my HIV & does not impact on my getting on with life.

        HIV science moves rapidly & this is reflected in better outcomes

      2. Spanner1960 14 Sep 2012, 8:13am

        It still knocks at least ten years off your life.

        1. It is very difficult & unhelpful to make such generalised observations about life expectancy & HIV. This myth that HIV reduces LE by at least 10 yrs is very outdated. In the last 10 years life expectancy has increased by 15 years & there is no reason to suspect that this trend will not continue. Prompt diagnosis & treatment improves LE significantly.

          I am not sure why it is felt necessary to highlight that life expectancy can be curtailed by having HIV? As with the general population various lifestyle factors come into play, with smoking being the highest risk factor in terms of reducing life expectancy. There are concerns about increased risk of cardio-vascular disease & HIV, but again many other factors complicate the issue.

          1. The pshyco-sociological impact of a HIV diagnosis remains the same, regardless of how early on that diagnosis is made. Many of the newly diagnosed people that I work with very firmly believe that their life expectancy has been reduced. Even when that fear has been removed, the trauma of diagnosis remains. Nothing eradicates that.

          2. I totally agree with your thoughts on the psycho-social impact of receiving an HIV diagnosis – but where does this problem originate from? Often it is from the gay community itself which seems to not want to acknowledge that HIV is out there & many seem to think that “it always happens to someone else”.

            This to me is where the problem lies – personal responsibility! As an HIV +ve man I have a duty of care to me sexual partners as I am aware of my status, but why is this so one sided? Guys expect us to take responsibility for both ourselves & them. It is up to each of us to ask that question & take the appropriate measures to make sure sex is safe. Sadly because of the stigma & judgement that still exists HIV positive guys often do not feel confident of disclosing their status: as a result assumptions are made & HIV continues to infect many more individuals.

            We need to reduce the stigma & fear attached to HIV if we wish to reduce forward transmissions!

  3. Staircase2 13 Sep 2012, 3:30pm

    It doesn’t seem to talk about the chronic levels of homophobia in Polish society and among the political classes and how this feeds the problem (as it does in every country where homophobia is an endemic problem)

  4. Does that mean that lay-bys in Poland are any less crowded with men having unsafe sex than those in France, Germany or the UK?
    In any country such places, and others, are frequented by both gay and straight men looking for sex with each other; much of which will be unsafe.
    It is as widespread now in the UK as it was before HIV/AIDS despite general attitudes seeming to have relaxed, and all the education programmes.
    It is just something that some people do whether aware of the risks or not.
    Country or region seems to have little to do with it IMHO.

  5. I would hope that PN, as a UK-based website, would use British spellings in their headlines and articles.

    1. Spanner1960 14 Sep 2012, 8:14am

      That’s because they rip this stuff wholesale from other news agencies and websites.

      1. So why not go & read it in other news agencies & websites rather than rock up here with your very negative slant on everything!

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