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Comment: Why it’s vital that gay men test for HIV

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  1. While I am glad that bisexual and gay men are being encouraged to be tested for HIV – especially after the London sauna has been on the PN front page several times – I would like to see the LGBT community also fighting for the same sexual health care for women – we know that women are not immune to STIs either and many do have regular non-safe sex with different partners. Sorry to rain on the parade but the need for HIV testing has been soaring for years and continues to be promoted and funded yet the issue surrounding lesbian and bisexual women’s sexual health is completely silent.

      1. Thanks!

  2. Another product of the system repeating said system’s mantra to “Test, test and test again”.

    How did this recent strategy in HIV “prevention” suddenly become the default message around which most initiatives to stem the ongoing spread of HIV would be based?

    Whatever happened to educating gay men to lock the stable door BEFORE the horse bolts?

    The very same people who’ve willfully created the problem of mass HIV infection through years of neglect and indifference in their prevention methods are, today, the same people advocating mass testing as the solution.

    You couldn’t make it up!

    The HIV sector’s demonstrably neglected the genuine health education needs of those their funds are meant to serve while instead mainstreaming the HIV virus and colluding with big pharma by pushing treatments, not prevention, in return for vast donations and jollies.

    When will we all wake up and realise that the end game is NOT to reduce HIV rates but to push as many treatments onto us as possible?

    1. Samuel you are very much alone in your thinking around the importance of HIV testing, as has been identified in another recent thread. Your personal vendetta with the Pharmaceutical Companies has obviously shaped your views with regard to all things HIV, which are now grotesquely distorted out of all proportion. All you see is conspiracy theory!

      Have you been watching Unsafe Sex In The City on BBC3 I wonder? This shows the work of a Manchester sexual health clinic & the cases last night showed very clearly the importance of regular testing to prevent the pool of infections such as HIV & other STI’s rapidly spreading. One young guy estimated he had 80 partners in 3 months – the clinic has identified one guy who has 150 partners in 3 months.

      We know that very recent infection (first 4 to 6 weeks) results in a very high level of infectiousness – estimated at 28x higher than when antibodies have been formed by the body……

      1. As with any good infection control measures public health relies on identifying the source of the infection & ensuring that infection is appropriately treated. HIV is a difficult virus to get, as was shown last night, in up to 80 unprotected encounters the guys HIV test was negative, however he did have 2 other STI’s that he may have had for over 12 months. Gonorrhea & chlamydia can go undetected in the throat & in the rectum, infection with either of these STI’s substantially increases the risk of HIV transmission.

        You have a very simplistic view on sexual health Samuel & your views are blinkered by your irrational thinking when it comes to HIV & the pharma co’s. You are out of step & out of tune with common sense epidemiological & clinical practice that safeguard public health.

      2. W6, as you well know I am not decrying the principle of mass testing per se:- merely that it is has become the default policy around which all HIV prevention is now based.

        And I am appalled that it is the very same PC indoctrinated system servers who foisted endless insipid, ineffective HIV prevention and awareness campaigns on us who are the ones today calling for mass testing!

        You go on and on about how I attack volunteers of organsations like the THT as being part of some conspiracy when I have done nothing of the kind.

        I’ve no reason to doubt that people volunteer with very good intentions:- but their loyalty is misplaced and they quickly become assimilated into the groupthink mindset that perpetuates the system’s PC policies and protocols.

        No, it is those at the top who have allowed themselves to become ingratiated into the establishment, and all the revolving doors into Whitehall and corporate institutions that come with it, who feed self-serving directives down to the…

        1. lower ranks to carry out its destructive work.

          But I do blame volunteers such as yourself for not questioning these directives and merely repeating what the system tells you is the right way and the only way.

          I know through others who’ve volunteered with the likes of THT and GMFA that these “charities” require a certain, unquestioning mindset that will follow PC directives without hesitation:- in other words those readily assimilable into a system that serves just about everyone other than those they give the impression of serving.

          By all means let’s encourage everyone to test, but let’s not fall into the trap of making that the default option for all HIV prevention initiatives.

          How appalling, yet utterly predictable, that just weeks after promising to improve its prevention methods with millions in new funding, THT should dig up an old fossil of a failed campaign – THIVK – which jumps on the same call to testing bandwagon.

          The only real beneficiaries being pharma shareholders.

          1. Samuel do you not understand that there is a National HIV Testing week being planned for the first time ever?

            This is a completely new initiative to provide a sense of gravitas & momentum to HIV testing in the week prior to World Aids Day – there will be other campaigns that focus on Condom use & behavior change. I would like to see more emphasis on harm reduction strategies, but of course the likes of you & the Daily Wail readers have ensured that some charities like THT have now moved away from harm reduction campaigns because they care considered too controversial. I know GMFA will be running a new prevention campaign in early 2013.

            Again we see your obsession with pharma co’s demonstrated here – “The only real beneficiaries being pharma shareholders”. You must be in the minority of people that associate the acronym HIV with Big Pharma. If you are so against the Capitalist system give up your well paid job in retail, go & live in a commune & eat mung beams every day!

          2. “But I do blame volunteers such as yourself for not questioning these directives” My role as a volunteer for THT is one of long term condition management, not in the formulation of prevention strategies. If you are so interested in getting involved & making changes to HIV charities, why not put yourself forward for a Trustee position, or in the case of THT become a voting member – there are over 10,000 voting members across the UK that are able to vote in THT elections for Trustees – come & join in, MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

          3. Oh yes, like they are going to take anyone on with a free-thinking mind and practical common sense ideas that represent a threat to their status quo?

            Don’t make me larf!!

            The HIV sector is a closed shop unless you are prepared to serve the system and repeat its provably destructive PC HIV prevention policies and protocols without question.

            And you know it because your postings here demonstrate how you have allowed yourself to become indoctrinated and assimilated into the system’s mindset, repeating the same old excuses and rhetoric we have been hearing for years to cover-up it’s wilful failures.

          4. LOL, like they are going to take anyone on with a free-thinking mind and practical common sense ideas that represent a threat to their status quo?

            That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard all day!!

            The HIV sector is a closed shop unless you are prepared to serve the system and repeat its provably destructive PC HIV prevention policies and protocols without question.

            And you know it because your postings here demonstrate how you have allowed yourself to become indoctrinated and assimilated into the system’s mindset, repeating the same old excuses and rhetoric we have been hearing for years to cover-up it’s wilful failures and malpractices.

        2. “You go on and on about how I attack volunteers of organisations like the THT as being part of some conspiracy when I have done nothing of the kind”

          Samuel, the very first comment posting I read of yours 2 yrs ago was something like “so you are part of the rot” when you were replying to a THT volunteer………..you have often derided & criticised me for my voluntary work, please do not insult my intelligence of that of other readers / commentators to claim otherwise!

          1. Yes, you are a part of the rot, W6, as indeed are all volunteers who work in these organisations like sheep, obeying orders and never stepping out of line or questioning policy because you are terrified the PC groupthink lynch mob will be at your throats.

            What is the point of volunteering to make a difference if, at the end of the day, you are unable to make any kind of a difference because the system demands compliance and that everyone fall into line with its policies and procedures?

            That is what I meant by you being a part of the rot, W6, and your robot-like adherence to the HIV sector’s hymn sheet on these very boards is proof enough of that.

          2. ……………well I guess that makes us equally then, because you do jack all apart from spout from your hymn book of Natural remedies whilst worshiping at the Alter of Life or Meth. You will have to try much harder I’m afraid Samuel!

      3. Spanner1960 1 Nov 2012, 1:31pm

        Sam is not alone in that thinking. I also follow it, as do many others. HIV meds are phenomenally expensive, and big business for the pharma companies, so they will push wherever they can to promote testing rather than prevention. I see them surreptitiously operating in many areas, for instance in the anti-tobacco lobbies because they can then sell patches etc to those forced to give up. Drugs companies are not in business to save lives and make people feel better, they are there to make money.

        That said, I do agree that many gay men have very promiscuous lifestyles which not only increases the risk of infection simply down to the frequency and variation of sexual partners, but also the risk of spreading the disease.

        1. Pi$$ off Spanner after your recent vile comments in the thread about two recent Sauna related deaths I don’t k ow how you have the brass neck to continue commenting here.

          You are a shameless despicable individual so excuse me if I feel any further comments you wish to make are totally not worth reading never mind being taken seriously.

          1. Spanner1960 2 Nov 2012, 12:08am

            A nicely avoided argument if ever I saw one.

          2. Samuel B. 2 Nov 2012, 9:32am

            Which just about perfectly demonstrates the level of intellect the likes of THT are prepared to accept at volunteer level…

        2. Samuel B. 1 Nov 2012, 2:36pm

          Thanks Spanner and Guest for backing me up here.

          I think I am stating the obvious and if more people would be prepared to stick their neck out and say we see clearly what’s going on here, we could force through real change that ends the decades old collusion between the likes of THT and big pharma and which started putting the interests of gay mens’ health above greed and profit.

          I hear what you are saying about promiscuity, Spanner, but in much of THT’s own work they promote, and thereby encourage, such behaviour as the norm.

          Much of the sleazification of gay culture has itself been driven by THT in tandem with GMFA via its promotion of, and willingness to take funds from, the extreme sex scene:- another example of how their influence has worked in big pharma’s best interests.

          Check out THT’s hardcell.org.uk for your crash course initiation into poo eating today!!!

          1. “Check out THT’s hardcell.org.uk for your crash course initiation into poo eating today!!!”

            Why take the view that the “harder sex scene” does not exist? It is out there & it is important to engage with gay men that partake of such activities. Is it better to pretend gay men are not into hardcore sex & drugs, or should we be trying to educate individuals on the risks associated with various activities such as fisting, slamming & other activities that cause trauma to the body?

            Try & take a wider point of view rather than take the moral high ground & expect everyone to engage in the type of sex you wish to have. Again to highlight the great work that 56 Dean Street do they have a specific clinic for gay men who are into hard sex & drugs – I am of the view that harm reduction works & does not encourage gay men to suddenly change their sexual habits because of what they see / read on a website – surely as adults we should be able to make informed choices about the type of sex they enjoy

      4. Sister Mary Clarence 1 Nov 2012, 11:23pm

        I have to say I’ve very much with Samuel on this.

        THT who now seem to have such a strangle hold on HIV prevention funding, and who have expanded their business by eating up the oppositions funding, shortly after followed by the opposition themselves, have done a shameful job in relation to educating people about the dangers of HIV, and therefore it follows, a shameful job in preventing HIV.

        The get tested message is all well and good, but it need to be followed by the timely prescription of medications to secure the health of the patient and equally as importantly minimise the risk of infecting others. Everything points to this being the most sound strategy, but we hear little from THT who seem not to want to criticise government strategy

        Clearly though the best option is to ensure that people never get to the stage of needing meds, and their seems to an ever increasing opposition to being straight and honest with people. Clearly THT and other agencies have not succeeded at this

        1. Perhaps you & Samuel should join forces & come up with ideas about how to improve the situation rather than cast a critical eye. I have challenged Samuel many times about who should do what. Take the money away from THT, who should do this work, how should it be funded? From where I am sitting it is ripe for the taking by the likes of private companies such as Serco, Virgin & whoever else can make a buck out of HIV services.

          Come next April when the Town Halls up & down the Country will be holding the purse strings for Sexual Health & HIV prevention at a local level it will become a post code lottery with some GU / HIV clinics having to close because the local Tory Council has decided that Serco should provide sexual health services in the local area. All I would say is be careful what you wish for!

          This Tory Gov will cause untold fragmentation of HIV services, with treatment / care being commissioned Nationally & prevention being commissioned separately, time will tell!

        2. “The get tested message is all well and good, but it need to be followed by the timely prescription of medications to secure the health of the patient and equally as importantly minimise the risk of infecting others. Everything points to this being the most sound strategy,”

          What you describe here SMC is exactly what happens in my experience – early diagnosis together with timely treatment is the care model we have in the UK, & it is really good to hear you mention the concept of treatment as prevention – I’m not entirely sure what point you are making here – but it is rather late & I may have missed something.

