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London: G-A-Y Bar today attempts world record for total number of HIV tests

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  1. Now before all the more conservative readers start pouring scorn on this initiative, lets be clear about this event:

    1. The testing is completed in the basement bar which provides the appropriate level of confidentiality to those taking a test.

    2. The Staff at 56 Dean Street are fully trained & will provide all the necessary information to those wishing to test prior to & after the test.

    3. Fast reacting tests look for HIV anti-bodies you either have them or you don’t. The environment where testing takes place does not alter this fact.

    4. Anyone testing positive will be linked into the care of 56 Dean Street & will have the appropriate confirmatory tests taken to confirm a “reactive” result.

    Good luck to the team at 56 Dean Street – make history once again!

  2. How can a basement bar provide confidentiality in a busy bar in the central of London??

    HIV is a serious matter and it never fails to amuse me that the medical profession allows this to go ahead in a bar!

    1. Errrr the basement bar will only be used for testing booths – Outreach testing services operate in this way all over the UK – this initiative is to be applauded rather than criticised.

      If you live in London @Amused why not go for a test – it’s quick & easy & all the staff at 56 Dean Street provide all the necessary information & support needed for those who take a test.

      Easy to be an armchair critic me thinks!

    2. Ah, shut up. No one is forcing anyone. If you don’t want to get tested don’t.

      1. Yep drunk or off your head, perfect mindset for making a decision to test or not.

        1. All the people who opt to test spend time with a qualified person so that their sexual risk taking can be fully assessed & they are also given all the information prior to the test.

          Given that 400+ tests have already been completed I would say that the people in Soho have today made trhe correct decision to know their HIV status.

          If your in London why not go along & find out rather than be an armchair critic!

  3. Wouldn’t trust strangers with my personal info.

    End of the day it is still a bar which sells alcohol!!

    1. It is understandable that this type of outreach testing is not for everyone, it is intended to highlight the important of regular testing & also that testing takes just 60 seconds.

      The staff undertake a thorough sexual health risk assessment before offering each test so they can identify anyone who may be at increased risk of obtaining a “reactive” test result.

      “Wouldn’t trust strangers with my personal info” the staff from the 56 Dean Street clinic are NHS staff & the service is completely confidential as all outreach services are.

      In the first hour they completed 91 tests which is very impressive & shows that many individuals do not share your concerns about this kind of initiative

      1. Paul from Brighton 1 Dec 2012, 2:13pm

        I think it’s a great initiative and very well done to all concerned.

        I also think that in many ways the bar/venue is the right place for testing. For example, how many of us would dread going to our local GP let alone turning up at the local hospital asking for a test.

        Good luck with it all and long may these new and potentially life saving ideas come to the fore.

  4. Jock S. Trap 1 Dec 2012, 3:04pm

    Amused;- surely anything that helps save lives is to be applauded?!

    You might not trust it but doesn’t make you dangerous in that you’d obviously not know or want to know, passing it around that be caught and treated?!

    Also doing this in a bar surely helps combat some of the bigoted stigma that is attached to being HIV, something that has gotten worse over the last few years esp amongst Gay people themselves.

  5. Tax deductable I think JJ!, Why then should the EJAF be again considered for this lump sum/donation, when lesser income charities/organisations at grass routes level could be better served with a sum of £10K.

    Given the current millions sitting with EJAF unused? What do you think?

  6. If I need medical care I go to the hospital or Gp. I wouln’t want to buy a pint of beer there.

    If I go to GAY I expect to buy a drink – and for testing in a bar I would hope the customers are sober before you do any testing?

    1. There are obliviously people who think differently to you – not all GP’s offer an HIV test, even when their patients present with classic HIV related symptoms. Many people are too worried about going to a GU clinic, this provides a good alternative and so far over 400 people have taken a test today.

      No matter what the result they are all in good hands with the staff from 56 Dean Street.

      1. At the end of the day if you have a positive result you will end up at the GU/HIV clinic for the treatment and follow up.

        If you want testing to be normalised why don’t they test in supermarkets and other venues and target the whole population??

