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Boris Johnson announces support for national HIV campaign

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  1. The purported number of undiagnosed HIV cases may in fact be far less than the 10,000 or so estimated in the gay community alone.

    In the pre-antiretroviral heyday we were losing hundreds of gay men a year to AIDS:- it thus stands to reason that the 10,000 estimate would result in far more than the 200 or so people who are dying from full-blown AIDS each year due to late or no diagnosis.

    I would suggest a degree of fear mongering and scare tactics is at play here of the kind that the same advocates of testing have, for years, insisted must never be used in HIV prevention campaigns, and are being used specifically to scare men to test.

    So much for the argument that graphic campaigns stigmatise pos people!

    A case in point being the new 56 Dean Street HIV ad which portrays an undiagnosed gay man strapped to an electric chair ready to be fried alive.

    How does the HIV sector justify such shock tactics for HIV testing but insist they don’t work for prevention.

    Double standards, clearly,

    1. @S,

      I would like to see the HPA review its own figures on the number of people accessing HIV care, from the diagnosed less deaths equates to around 92,000 and that doesnt take into consideration the estimated 25% on top. Given that London has 50% of HIV cases, how then according to HPA just 28,000 are in receipt of HIV care and that around 2,891 people access care in London from outside, this issue also has to be addressed! Of interest to all

      1. More clarity and clarification should be provided on the stats and collating methods used to arrive at these figures lest accusations of cooked books start being bandied around.

        How, for example, is the figure of 10,000 arrived at for the estimated number of undiagnosed men?

        Simply stating that it is a quarter of diagnosed HIV cases is not a scientifically recognised formula and could in fact be way off the mark, which I very much suspect it is in order to scaremonger and drive more of us into testing clinics.

        Gay men generally are not stupid and will know if and when they should be testing based on their sexual behaviour.

        For those who are deliberately reckless and don’t want to know one way or the other, I’d wager, have a subconscious death wish and no amount of hard hitting scare campaigns will incentivise them to test.

        It is strange talking of graphic campaigns in relation to HIV until you realise there’s a profit motive involved in testing as opposed to preaching condom use.

        1. According to the HPA published data, it has already recorded 111,000 people diagnosed less around 19,000 deaths and which hospitials have special forms.

        2. The HPA stats are arrived at by the anonymised “sentinel testing” at GU Clinics

          This provides a good indication of the prevalence of undiagnosed HIV.; I am not sure which stats you are referring to when you say there are 10k of undiagnosed MSM in the UK, but it could be a smaller or larger figure – I have no reason to doubt the HPA stats as it is well established that the UK has a very good reputation in the World when it comes to HIV surveillance techniques.

          I am not sure the profit motive argument really stacks up Samuel in relation to what you are now referring to as “graphic campaigns” but you are entitled to make that observation. Are you not pleased that the the 56 Dean Street ad is more to your liking?

          1. HPA figures from 2002-2011 equalls 70,294 people.

            Lets suggest if on average 6,500 people were to be tested HIV+ over 25 years = 162,500

            As the figures are diluated through caterogory, it doesnt show an overall total. So when was published , not helpful.

          2. Hi W6, we are often told that one in four pos people aren’t aware they have the virus, hence the 10,000 estimate.

            How is that figure arrived at exactly?

            No, the ad is not to my liking as I explained:- it seems to suit the HIV sector to use scare campaigns when it is to do with HIV testing but not as a deterrent to engaging in unsafe sex.

            It seems that in this case it is acceptable because it is intended to drive more men into clinics on the basis of identifying undiagnosed cases of infection which of course will benefit the individual but will also benefit the pharmas and charities who stand in boosted demand for drugs and services.

            Simply put, why isn’t this sort of campaign being used first and foremost as a deterrent to unsafe sex if those concerned now recognise the impact such ads have?

            If they did so then testing campaigns might not be necessary as most people would not be exposing themselves brazonly and wantonly to HIV infection…

          3. This from the HPA HIV report 2011

            “An estimated 40,100 (35,300-46,700) MSM were living with HIV in the UK in 2010, of whom 26% (16-36%) were undiagnosed” – this confirms your analysis, there could be 10,000 undiagnosed cases of HIV amongst MSM, this could be as low as 5500 or as high as 16,000. There is no doubt that the undiagnosed fraction is still driving new infections & what is worrying is that over 50% (poss 80%) of new infections are identified to have come from these undiagnosed individuals (based on another HIV surveillance tool – RITA Testing which looks at particular immune proteins that are present in early infection).