          When I try to be straight with people as a person living with HIV who is on treatment, I am “ambushed” as has been demonstrated here in this thread – is it any wonder that other people living with HIV just do not bother to contribute & try to change opinion – this allows the outspoken HIV neg commentators to perpetuate the myths about HIV treatment & care – very sad me thinks!

  3. You are right, Guest. The problem with women though is the heavily engrained assumption across the generations that they simply are invulnerable to STIs etc.

    This will be a huge obstacle to overcome as time goes by. Lust, when it is present, overrules common sense, control and everything else.

  4. “HIV treatments promise a long and healthy life…”

    Explain how, Mr. Tyson, cocktails of HIV meds that number among their ingredients compounds toxic to the human body promise a healthy life?

    The fact remains:- different treatments work for different people in different ways, and some are resistant to all classes of current HIV drug regimes.

    How quickly you forget recent research of 40,000 pos people in the US that shows that the bodies of some aged 50, after years on these meds, function like an 80 year old, not to mention the cumulative impact these drugs can have on the functioning of the body’s organs and mental faculties.

    It’s downright irresponsible comments like these, Mr. Tyson, that will incentivise even more young men to view HIV no more differently than a dose of the clap, and contract the virus simply to get that inevitability out of the way.

    And if you seriously think top line meds are an endless given in these austere times of mass cutbacks, you’re seriously deluded!

    1. “The fact remains:- different treatments work for different people in different ways, and some are resistant to all classes of current HIV drug regimes”

      In the UK right now there are very few individuals who are resistance to all 5 classes of HIV treatment – this statement is wrong Samuel, if you can prove there are more than a handful of cases that are resistance to all classes of HIV drugs then I will eat my words – show me the research link please! You are scaremongering here Samuel.

      All the modern HIV treatments in use today in 2012 are of equal effectiveness, but it is essential to find the right combination that is likely to best fit around the particualr individual’s lifestyle – yes some people will be side effects that do not resolve – there are other options available. The sad thing I find is that many people put up with side effects, because they have been programmed to expect side effects by the likes of you Samuel.

      1. “How quickly you forget recent research of 40,000 pos people in the US that shows that the bodies of some aged 50, after years on these meds, function like an 80 year old” this is a particular cohort of veterans in thew US Samuel & they are not representative of the UK population, this is well documented.

        I agree that many of this cohort have severly been effected by the first drugs that became available – drugs like ddI, D4T, AZT these are all drugs that are not used today in the UK, we know why these drugs caused the problems they did – they are toxic to mitochondria the cell power houses. This is clearly understood, the damage cannot be reversed. HIV science has moved on considerable from the days when these veterans were diagnosed & treated -you are yet again scaremongering on HIV treatment as it stands today in the UK.

      2. Sister Mary Clarence 1 Nov 2012, 11:35pm

        W6, I’m not entirely sure where you get you information from and I know you’ve been quite vocal in your opinions on this subject before but firstly, when you refer to all ‘modern’ HIV treatments, I’m assuming that by this you are referring to the newer combinations therapies, rather than simply combination therapies in general which i themselves a relatively new treatment.

        The newer combinations are often not the drug of first choice in the UK. Older drugs are cheaper to prescribe but come with side effects that have often been ironed out in later additions to the drug range available. Combivir and others that cause lypodystrophy and lypoatrophy are still used, and unfortunately those first going on to treatment are generally the least informed about what is good and what is now, and what is going to cause unwelcome side effects and what is not.

        1. I’m not entirely sure where you get your information from either SMC, I am referring to second generation drugs such as Atazanavir, Darunavir, Raltegravir, Rilpivirine, Etravirine . If anyone is still taking Combivir today then there will be a clear clinical requirement if this is not the case said individuals should be giving their clinic a kick – Combivir has not been recommended for use as a first line treatment for many many years as it contains AZT which as you say has been linked to body shape / fat changes.

          The most recent BHIVA treatment guidelines that were published in April 2012 recommend Truvada as the preferred NRTI backbone prescribed together with either Efavirenz (as Atripla), Atazanavir, Darunavir & Raltegravir. Apart from Efavirenz all the other third drugs I mention are second generation drugs which are as you say are improvements on the originals.

          Drugs like ddI, D4T & Indinavir which caused major problems are not used in the UK & haven’t been for a long time.

          1. Sister Mary Clarence 2 Nov 2012, 12:20pm

            ” If anyone is still taking Combivir today then there will be a clear clinical requirement if this is not the case said individuals should be giving their clinic a kick”

            That is precisely my point, who when they are first diagnosed and/or placed on treatment knows enough about what is going on to do anything other than trust their doctor is acting entirely in their best interests.

            Cheaper old drugs are still used and people suffer the consequences of cost cutting.

            Arms with the whys and the wherefores that generally come with years of living with HIV you are in a very different place to the large numbers of people that enter into treatment too frightened to understand fully what is going on.

            You may take the attitude that more fool them, but I tend to work more on the basis of never kick a man when he’s down.

          2. “That is precisely my point, who when they are first diagnosed and/or placed on treatment knows enough about what is going on to do anything other than trust their doctor is acting entirely in their best interests”

            What you describe is exactly my role as a treatment advocate & a peer educator, but of course you would not know this because all too often my views are drowned out by the likes of Sam B. I have undertaken training to be that link between clinician & patient, to provide that support, ask the pertinent questions of the clinician & make sure the patient understands what is being said.

            This interest grew out of my own research when I was thinking about starting meds; I quickly realised that many of my close friends were either on older drugs or were putting up with side effects. I wanted to make a difference & I do exactly what you have described above. Sadly my attempts to explain this have been derided & criticised by Sam B. who has wrongly has labelled me a pharma schill

          3. I take my volunteer roles very seriously, again this has been openly derided in this thread by Samuel B. Whilst I am aware many patients do not have access to a W6 type individual there is a national HIV forum where increasingly more & more +ve people are supporting each other & sharing experiences, be that newly diagnosed, or long term survivors, we all share valuable information. I have daily contact with many people throughout the UK as a result of this particualr forum – first thing this morning I posted some information & reassurance about possible side effects someone new to treatment was concerned about. I then had a clinic appointment with a patient who may also have to change treatment because of adherence problems.

            It really concerns me that the dislike f THT & the drug manufactures drowns out the good work that is going on to say to newly diagnosed people things will be ok -sure you don’t want this virus but we can fix you & we will look after you………you will be ok!

          4. I am of the opinion that clinicians don’t always know best; many patients do not feel confident enough to question decisions about their care, yet Samuel has always depicted me as a “repeater” to use his words – I am nothing of the sort yet there are commentators like yourself who seem to have this fixed view about HIV care & treatment & that I am somehow part of the problem. I get a buzz from knowing I have either helped change perceptions or have supported another +ve individual with what ever they are going through

            I have never said THT et al are perfect; improvements can always be made, but again this has been deliberately drowned out by Samuel B. What I don’t get is when someone like Samuel is so passionate about this subject area, why is he not actively involved in making change happen. We can all shout from the sidelines, but in my book you have to get stuck in no matter what the perceived barriers are. Organisations can change from within but you have to get your hands dirty

          5. “You may take the attitude that more fool them, but I tend to work more on the basis of never kick a man when he’s down”

            I am not sure why you make this observation, perhaps it is my tone, this is how I write on here. In my experience help is often out there yet some are not prepared to either ask for that help or take a pro-active approach once that help has been provided. I often ask myself why I come on these comments pages & spend time defending my position – the simple answer is that I want to make a difference, change perceptions & do what I can to use my knowledge in a positive way – what will you be doing today to change organisations such as THT or the NHS???

          6. Samuel B. 2 Nov 2012, 2:04pm

            You are making a difference for sure, W6, in your mantra that HIV meds are the answer to everything and, hey don’t worry that HIV rates are rocketing and that HIV prevention campaigns aren’t working cos these drugs will let you live long, happy lives!

            That is such a dangerous line, nay myth, to be perpetuating and preaching to inquisitive, scared or confused young gay men with whom you come into contact with in your various volunteer guises, W6, and I dread to think how many you have inadvertently given the green light to to dispense with condoms with your irresponsible cheer leading of HIV drugs as the answer to everything.

            You are so blinded by your wonder of what these synthetic toxins are capable of in the short term, W6 that all sense goes out of the window as you appear to be in abject denial of the possible long term consequences…

          7. “You are making a difference for sure, W6, in your mantra that HIV meds are the answer to everything”

            This is YOUR perception Samuel, perhaps you would have the good grace to allow others to make up their own mind about me. This is your problem, you get personal when you run out of lines & reasoned argument. I have never said that HIV meds are the answer to everything – please provide the quote where I have written this? If you can’t then I suggest you do not make statements about me you cannot back up.

            You have an issue with me because I have links to HIV charities – you know nothing of me Samuel, & so you go out of your way to discredit me – FACT. Until you can demonstrate what YOU are doing to improve the situation you are so critical of, then I really do not think you should be sitting in judgment of those who do what we can! Go on have another pop Samuel, you will not wear me down!

          8. Samuel B. 2 Nov 2012, 5:26pm

            “I take my volunteer roles very seriously…”

            Well at least someone does, W6.

            At least someone does…

          9. Samuel B. 4 Nov 2012, 3:28pm

            In light of insightful revelations elsewhere in this thread of the sterlIng service W6 provides on a voluntary basis to ensure pos people receive the best treatment advice possible this ensuring best adherence with least complications, I apologise unreservedly to W6 for my last post and retract it’s sentiment unequivocally.

        2. I’m really not sure why HIV meds are depicted as the villains in the piece to be honest. Many many people are reliant on meds to keep them alive for all sorts of conditions, why is there a movement that seems to want to perpetuate the myth that drugs used to treat HIV are so very different. I can only conclude that it either has something to do with cost, that many are ill informed, or that as like Samuel they believe the conspiracy theory

          I have contact with many HIV forum members throughout the UK – 95% of these people take their meds & do not suffer with any long term side effects. Yes there are some that find initial combinations difficult to tolerate, but with 5 different classes of drugs available today there are plenty of alternatives. HIV patients on meds are very well monitored for liver, kidney, bone, lipid & cholesterol, as a group many conditions that go unnoticed ni the general population are flagged up early & dealt with

          As a treatment advocate I do know my subject area

          1. Samuel B. 2 Nov 2012, 9:45am

            You just don’t get it, do you, W6.

            No one has pointed to the meds and said they are the villains of the piece.

            No, but we are pointing to a system that has wantonly and blatantly created a culture around the perceived inevitability of contracting HIV in order to create a dependency for many on these meds without which thousands would be dying.

            Big difference or are you genuinely too blind or in too deep denial to see this?

            Our HIV sector, notably THT, has worked hand in glove to external directives that have ensured these outcomes to bolster its position as the dominant provider of HIV client services and to appease one it’s largest corporate donor.

            The whole point is, W6, this whole scenario of mass HIV infection was totally avoidable but as always where market forces are concerned, greed and avarice trump human life and well being every time.

            Whenever will you wake up from your deep slumber and start smelling the coffee?

            Until you do you remain a cog in the problem.

          2. “No, but we are pointing to a system that has wantonly and blatantly created a culture around the perceived inevitability of contracting HIV in order to create a dependency for many on these meds without which thousands would be dying”

            So how are you & others of the same opinion going to change the system you are so critical of Samuel? It is all very well creating great sound bites here on PN, but this arena will not create the change you want to see.

            For all the 2yrs I have been “debating” with you nothing in your mind has changed for the better, so I really do not see what your fine debating & oratory skills have produced other than to bait me! Rather like the very campaigns you criticise, we get the same old arguments washed up in an ever increasing frenzy about corruption.