        If over half of the dianoses who tested positive in 2011 were gay then the other half were straight?? Seems targeting gay people at the expense of the wider population?

        1. I would agree that we need a wider education program about HIV & the benefits that regular testing brings. Sadly the Government are not prepared to put additional funding forward for a much needed National Campaign – they don’t even have an England wide HIV / Sexual Health Strategy.

          G-A-Y is in the heart of the Soho district, London has a highly concentrated number of gay men with undiagnosed HIV – if they won’t go to the clinic take the clinic to them. I might add that Chelsea & Westminster NHS Foundation Trust also carried out HIV testing at Westfield Shopping Centre in Shepherds Bush yesterday & also today in Lyric Square Hammersmith.

          Events like this in high footfall places are effective at raising awareness & encouraging people to test on the spot. I really don’t see the problem that some commentators have with this! The good people at 56 Dean Street & more latterly at the Kobler Clinic have provided me with the best HIV care & I am grateful to them & support this initiative.

          1. As you know this figure is spread over 3 years, HIV Prevention England have roughly have £2.3million to spend on targeted campaigns each year working with their partners across England.

            Given that the projected lifetime cost of treating 1 individual with HIV is around £250,000 to £300,000 such targeted campaigns only have to prevent 10 new infections a year to recoup this cost.

            The Government need to invest upfront to tackle HIV and formulate a credible joined up strategy which has now been missing for 2 years.

  7. 574 tests completed at G-A-Y by the wonderful staff & volunteers at 56 dean Street.

    This is a great news and they still have 2 more hours to go. Whatever the individual outcomes of the tests (sadly a proportion will be reactive) the people testing have done a great thing today!

    1. Given that London has around 250,000 people identifed as LGBT, thats £5,740 in the pocket of EJAF!

    2. Chapeau to the staff of 56 Dean Street – I went, was tested, and all good (I’m part of the ‘worried-well’ cohort).It really was that quick, in and out in 6 minutes. They were fun, relaxed and efficient. Took me longer to fill in the form than have the test. If you wanted privacy you could have privacy, if you were an exhibitionist, as I am, you could have your test in the bar area – does that matter? No. Quite the opposite, it’s a good thing. I want people to see tests taking place, I don’t want people to be frightened. What really matters is that I, and hundreds of others, were comfortable enough to go and be tested. To those further up this chain, it’s not wrong to be questioning, that’s good. What really matters is that you feel comfortable to be tested when you want to be tested, and where you want to be tested. We need to dramatically reduce the number of people who do not know their status. Let’s concentrate on how we can make that happen, and celebrate REGULAR testing.

  8. 745 tests completed today at G-A-Y bar another new World Record.

    As dc says it is all about raising awareness, reducing the fear around testing which will ultimately reduce new infections.

    We know the testing message is important and this initiative has been hugely successful & will help change the perceptions about HIV.

    Congratulations to everyone involved and all those who got tested. For those who sadly received a reactive test it really is better to know & now they can get the care they require to ensure they remain well.

  9. Gents the staff from the 56 Dean Street clinic is amazing! thanks a lot for what you do…many people deeply appreciate your job! Keep going x

  10. Jock S. Trap 2 Dec 2012, 10:12am

    I think the fact that W6_bloke and those that have acted positively about this campaign (excluding mine) have been marked down shows a Very worrying fact that too many people even within PinkNews readers would rather bury their heads in the sand that deal with the crisis at hand.

    I speak from experience as do others, I imagine, in the stigma HIV brings and the needs to deal with HIV as a whole issue to get better and resolve but with such negativity that will never happen until people actually listen… or rather want to listen.

    But then isn’t this the problem? People get all high and mighty about HIV moaning on about how people don’t listen to the message yet clearly have no wise to listen to the message themselves esp from people living with HIV.

    Surely, very dangerous!!

    1. bit presumptuous: not keen on testing in a bar means you’re burying your head in the sand.

      1. Jock S. Trap 3 Dec 2012, 9:39am

        This is about saving lives. You have a choice to be tested in a bar just as much as you have a choice not to. At the end of the day if one person chooses to do so and turns out to be positive then that is one life saved.

