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UK: Health experts blame ‘a return of risky sexual practices’ for rising HIV cases in gay men

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  1. Appalling. Who by now really isn’t aware of the risks of unsafe sex?

    1. But do they really listen?

      There is an entire industry of belief at the moment in all of our cultures and sub-cultures that pertain to the phrase ‘not me’. We all know bad things go on with other people but very often it is never driven home that a person can be directly affected by a matter until something bad happens directly too them.

      The targeted campaigns (in all matters such as this: drugs, drink & health issues) should really be changing their targets from curative measures to preventative measures if the issues are truly to be tackled.

    2. Samuel B. 1 Feb 2013, 5:23pm

      That is exactly the point, Ray123.

      Effective HIV prevention is designed to ensure that is so.

      Does that answer your question?

      1. Spanner1960 2 Feb 2013, 2:29pm

        Awareness has bugger all to do with effectiveness.
        The words “drink”, water” and “horse” spring to mind.

    3. factsandfigures 2 Feb 2013, 1:11pm

      Not that we spend £1.9m on HIV prevention and some £484million on HIV treatment, refer http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201012/ldselect/ldaids/188/18807.htm and http://blog.lass.org.uk/tag/health-protection-agency/

  2. transophile 1 Feb 2013, 11:10am

    But Sir Nick, THT, the Govt and the health industry have been avoiding the root causes for well over a decade. The boys are not rubbering up; drugs, deep seated needs to connect, attraction to risk, ease of access to sex etc etc etc. Who is going to try tackle that if not we ourselves.

    1. exactly – gay men didn’t (couldn’t) rely on government initiatives when the crisis first started. We organised, we took some responsibility for spreading information, for caring for those that got caught up in it. We were motivated by the sight of our contemporaries shrinking and dying before our eyes. It was always going to be the case that, with improved outcomes from new treatments, a new generation would grow up thinking that if they “got infected” they could take a pill and all would be fine. We were the same with “the clap” in an earlier era – giggle and take the pills. I imagine that most new infections are amongst men who are fully aware that “safe sex” reduces the chances of contracting HIV. I have no idea what government money or initiative would influence their choices about whether to practice it or not. Many wear their “bearbacking” credentials as a badge of honour – Norman Tebbitt and THT, nor me and you will change that.

  3. “The most plausible explanation for these results is continuing unsafe sexual behaviour…”

    Really? This makes me so angry. Year after year of rising infections among gay men, and only now they feel able to state that risky sexual behaviour is probably the cause.

    The barebacking phenomenon, has been with us for more than a decade, fueled within our own community by the heavy promotion of bareback porn, a digital revolution in anonymous sex dating and the complacent logic that HIV is just another manageable chronic health condition.

    1 in 12? 1 in 20? These are catastophic numbers. Frankly I find it sinister that we and those in power have found it acceptable to see them rising year on year.

    It shows a total lack of respect towards our community, and towards the real issues faced by people with HIV.

    1. Samuel B. 1 Feb 2013, 1:49pm

      “The barebacking phenomenon, has been with us for more than a decade,”

      Correct, around the time in fact when HIV campaigns churned out by THT and GMFA exalted us all in the pages of QX and Boyz to dispense with condoms on the pretext that – in that brief moment of divine bliss – you’d remember to “Pull out like a pop star” and “Cum outside”.

      Well, 10 years of increasingly mixed and confusing messages utilising NLP and subliminal programming techniques has resulted in the situation we have today.

      Yes, GMFA had their HIV prevention remit revoked on the back of such insanely insentivising bareback sex campaigns, yet THT continue to fuel demand for their HIV services via their wilful failure.

      Today THT’s total focus on testing to the detriment of impacting and deterring HIV campaigns on the pretext that testing somehow reduces HIV rates to a marked degree is exposed for the sham and conceit it really is.

      Yet to dare suggest it’s working to aid its pharma funders’ profits is poo-pooed.

      1. HackneyMike 1 Feb 2013, 3:50pm

        Was the GMFA ad really ten years ago?
        In a way Samuel, your posting makes an interesting point. Your take on the GMFA ad is different to mine. I remember it saying that having sex without condoms is risky but it’s even more risky if you let someone cum up you.
        But what’s interesting is that I remember the ad you are talking about. It reached me, I read it and I remember the message (though if different people have different memories of what it said perhaps it wasn’t the clearest ad). I can’t remember what the campaign before the last THT HIV testing campaign was. Can anyone?

        1. Samuel B. 1 Feb 2013, 6:09pm

          It is good that the GMFA “Cum Outside” reached your particular demographic and had a positive impact on your safer sex choices, HackneyMike.

          But the fact of the matter is that this like other HIV campaigns targeted at those who sometimes or always bareback featured in consecutive issues of free club mags QX and Boyz magazine, whose demographic is largely under 25 club kids:- the demographic MOST at risk of contracting HIV via ignorance due to lack of education at school.

          HIV prevention ads depicting guys performing “raw” sends out a conflicting message to such an audience:- indeed, an independent survey on the impact of HIV campaigns conducted at Gay Pride a few years ago revealed over a third of under 21 year olds had interpreted at least one HIV campaign as an enticement to abandon condoms.

          The “Cum Outside” campaign was not intrinsically ill-conceived:- that it and others were used as a one-size-fits-all measure in mainstream gay mags in the absence of other campaigns was.

        2. “I can’t remember what the campaign before the last THT HIV testing campaign was. Can anyone?”

          The only HIV campaign most people recall again and again is the ice berg campaign of the 1980s.

          Strange, that!

          A decent campaign of any kind makes an impact and stays in the public psyche long after it disappears from sight.