            If people have HIV & upon testing require treatment then they are given that treatment for the benefit of their health & to their sexual partners – I do not believe that in the UK or anywhere for that matter treatment is given by committed Dr’s to simply fulfill the profit aspirations of the Pharma Co’s – that is my view & I remain confident in this view.

          4. Surely Samuel there comes a time, where despite your views on big corporations & in particular big pharma it is clear that in the UK the majority of HIV Clinics are all about providing good patient care & follow up – yes we can all point to a particular example of where this is not the case, but certainly in my experience & in the experience of the HIV forum users across the UK they all feel supported by their clinics & feel that their Dr’s have their best interests at heart – yes we can always improve on things, which is my passion – but the NHS in my opinion & experience does a great job in difficult circumstances.

            Drug purchasing is not what Dr’s get involved in these days – this is the job of commissioners in the main with clinical input from HIV specialists – surely you can see that given the cost of HIV drugs the NHS is not involved in a scheme to boost the profits of the big Pharma Co’s – we are not like the US yet!

          5. Thanks for all your back-up stats, W6.

            I would love to share your view upon the world, where everyone looks out for the good and betterment of others and a world where most people don’t appear inspired by personal gain all the time and where corruption was rare.

            Indeed you epitomize the perfect example of the world I want to live in, occupied by people who give of themselves selflessly and who derive fulfillment and meaning in improving others’ lives.

            Unfortunately I have seen too much and heard to much to know that we live in a very imperfect world where corruption exists at all levels of society, and where even the role of medicine and health has been usurped to the point where profit comes before people’s lives.

            Sorry, but when bonuses are awarded to hospitals who hit targets for putting elderly patients on the Liverpool Care Pathway to death, you realise what a sick and twisted world we live in in which money trumps humanity.

            And I believe this is what has happened with HIV.

          6. I can only go on my own experiences of healthcare in the UK & that of close friends. I am all too aware of the threats that the NHS face with the new arrangements – particularly in relation to HIV & Sexual Health. The only thing I can do is be vocal about my concerns to those who it affects most, through my work with the HIV Community forums & also the patients I come into contact with at the sexual health clinics where I will be offering peer support / education.

            I do have some links with HIV Prevention England (the replacement for the CHAPS Partnership) which is co-ordinated by THT, & I will be vocal about things I think that could be done better. I have a small circle of influence but the way I see it some is better than no influence.

            I also believe in holding organisations to account; we can all do better at this – I very rarely accept things at face value, particularly when it comes to Local Government, which is where I see a great deal of injustice, & self-serving practices.

        3. “Gay men generally are not stupid and will know if and when they should be testing based on their sexual behavior.”

          As you have agreed yourself Samuel some gay men do get a surprise diagnosis & I am seeing this more & more on the national forum – today I have been conversing with an individual who received such a shock diagnosis – it is not as unusual as you may think. As we have discussed it is those initial 4 to 6 wks post infection that are a crucial factor in transmission, & we have discussed the oral sex route in some detail.

          This is not scaremongering (though you have suggested in the past this is an effective method of prevention) the stats are likely to be very accurate & testing is a cornerstone of any prevention message. The more virus there is out there the more likely it will be transmitted even when one is extremely careful with condom use.

          Condoms are only between 80% to 90% effective in the “real world” – many use them incorrectly & may not be aware of tears etc.

          1. I understand what you are saying, but is it not true that HIV contraction is extremely difficult even without a condom:- ie HIV is not an easily transmissible disease?

            Therefore, if a condom provides 80-90% protection then surely the risk of HIV contraction is infinitisemally small?

            As I say I have a friend who maintains he caught it orally but the strongest emphasis should be on safer sex, with testing as a secondary measure.

            It just strikes me as distasteful and breathtakingly hypocritical that scare tactics are now being employed to push testing in the absence of any campaigns using similar impactful imagery that stress the importance of condom use…

          2. How can the argument that hard hitting HIV campaigns stigmatise pos people be valid in the context of this 56 Dean Street ad?

            It isn’t because graphic campaigns done the correct way and are truthful in the message they are transmitting are not stigmatising at all:- it is just a well perpetuated myth that only HIV sector personnel, it would appear, cling on to.

          3. HIV is indeed a very fragile virus & exposure leading to infection is when compared to other viruses more difficult – that said there is a very important concept which we have discussed before – that being Viral Load.

            The higher the viral load (which is expressed as copies of virus per ml blood) then the greater the risk of infection – there is a proven relationship here. So someone who has recently been infected in the last 2 to 3 weeks could have a viral load in the millions – millions of copies per ml of blood – this is important concept to understand.