        The message has to be done in several different ways to get the message out there, The one same message that might work for one type of people won’t get the message to all so you have to vary that same message to apply to as many people as possible.

        It’s Very presumptuous to make such a comment and Very disappointing that you can’t see what people from the like of THT etc are trying to do.

        Like anything it costs the NHS More to treat someone who isn’t diagnosed in the end that put on steady medication to prevent illnesses.

        Surely it is better to have people know their status and be treated accordingly. Surely it is better to applaud the different ways these groups are tirelessly trying to save people’s lives?

        I think so.

        1. At least one life saved, if they don’t know they may infect others.

        2. read my post again: it goes no further than exactly what it says – you were being presumptuous in assuming that everybody who is against this initiative is burying their head in the sand. all the other stuff you venture into here has no bearing on what i said.

  11. Staircase2 2 Dec 2012, 3:32pm

    What’s ‘dangerous’ is that every time I try to post something critical of promoting the event in this way, my posts mysteriously don’t go thru ( while others I post do)

  12. Staircase2 2 Dec 2012, 3:34pm

    6th attempt and still not posting – yet this one did…

  13. Staircase2 2 Dec 2012, 3:38pm

    I think the idea of promoting this event as ‘lets break the world record’ is crass, insensitive and counter productive

    1. You are out of touch with what this event was all about – it was to raise awareness of HIV & to make testing a normal thing to do. You have made a wrong judgement & in doing so have made yourself look foolish! All the staff at 56 Dean Street are highly professional – I know that from first hand. The process was very clear, each individual completed a series of questions about their sexual activities / health in the confines of an external unit parked outside GAY. This process was overseen by experienced & qualified health care professionals -the risk of a positive result was assessed & this was explained to each person PRIOR TO TESTING!

      Untreated HIV is a killer, something you don’t seem to want to understand. People being promptly diagnosed can expect to remain well & have a near normal life expectancy. Your dramatic postings here belong back in the 1980’s not in 2012………….and you won’t silence me here as you did yesterday by blocking me on Twitter – how juvenile was that?

      1. Staircase2 2 Dec 2012, 8:29pm

        I blocked you on Twitter because you were being a rude, belligerent arse…

        If you don’t want people to block you then I suggest you actually LISTEN to what they say rather than blanking it and then demanding they explain themselves AGAIN

        Anyone who wishes to read what had to say (including your belligerent answers and refusals to listen) can find my timeline on Twitter as @Staircase2

        1. The same could be said of your refusal to explain why you felt I was being insensitive, I just wanted clarification but al, you kept tweeting was “Read what I said”.

          I wasn’t the one to use the f word, and also I am very sure you have deleted any offending tweets. You had no reason to be critical about the way the event had been promoted or how the headline was written here on PN.

          You were being belligerent because you seem to have an issue with HIV testing – you are wrong on this one I’m afraid to say!

          1. Staircase2 3 Dec 2012, 1:29am

            You can be sure of whatever you like – and to assume people delete their Tweets after the fact tells us more about you and the way to do your own business than it does about me and mine.

            I only deleted one tweet (in response to your rude, inappropriate and arrogant call to discuss my own testing and test results on Twitter)

            That you continue to declare that I ‘had no reason’ shows how crap your understanding is and how little you bloody well listen to what people actually SAY.

            I have repeatedly said how I fully endorse encouraging people to test regularly – you really don’t listen at all do you…

          2. LOL – I have never blocked anyone on twitter unlike your good self. If you are going to use social media then you are putting yourself “out there”. Why is it so wrong to ask someone if they have had an HIV test, given the context of both the twitter discussion & on here is about HIV?? I have been asked many personal questions by commentators on these pages but I am open & honest about questions I am asked.

            You are making a big deal out of this because you were caught red handed on Twitter trying to be clever with your replies to those involved in the discussion – constantly deflecting & not answering the questions posed to you.

            By all means encourage others to look at your Twitter feed, I certainly have nothing to hide away from. You have continued this argument here on PN & I am very sure if I had not provided a comment to balance your accusations regarding Ben then the comments on here would have taken a very different turn. 33,000 tweets / 419 followers – go figure!