          It’s long been known the HIV sector deliberately ignores this basic tenet of marketing and favours wishy washy here today, gone tomorrow campaigns on the pretext of not wanting to offend the sensibilities of those already infected:- a tactic that can only fuel onward transmissions.

          Marketing companies have offered their expertise free of charge to the likes of THT to overcome their failure to pitch their campaigns at a level that engages with the target audience, yet they’ve consistently refused all such offers.

          The only possible conclusion why that could be is they’ve been following a intentional agenda of wilful and systematic negligence of their prevention remit.

          1. It had to be said you are such an expert when it comes to all things HIV Samuel – so much so that you have even suggested that one of your friends get re-tested in a different Country because you don’t trust our system here in the UK.

            Pure genius me thinks!

          2. Hysterical Screamer No. 243 2 Feb 2013, 4:29pm

            W6, where did Samuel B say “you are such an expert when it comes to all things HIV Samuel – so much so that you have even suggested that one of your friends get re-tested in a different Country because you don’t trust our system here in the UK”.

            That’s a considerable accusation and not in Samuel B’s favour if true. Please give URL to substantiate.

          3. I will find the link if I can remember the story it featured in. There are many examples where Samuel makes grave inaccurate statements including how HIV tests provide false results & people are walking around taking ARV’s when they don’t need to!

            He is a shameful scaremongering idiot!

          4. Hysterical Screamer No. 243 2 Feb 2013, 6:00pm

            Waiting for the link. Thanks.

          5. I have provided the link at the bottom of the comments page

          6. Samuel B. 3 Feb 2013, 9:25am

            W6 again twists and distorts to divert the debate from the matter in hand and smear me at the same time.

            Nowhere have I said I don’t trust the system in the UK:- what I HAVE said is that different countries utilise different HIV testing methods – e.g. South Africa and Australia – and it’s possible for the same person to received different diagnoses in different countries and that false pos readings can and do happen.

            I’ve a friend who received a pos diagnosis several years ago after a routine STI check-up.

            He was offered an HIV test but told the clinician he never engaged in penetrative sex but was persuaded to test anyway.

            He tested pos, which was a considerable shock to him and everyone who knew him, and he’s been in semi-denial ever since.

            He’s now in Oz and I suggested, as a friend, he test again without disclosing his status so he can accept his pos diagnosis for real this time around, with the faint hope that their testing might yield a neg result.

          7. Samuel B. 3 Feb 2013, 9:38am

            No method of health testing is totally fool proof, and no pos result should be taken at face value these days without double-checking.

            As I said in the debate to which W6 hysterically refers:-

            “These days it is frankly common sense not to accept a health-related test result of any kind at face value but to get a second test done anonymously elsewhere, ideally in another country.

            Every day the newspapers are full of horror stories of people being misdiagnosed for all manner of illnesses and diseases.

            Why should HIV be any different, particularly when it has been proven that different types of HIV tests are capable of yielding different results?”

            My friend was in a state of angst and denial about his evaluated status.

            Receiving a pos diagnosis has not proven that conflicting diagnoses between different testing methods in different countries don’t occur but has at last enabled my friend to accept and embrace his pos status and eradicated any possibility or doubt it was false.

          8. I think the readers can make up their own minds about this particular point Samuel – if anyone wants to read the complete comments page they will soon realise the full context in which this comment was made.

            For you to try & persuade an individual who has already had a positive result here in the UK & who has been prescribed ARV’s by their clinician is frankly unforgivable as it not only gives false hope, but is extraordinarily irresponsible.

            In the same comments page you try to discredit rapid testing in outreach settings & suggest that there are people taking ARV’s that do not even have a positive diagnosis.

            These comments are dangerous & as I said at the time are bordering on HIV denial. You may not understand the significance of your claims, but you are deliberately undermining the testing, treatment & care of HIV here in the UK.

            I want to bring attention to your drivel, because it is both dangerous & anxiety provoking, as are your claims about generic ARV’s.

          9. My last paragraph above should have of course read:-

            “Receiving a pos diagnosis IN OZ…”

            I also made the perfectly valid point in the previous, unrelated debate to which W6 is diverting us all to, that:-

            “Notwithstanding the fact that the likes of THT deem it a good idea to offer testing at venues like bars and saunas in which the immune system is already compromised by alcohol and drug abuse…”

            But of course in his haste to cherry pick and cobble together a selectively edited diatribe from this debate in order to smear and denigrate my character, he of course misses the finer details as always.

            W6, he of iron fist and clumsy foot, wading in all guns blazing and, as ever, shooting only himself in the head.

      2. The voice of reason. Most people do not realise the extent to which hiv is seen as a nice little earner for the pharmaceuticals who are forever supporting strategies which provide them with new customers. Who says they want a cure? It would rob them of millions. Same with the cancer industry.

  4. Sadly many gay men will not want to read about this study as there seems to be a growing feeling that gay men are already over targeted with prevention messages & statistics.

    Some have suggested they feel the constant drip of HIV amongst gay men is discriminatory – but we have to have to face facts, we are a high risk group, we can’t get away from that.

    Clearly there needs to be a change in the way health professionals, charities & community activists engage with gay men to become better educated about HIV & to encourage increased regular testing & to underline the importance of consistent condom use.

    With prevention spending being given to the Local Authorities from April 2013 I believe we will see no improvement any time soon, which is extremely worrying.

    If there was as much interest in HIV / Sexual Health as there seems to be with equal marriage (important but not the only issue), then perhaps new infection rates would be starting to fall.

    1. second paragraph should read:

      Some have suggested they feel the constant drip of statistics / studies & prevention messages about HIV in gay men is discriminatory – but we have to have to face facts, we are a high risk group, we can’t get away from that.