            I live in the real world Samuel I cannot change the system, but what I can do is work with the system to provide better outcomes for people. Utopia is a great place to be but how are you going to get there????

          3. Samuel B. 2 Nov 2012, 4:21pm

            So you don’t deny there has been a conspiracy to create the environment of record HIV infection rates we now accept as the norm as facilitated by the willful failure to tackle HIV’s spread with sensible and effective campaigning?

            Instead just the usual W6 bluster and obfuscation?

            Interesting, very interesting…

          4. Typical never answer a question just add your spin and deflect back to me – well done Samuel. It is you that is all bluster & obfuscation. Like a good Politician you never answer a direct question. For a freee thinknig individual you are very locked into the mantra of conspiracy!

            So I will try again, what is your answer(s) to the points I raise about what you want to see change, what that change will look like, who will make that change happen & what is going to be your involvement in creating this change? Is this so difficult for you to grasp?

          5. “The whole point is, W6, this whole scenario of mass HIV infection was totally avoidable”

            New infection rates are falling within the UK, despite an increase in the UK born heterosexual population – of course you wouldn’t notice this because you are only concerned about MSM.

            Tell me this Samuel why have new infection rates amongst the African Community dropped like a stone since 2005. Why have MSM rates remained stubbornly high since 2005? Both these population groups share many characteristics, they are both high risk groups, they are often hard to reach, they are at risk because of inadequate condom use, they form a minority within a minority. Why are Gay men not getting the message when the African population group have?

            Answers on a post card please!

          6. Why do you never respond to my very really criticisms of the HIV sector when the water gets too hot and instead employ evasive and deflective techniques :- such as attempting to change tack by throwing in questions from left field for which you demand immediate answers, W6?

            May I remind you it is not I who is in the dock here.

            You are the self-appointed expert who ingratiates himself with the workings of the HIV sector on a voluntary basis.

            I am a humble member of the public requesting, nay, demanding answers for its destructive and seriously damaging policies and procedures where HIV prevention is concerned and, in turn, the flagrant abuse of tax payer funds.

            So jolly well stay on topic!

          7. “Tell me this Samuel why have new infection rates amongst the African Community dropped like a stone since 2005. Why have MSM rates remained stubbornly high since 2005?”

            Well that one’s simple.

            Since THT grabbed the tender to also support African Asylum seekers, a share of funds raised by and apportioned to MSM have instead been diverted to this incoming group.

            And I can assure you that falling rates of HIV among African asylum seekers has zilch-all to do with THT:- how on earth can it?

            Come on W6, use your nozzle.

            Could falling HIV infection rates among this sub-group instead not be something to do with the Government cutting immigration from non-EU countries including Africa?

            And most of the funds that were diverted were to provide services to this incoming target group, not prevention, as their HIV was acquired abroad, not in the UK.

            Meanwhile HIV rates among MSM continue, as you actually correctly do state, to remain stubbornly high…

          8. “Why do you never respond to my very really criticisms of the HIV sector when the water gets too hot and instead employ evasive and deflective techniques :- such as attempting to change tack by throwing in questions from left field for which you demand immediate answers”

            That is rich coming from you – there must be dozens of questions I have posed to you & not one sinlge answer has been forthcoming, not one! You are the one who constantly deflects. It is not the case that total new HIV infections have been declining year on year since 2005 – a simple answer yes or no will do.

            Is it not the case that both gay men & the African Community share similar characteristics? Yes or no?

            Why are gay men more difficult to reach than the African Community, or put it another way, why have the African Community responded well to the prevention information & gay men have not. Please tell me, because you have all the answers it seems!

          9. “Since THT grabbed the tender to also support African Asylum seekers, a share of funds raised by and apportioned to MSM have instead been diverted to this incoming group”

            Can you prove this very bold statement? You are accusing THT of mis-appropriation of funding here, so I would think very carefully before you answer!

            Hhat you are suggesting here is that only gay men born in this country have a right to good sexual health. The Community African rates have been falling since 2005, you know as well as I do that the last Labour Gov had no control on immigration so I am sorry but your answer will not wash. It is despicable that you believe that one group should be pitted against another – but as I have now stated several times you are a true blue Tory through & through, just like Peter Bone the far right outspoken Tory MP – you should stand at the next election as you make a great Tory Politician – never answer a straight question & when pushed we get an answer that has no substance!

          10. “And I can assure you that falling rates of HIV among African asylum seekers has zilch-all to do with THT:- how on earth can it?”

            You obviously have no idea about HIV within the African Community to have made that stupid statement – for an intelligent individual you really are thick, but there again we know that you think HIV is only a gay men’s problem, everyone else doesn’t matter. Not even gay men matter to you because they are all reckless & deserve all they get, ain’t that right Samuel!

            The only reason you have any interest in HIV is because you are so terrified of becoming infected, it is you that sees HIV infection as being inevitable not me……………………….this is the crux of the matter you are so scared of HIV & you are looking to pin the responsibility onto any one but yourself should you become infected. Well if you want to ensure you dont get HIV dont have sex with casual hook-ups, it is that simple me thinks! Oh, make sure you use condoms for oral!!!!

          11. “You are accusing THT of mis-appropriation of funding here…”

            That’s correct, W6, and it wouldn’t be the first time…

          12. And do you have any firm evidence to back this claim up, or is it pure conjecture like the quote that reads something like “THT staff are openly lamenting that the uptake of PEP has not been as much as they were hoping for”

            Whilst you are at it have a dig around for these staff who are “openly lamenting” – more work for you to do, here’s a tip all the information you need is in the Trustee reports, but knowing you will not be satisfied why not ask for a FOI request to the DoH Statutory funding Auditors – they should be able to find the evidence for you!

            I await your investigations with much anticipation!

      3. Sister Mary Clarence 2 Nov 2012, 12:05am

        Not everyone comes into HIV therapy in otherwise perfect health. Pre-existing kidney problems for example play havoc with treatment choices.

        These meds are increasingly being shown to have negative long term effects on our organs, kidneys, liver, heart – I very much suspect that many deaths resulting from meds are hidden under the guise of heart attack or kidney failure when in truth that are brought about as a consequence of HIV meds.

        Yes, life is undoubtedly better for almost all as a result of the discovery of combination therapy, but it shouldn’t make us complacent and it shouldn’t water down the message that if you contract HIV it will ultimately kill you.

        1. Spanner1960 2 Nov 2012, 12:12am

          I have it on good authority that contracting HIV will knock at least ten years off your life, however it is treated.

          1. Well whoever told you that myth is plain wrong Spanner – but that has been your mantra for the last 2 years. Why is it that we now have people living into their 70’s & 80’s with HIV? This in itself is a new challenge, but to just make generalised statements about life expectancy is ridiculous. Part of the reason that testing is important is that when HIV is diagnosed early there is very little difference in life expectancy – late diagnosis where CD4 cell counts are below 200 are associated with poorer outcomes & can reduce life expectancy significantly.

            Is there any wonder that 30 yrs on there is such stigma & fear around HIV when much of the narrative usually comes from outspoken HIV neg individuals who have no idea about the condition. There are many individuals living double lives in the UK as they are still in fear of disclosing their status – one has to ask are the comments here really helping the negative population get a true understanding of living with HIV – I think not!

          2. Samuel B. 2 Nov 2012, 9:48am

            15 on average actually, Spanner, going by current estimates…

          3. Samuel B. 2 Nov 2012, 9:59am

            Oh my, that is news to me!

            Did these 70 and 80 year olds catch HIV when they were 21 perchance?

            That would date the virus way back to the early 1950s if my math is correct!

            W6, you sure have a way of ducking and diving and skewing facts and statistics to suit your delusions.

            The fact remains that a 21 year old contracting HIV today is likely to “enjoy” a lifespan shortened by 15 years, and is as likely to be struck down from cumulative complications arising from the mess as he is from the ultimate progression to full-blown AIDS which will likely occur at the point at which the meds have exacted their full, horrifying toll on his immune system.

            PN even covered the fact of shortened life expectancy some months back, or is this the latest in a long line of myths the HIV sector is guilty of perpetuating in order to ensure more HIV converts who believe they can enjoy normal happy lifespans on these toxins?

            A truly despicable distortion of reality.

            You should hang your head in shame.

          4. Provide the proof Samuel regarding the 15 yrs life expectancy gap – I have proven that this statement is incorrect before by providing you with the full study that was edited down in the PN article you are no doubt about to show as your proof – why do you continue to make statements that are incorrect?

            How ridiculous to suggest that a 70 or 80 yr old must have been diagnosed with HIV in the 1950’s – where is your brain (up your backside no doubt)? I am aware of several individuals across the UK who are now in their late 70’s & are long term survivors from the 80’s. HIV is not just a young person’s condition as I have said many times it does not discriminate, so someone who was perhaps 45 back in say 1983 80’s could easily be now aged 74.

            A 21 year old today is unlikely to have to take treatment for the rest of their life – I fully expect some kind of functional cure within the next 15 years – I may even see it in my lifetime. There is lots of work going on in this field!

          5. Ho-hum, solely to humour W6 (though heaven knows why I bother):-

            http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/hiv-life-expectancy-15-years-up/12905930.article#.UJQmRswdLR0

            In October 211 it was widely reported in all respectably scientific journals that since HAARP was introduced in the mid to late 1990s life expectancy had increased by 15 years.

            But in the mid to late 1990s people were dying in their thirties and forties, and so the math tells us that, yes, life expectancy has improved, but the prognosis is still a curtailed lifespan of approximately 15 based on the average lifespan of a negative person.

          6. I don’t know why you bother either, because this is the exact same study that I have referred you to before, here is the more complete abstract

            http://www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2011/7954.html

            “However, the results show a 15-year loss in life expectancy of those who start antiretroviral therapy at a more advanced stage of disease so there is a need to identify HIV-positive individuals early in the course of their infection before substantial CD4 loss has occurred to avoid the very large negative impact this has.”

            “Our findings strongly support the concept of more widespread HIV testing. It is also of clear benefit to patients to have the prognosis made in terms of their life expectancy and this might have considerable impact on patients’ uptake of testing.”

            “Our research has found life expectancy in the HIV-positive population has significantly improved in the UK. We should expect further improvements for patients starting antiretroviral therapy now with improved modern drugs………

          7. “But in the mid to late 1990s people were dying in their thirties and forties, and so the math tells us that, yes, life expectancy has improved, but the prognosis is still a curtailed lifespan of approximately 15 based on the average lifespan of a negative person”

            This is your interpretation of this article Samuel – the Author did not conclude what you have just stated. I will yet again find the full study for you to read AGAIN. Will you never learn????

          8. Here is a graph from the full study that clearly shows that CD4 cell results have a big impact on LE & the investigators see no reason why LE should not continue to improve as treatment & care improves……………………..bit of an own goal really Samuel.

            http://www.bmj.com/highwire/filestream/447602/field_highwire_fragment_image_l/0.jpg

          9. Some bed time reading for you Samuel, do not ask me to provide this information again as I am sick of doing your donkey work for you………………..oh and next time you chose a particualr article read it first to make sure it does not conflict with the major points in your argument. Pssst remember to tell Spanner that he is like you wrong in his assumptions!

            http://www.bmj.com/content/343/bmj.d6016

          10. It is a very rare occasion that Samuel provides a reference link to what he has quite rightly refers to as:

            “widely reported in all respectably scientific journals that since HAARP was introduced in the mid to late 1990s life expectancy had increased by 15 years.”

            The interesting thing about this link is 2 fold:
            1.) He only provides a limited abstract link as is his way to cherry pick quotes
            2.)The full study details drives a coach & horses through many of his arguments against testing

            It really makes me chuckle when he provides this link having not read the full details, despite me having already warned him as such – this tells me that he is all bluster & no substance. As for the Pharma conspiracy theories I am very sure many readers will see through this nonsense; it is a side show to deflect the reader away from the real issues

            The moral of this story – know your subject matter & READ any studies you are going to quote in FULL rather than pick sound bites to suit your argument!