      2. Sister Mary Clarence 3 Dec 2012, 12:40am

        Jesus Christ, you’re like the bloody HIV thought police on here W6. People can disagree with you.

        You are totally stifling the way you put your point across.

        Someone posted that it took them 6 minutes to have the the whole thing done, and it was done in the bar itself.

        I wonder how those 6 people who found themselves to be positive felt having been tested in such a public and inappropriate place.

        I’m disgusted

        1. Staircase2 3 Dec 2012, 1:32am

          Well said!

          It’s all very well going along with the jolly thinking they’re negative but how on earth must it have felt for them to be surrounded by that level of ‘well WE’RE ok let’s go and have a drink’ once they discovered that they had tested positive…

          I agree – its bloody disgusting

        2. And you are like a petulant child SMC – cherry picking your words to prove your point! What are you all so afraid of? I can picture you all hand wringing like a load of Daily Wail readers – those 6 people who tested positive will be very well taken care of as the clinic staff at 56 Dean Street do a great job – your comments are out of order because you are suggesting that less care is taken in outreach settings than in a normal clinic – I would challenge you to go to the next outreach at G-A-Y as 56 Dean Street are there every Wednesday.

          You would also do well to remember that many people shy away from going to a traditional clinic for testing, outreach testing is a great way to increase access to testing services.

          Get off my case, your like a vulture when it comes to these comments pages you only ever wade in when you think you can have a pop at someone, you never provide any content worth reading in my experience!

          1. As for you Staircase you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself – making comments on here that are not justified about a discussion on Twitter, what a fool you really are! It is always the same commentators having a pop about initiatives that try to improve the health of gay men. THT are criticised for not using strong enough messages, award winning clinics like 56 Dean Street are chastised because they dare do something different & novel – and what do you do, the “worried well” just sit at home wringing your hands making out that people with HIV are some sort of victims – we are not, we don’t need your sympathy or your hollow concerns.

            I am not ashamed of my positive status & neither should I be. All I read on here is crap that if HIV itself don’t kill you the drugs will, seems to me that the usual suspect commentators on PN want to see +ve people fair less well, almost willing us to become unwell so they can point the finger and day “yup HIV is still a killer”.

  14. Staircase2 2 Dec 2012, 3:40pm

    Choosing to test should be a decision taken with due seriousness and consideration, ideally with the support of friends and/or family.

  15. Staircase2 2 Dec 2012, 3:41pm

    To encourage people to come along simply to ‘make up the numbers’ was unseemly and ill-advised.

    1. Exactly. I think G-A-Y is promoting gimmicky and possibly homophobic stereotypes.

      You also have to wonder whether these HIV tests at G-A-Y are a thinly veiled attempt to get more people into the bar to buy more alcohol so that they can find it easier to pick up another quick root.

  16. Staircase2 2 Dec 2012, 3:42pm

    My concern is that people will come along on those terms without properly considering the impact a positive result will have on them.

  17. Staircase2 2 Dec 2012, 3:42pm

    Having witnessed at first hand the utter devastation experienced by people receiving a positive result I am mindful that HIV testing should only be done when each testee can be guaranteed the time and counselling support they will need.

  18. Staircase2 2 Dec 2012, 3:45pm

    Yes we should be encouraging more people to get tested, yes 1st December (PN wont allow the word WA Day it would appear!) is a great time to promote this but this was not a good idea at all.

    Time for a drastic operational rethink methinks…

  19. Staircase2 2 Dec 2012, 3:47pm

    Apologies for multiple slicing! Pink news was allowing me to put that out in one posting – turns out that in Pink News we can’t say A*DS ie not even World A*DS Day…!


  20. This is such a pathetic gimmick by G-A-Y. It promotes homophobic stereotypes. It promotes that notion that HIV is linked to being gay.

    I’ll be avoiding G-A-Y like the plague in future.

  21. Well, well, well….if it isn’t about time for the yearly AIDS awareness routine known as World AIDS Day? How charming! How utterly, utterly charming.

    Maybe G-A-Y’s gimmick is linked to World AIDS Day. One gimmick in support of another…how quaint.

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