  5. So now it is official.

    Despite the entire HIV prevention budget being poured into imploring gay men to test regularly under the pretext that it will stem the spread of HIV – and at the expense of targeting the actual cause of HIV infection (ie. unsafe sex) – scientists now admit that huge improvements in treating and testing have failed to curb infections!

    In other words, yet more funds squandered on failed “prevention” strategies.

    I don’t often have a good word to say for NAT, which has often subscribed to the same hair-brained PC ideology that is demonstrably proven to facilitate HIV transmission, but perhaps they are changing tack at last if their director of policy, Yusef Azad, is sincere in what he said earlier today:-

    “‘Prevention services so far have been under-resourced, without a clear focus on outcomes or effectiveness.

    “They often do not address the cultural and structural drivers of HIV transmission amongst gay and bisexual men – including drug use, mental health…

    1. issues and the gay scene.”

      He goes on to say that a new approach was needed, which as well as promoting contraceptives, tackled mental health and drug problems, made the ‘gay scene’ promote safe sex better and provided more and better education about symptoms, balanced alongside, but not at the expense of, regular testing.

      Such common sense speaking from the HIV sector is rare, and is an implicit criticism of the Terrence Higgins Trust which has abjectly failed in all these key areas as it focuses it energies on monopolise the HIV services industry.

      As has been pointed out time and again, HIV prevention and the provision of HIV services are mutually incompatible tasks with numerous conflicts of interest arising at every turn.

      Let THT continue with the latter by all means, but time – and Sir Nick’s tired, weasel words uttered verbatim whenever new HIV rates are published – has proven again and again that it lacks the sheer will and desire to get serious with tackling HIV’s spread.

      1. It is a shocking and damning indictment of THT’s monopoly of the HIV prevention budget that it participates in the following HIV-facilitating agendas:-

        Refuses to speak out against bareback porn thereby being complicit in its social acceptance via its own silence…

        Encourages the sexualisation and sleazification of the gay scene through the support of sex clubs that promote an unsafe sex code…

        Endorses sex on premises venues with its “Play Zone” logo while failing to ensure strict codes of safe practice are enforced…

        Launched the extreme sex site Hardcell.org.uk, which initiates newbies to the thrills of “erotically charged” but high-risk sex fetishes including sh*t…

        Has fought to remove responsibility for unsafe sex away from pos to neg men while forbidding all criticism of pos men who wilfully infect others…

        And so on and so on.

        It’s true we live in an upside down world where truth often strains to be heard, but THT takes PC deceit to entire new levels of insanity.

        1. At last! Once ARVs became available the paradigm shifted from prevention – [condoms, condoms, condoms people] to testing. The message now is all about testing, testing, testing, in other words, this message pre-supposes and necessarily implies unsafe or bareback sex as the starting point for “education”. Partly as a result of ARVs, its almost accepted that MSM are going to have bareback sex so may as well forget the prevention and focus on the testing message. Cui bono? The pharmaceuticals of course; millions of people worldwide with hiv paying for pricey meds for the rest of their lives. Consumerism is completely sexually saturated; porn is everywhere and sexual transactions are facilitated like never before by the touch of an iphone. All very convenient for the multinationals and big business who are all making a killing out of sexual extravagance, gay or straight, and presenting it to us as the most empowering thing on the planet which it is most definitely not.

  6. … and could it also be due to a lack of education and government advertising? The campaign slogan of the 80′s was ‘Don’t Die of Ignorance’. That message needs to be repeated, loudly, for this generation.

    1. transophile 1 Feb 2013, 1:14pm

      Yes, but THT plus their acolytes in the NHS services industry has gone out of its way NOT to catalyse such campaigns within their governmental spheres of influence. This issue has been bubbling for at least a decade. I know of many gay advertising professionals and directors who have even offered their services pro-bono to the likes of THT but each time, their the response back has been that they don’t wish to threaten a conservative or DailyMail backlash.
      Simply not good enough and Sir Nick seems only interested in a narrow range of personal relationships.

      So, NAT said it like it is. Time to break the denial and get a proper vision in place, with a proper open discussion and most of all more responsible visionary leaders acting for change.

    2. Spanner1960 2 Feb 2013, 2:32pm

      Unfortunately that slogan is no longer applicable.
      If people still continued to die in their droves like they did in the 80′s, then I doubt we would have the problem we have now.

      It would be a self-eradicating epidemic.

      1. Samuel B. 2 Feb 2013, 3:47pm

        But Spanner, according to the HIV sector there are thousands of undiagnosed people out there who we must reach in order to drug up.

        The only problem is, if that were the case why are not more people dropping like flies of full-blown AlDS like they were in the 1980s before pre-AVRs?

        As always they seek to scaremonger and bombard us with distorted facts in order to terrify us all into testing, so desperate are they to hit their service user targets (well, you don’t think these system-serving technocrats have the interests of our wellbeing at heart, do you?).

        1. Hysterical Screamer No. 243 2 Feb 2013, 4:26pm

          Samuel B, you’ve put your foot down very wrongly here, I’m afraid.

          Reliable statistical analysis based upon evidence gathered during testing has proven that there ARE many people who are HIV+ but who do not know it.

          You have implied that those statistics are in error because, according to your faulty reasoning, if they were not then people would be “dropping like flies from full-blown AIDS”.

          That statement is extraordinarily wrong.

          Stop and think.

          Those people who have not been diagnosed and who are unaware they are HIV+ eventually go on to develop some kind of opportunistic infection. So they then go to their doctors. Their doctors eventually whittle the likely causes down to the possibility of HIV infection. The unwell are then sent to be tested for HIV. They receive HIV+ diagnoses. They are then immediately put on ARVs. And thus they very very seldom can then go on to develop “full blown AIDS”.