        2. Psssst, Sister Mary and Spanner, not so loud!!

          The idea is to perpetuate, via irresponsible articles such as this, that somehow the notion that ingesting on a daily basis noxious meds that contain compounds toxic to the human body and which may cumulatively and severely impact on the body’s functions will, nevertheless, ensure you live a long and near normal and healthy lifespan.

          This was a myth being more widely perpetuated several years ago by the likes of GMFA and NAT ostensibly to lull unsuspecting young gay men into a sense of false and lax security about contracting HIV, and who were forced to stop referring to “normal, happy lifespans” amid a furore of criticism.

          Psssst, anyone have the heart to tell Mr. Tyson he is perpetuating a long-discarded and highly dangerous myth?!

        3. I would agree that Tenofovir which is found in Truvada has been implicated in the conditions you mention – but anyone taking this drug is closely monitored for signs of kidney or bone problems – I recently decided to change my combination for that very reason – I now take one drug only (so called mono-therapy). I have been stable for over 2 yrs on my previous meds, undetectable viral load, no side effects. I took the decision to cut 2 drugs out of my combo – this obviously helps my liver (which is completely healthy) & at the same time it cost the NHS much less

          If things do not work out I can always go back to my original combo or just add in another NRTI backbone that does not contain Tenofovir. It is difficult to have a detailed discussion about meds. Samuel is wrong when he asserts I am a pharma co cheer leader; there are several drugs that have unwanted lasting side effects which people need to know about, yet I am also criticised when I have mention this #cantwineitherway

          1. My goodness, W6, you make HIV pill popping sound like a piece of cake, as well you should with your intricate knowledge on their workings.

            But what about Average Joe who doesn’t have anywhere near your level of expertise and is dependent on the advice of others as to which regimens he should be adhering to?

            What then?

            And you still manage to sideskirt the likeliest scenario of all:- that somewhere further down the line, perhaps quite soon, this array of exhornitantly priced drugs which are currently as available as chocolate bars on display in a sweet shop, will be withdrawn on the basis that the money is no longer available to fund top line meds for ever burgeoning numbers of wilfully failed gay men and others who contract HIV.

            What then, W6?

            Please enlighten me as to what provision is being made for this possible, nay probable, outcome?

            Or do you live only for today with no attention paid to forward planning?

          2. More scaremongering without any reference points Samuel. You know as well as I do Samuel that drugs come off Patent & of course it is the case that certainly by 2020 many of the drugs in use now will be generic formulations which will markedly reduce the £. Also one of the possible benefits of the National Commissioning of HIV treatment & care will be Regoinal, possibly National drug purchasing for HIV medications. This will help secure bulk discounts with manufacturers, something that does not happen across the UK. This has been trialed in London and has produced an expected saving of £6million over 2 years, enough to ensure services have not been cut in the face of growing demand. (real terms standstill)

            HIV is a Public Health issue so I am very confident that in the future treatment & care will not be compromised, it will evolve, possibly not for the better. I intend to do all I can to ensure effective, tolerable HIV meds continue to be available to all. What will you be doing?

          3. “But what about Average Joe who doesn’t have anywhere near your level of expertise and is dependent on the advice of others as to which regimens he should be adhering to?”

            I would refer you to the answer I have posted earlier, which I note you have again made derisory comments about. You can think what you like, but you will not smear me or rubbish either my knowledge or my good intent – from where I am sitting all your fine words & skills that cleverly twist the argument in your favour just to make you look good, amount to nothing really. ” yrs on you are still saying the same tired things – one has to ask what impact you have had to make change happen???? BIG FAT ZERO you have not influenced anything, whereas I have made my representations I have made a difference. I was not prepared for THT Direct to be totally cut back & I am told that my views on the matter did make a difference!

            I am proud of what I do, you can mock Samuel, those that know me recognise the contribution I make.

          4. Samuel B. 2 Nov 2012, 5:45pm

            What will I be doing, W6?

            Continuing to slap on a condom, that’s what!

            And if you think a £6 million saving in the greater scheme of things is anything to celebrate, think again.

            At current rates of infection, if current top level meds are to be continued to prescribe then in ten years time the annual cost to the NHS drugs bill will be in the billions.

            And that really WILL be unsustainable…

          5. So basically you will be looking after number one. which is to be expected, because deep down for all your overblown arguments & rhetoric about the health of other gay men it all boils down to your selfishness & irrational fear of HIV.

            Well at least we now know your motives here – the mask has slipped & we see the Tory face of Samuel emerge. He always reverts to type when cornered. Wonder what the next comment will be??? Scroungers maybe, this often gets wheeled out when he is in a corner

          6. “I would refer you to the answer I have posted earlier, which I note you have again made derisory comments about…”

            And I would refer you to the good Sister’s earlier posting in which she validly pointed out that Average Joe would be unaware if he were being prescribed Combivir or a cheaper, less effective generic that was being prescribed to him because he was unfortunate enough to live in the wrong postcode (presumably not W6…).

          7. “So basically you will be looking after number one. which is to be expected, because deep down for all your overblown arguments & rhetoric about the health of other gay men it all boils down to your selfishness & irrational fear of HIV.”

            Eh?!?!?

            Isn’t personal responsibility the bedrock – the very foundation – upon which safer sex is built?

            So you wouldn’t prefer I didn’t use condoms at all, W6?

            Please can we have some clarity here?

          8. We can sit here all night Samuel batting back & fore to each other & believe me I am more than happy to go long haul with you. If you read my comments at face value, rather than put your unique spin on them you may understand a little of my point of view.

            It is your personal responsibility for you to decide if you want to wear condoms or not. My advice to you would be yes you should use condoms for any anal sex & possibly consider oral sex where you are the person giving the oral sex, particularly if you have no prior knowledge of your sexual partner. I would also say that should you not use condoms for oral sex then you should avoid getting ejaculate in your mouth.

            Obviously I should say that this is my personal opinion, not that of any HIV agency or any organisation I may be known to be associated with – I wouldn’t want you to mis quote me at a later date!

          9. I think it is only fair to acknowledge that Samuel is a cheerleader for natural remedies, so it is not surprising that he takes such a vehement dislike for man made compounds. It should be noted that ALL ingexted compounds that are not produced by the body are “alien” compounds which are naturally broken down by the liver. Lets be clear here “natural remedies” are chemical compounds, they just happen to be found in the environment – but often these compounds are administered at much higher levels or doses than they would normally occur in nature – therefore I see very little difference between “natural” & synthesised chemical compounds.

            This is not my specialist area but it is clear to me that many naturally occurring chemical compounds are also toxic to the body & are often lacking in well documented studies & trials. Perhaps the only difference is that modern drugs are carefully targeted & designed to be less invasive & therefore are more effective!

            Comments on a postcard Samuel!

          10. So now we know, W6 considers the very act of slapping a condom on to be selfish and indicative of Tory tendencies.

            I have heard it all now!

          11. LOL – such a desperate attempt to continue to try to discredit me – I have clearly explained in this thread that it is your individual responsibility to use condoms as you feel appropriate – but with your particular special brand of glasses on I am sure if you look out of the window right now you would try to put forward an argument that says it is now night even though the sun is streaming through my windows…………

            Desperate measures from a desperate individual!

          12. To use one of your tactics – I notice you have not denied you are a posh Tory boy of the very far right wing type!

          13. Samuel B. 4 Nov 2012, 3:49pm

            “I think it is only fair to acknowledge that Samuel is a cheerleader for natural remedies…”

            Yes indeed I am, and why ever not?

            Pre-industrial revolution – when man was in synch with nature and his environment – the cure for all ills existed in nature.

            In modern times new maladies, sorry, illnesses have arisen that are synonymous with these times and were virtually non-existent back then:- obesity and diabetes (driven by processed foods that didn’t exist 100 years ago), various cancers, autism, ADHD… all believed to be related to modern environment.

            The fact of the matter is that many of today’s adverse conditions like depression and ADHD have themselves been pathologized by a pharma industry only too willing to treat them with “chemical coshes” when natural solutions offer a far more effective and non-addictive solution.

            Natural remedies have never killed anyone in reccomended dosages while synthesised prescription drugs kill hundreds of thousands annually…

          14. Samuel B. 4 Nov 2012, 4:05pm

            The problem is we have so quickly forgotten how illness was treated in the past and become so dependent on Western medicine as the panacea to all ours ills that when a modern day phenomenon like HIV emerges the immediate recourse is to big pharma and the formulation of synthetic compounds as effective treatment.

            Now, I don’t know if a natural remedy to treat HIV exists or not but why is it described as heinous to even suggest the possibility that it might, and to start researching this area to complement pharma’s work?

            Anyone with an ounce of wisdom knows that Eastern/Chinese medicine puts Western medicine in the shade yet industrialisation has cut us off from this knowledge and now seeks to implement Codex Alimentarius that will limit access to the very vitamins and herbal supplements which for centuries tended to our health needs.

            Check out the Judi Dench-narrated “We Become Silent” doc on You Tube to see how pharma, in bed with the FDA, conspires against our best health needs.

          15. I have always been sceptical of natural remedies & other interventions, but my mind is more open than it used to be having experienced some natural healing techniques earlier in the year. Of course to take full advantage of sure techniques the mind has to be open, which given my strong affinity for science is rather difficult, but I am much more perceptive of such things.

            I really do believe we will see a functional cure in the next 10 to 15 years & it may come from natural or manufactured sources; it will be a huge breakthrough when it happens. Those 20 something young people living with HIV now can in my opinion look forward to much better outcomes in the future, I am ever the optimist!

    2. I completely agree.

      The PEP drug should not be treated lightly either, nor should the years of medication be viewed as manageable which I fear, like you, comments like that encourage.

      I think it is worth mentioning that HIV is something we know about, but what we cannot predicate is how other STIs may transform or change or react together. HIV may not be the last super infection, indeed there could be new ones out there that we haven’t realized.

      So it’s always worth wrapping !

      1. “The PEP drug should not be treated lightly either, nor should the years of medication be viewed as manageable which I fear, like you, comments like that encourage”

        Have you ever recently tried to get a prescription from PEP recently. PEP is only prescribed where it is very clear that there may have been a significant risk of exposure to HIV. The myth that PEP is so readily available is wrong, plain wrong – it is not given out willy nilly & there has to be very careful follow up during the month long course.

        There are many long term conditions that require drug intervention, diabetes, depression, epilepsy, high blood pressure – of course most of us would prefer not to take daily medications but it is a fact of life that medications ensure many millions of people are able to function & get on with their lives. Why the scaremongering over just HIV meds – I just don’t get it!

        1. Hi W6_Bloke,

          I haven’t tried to get it, instead I work closely with several sexual health organisations and have watched the process from start to finish. So to answer your question, while I have not tried to get it I have witnessed it. I never said that getting the prescription was easy – I said it should not be treated lightly. To clarify, I mean that many young men I have spoken to see PEP as the miracle drug – they have no idea the side effects or, as you rightly say, the difficulty in even getting it.

          I think it’s (from my side of the fence anyway) sheer surprise that something so simple as wearing a condom is something people don’t wish to do. It’s also shocking to hear the attitudes of those who would rather “not know” their HIV status. Many people do live happy and long lives after discovering they are HIV positive, but of those that I have spoken to, all have regretted not having safer sex. Perhaps your experiences are different.

          1. PEP can be a difficult subject area we have to strike a balance between letting those most at risk it is available & at the same time we do not want to make it appear that is like the “morning after pill”.

            I think there are some high risk individuals who do rely on PEP far too often. I am also aware from my work on a National HIV forum that many individuals are not aware that PEP is available, even very recently this question came up.

            On balance I do not believe that PEP encourages unsafe behaviours because in my experience those risk taking behaviours are already established. It is a very complex area & I agree the side effects should not be underestimated even if they are short lived over 28 days.