            Once anti-bodies have been produced by the body the VL comes down quickly & reaches an equilibrium where the body can just about control the infection – this is why some people can go a long time without treatment, whereas others need treatment sooner. My personal VL was never above 500 pre treatment.

          4. The 56 Dean Street campaign was a project designed to get the community involved – the winning ad was chosen by the public who voted for it on Facebook. This is an NHS initiative which is to be applauded in my view (I know you don’t share this view, which I have to accept). This ad did not get my vote, not because it appeared to be “hard hitting” but it did not make sense to me – it had to be explained to me in terms of the message it was sending out!

            Dean Street will be running another campaign soon – not sure what the campaign will be focused on, but hopefully it will be about condom use & safer sex, which is as important as testing. Likewise with THT they are focusing on testing in the run up to WAD – the next campaign will feature a different aspect of IV prevention & sexual health promotion. It is difficult to focus on two different messages in one campaign – you have been critical of this in the past, lets see what both Dean Street & HIV Prevention England bring out next.

          5. Graphic campaigns may have their uses & if we are going to use such campaigns then lets be open & honest about HIV as it stands in the UK today, not as it is in the US or in any other Country. We need to get the balance right between saying no one wants HIV & to suffer with a long term condition, but also if you are unlucky to get HIV then your life is not over. This is not simply achieved by posters & small media campaigns, it requires one on one / group education – testing has a role to play here.

            Anyone who goes for an HIV / STI test has their risk identified & this should be discussed prior to and after the test results are in. In my view negative result texting service is a bad thing thing as I think it prevents another opportunity for a health adviser to get the use a condom message across. Individuals with serial tests / infections in a short period of time should be offered more intensive initiative, but this can require up to 10 counseling sessions to be effective with MSM

          6. Very eloquently written, W6.

            Now we no longer feud I find myself reading what you have to say and listening to your words a lot more clearly and seeing the argument from your side when previously we were both trapped in endless reaction.

            That is a real breakthrough, and utmost credit to how far you have come:- indeed, I only wish someone like you could be guiding HIV policy within the CHAPS partnership.

            I know I have some very forthright views, many of which do not chime with the mood of many PN contributors, and that sometimes I can appear to be too opinionated, passionate and, yes, a little precious (!) in putting points across, but I hope you trust that when all is said and done I am sincere in what I say.

          7. “I know I have some very forthright views, many of which do not chime with the mood of many PN contributors”

            Ditto – but I tend to see PN for what it is – give people a space in which they can be vocal & they will never disappoint. My intentions all along have been to try to inform, get others to re-assess & correct some poor information I see written about my chosen subject. I have never taken such an interest in the way stories are written & how words are used to give a completely different meaning to what I consider to be accurate.

            This is part of the problem with HIV – it involves talking about sex & the type of sex we want to have. Because we don’t talk openly about sex then we don’t communicate effectively about HIV. Gay men in particular I find are not very poor at expressing themselves when it comes to sex – I see this all the time on the forums – the straight ladies are the most upfront & honest about sex, which is great.

            Your kind comments are duly noted!

        4. The issue here is more for funding, if the numbers are distorsted how can support services validiate there need for resources if the information is inaccurate, the census is used in such a way that collects data which is used for analysis of the population. This is a proactice stance.

  2. With all due respect John/Sarah, could I respectfully request you not bombard these boards further as your messages dilute the real debate at hand?

    One or two posts are all that are required to get your message across effectively:- anymore than that and people stop reading and go elsewhere, which clearly is not your intent.

    I know you have a grudge with the HIV sector and I am on the side of all pos people who have suffered due to the past mismanagement and misappropriation of funds.

    I am fighting your corner and exposing a lot of the malpractices, double standards and conflicts of interest carried out in the name of serving pos people, and I am only too aware of the embezzlement of funds by the chief executive of UK Coslition that precipitated its collapse.

    I can’t debate, however, if you continue to bombard this board and detract from the issue in hand.

    Thank you.

    1. For “exposing” read instead “highlighting” us I am not a journalist and do not profess to be covering anything that has not already been mentioned elsewhere.

  3. Spanner1960 19 Nov 2012, 4:14pm

    I was wondering how soon it would be before this illiterate fckwith with a chip on his shoulder bombarded this thread with crap under countless pseudonyms.

    If you have a point to make, go make it to those people that actually give a sh|t and leave the rest of us alone.

    1. Hi Spanner, I think this guy is beyond reasoning with to be honest with you.

      A little off topic, but as a longterm visitor to PN, to the best of your knowledge have you ever known any contributor to these boards achieving north of 50 red arrows?