          I think you should pay greater attention disciplined logic.

          1. Thanks for pointing this out, Screamer No.243, and I am always happy to be corrected.

            It was short-sighted of me not to consider the fact that intervention procedures are far more advanced now than they were back in the 1980s, and that someone caught at a late stage of acquired immune deficiency syndrome would today be in a far better position to have their acquired infection treated.

            As I have also stressed, the call to testing is totally valid and justified – but ONLY if balanced with preventive safer sex campaigns targeted at negative men.

            We are now, however, being conditioned into accepting that prevention must be testing and treatment-led only, and that is just plain wrong as it is effectively rendering HIV a self-fulfilling prophesy for our community.

          2. …hence the anger of many that testing is being pushed at the expense of other, genuinely preventive, initiatives!

          3. It would seem you are only happy to be corrected by certain individuals Samuel………………I have gone to great lengths to correct you, provided very detailed explanations, but all I get thrown in my face is the consistent assertion that I am a Pharma or THT schill, so I am afraid your comments here sound very insincere & frankly are difficult to believe!

          4. Samuel B. 5 Feb 2013, 4:00pm

            With all due respect, W6, Hysterical Screamer did point out my oversight in a polite manner and corrected me in a concise sentence encapsulated within one post, which made me more inclined to want to pay attention and learn something I was nkt previously aware of along the way.

  7. concerned citizen 1 Feb 2013, 11:41am

    There is another way of perceiving this- the numbers are actually static over the period – so something must be working otherwise the numbers would be higher. Also lets be real- the risky practices have always been there and will always be there – look at smoking and heart disease campaigns. Its a slow and complex process to change behavour
    what i find criminal is that what work has been done is about to be lost as gay mens prevention work will now be defunded in London and so we will be back to sq one very soon

    1. Samuel B. 1 Feb 2013, 2:21pm

      You may find it criminal that gay men’s HIV prevention work is being defunded, concerned citizen but I perceive that as common sense.

      When HIV prevention of the past 15 years is shown to have failed and failed again, why should tax payers’ money keep going to the same incompetents who insist on a business as usual approach?

      Furthermore many of the “prevention” campaigns can demonstrably be shown to incentivise unsafe sex and even reinforce a perceived inevitability of contracting HIV, thereby encouraging its spread.

      I’ve a friend who works in linguistics who says that the recurring “THIVK you don’t have HIV?” campaign can subliminally implant the message into the minds of younger, less bright young men to seek out HIV in order to erase the fear of infection due to the perception of inevitability this message transmits.

      Whether by intention or design, THT isn’t fit for the purpose of HIV prevention and no amount of obfuscation or sleight of hand by Partridge will fool us otherwise.

    2. Samuel B. 1 Feb 2013, 2:36pm

      If gay men’s HIV prevention work is being defunded, concerned citizen, then surely that is common sense?

      Most HIV prevention of the past 15 years is shown to have failed and failed again, so why should tax payers’ money keep going to the same incompetent HIV sector personnel who insist on a business as usual PC approach?

      Additionally, many of the “prevention” campaigns can demonstrably be shown to incentivise unsafe sex and even reinforce a perceived inevitability of contracting HIV, thereby encouraging its spread.

      I know a linguist who says that the recurring “THlVK you don’t have HIV?” campaign can supplant the message into the minds of younger, less bright young men to seek out HIV in order to erase the fear of infection due to the perception of inevitability this message transmits.

      Whether by intention or design THT isn’t fit for the purpose of HIV prevention, and no amount of obfuscation or mealy-mouthed words from Partridge will fool us otherwise.

    3. Samuel B. 1 Feb 2013, 3:12pm

      How can it be criminal that gay men’s HIV prevention work is being defunded when for the past 15 years it can be shown to have failed and failed again?

      Why should tax payers’ money keep going to the same incompetents to be frittered away on PC distorted campaigns when so many of them are demonstrably shown to incentivise unsafe sex and even reinforce a perceived inevitability of contracting HIV, thereby encouraging its spread?

      I’ve a friend who works in linguistics who says the recurring “THIVK you don’t have HIV?” campaign can subliminally implant the message into the minds of younger, less bright young men to seek out HIV in order to erase the fear of infection due to the perception of inevitability this message transmits.

      Whether by intention or design, THT isn’t fit for the purpose of HIV prevention and no amount of obfuscation or sleight of hand by Partridge will can any longer pretend to fool us otherwise.

    4. Samuel B. 1 Feb 2013, 5:28pm

      You may find it criminal that gay men’s HIV prevention work is being defunded, concerned citizen but I perceive that as common sense.

      When HIV prevention of the past 15 years is shown to have failed and failed again, why should tax payers’ money keep going to the same incompetents who insist on a business as usual approach?

      Whether by intention or design, THT isn’t fit for the purpose of HIV prevention and no amount of obfuscation, smoke and mirrors or mealy-mouthed words from Partridge – who surely must now be singing in the Last Chance saloon – will continue fooling us otherwise.

    5. Samuel B. 1 Feb 2013, 6:14pm

      How can it be criminal that gay men’s HIV prevention work is being defunded, concerned citizen?

      Indeed isn’t it plain old common sense?

      When HIV prevention of the past 15 years is shown to have failed and failed again, why should tax payers’ money keep going to the same incompetents who insist on a business as usual approach?

      1. …indeed there is an argument to make that the HIV budget is actually dangerous in the hands of those in the HIV sector, who have used the funding on previous occasions to seemingy go out of their way to sexualise and incentivise unsafe sex.