            It’s about balance of risk for me.

        2. The point is, W6, all these many conditions to which you refer – and for which you rightly state millions depend on constant medications to treat for the rest of their lives – didn’t exist 50 years ago!!

          Where did all of these modern day maladies come from and why all so close together, one after the other?

          Is it conspiracy theory or critical thinking to suppose that some of them were cultivated and encouragedook order to feed the big pharma agenda of pushing as many drugs onto the global population as possible.

          The problem with that supposition, however, is that the automatic recourse to it being conspiracy theory no longer washes as the agenda is now so blatant and out in the open for all of those with eyes open wide enough to see…

          1. To take an example – you are saying that Type 1 Diabetes, Epilepsy, Cancer are less than 50 years old?? Are you also saying that many psychiatric disorders are less than 50 years old? Apart from HIV (which you are a boderline denialist of) please provide details of these “maladies” (why you can’t refer to them as illnesses or conditions escapes me) that we now treat with a life time of man made drugs – I am very interested to know.

            Of course we should discount the advances in medical technique, diagnostics etc, because no doubt in your mind all these advances are also a conspiracy – it seems to me that in your very odd world the Pharma Co’s own the world………………………………you have been brainwashed you really have. How you can call yourself a free thinker is beyond a joke!

      2. Great comments, “Guest”.

        It is alarming how we have sleepwalked into this crazy situation where medications are offered as the solution to pre and post HIV exposure.

        The zealousness to push treatments before effective HIV prevention initiatives is bound to raise suspicions of a conspiracy between the HIV sector and a pharmaceutical industry it has allowed to fund and influence its policies.

        All the phamas are interested in is pushing drugs, any which way, as disturbingly and graphically described in the new book expose Bad Pharma.

        THT recently won millions more in funding to provide HIV prevention for the next 3 years and pledged a new, more effective approach, yet only this week dug up a 3 year old campaign designed to scare us all into testing on the pretext of preventing the virus’ spread.

        Um, how exactly?

        The real beneficiaries are their pharma paymasters, but we didn’t rise to the bait 3 years ago so why should we now?

        Thanks again for your show of support!

      3. Samuel B. 1 Nov 2012, 1:12pm

        I should quantify the opening paragraph of my last posting by adding that after years of endless criticism and exposes in the gay media about their cack-handed PC-driven approach to HIV prevention – and warning after warning that gay men weren’t taking heed of wishy washy messages that sought to sexualise, normalise and even glamorise the virus – the very same people behind those wanton failures are now pushing testing and meds like high pressure salesmen desperate to sign up as many people as possible to their energy company’s gas tariff!

        The very same people who created the problem of widespread infection – arise Sir “Gong” Nick Partridge, darling of the establishment and whose lineage into the pharmas runs as deeply as the wording through a stick of Brighton rock – are now touting testing and meds as the ONLY solution to stopping further onward infections!

        The HIV sector has depended upon our ignorance and indifference to steer this twisted agenda forward, but for how much longer?

        1. Samuel

          Can we just draw a line under our previous exchange for a moment?

          I wanted to check in with you specifically what you think the THT should be doing more of.

          On reflection, a poster that encourages people to get tested, that does not at the same time encourage people to have safer sex, and tell them how to do that, is not a good idea. After all, if people are having safer sex, then they will not need to get tested every year. So the emphasis should be on having safer sex, and avoiding unsafe sex.

          It is obviously much better not to get infected with HIV in the first place, and not to have to take long-term meds.

          I do think, as I’ve said, that THT has done a lot of good work; but maybe the emphasis DOES need to be on safer sex, with more advertising and work in schools.

          I also suspect it is easier to transmit HIV via oral sex than common knowledge suggests, and that this is an issue that may need addressing.

          1. Spanner1960 4 Nov 2012, 10:42am

            I know of at least one person who is HIV+ who virtually never had penetrative sex, and on the rare occasion they did always wore a condom.
            However, they were prone to bouts of gum disease, which is almost certainly how they contracted it.

            People really need to be made aware of this.

        2. Samuel B. 1 Nov 2012, 3:33pm

          Sorry, I red-arrowed you before reading your thoughtful post.

          The main point is not what THT should be doing differently:- but in all our interests it should revoke the HIV prevention budget entirely.

          It has not demonstrated in nigh on 20 years that it has the will, never mind desire, to create HIV campaigns that would serve as an effective deterrent.

          And it’s entanglement with big pharma and the fact that its core income is the provision of services to positive people signifies an unequivocal conflict of interests.

          The question is not what could THT be doing better, it has consistently demonstrated it can’t.

          Yet its tentacles into the establishment ensures that it’s allowed to hoover up all available prevention cash while delivering the same old same old in return.

          Every time.

          The system itself has resulted in thousands contracting a preventable illness that’s costing the NHS billions.

          The drugs may work now, W6, but how long before they stop flowing so freely?

          What then?!

          1. Samuel for once I will humour you & simply go along with your argument that HIV prevention monies should be given to another organisation. Are we talking about all prevention initiatives (including African population groups, asylum seekers, IDU’s, Prison population), or just those for gay men.

            If as I suspect you are most concerned about the health of gay men then there is approximately £3.2million available to fund initiatives aimed at gay men. Who should be given this money to spend & what sort of campaign would you like to see. These are two very simple questions, which I am sure you have the answers to. Remember the money has to provide an England wide campaign over 3 years – go ahead inspire me, as I am (as you keep mentioning) running out of ideas – over to you Samuel!

          2. Having said that, I don’t believe there is any intentional collusion between THT and Big Pharma. It isn’t Big Pharma that is funding THT, and I’m sure the NHS would like to keep its drug and treatment costs as low as possible.

            I think what we are fighting against, in terms of HIV prevention, is a culture on the gay scene that can be too casual where safer sex is concerned, and a prudish attitude towards sex in this country that puts up barriers to the kind of frank and explicit information that needs to be disseminated via the national media and on billboards in public places if the message about safer sex is to sink in.

            In a sense, we still need sexual liberation in this country: less guilt and inhibition about talking about sex in general. The Germans are far less hung-up than we are. Paradoxically, we also need a more abstemious attitude towards casual sex. The extreme thrill of the moment sometimes comes at a colossal price, and isn’t always worth it.

          3. Gazza, you rightly point out that it isn’t Big Pharma funding THT et al, but again it is a case of joining up the dots to see how one can influence the other.

            The corridors of power are rampant with pharma lobbyists greasing the palms of anyone with influence to promote and push forward it’s interests.

            You don’t need me to tell you such corruption is rife, and although perhaps not as blatant as cash in envelopes, we know it goes on.

            So we have lobbyists influencing decision-makers in Whitehall and who, it is not unreasonable to suggest, in turn place conditions and caveats on the statutory prevention funding awarded to THT that are clearly ultimately to the benefit of the pharmas.

            This is demonstrably proven by THT prevention policies that can only on reflection have been designed and set up to fail and thus boost HIV rates.

            One day we’ll look back at the ludicrously inane HIV campaigns of the last 20 years and realise how most of us – though not all – were taken for mugs…

          4. I would also add that the mindset we are dealing with when it comes to lobbying that sets out to push often dangerous pharma drugs is that which is now widely defined by psychology as the “corporate psychopath”:- a mindset that puts profit and the needs of shareholders head and shoulders above the sanctity of human life.

            Anyone who seriously thinks, like W6, that these cowboys seriously have the best interests of pos people at heart is, frankly, insane.

            Pos people are regarded first and foremost as pill poppers and, as with many other diseases that exist today and which were not heard of even 50 years ago, the intent is to fuel disease and maladies and create as many new pill poppers as possible and to keep them popping until said pills exact their final, ghastly toll on the immune system.

        3. Samuel

          I was at uni in the early 80s and I recall that THT did a fantastic job during the 80s of keeping people up-to-date about the risks of HIV (previously HTLV-3) infection and how best to prevent it, as far as they knew. I am aware they still do a great deal of excellent counselling and public information work.

          On reflection, there is something fatalistic about encouraging people to test every year. This seems to assume people may be having unsafe sex in between. That is a correct assumption in many cases, but I believe unsafe sex should be heavily stigmatised in order to prevent HIV infection, and that there should be a forceful public information campaign encouraging people either to have safer sex, or to abstain from sex completely.

          I despair at the fact there is so little info on TV and in the media in general about safer sex campaigns. I wish a big chunk of the THT budget would be diverted to this, and supplemented with govt money.

          1. “I despair at the fact there is so little info on TV and in the media in general about safer sex campaigns” I totally agree with this statement; A National high profile HIV awareness campaign is long overdue. The Government currently has no National strategy for HIV & Sexual health & hasn’t had for over 2 years. The National Aids Trust has recently produced a “shadow strategy” yet this has been dismissed by Samuel.

            I am not sure how much TV & media advertising you would get for £6.4 million over 3 years, & one has to ask the question if the DoH felt that THT were not doing a reasonable job, why did they recently award the current HIV England contract to THT as they were not the only service provider to bid for this contract!

            If we want decent sexual health then we need a Government who is going to invest in prevention as a way of managing the ever increasing care costs associated with HIV & STI’s in general. To focus on one organisation seems to me to be rather partisan.

          2. Samuel B. 1 Nov 2012, 7:57pm

            Absolutely THT did some sterling work in the 1980s, which is rather the point, Gavin.

            THT was set up by friends of Terry Higgins as a genuine charity to care for infected men and lead the fight in the prevention of the spread of Aids.

            It’s a case of then following the dots to realise what changed and how their mission became corrupted by big pharma.

            Nick Partridge entered as post boy around 1989/90 and in less than 2 years was miraculously promoted as THT’s chief executive.

            Almost immediately THT was embroiled in financial irregularities as reported in Capital Gay in 1991.

            More pertinently evidence of Partridge’s tentacles into big pharma became clear when the press blew the lid on him accepting backhanders and jollies from Glaxo in return for pushing the failed killer chemo drug, AZT, at infected men which had the effect of hastening progression to full-blown Aids for many.

            The real turning point came four years later with the advent of HAARP and combination therapies…

          3. Samuel B. 1 Nov 2012, 8:16pm

            and a complete about face.

            Suddenly the therapies were hailed as the magic bullet and HIV ad campaigns became softer around the edges as Partridge bureaucratised and customised THT into an efficient machine that sought to manage all aspects of the virus:- from services for its user clients whose days were thankfully no longer numbered to preventIng the onward spread of HIV with campaigns that we know became less and less impactful as time went on.

            To today when THT continues to wield the prevention budget and uses it to ostensibly benefit big pharma shareholders rather than the target audience.

            Tell me, Gavin, would you put a fox in charge of the chicken hut?

            Every 3 years THT is awarded this budget it makes vain promises to change tack and stem HIV’s spread.

            This time they’ve wasted no time digging up an old campaign that many found confusing and sinister in its blatant NLP agenda – THIVK HIV – the 1st time around.

            It doesn’t take an idiot to see how the dots join up, does it?!

          4. Sister Mary Clarence 1 Nov 2012, 11:59pm

            I have to say I’m firmly in the same camp as Samuel.

            When I was young I was terrified of catching HIV because of the ads I saw on TV and the HIV/AIDS messages that were very visible painting a bleak picture.

            I don’t believe that HIV has ceased to be a terminal illness. Combination therapies can keep us alive but not without cost. The question is at what cost. That cost differs for each person, very few are destined to live to a ripe old age, enjoying good health throughout.

            We are only beginning to see the consequences of taking small amounts of toxic chemicals on a daily basis to keep HIV at bay, and the initial findings from the longer term tests are not good. As the years go on, I doubt the results will get better.