  4. Think il skip it ta dont want to get caught up in all this corruption sounds like yr better of dead ?

  5. Noris, the spoiled buffoon from Bullyingdomland who has never suffered any deprivation or austerity of any sort, speaking from the top of his soap box, on behalf of a party that is now claiming the Financial sector is being “vilified”. How do you think the average Joe is going to take it?

    1. de Villiers 19 Nov 2012, 6:07pm

      I think I preferred the spammers.

  6. Please:

    No more of this.

    But, if you must:

    Sentences. Make your point clear.

    But far better: please stop.

  7. I got tested then read the ‘same sh*t different toilet’ feature in the relaunch of pos nation mag ? What does that mean nufin about london aids charity threatenin police panel member wiv high ct injunction then givin them a medal ? Is hiv media censoring the news and discriminating against poz people dont think il test again n get caught up in the scandals na

  8. + ACT UP LONDON + + 19 Nov 2012, 7:38pm

    WORLD AIDS DAY 2012 A GOOD DAY TO BURY BAD NEWS ? ACT UP LONDON DEMAND A END TO THE SCANDALS AND COVER UPS – Demand a transparent honest hiv /aids London sector demand 100% of money raised for people living with hiv/aids goes to them – join us

  9. Lovin al the scandals and cover ups coming out and people being told the truth well done all involved :-)

  10. Yes thanks to all for being honest i think i might get tested now ? Keep it up w6 blokey want a medal ?

  11. Bye bye w6 blokey missin u already xx think i wont get tested with people like w6 blokey about ;-(

  12. Poor w6 blokey trying to censor pinknews and truth coming out got his statement wrong again lol ithought aids charity sector meant to be honest n help people living with hiv ?

  13. Crikey mr angry w6 blokes back must b terible for al the people that had thr medical data lost al over london i wldnt get tested na

    1. Rather than attack people you don’t know, Mr Strong, why not instead take a leaf out of their book and harness all of your hate and loathing into something positive:- like volunteering your time to improve the lot of gay pos men you profess to be speaking out for?

  14. Mr Alan Strong,

    UKC is now closed and so should this agrument.

  15. Mr. Strong, whatever sympathy I and I am sure others may have had for your perceived wrongdoing at the hands of the HIV charity sector is fast evaporating.

    This is NOT the way to make a point and you have selfishly destroyed yet another debate with your spam which nobody reads, so what do you hope to achieve?

    It really is time to let go of the anger and even, if you can, learn to forgive those you perceive as your enemy as you are clearly eating yourself up with your anger and bitterness.

    They have already moved on, some through revolving doors into other well-paid positions within the system and are unlikely ever to be held to account for their alleged actions, so the only person you are spiting here is yourself.

    I won’t address you again as I have a feeling it is the attention you crave more than anything, but if you have any respect for free and open debate please restrain yourself and make your points in one, concise posting.

    Thank you.

    1. “I won’t address you again…” We live in hope.

  16. HIV testing seems to offend some individuals here, so many red thumbed comments. :c
    I would never have thought health and awareness would be so offensive?

  17. Read its dishonesty in pos nation mag and sordid truth wil come out and pos nation is goin todo expose fancy

  18. How were so many scandals covered up for so long ? Im not testing n gettin involved in this ?

  19. I think its good to get tested due to medication about but it would be better to be honest n transparent with people and have got all the scandals out in one go its good the information comm’s office ensured all the aids data lost all over london was securely destroyed must be awful for the people involved and the police panel member sent the multiple medical data of another police panel member the ceo of Nat wrote to them ‘sorry to hear what youve been through’ and ICO recovered and destroyed the data :-)

  20. Great to see Annie Lennox on the ITV London News endorsing the National HIV Testing Week which starts this Friday.

    This is shaping up to be a great campaign with adverting on London Buses & great promotion up & down the Country provided by the consortium partners

    Well Done HIV Prevention England for this enthusiastic start to the prevention Campaigns:

  21. Thanks act up London we really appreciate what you do for us and exposing people living with hiv/aids in poverty in uk needlessly as the money raised never went to them over the years thank you keep doing what your doing and exposing discrimination stigma and cover ups in the london hiv sector – we owe you so much xxx

  22. Let’s not forget he is not the only one on here who has been found out to have upwards of a dozen or do aliases.

    The poster once known as ‘Stu’ is still a prolific contributor, these days posting as a lesbian with something in her eye (clue) I kid you not!!

  23. You should be encouraging EVERYONE to be tested – the reason why Black and Gay people are diagnosed as most at risk is because they get tested the most! Compulsory HIV test with all GUM visits for a few years will soon tell a different tale – that is if you can get straight people to finally accept that they are not bullet proof and actually visit a GUM clinic.

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