        It has even been said that such is the manic determination to reduce HIV stigma among the PC zealots within the HIV sector that a policy of normalising HIV – whether deliberate or subconsciously – is pursued so that it becomes a prevailing (ie. normal) status among gay men on the basis that what becomes mainstream, by definition, loses its stigma.

        Hard to believe, I know, but a PC, fear-driven approach will always yield dishonest results that work against the greater good.

        And frankly, there is now far too much evidence from years of negligence and indifference to demonstrate that such an approach has constantly trumped common sex where THT et al are concerned.

  8. Nick Partridge has passed the buck and said that a dramatic fall in spending on safer sex campaigns for gay men over the past ten years is the reason for rising HIV cases in gay men.

    Whereas, in fact, the fault is largely that of his organization, the Terrence Higgins Trust and nothing to do with funds.

    Partridge and his team have devised prevention campaigns which have cooperated with the many and various gay sex industries, so that their profits have not been threatened.

    This “cooperation” has condoned nights of hedonistic drink- and drug-fuelled abandon, as to be seen this very day in the all the alluring advertisements placed by the money-hungry gay sex industries in the gay magazines and free newspapers.

    1. “Sir” Nick Partridge is a fat cat of the highest order, fully embedded into the establishment and paid a 6-figure sum to come out with such claptrap – blaming lack of funds for his wilful mismanagement of the HIV prevention budget while allowing the THT to sit on millions of pounds of assets such as its portfolio of prime central London properties:- funds that were bequeathed it by donors to be used in times such as when its Chief Executive declared it didn’t have enough funds to tackle the issues that needed tackling!

      You couldn’t make it up!

      By playing the same old tune and claiming the money is not there to tackle HIV prevention properly he’s shafting those who donated their estates to the Trust as well as the memory of Terrence Higgins himself, who died in vain and his name used to promote a sprawling industry built on the back of HIV services and which serves its own interests and that of Big Pharma while throwing crumbs to the community it professes to serve.

      Truly despicable!

      1. Change the record Samuel – you have been playing the same tune for over 3 years now. If you & Eddy think that £1.5million is enough funding to create effective prevention campaigns you are both living in some sort of fantasy land.

        THT & others are doing the work they are contracted to do from Government – this is where the problem originates from – short term contracts, with no long term, joined up thinking, a salami slicing approach. What is needed is further consistent investment to tackle the root causes of HIV infection & as with anything of this nature, behavioral change is never going to be easy or cheap. As I have said earlier the NHS, charities & community activists must engage with the highest risk individuals if we are to see new infection rates come down.

        1. Samuel B. 1 Feb 2013, 1:57pm

          “THT & others are doing the work they are contracted to do from Government…”

          Oh well, pardon me and forgive me for thinking THT was a charity set up by gay men for gay men:- not a fully-fledged quango that jumps to the governments dictates!

          So, THT jumps to the same orders barked from the same overpaid management consultants who have also done a pretty good job of running down the NHS these last few years and is now putting patients on death paythways?

          If the THT has effectively been co-opted and is being controlled by the government, then why the heck does the gay community still support it with fundraising events and donations?

          “Sir” Nick by virtue of his accepting his knighthoods was a sure fire indication that he no longer represents gay men, but just how deep does his links into the government and Big Pharma go?

          In the interests of the future health, well being and safety of gay men, should we not be demanding the right to know?

          1. I think you will find that THT is now (and has been) an HIV & Sexual Health Charity which has evolved as the HIV epidemic has evolved. Like it or not THT are not just an HIV Charity for gay men……..yes it was set up by gay men because the original HIV crisis was mostly seen in gay men.

            This has long since changed & we should not underestimate the effect rising STI’s is having on new HIV infections, they are both very much inter-linked. THT are 75% funded by the Gov, there is no secret about this & as I read in the Guardian last week, many charities now have to jump to the tune of successive Governments in order to continue to be given such contracts. Charities ceased being independent of Gov decades ago. There is no culture of philanthropy in the UK, it is all take & no give, so how are the various charities expected to survive?

            When was the last time you donated to an HIV charity Samuel? If we want independence from Gov we have to put our hands in our pockets or give up our time!

          2. …or try to persuade THT to sell one of its prime buildings in central Lomdon and release several millions to the effort, eh?

            Compared to what I, a humble shop floor manager in women’s apparel could donate, wouldn’t that be a welcome gesture capable of making a REAL difference?

        2. Samuel B. 1 Feb 2013, 3:40pm

          W6, could it be that I am still singing the same tune after 3 years because nothing at all has changed in that time?

          Wouldn’t it be more apt were you to remove your road-tinted specs and see the truth of the situation?

          You have a vested interest in coming to THT’s defence come what may, even in the face of gross malpractice.

          Me?

          I’m just a normal gay Londoner at street level – the frontline – as opposed to Sir Nick who sits in his ivory tower keeping an eagle eye on his gold-plated pension plan and executive car in the THT car park in Grays In Road paid for by the likes of you and I.

          So unlike Sir Nick I see close-up the carnage, pain and sheer terror that years of deliberately botched HIV campaigns have inflicted under his 22 year watch.

          So you have a nerve telling me to change my tune when you are a part of the problem.

          If you really want to make a difference why not use your role within THT to shake it from its inertia and change it from within?

          Well?

          1. As a former volunteer for THT I am not sure that I have a “vested interest” as you so put it, but at least I had a go & gave up my spare time to volunteer for THT. The organisation may not be perfect, but in my experience there are a lots of decent individuals both paid & unpaid who are working to make a difference to the sexual health of gay men & the wider population.