            The prevention message is so lost these days, you almost have to search to find it, and it really should be like that. I still firmly believe that if you contract HIV you will die before your time, and I am at a loss to understand why that message has changed

          5. Oh come on, W6, you know jolly well why THT keeps getting awarded the HIV prevention budget time after time!

            THT willingly and obligingly follows NHS directives to the letter, and furthermore Sir Nick Partridge is now firmly entrenched into the British establishment so it is a given that THT will forever control the HIV budget, regardless of the direct conflict of interests that arises with the most lucrative aspect of its work:- the provision of HIV client user services.

            Throw a few shady pharma lobbyists into the mix thereby ensuring that the revolving doors that umbilically link THT to Whitehall swivel at an average speed of 90mph and, absolutely yes, we can say with unhesitating certainty that the applicant best placed to reverse the spread of a chronic disease – that’s right, the epidemic rate of which it was itself responsible – won the prize funding millions!

            Who needs to play the lottery when you’re THT with friends in high places?

          6. “Oh come on, W6, you know jolly well why THT keeps getting awarded the HIV prevention budget time after time”

            There is no “budget” Samuel it is a contract; there is a difference! Contracts are let based on evidence that the contractor provides the service being commissioned at an agreed. If THT are guaranteed funding for ever & a day why was a £500million contract awarded to Serco to provide for sexual health help lines?? The HIV Prevention England contract was I would hope, awarded on evidence rather than conspiracy. Why don’t you ask the DoH why they awarded THT the contract (assuming that you would believe what you were told). It seems to me that you have no faith in any UK institution, taking every opportunity to cry conspiracy, one wonders why you actually still live in the UK given that you really do not have a good word to say about our great Country.

          7. “I don’t believe that HIV has ceased to be a terminal illness. Combination therapies can keep us alive but not without cost. The question is at what cost. That cost differs for each person, very few are destined to live to a ripe old age, enjoying good health throughout”

            This statement is in stark contrast to what clinicians believe here in the UK & other resource rich Countries. Prompt diagnosis is the key to living to a ripe old age. People who present with very damaged immune systems fare less well. This is one good reason to improve testing. Late diagnosis is still a problem, I am aware of more & more people presenting with KS, PCP, CD4 counts less than 100 – this should not be happening in the UK. Why are these people leaving it to get sick before they get diagnosed?

            Any causal reader looking this thread may well be put off taking a test during National Testing week given the inaccurate & scaremongering postings here. Surely any initiative that prompts testing has to be good??

          8. Samuel B. 2 Nov 2012, 5:23pm

            Veritable proof that W6 IS living in cloud cuckoo land.

            To what rich countries are you referring, W6?

            Surely not the UK, wherein the NHS is already denying cancer and Alzheimer’s patients life-enhancing and life-saving drugs, and killing off older patients to free up much-needed beds for kickbacks?!

            Do you in all seriousness expect the NHS cash cow to keep on giving so generously when the country is on its knees?

            Do you really think that people perceived as being reckless enough to contract a largely avoidable chronic disease will still be freely given the same expensive top range drugs you enthuse of when more “deserving” sufferers of unavoidable diseases have to go without?

            Can you imagine the outcry and mutiny there will be when the masses wake up to the gross unfairness of this drugs apartheid?

            Make the most of the branded drugs you speak of, W6, because they will be for the chop sooner or later and replaced by less effective generics at best.

            Then what?!

          9. Samuel B. 2 Nov 2012, 5:57pm

            What exactly do you mean by “prompt diagnosis”, W6?

            Are you merely reciting from the pharma rule book here which advocates putting newly-diagnosed people onto meds earlier and earlier as opposed to when T-cells actually show signs of beginning to deplete?

            Sometimes you are inclined to talk more like a used car salesman than someone who genuinely cares for the well being and health of their gay brethren.

            And I know I would NOT want to buy a used car from you…

          10. “Are you merely reciting from the pharma rule book here which advocates putting newly-diagnosed people onto meds earlier and earlier as opposed to when T-cells actually show signs of beginning to deplete?”

            There is a guideline in the UK, but don’t really see the point in providing this information as it is a guideline provided by the British HIV Assocation, which you have openly been sceptical of. Here is a link to Treatment Guidelines:

            http://www.bhiva.org/documents/Guidelines/Treatment/2012/hiv1029_2.pdf

          11. “Sometimes you are inclined to talk more like a used car salesman than someone who genuinely cares for the well being and health of their gay brethren”

            Think what you like about my writing skills Samuel, but it really is questionable if you really care for the well-being of gay men. You claim that you do but there are many postings on here that say otherwise, you often use derogatory terms to describe gay men & that stigma is a price worth paying etc etc…………

          12. “Surely not the UK, wherein the NHS is already denying cancer and Alzheimer’s patients life-enhancing and life-saving drugs, and killing off older patients to free up much-needed beds for kickbacks?!”

            Here we have the proof once again that Samuel does not think HIV is a condition that deserves to be treated, because in his view Cancer & Altzheimers are much higher up the pecking order. Odd that life saving drugs for cancer patients are viewed very differently to life saving drugs for HIV. No one chooses to get any of these illnesses Samuel; in your mind HIV is clearly an illness that the NHS (or the tax payer) should be concerned about. If you push him hard enough eventually you get to the real truth from Samuel – far right Tory values, good old fashioned Daily Wail bull$hit!!!!

            Who are the “deserving sufferers” Samuel????? Yet in another recent posting on this very thread Samuel was asking me if I really care about the health of gay men – you are a joke Samuel!

          13. If anyone is still bothering to follow this thread can I just say that Samuel has at last declared his hand – he does not think that HIV is a condition that is worth spending money on. He constantly bemoans the fact the HIV charities are provided with Gov funds – now we know why, he dislikes the idea of his taxes going to help some “reckless” 21 year old gay man – the very same group of individuals he claims he wants to protect. Omni-shambles springs to mind, just like his posh boy Tory Gov ministers he does not know which direction he is going in……………… is he really interested in the health of young gay men, really, given the comments he posts?

            He will claim to be a humanitarian – bull$hit billy bull$hit. He like his Tory pals only care about number one! When I have asked him repeatedly what he is doing to change the things he is critical about there is a wall of silence, nothing – we know why, he is not interested in anyone else except himself! FACT

          14. “Make the most of the branded drugs you speak of, W6, because they will be for the chop sooner or later and replaced by less effective generics at best. Then what?!”

            Is this aimed at me personally or every HIV positive individual in the UK???? I am sure you would like nothing better to see healthcare rationed for HIV positive individuals, but why stop there Samuel, how about the smokers, the drinkers, the over eaters, the drug users, those who have large families – the list could go on and on, should healthcare to all these groups be rationed?? More Tory rhetoric, its just gets better!

            Scaremongering now about generics? Provide the proof to back this claim that generic drugs are not as effective as branded drugs. I would have thought you would be delighted that generic drugs will more frequently be used in HIV medicine – one thing is for sure as generics increase it blows a hole in your pharma conspiracy – then what will you argue???

          15. “Here we have the proof once again that Samuel does not think HIV is a condition that deserves to be treated…”

            Yet again W6 misrepresents my words.

            Nowhere did I say HIV is a condition that doesn’t deserve to be treated.

            I pointed out that people with non-contractable diseases like cancer and Alzheimers are already denied life-enhancing/saving drugs, and making the distinction as to how this will sit with the public amid further belt-tightening when they learn that people who acquired a preventable sexual disease are receiving top-end drugs without question?

            And there is a clear distinction between diseases like cancer and Alzheimers and HIV, believe it or not, W6.

            While I’ve every sympathy with those who accidentally acquire HIV, there are others in full knowledge of the consequences but who have/are willfully taking calculated risks and contracting HIV.

            What gives them the right to then expect top end meds for the rest of their lives that will cost the rest of us dearly?

          16. “This statement is in stark contrast to what clinicians believe here in the UK & other resource rich Countries. Prompt diagnosis is the key to living to a ripe old age…”

            Well this W6/HIV sector well-perpetuated myth can be blown straight out of the water for the simple reason that different people respond to different HIV drugs in different ways.

            Fact!

            No two people’s responses will be identical, so quite how the likes of W6 can generalise so matter-of-factly and delude themselves that everyone diagnosed early enough and put onto the meds will live to a ripe old age is quite beyond me.

            This, however, is the kind of tosh HIV sector personnel are programmed to spout because the agenda has always been to drive HIV rates up, never markedly down.

            And this agenda is just a small part of the bigger global pharmaceutical agenda to intoxicate, tranquilize and vaccinate the entire human race with pills and potions:- an agenda that is now blatantly transparent and in all our faces.

          17. “No two people’s responses will be identical, so quite how the likes of W6 can generalise so matter-of-factuly and delude themselves that everyone diagnosed early enough and put onto the meds will live to a ripe old age is quite beyond me”

            You generalise constantly Samuel – in a very matter of fact way. So you are now saying that HIV clinicians that work with patients every day ud and down the country are willfully telling their patients porkies? (cue the Hippocratic Oath routine, or all clinicians are in the pockets of the pharma co’s).

            Read the study you have been so quick to quote regarding LE – and when I say read it I mean read it all, as we know you like to cherry pick quotes to suit your argument. I appreciate it may take you some time because science is not your strong point, so it may take a while for you to get to grips with the basics of HIV before you can correctly from an opinion from said study! Laughable it really is!

            Nice try at the spin tho Samuel!

          18. “And there is a clear distinction between diseases like cancer and Alzheimers and HIV, believe it or not, W6″

            Do enlighten me, I & other casual readers would love to hear how you distinguish between these diseases, humour me Samuel I know you like to!

          19. “Well this W6/HIV sector well-perpetuated myth can be blown straight out of the water for the simple reason that different people respond to different HIV drugs in different ways”

            When you say “HIV sector” to what are you referring to here exactly – I would prefer a little more clarity.

            As a patient I go to see my HIV Consultant at my clinic – I do not go to the “HIV sector”. My medications are prescribed by my Consultant, I do not go directly to Janssen Cliag & Abbot for them to prescribe my drugs – my Consultant is my care provider not THT, NAT, GMFA or GSK, Gilead – you are talking tosh Samuel. And by the way the NHS use Commissioners to purchase drugs, not individual Dr’s, & given that you have noted that NHS resources are scarce these commissioners get value for money – kind of blows a hole in your Pharma co conspiracy theory me thinks!

            I think you need a lay down Samuel after all you have a great deal of reading to do!

          20. Samuel B. 3 Nov 2012, 1:54pm

            Did you actually finish reading Bad Pharma, W6?

            It contains accounts of every trick, deception and collusion the pharma industries employ to influence doctors and clinicians into favouring certain drugs over others, and even how it is able to influence and corrupt the authors of the very guidelines you cite that are supposed to ensure the medical profession adheres to standards of good practise.

            We now know, however, that a number of said doctors and clinicians have allowed themselves to be corrupted and who work in the interests of the pharmas above those of their patients.

            When the pharmas have “place men” at the head of every organisation that influences best practise in the medical profession, what chance does everyman on the street have, despite the best intentions of volunteers like you who do their best to guide people through a minefield to the best drug options available?

            Now, having had a fuller picture of the work you do in this critical area, I applaud your virtuosity.

          21. I have skim read it through once, but I need to go back & spend time properly reading it. I am in know doubt that many of the sharp practices that have been described do take place, in my own area of knowledge I am aware that some Clinicians who influence UK HIV Treatment Guidelines seem to favour the particularly wide spread used drug Efavirenz, even though it is now no more effective than some of the newer drugs & causes up to 20% of individuals to have lasting side effects that require them to stop taking it. I am very vocal about this particular drug which is found in the often prescribed one day pill Atripla.

            The new “Quad Pill” Stribild (could be an acronym for Strive to Build Profit) that has been launched by Gilead is vastly over priced, does not offer any real benefit over what is already available & contains 2 drugs that could be implicated in kidney toxicity. I do what I can to alert others about such things by using the forum I mention & twitter.