            What is the alternative, more private companies like Virgin Healthcare, Serco et al getting involved in prevention work? You & others have long called for this sort of approach, lets see how things go from April this year when cash strapped Councils will be spending the Public Health Budgets which include a non-ring fenced sum for HIV & Sexual Health prevention work. There are of course opportunities for charities to pick up some of this work, but in your view this shouldn’t be the case, so who is going to do the local prevention work? Suggestions on a post card!

  9. Brett Gibson 1 Feb 2013, 12:34pm

    While this is awful news and more should be done to prevent HIV infections, I would like to point out that it isn’t just a MSM problem. The same proportion of straight people aren’t wearing protection either (probably even more due to the contraceptive pill) it’s just their chance of transmitting STDs, especially HIV is much much lower due to vaginal sex being safer. It’s a UNIVERSAL unsafe sex problem, fuelled by ignorance and pornography and I believe a major re-think is needed because guess what? – Right now the message isn’t getting across! Also sometimes (I hate to be ‘that guy’) but I can’t help feeling more isn’t being done to prevent HIV because it affects mainly gay men.

  10. Of course there is a huge prevention budget aimed at gay men………………………all of £1.5million a year for England (the other half or there abouts, going to tackle HIV within the African community). The level of monies spent on prevention are miniscule compared to the money being spent on ARV’s. If we took a conservative estimate that the net cost of providing ARV’s for a lifetime of treatment is about £200,000 the £1.5million can be saved by preventing just 7.5 new infections each year.

    Effective interventions are not cheap & we should be targeting the most seriously at risk individuals, through behavioural change interventions, 1 on 1 & group counselling. together with further efforts relating to drug & alcohol use. The gay community (if there still is one) must engage more with not only their sexual health but also their psychological well-being. Perhaps we need to take the lead from Birmingham who opened a health & well-being centre for LGBT people.

    1. Samuel B. 1 Feb 2013, 2:07pm

      Fine words, W6, but haven’t you noticed anything?

      All those strategies and interventions you mention have been tried and, guess what, THEY DON’T WORK!!!

      The only method of prevention that has demonstrably worked are graphic campaigns that serve as a genuine deterrent and reduced rates of infection in the UK and beyond prior to the advent of HIV antivirals:- at which point the preventionists abandoned the key message in favour of creating services for a new generation of gay men who, it perceived, could be infected and treated for the rest of their lives.

      Of course treatment, not cure, is the chosen method favoured by the pharmaceutical cartel, and its links into HIV charities have been well documented.

      Prevention’s even better than cure, and it is prevention that has been deliberately sabotaged the world over to provide a demand for drug regimens that work for different people in different ways and which will eventually toxify your body regardless of progression to full-blown AlD$.

      1. What is this term you keep using “full blown AIDS” – it is insensitive & inaccurate! Just like some politician you are full of overblown rhetoric!

        1. Samuel B. 1 Feb 2013, 3:56pm

          The above message alone proves you to be a heart bleeding, hand wringing PC zealot of the kind that would sooner see gay men infected by a chronic disease than risk offending the sensibilities of those already infected.

          The last time I checked, “full-blown AlDs” was not a descriptive term that has (so far) been criminalised by the PC thought police.

          It is the softening up and cotton willing of attitudes to HIV and AlDS such as you demonstrate here that are directly correlated to the increase in transmission rates over the same period.

          W6, I did profess a newfound respect for your efforts in assisting pos guys to make the right choices with regards to their meds.

          Your last posting, however, I find enormously telling and disturbing and as such i will be reevaluating my stance towards you accordingly.

          1. Re-evaluate if you must Samuel, my assessment of your overblown statements has never changed. At least I can say I get involved with these important issues, not like yourself (and others) who simply whine from the sidelines & do jack all to improve the situation.

            You carry on with your protestations here on PN, for me I will continue to provide the help & support to people living with HIV in the best way I can.

            Put some of your overblown fine words into action & you could start by actually understanding the subject matter, which clearly you don’t!

  11. HackneyMike 1 Feb 2013, 1:09pm

    I agree with what some others are saying here. 10 years ago there were different charities campaigning in different ways, reaching different target groups. Now we have a monopoly in THT. This wouldn’t be so bad if THT campaigns motivated us – but they don’t. I haven’t seen a campaign that was relevant to me in the last 6 or 7 years. At the grand old age of 40 I got older with GMFA campaigns. They always made HIV feel relevant to me, and it’s kept me negative while doing all those things we’re now blaming for infections – lots of sex, drugs, saunas and sex clubs.
    I want more campaigns that feel real to me.

  12. AnonInCambridge 1 Feb 2013, 1:33pm

    Is this not simply a case of men being men; ergo, risk takers whilst young? I don’t think it’s simply a homosexual phenomenon.

    Moreover, if you read the bareback hook up sites (which is an enlightening thing to do), and ask people why they bareback, they frequently cite the ridiculous reason that the treatment is getting better now, so they can live to a much older age. Thus, they seem not to care about the infection because of the better treatments available.

    I see nothing wrong with sexual permissiveness as part of our culture, so would hate to lay the blame there. But one cannot ignore the commodification of sexual activity by large companies, who, judging by some of the comments on this discussion board, seem to be working with such companies so as to not damage profit margins for them (not my words).

    One must also bear in mind, that not everybody in the world is of a particularly high intelligence, which may also explain some of the statistics.

    1. AnonInCambridge 1 Feb 2013, 1:35pm

      Paragraph Three should, of couse, read: “THT, who, judging by some….”

    2. Samuel B. 1 Feb 2013, 4:08pm

      Anf who was it, over the past few years, peddling the myth that HIV drugs can today provide a “normal and happy lifespan” when the truth of the matter is that different HIV drugs work for different people in different ways?

      Nothing is a given, and what may be effective for one man may be another’s poison.

      What IS known is that these drugs are made of synthetic compounds that will progressively debilitate the functioning of the body, and in time a whole host of unpleasant side effects can materialise.

      Surely, then, the emphasis should be on avoidance of HIV infection at all costs:- NOT on locking the stable door after the horse has bolted by placing the emphasis entirely on testing?

      Now we have the spectre of top line drugs being switched to cheaper, less effective generics as it is no longer sustainable to treat each new infection, or HIV sector failure, at a cost of £500,000+ per person over 25 years…

      1. More rubbish & lies about the cost of HIV treatment & scaremongering that generic ARV’s are less effective – more evidence that you are clueless about modern HIV treatment & care, despite the pages of accurate information you have been presented with in the time I have contributed to PN.

        Please provide your reference point for these bold statements, I am awaiting to be re-educated by your superior knowledge & wisdom about the cost of ARV’s & the efficacy of generic alternatives, both myself & the HIV clinicians must all be wrong, so I look forward to your response……

        1. Samuel B. 1 Feb 2013, 6:25pm

          With all due respect, W6, you give every impression pf being here only to shill for Big Pharma.

          A little more empathy for the problem in hand wouldn’t go amiss.

          Thank you.

          1. Perhaps if you presented a balanced & accurate picture of the actual net cost of ARV’s & stopped suggesting that generic ARV’s are less effective, then I wouldn’t have to keep reminding you of the factual inaccuracies of your arguments. If you accepted that you could learn something from what I post, perhaps this would provide more scope for engaging with the real problem in hand – which is that too many gay men are taking undue risks with their sexual health & what should be the community response, rather than continually go over old ground about your two favorite subjects, those being THT, GMFA & the Pharma Co’s.

            We all know you have a passionate dislike for HIV charities, that aside what are YOUR answers to the problem, we never get into that because you are like a broken record & someone needs to provide the balance to your scaremongering argument!

          2. I note that you have not provided a clear response to the questions I pose, which says a great deal about the lack of facts you present in your arguments relating to HIV treatment & care. If you want to have an opinion worth listening to then you have to post something that is at least based in some factual evidence.

      2. Staircase2 1 Feb 2013, 11:00pm

        Can I just point out that a generic drug is EXACTLY THE SAME as the branded version only without the …er…branding.

        The only concern I have seen voiced in some articles is that when giving generic drugs rather than branded patients may not be given them in just one tablet.

        Personally, while potentially true, this has the whiff of a negative scare campaign put out by the large pharmaceuticals who make so much more money from the branded versions.

        1. anonincambridge 2 Feb 2013, 8:31pm

          Well probably not the same thing – generic drugs made my competitors to those companies who had previously had patents on the drugs, means the need to drive down costs, thus lowering quality (potentially).

          1. Given that 80% of the drugs used by the NHS are generic versions, if we follow your argument, are you suggesting that the NHS is providing lower quality medications?

          2. Staircase2, you are quite wrong.

            This from the BBC web site in January:-

            “Rises in the use of cheaper, non-branded HIV drugs could potentially see more patients with treatment failure, claim US researchers.

            They say, based on modelling and trial data, that generic medicines may be slightly less effective…”

            Rises in the use of cheaper, non-branded HIV drugs could potentially see more patients with treatment failure, claim US researchers.

            http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21012160

          3. This particular report confuses the effectiveness of the individual components with adherence & has been widely discredited.

            The potential for treatment failure rests with the fact that instead of taking one pill a day, patients may be asked to take 3 pills once a day; this is a potential adherence problem rather than the individual generic components being less effective

            Studies suggest that pill burden can impact on adherence; many of us have higher pill burdens & manage very good levels of adherence. I currently take 3 pills once a day at the same time.

            For me (& clinicians) this report was either badly researched, reported or may even have the fingerprints of Gilead on it, as they produce the all in one Atripla pill & it is one of their best sellers!

            Gilead have become very greedy of late, pricing their newest all in one pill “Stribild” at a staggering $28,000 for an annual supply

            My meds cost the NHS about £5,000 a yr. (less probably cos of home delivery no VAT)

          4. Samuel B. 5 Feb 2013, 1:52am

            I would add that the BBC goes the extra mile to ensure the validity of its news coverage and will not have published these findings at face value.

            It stands to reason that generic drugs may not be identical to the top line drugs they are replacing, and therefore adherence may be impaired if positive people are moved on to them, which has long been anticipated in the wake of the scandal of treatments being withheld from Alzheimer’s and cancer patients.

            Indeed, a piece on this very site a couple of years ago warned of this potential development as government cutbacks deepened, and suggested the specter of less effective HIV drugs being prescribed in the near future should play an impactful role in HIV campaigns deterring people from acquiring the virus.

            It is albeit refreshing to see you being critical and taking aim at a pharmaceutical company’s greed, W6!

          5. There is nothing to be gained by getting into another round of “I’m right you are wrong” Samuel, so I will make the following points:

            1. You are on record as saying trust nothing at face value (said in this very thread), but you are not applying this rule here
            2. You have in the past questioned the BBC reporting of a particular issue – why are you so confident they are correct this time
            3. Generic drugs are less expensive because all the R&D, marketing costs have been recovered during the patent period
            4. Branded items are generally more expensive as a brand buys loyalty to a particular product
            5. I am neutral about Pharma Co’s, they are a “necessary evil” – the drugs work, that is where my interest lays, not their balance sheets
            6. The NHS had successfully used generic drugs for a very long time as it helps manage the drug bill

          6. Here is a balancing article that clearly explains why the BBC got it so wrong:

            http://stopaidscampaign.org/2013/01/reaction-to-bbc-reporting-on-generic-arvs/

            At the moment we do not use generic ARV’s in the UK, towards the end of this year & into 2014 this may start to change, but any treatment options will have to first be licensed for use in the EU/UK & then the British HIV Association will make treatment recommendations & work with clinicians & NHS Commissioners; I do not beleive there is anything to be concerned about here, despite your undue worries Samuel.