          22. There are many individuals throughout the UK who put up with side effects either because they are of the view “don’t change it if it ain’t broke” or they do not feel comfortable making their clinicians work for them. In the main many of the side effects do not have any clinical significance (vivid dreams, yellow eyes, lack of sleep, bloating, diarrhoea) but they impact greatly in the individual concerned & affect their quality of life. This to me is wrong & must be challenged, which is what I do & encourage others to review their meds & do not be fobbed off, by over bearing clinicians.

            I have never mentioned things like this before because I feel that you will take such comments & use them as a stick to beat me with. There is no reason why anyone should be living with these kind of side effects as there are now many better options available that are much kinder to the body.

            I am all for saving the NHS £ by treatment simplification (less drugs) & using home delivery (saves 20% VAT).

          23. Now if you are prepared to accept that I use my knowledge of HIV drugs to try & make life easier for those living with HIV, refrain from branding me a pharma schill & drop this whole big pharma conspiracy in relation to HIV charities I will concede that as far as prevention goes we must do better & that does require a different message for some individuals.

            How this is achieved is difficult to balance, but I am a big believer that we should highlight the problems associated with late diagnosis on both public health & that of the individual (not sure you will agree here) & call for the potential risks of oral sex to be re-evaluated & somehow provide in a clearer message. We should highlight the risks of multiple partners & that other STI’s greatly increase the likelihood of HIV transmission.

            We need to tackle the mainstream behaviours that are fueling new HIV infections & also provide appropriate harm reduction advise to those who really need it, via specialised clinics / groupwork

          24. I am extremely uncomfortable making the above points because of a lack of trust in you. I was deeply saddened & offended by the Stu incident & that was a watershed for me in terms of trust. I make a very good friend but a formidable enemy!

            I am fully aware of my use of “baiting” techniques as are you of your very good oratory skills – but I have felt I had to stand my ground with you because I owe it to other HIV positive individuals who are not able to speak out like I can…….there are people who feel so trapped by HIV they have no one to turn to apart from a “virtual community”. These people are living with HIV on their own, leading double lives – this is so sad in 2012, & I am not quoting isolated incidents here.

            We both meed to moderate our comments I believe because you are inclined to exaggerate & I am inclined to become aggressive in my tone. It will be interesting to see how the next HIV story pans out.

            I hope you are not too offended by the award I nominated you for.

          25. Samuel B. 3 Nov 2012, 5:14pm

            …to virtuosity add virtuousness.

          26. Samuel B. 4 Nov 2012, 4:24pm

            I really do wish you had mentioned this before, W6:- your impression of me must be extremely low to think I could anything like this against you.

            Believe it or not beneath the big words I do have a heart and hold people like you -giving of their time and knowledge for the betterment of others – in the highest regard possible, indeed in awe.

            The irony of this whole situation is that we both come onto these threads with the best of intentions – you from your perspective as a guide through the complex HIV meds maze, me as a bystander frustrated and angry at what I and others perceive to be a grotesque failure by the HIV sector to get to grips with the spread of the virus – yet end up at each others’ throats because we are so wedded to our own theories and experiences that we find it difficult to see things from the others’ perspective.

            I have always said your heart is in the right place, and I hope you believe I am sincere in that, more now than ever.

            I will continue to speak out…

          27. Samuel B. 4 Nov 2012, 4:44pm

            at what I perceive to be injustices and questionable policies being implemented in our name, but as a supporter of the work you do it will be interesting to see the direction this takes as the tone shifts somewhat and hopefully becomes more amicable.

            My opinion of big pharma and the HIV sector hasn’t changed but my perception of your role and raison d’être in the debate has, so feel free to continue pulling me down wherever you see fit and I won’t be so vengeful in my retorts!

            Apologies for ever accusing you of being a pharma shill, and similarly, for the record I am completely apolitical and swear no allegiance to any party, though I acknowledge my views would sit nearer to the right than the left if psychoanalysed.

            Finally, I trust you are not working totally alone and are getting some help and recognition for all that you do to improve lives?

            Remember to always help yourself first in order to help others:- don’t ever allow it to get to a point where it all becomes a struggle.

          28. I am sure the many feet of comments do not show either of us in a particularly good light if I am honest, but the internet is a difficult place to clearly get ones point across. First impression certainly had a big impact on my views about you. It took me a great deal of courage to start posting here, because of other difficulties I have – PN is probably not the best place to start airing one’s thoughts to a baying public.

            I have discussed out “debates” with my psychologist because I have been concerned that engaging in this way with others had the potential to be very dangerous for me. It was interesting that he pointed out that you & I have a “relationship” of sorts, which made me smile as this had been noted by another contributor on PN but I am sure said contributor had a different sort of relationship in mind LOL. Of course my psychologist was talking about a relationship in terms of our exchange of very strong views, which has the potential to raise difficult emotions………

          29. I am not sure that other PN regulars is ready for a more agreeable exchange of views, but we have to move on & develop the argument. I do what I can within the constraints of the system or establishment, because sadly in areas such as Housing, Welfare & General Practice it is incredibly difficult to make change happen, so I take the view try & work with them & create change from within.

            THT is not a perfect organisation, but I do know many many people rely on them as have I in times past. All I can say is that there are many individuals within the organisation that are very passionate about changing things, so don’t write it off entirely. HIV & sexual health prevention services are going to in a very difficult position next year with the likes of Serco et al sharpening their quills to sign on the dotted line where services are put out to tender when Local Authorities take control. In my view now is not the time to seek the unseating of organisations such as THT.

          30. HIV particularly for gay men is just not on the agenda of this Government, yet this short sightedness is going to continue to have an impact on the cost of HIV to the NHS – I am more than aware of this. 1 of the main reasons I changed my meds is to save money – I am of the opinion that those of us who can should be encouraged to do so, but more research is required in this aspect.

            I am rambling because to be frank, I am amazed by your comments, which I thank you for. We are on the same hymn sheet just at opposite ends, particularly on prevention. Prevention is a very difficult area to get right (not an excuse) & whilst I am very interested in prevention I do not have the answers. I am very disappointed in gay men as there seems there is no appetite out there to open a dialogue about HIV, no one is interested it seems. This can be seen here where Equal Marriage is the subject that is of greatest interest with health being way down on the list of topics of interest. Very sad me thinks!

          31. There will be a raft of stories in the run up to WAD with plenty of opportunities for good debate I hope. I have a very good support network around me, they encourage me to look after myself; of course I have to manage my difficulties which enables me to help others. I have been known to take on complex situations in the past which has been unhelpful, but I always see them through.

            I am starting a very exciting project in the NY which will enable me to hopefully make a bigger difference to people living with HIV in London. One thing has to be said my debating skills have been very well stretched & developed over the past 2 yrs, all down to you. I am not the brightest crayon in the box & it has been a huge learning curve for me. I will be using these skills tomorrow with my local MP on a complex housing matter which I am helping with.

            I am not without fault fo the past & apologise for my insensitive & personal remarks; I am human (some say with a big heart) & not a Dalek LOL

          32. Samuel B. 5 Nov 2012, 3:29pm

            Wow, very inspiring and empowering to read your last few posts, W6!

            Believe it or not people I have shown our bouts to liken us to an old married couple!

            We are both fuelled by our passion to ease suffering:- and yes I will be the first to say that I shoot from the hip in the face of perceived injustice that impinges on the lives of others, and do throw the occasional big word in for effect.

            More than anything I hate seeing the ordinary man trampled upon and will speak out loudly to highlight what I perceive to be an injustice or corruption at the ordinary man’s expense.

            Yet there you are actually using your expert knowledge of HIV drugs to devote your time and energy to help others rather than just shouting from the rooftops:- you walk your talk in other words!

            As I noted just the other day your debating skills have improved no end in the time we have debating, so something good has come out of these discussions and I have no doubt these skills will come into major play…

          33. Samuel B. 5 Nov 2012, 3:45pm

            on the rocky road ahead as the government corruply continues to sell off the NHS and vital HIV services to its chums with the biggest pockets in the private sector.

            I watched last week’s Dispatches about the disaster that Virgin Health has already inflicted on the health practices it is now contracted to run with rage:- blatant cost cutting occurring at the expense of basic healthcare provision, and the tiresome and oh so predictably lame excuses masquerading as an official response from Branson HQ.

            Deplorable, and I will be cashing in my Virgin air miles as soon as and then it’s back to BA for me!

            You are so right, W6, while we still have the likes of THT we still have the potential to initiate change for the better:- which cannot happen if and when private enterprise starts being awarded all the HIV prevention and services contracts.

            Btw, hope the above thoroughly erases any notion of my having true blue Tory credentials!! :)

          34. Who would of thunk it – we actually have the very same views! We are in difficult times everywhere – I had a meeting today & discovered Hammersmith & Fulham LA are going to scrap their choice based letting scheme in April 2013, which effectively means they will no longer have a social housing waiting list & the majority of homeless individuals in temporary accommodation (hostels, B&B’s cramped studio’s) will have to rent in the private sector. Many of these people are working & cannot afford private rentals in the area & will be forced to move out – this approach is akin to “ethnic cleansing”. I also hear that officers within H&F have openly told people enquiring about social housing that they are “not the sort of people who can live in the Borough!”

          35. We will all need to work together to safeguard the future of local HIV / STI services – we can all do a little bit even if it is just to write to your local MP, or hold the local council to account on sexual health from next year onwards etc. Thank you for your recognition of my efforts, in the grand scheme of things it is very small scale, but it helps those who I come into contact with.

            I look forward to further debates – perhaps you should write an opinion / comment piece on your views on better sexual health for gay men. I am considering doing something in relation to condom use & or oral sex, which as you know I am becoming more concerned about -early days as yet I need to do more research.

            As they say “see you on the ice”

          36. Whoever woulda thunk it indeed?!

            Never underestimate the value of your contribution, W6:-

            “…I have undertaken training to be that link between clinician & patient, to provide that support, ask the pertinent questions of the clinician & make sure the patient understands what is being said.

            “This interest grew out of my own research when I was thinking about starting meds; I quickly realised that many of my close friends were either on older drugs or were putting up with side effects. I wanted to make a difference & I do exactly what you have described above…”

            That is no small contribution, trust me.

            If your assistance guides even one person in the right direction and ensures they have the best treatment available that results in the best outcome possible in terms of quality of life and life expectancy, then you will have changed someone’s world – hell, universe! – for the better, and who knows what other positive ripples will consequently emanate from that selfless act?

          37. I get entirely what you are referring to with regards “social cleansing”.

            Now, this is going way back but I do recall years ago when the quality of AIDS drugs rendered many pos people unable to work and dependent on state benefits that moves were afoot to “repatriate” as many as possible to rundown housing estates on the far reaches of London.

            We do know that “social cleansing” is now being mooted with new housing benefit caps prompting some London councils to rehouse those in social housing, but to other parts of the country altogether due to the exhorbitant level of rents in the capital.

            This must be particularly worrying for pos people caught up in this trap as it is essential that they have access to services and support groups they know and are not forced to move to parts of the country where they could end up isolated, and for whom such upheaval could lead to major depression.

            Yes, much to debate in the coming months, I’m sure, W6, and all power to you in these testing times!

          38. Btw, thanks for the heads-up on the inclement risks believed to be associated with oral sex, which has until now always been presented as low to very low risk.

            If what you say is true then I can only thank heaven that I’m (still) negative as I should surely be a prime candidate for having contracted HIV by now.

            But as I have said previously, I have a good friend who is/was the least obvious person you would imagine at risk of catching HIV yet maintains he could only have contracted the virus via oral sex.

            The problem is, are neg men prepared to go to lengths to practice oral sex safely, even when they are practicing safe anal sex as a matter of course?

            Is it one step too far, even if the risk of oral sex is shown to be quite significant?

            There are certain precautionary measures I will be taking until more is known – for example, no “facials” until more is known – but I can’t imagine going so far as to start sucking on condoms any time too soon.

            Keep us posted on developments!

          39. I try to get involved with several organisations to raise HIV awareness in general & also to make treatment as tolerable as possible – most recently I have been discussing treatment optimisation with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, which is seeking to to reduce over reliance on complex drug interventions – in essence trying to strip back to the bare essentials, not just adding more drugs in to mask other side effects. This not only is better for the patient but also cost to the NHS. This is something that needs GP’s & patient groups to become involved in to reduce drug overuse.

            I am also very concerned about Welfare changes & particularly the housing crisis in London, recently two of my friends were evicted by private landlords because of proposed rent increases etc – the system is very broken, there is no common sense withion many LA’s instead they rely on process & procedure, which often causes untold unset for the homeless individual & at the same time costs huge amounts of money

          40. Whilst things like Welfare reform are necessary the Gov has missed a huge opportunity to prepare people better for getting back into the work place – instead they have chosen to use blunt instruments such as the Work Capability Assessment which is totally unsuitable & has resulted in very sick people dying because of all the stress it has caused. I could go on ad-infinitum.

            I would say that in the main oral sex is considered lower risk, but it is so difficult to quantify the exacting risk as this is very dependent on a number of factors, some of which are not obvious. I have been struck by the anecdotal evidence form my forum work that seems to suggest that transmission via oral sex may be more widespread than we currently believe. I am particularly interested in the period of initial infection (first 4 to 6 wks) where HIV is left unchecked by the body defenses.

          41. During this short period the viral load can be extremely high (millions) which means transmission risk is much higher. Once the natural immune system reacts the viral load can be significantly reduced (my VL was never above 6k). It is fair to say that guys have a great deal more unprotected oral sex, which means there is potentially a greater risk where there are low level throat infections, other STI’s which have not been diagnosed in the throat & of course trauma to the mouth tissues

            Trauma is described as obvious cuts or abrasions, but less obvious trauma may cause low level inflammation & where there is inflammation there are immune cells in large numbers that carry the CD4 protein which HIV uses to get into these immune cells. The mouth & throat tissue is less susceptible to being penetrated by bacteria & viruses, but the tonsils are the first line defense & contain high levels of immune cells; this could explain why oral sex risk can be a high as 5% per exposure.

    3. How about concentrating on the issue at hand here for once?
      The point isn’t about what side effects the treatment may or may not have, it is in fact that if we prevent further transmition of HIV then the drugsv(side effects and all) will no longer be necessary.
      Stop creating drama and help deal with the root problem, please!

  5. This link provides more detail on National Testing Week

    https://www.tht.org.uk/thinkhiv

    1. Samuel B. 1 Nov 2012, 2:16pm

      Oh yes. W6, we’ll all be rushing like good little gays to get in the line for testing week!!

      I mean, really, just how desperate are they now getting?

      Next we’ll be frogmarched to the nearest HIV testing lab whether we like it or not!

      HIV sector personnel have openly lamented the uptake for drug regimens like PEP haven’t been anywhere as high as predicted, and so on the pretext of HIV “prevention” want more of us to test so that more meds can be prescribed.

      Exactly how is mass testing proven to lower HIV infection rates:– do HIV system servers really believe the rhetorical PC bunkum they’re fed by the system to repeat ad nauseum ala W6?

      We now see clearly WHY the likes of THT shied away from the kind of solid, impactful, hardhitting campaigns which for years they lied would upset the feelings of pos people.

      Well now the genie truly is out of the bottle and the duplicity and mendacity of a conniving HIV sector that is deep in the pockets of big pharma is clear for all to see…

      1. As you have previously confirmed that you take regular HIV tests I wonder why you think that somehow it is not ok for other gay men to be encouraged to test regularly? Your view of “mass testing” is ridiculous – National HIV testing week is designed to encourage regular testing as part of the prevention strategy. Clinicians, BHIVA, BASSH, HPA, NICE are all of the opinion that from a public health point of view increased testing must be encouraged to control the spread of HIV.

        Try to uncouple your view that testing is all about Pharma Co profits – it is about public health & engaging with people who are at risk of contracting HIV (& other STI’s). Many people who test +ve go for several years without the need for taking meds, so I really do not understand your charge that testing is a conspiracy -if this is the case then all the organisations I have listed (& many more) are all wrong as is the epidemiological view that testing plays a vital role in prevention work!

        1. Im sure the logic is that if more people test for HIV then more people find out if they are + or not and those that are + can take steps to not pass the disease on thereby lowering infection rates.

          Its pretty self explanatory.

  6. Melissa/Sarah

    I am sure that no-one, or at the most, hardly anyone is interested in the specific scandal messages you keep posting under PN articles. I have given up trying to read them. They are off-topic, and very difficult to read with their assumptions of inside information and textspeak language.

    PLEASE do us a favour and stop posting them. They are a real distraction – intrusion – into PN comments and discussions.

    You may have a justified grievance – I have no idea, as the posts make little sense to me, and just contain certain unintelligible and unverifiable claims. But the fact you keep flooding PN comments boards with these just makes me wonder whether you are persistently vexatious and whether the people who upset you may not be as guilty as you claim.

    Please don’t invade the comments board: write to the papers, hold a picket or demo, set up a blog, start a campaign: but please do stop this. It is doing nothing for your cause, whatever your cause is.

  7. Melissa/Sarah

    Please think again about the specific scandal messages you keep posting under PN articles. They aren’t relevant. I have given up trying to read them. They are off-topic, and very difficult to read with their assumptions of inside information and textspeak language.

    They are a distraction – intrusion – into genuine PN comments and discussions.

    You may have a justified grievance – I have no idea. But the fact you keep flooding PN comments boards with these just makes me wonder whether the people who upset you may have a story to tell that does not cast them in such a bad light.

    Please don’t invade the comments board: write to the papers, hold a picket or demo, set up a blog, start a campaign: but please do stop this. It is doing nothing for your cause, whatever your cause is.

  8. Samuel
    “How appalling, yet utterly predictable, that just weeks after promising to improve its prevention methods with millions in new funding, THT should dig up an old fossil of a failed campaign – THIVK – which jumps on the same call to testing bandwagon.”

    Is this an old campaign? If so I think it is worth asking the question whether it worked the first time round. Was there an increase in gay men testing because of it? Does anyone know?

    1. Samuel B. 1 Nov 2012, 3:50pm

      Erm, no, John, there wasn’t!

      Prevention shifted to the mass rallying call to testing several years ago because, it seems, the conniving HIV sector had driven the infection rate up far enough to enable its pharma chums to start cashing in big time.

      But lo and behold the uptake to testing wasn’t anywhere near what was anticipated, which is why we now have Testing Week foisted on us!.

      Of course, it may simply not have occurred to the schemers behind this wheeze that, actually, the very gay men they have attempted to procure into unsafe sex with endless HIV “prevention” campaigns pushing condom-less sex, giving extreme sex venues their “Play Zone” seal of approval and their silent complicity in the open sale of bareback porn, backfired because gay men aren’t so naive after all and simply didn’t take the bait!

      Sure, HIV rates are at record levels, but nowhere near as high as they were designed to be by the end of 2012.

      A bad year all round for big pharma and its sordid ambitions, then.

    2. In answer to your very valid question John Ten, I am very sure that THT & the commissioners who awarded funding would have looked at any data there was to support the view as to whether the THIVK campaign was effective or not.
      I do not know if those findings are in the public domain, perhaps a FOI request to the DoH may provide such evidence.

      There has been some research undertaken in the UK that testing rates can be significantly improved where local campaigns focus on testing – the World Class clinic at 56 Dean Street undertook such research & found that testing rates vastly improved when local campaigns were run alongside outreach testing services. Testing as part of prevention is difficult to quantify, but Gay men in general do test more often than their straight counterparts.

      1. EEK. FOIs seem a bit aggressive. I’m really not attacking THT. I’m just curious. If the campaign has been done once and there’s evidence that it works then that’s fantastic. I didn’t see the ads first time round so if it works then I’m sure other people didn’t and doing it again is a good idea.
        I’m sure someone from THT must read these posts so give us a link or something to the evidence and it’ll put a stop to all these negative comments.

      2. And I agree with you W6, Dean St is a great clinic.

  9. Dear PN readers, let me to introduce Mr Alan Strong (aka Melissa / John London, et al) who several yrs ago was employed by both UKC & more latterly Crusaid.

    Both organisations were known for their poor financial governance & indeed very large sums of money were paid to its staff.

    I am very sure that Mr Strong did not complain whilst he was on board the gravy train, probably drawing a very nice income.

    Mr Strong was made redundant from Crusaid & it would seem he felt that this was unfair – one has to ask why he did not go to an employment tribunal & seek a resolution in the correct manner.

    Mr Strong is well known to flood many HIV charitiy sites with spam messages of the sort we are increasingly seeing here. Despite his best efforts there has never been any arrests for corruption or financial embezzlement of the ex charity Trustees management.

    He is a nuisance as others have commented on. PN need to act before his SPAM makes the site un-readable!

    1. Couldn’t agree more.

      It’s turning into a news site for people with mental health problems.

  10. Not what my investigations have revealed, but hey at least you have unmasked yourself, so perhaps you can post under one name – at least give the readers the opportunity to easily ignore your ramblings!

    Perhaps you can explain why you feel it is appropriate to air your grievance against wrongful dismissal or redundancy (which ever it was) on these comments pages – particularly as UKC is now defunct & Crusaid merged with THT who took on all it’s liabilities including pensions, debts & other longer term liabilities with the only real asset being the Crusade shop, which THT have recently relaunched & seems that it is now being much better managed than when it was by Crusaid.

    Perhaps you can also explain to me why I had to wait over 3 months for a Crusaid hardship fund grant when I had no money & was extremely unwell with depression? Why was the Hardship Fund more often closed than open during the last years of Crusaid’s management? – do enlighten me!

  11. All very well asking gay people to test but when you and have test positive you will be expected to inform your Gp.

    You will be pressurized to inform them although you do not want to, therefore you cannot remain anonymous with your diagnosis.

    Under the VD Act of 1974 you have the right to remain anonymous with your diagnosis. Once your Gp knows you are placed on a data base and your diagnosis shared between the NHS.

    Just thought people ought to know.

  12. not just gay men – EVERYONE should have HIV testing done as a mandatory part of the sexual health check up – just because someone doesn’t feel like they are at risk it doesn’t mean they are and if they are positive then it will never be identified if they are not tested for it.

    This NEEDS to change.

    1. Great comment Jamie, more & more clinics are now using opt out consent to test for HIV. Rather than ask someone if they would like an HIV test included in a sexual health screening, they are advised that an HIV test forms part of that battery of tests & have the option to opt out, which is important.

      As you indicate HIV does not discriminate, everyone who is sexually active should take regular sexual health check ups.

      1. Spanner1960 4 Nov 2012, 10:45am

        Wheel out the old mantra “HIV does not discriminate” again to support the often ridiculously promiscuous gay lifestyle.

        HIV may not discriminate, but if you keep barging to the front of the queue all the time, there’s a much higher likelihood you are going to get picked.

        1. How very profound & so well written

          1. Spanner1960 5 Nov 2012, 12:02am

            Why thank you.

        2. Its not just promiscuous gays that get it though there are people who are born with HIV, there are those that get infected from blood transfusions. Its not a “gay disease” no matter how much people try and say it is – it only APPEARS to be more prevalent because gay men are told they are more at risk and test more – i know straight men who have NEVER been tested for anything. Disgusting and irresponsible attitude to have.

  13. Whoever the person is that has left multiple comments in different names (at least nearly all the last 20 comments). I think you need some help from somewhere? You seem to have some real issues. Hope you can sort your head out because you sound a bit of a mess.

  14. It’s amazing how many people are living in the 90s in terms of 1) HIV prevention and 2) what charities did or didn’t do 3) sounding like a warped club classic.

    Only, yes, only hIv brings out the fervent one-track commenters like nowt of interest to queer folk, why?

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