          7. Samuel B. 5 Feb 2013, 3:53pm

            I do fear you are allowing selective filtering to once again ignore the gist of what I have implied in previous postings.

            My “trust no one” philosophy is based solely on profit-motivated agendas where conflicts of interest are involved.

            While I would be the first to concede that the BBC news service is far from impartial and basically is a propaganda outlet for the government du jour, in this example it has nothing to gain by warning of the possibility of less effective results arising from prescribing generic as opposed to branded HIV drugs.

            And if you seriously think that the only difference between the two in terms of cost is down to the branding and not also because of cheaper-sourced versions of the same ingredients then I am truly gobsmacked.

          8. The fullness of time will confirm the effectiveness (or otherwise)of generic ARV’s, if I was a betting man I know where I would place my money!

            What I find extremely odd, is that given your views on Pharma Co’s I am surprised that you seem to suggest that their overpriced products should continue to be used (thereby bolstering profits) rather than generics when available.

            The only other explanation for your view can only be to create undue anxiety amongst those if us who rely on ARV’s to keep us healthy. If there is another explanation, then please do explain why you feel the need to question the use of generics, after all they save the NHS money, which I know is dear to your heart!

            I might add that many of us do as much as we can to keep costs to a minimum by having less clinic appointments, see a nurse instead of a Consultant & save VAT by taking part in home delivery schemes.

            I wonder what your real motive is by suggesting generics are not as effective as branded drugs.

          9. Samuel B. 5 Feb 2013, 7:35pm

            You wonder what my motives are and you call ME a conspiracy theorist, W6?

            Really, W6, your barefaced nerve knows no bounds and truly takes the biscuit!

            Observers have been warning for years that the UK HIV drugs bill was unsustainable and that HIV rates had to decline otherwise it was inevitable that HIV patient clients would one day be moved to cheaper and potentially less effective generics.

            It is all very well you wagering that years down the line these prophesiers of doom will be proven wrong, but isn’t that what the HIV lobby also said when cynics severely doubted their PC methods would reverse HIV rates, and lo and behold?

            Do we always have to wait for the blindingly obvious to be proven right, by which time the damage is done and those careerists responsible for the carnage have shimmied up some other greasy pole or thru some rapidly revolving door to create PC insanity in some other public “service” role?

            Well?

          10. As always Samuel you never answer any of my points directly & you wonder why I view your motives with suspicion?

            Who are the observers you mention & where can I & others read about these bold claims that generic ARV’s are likely to be less effective than their branded equivalents.

            I am not aware of any clinical trials here in the UK where the efficacy of generic ARV’s has been investigated – this would be difficult as at the moment the only licensed generic ARV is Lamivudine, which to my knowledge is not frequently prescribed as a stand alone drug as part of combination therapy.

            You have in the thread acknowledged that you know very little about ARV’s so I find it staggering that you can make the statements you have. You are scaremongering which I find extremely irresponsible!

          11. This is what the World Health Organisation says about generic ARV’s

            http://www.who.int/hiv/mediacentre/feature_story/commentary_genericARVs/en/index.html

            If there is anything you are unable to understand Samuel please ask for clarification, rather than make assumptions. The last paragraph is in agreement with my understanding of the situation as it stands.

  13. transophile 1 Feb 2013, 1:41pm

    When THT supports a full nude Gaytimes edition it’s promoting something other than safe sex. It’s self-promoting but not dealing with the BIG issues.
    When THT took up free advertising on the last edition of the News of the World, it crossed a line.
    When THT uses donations to undercut bids on contracts against other services suppliers, their strategy is skewed.
    When for over 10 years, gay psych workers complained that self destructive behaviour is the single most catastrophic issue facing MSM… who wilfully ignored it?
    Am glad NAT has ‘come out’ on the issues. Sadly, THT won’t. Just like Stonewall’s position on equal marriage, nonsensical, irrational and tactical leadership is never focused on wider shared goals.

  14. Samuel B. 1 Feb 2013, 2:30pm

    Is it criminal that gay men’s HIV prevention work is being definded or just plain common sense?

    HIV prevention of the past 15 years is shown to have failed and failed again, so why should tax payers’ money keep going to the same incompetents who insist on the same old business as usual approach?

    Furthermore, many “prevention” campaigns can demonstrably be shown to have incentivised unsafe sex and even reinforced a perceived inevitability of contracting HIV, thereby encouraging its spread.

    I have a friend who works in linguistics who says that the recurring “THIVK you don’t have HIV?” campaign can subliminally implant the message into the minds of younger, less bright young men to seek out HIV so as to erase the fear of the prospect of infection due to the perception of inevitability this message transmits.

    Whether by intention or design, THT isn’t fit for the purpose of HIV prevention and no amount of obfuscation or sleight of hand by Partridge will fool us otherwise.

  15. Samuel B. 1 Feb 2013, 3:26pm

    Some may find it “criminal” that gay men’s HIV prevention work is being defunded, but surely that’s common sense?

    HIV prevention of the past 15 years has failed and failed again so why should tax payers’ money keep going to the same incompetents who insist on using PC deceit to keep rates high?

    Also, many HIV campaigns by THT and GMFA can demonstrably be shown to have sexed-up and glamorised unsafe sex and even reinforced a perceived inevitability of contracting HIV, thereby encouraging its spread.

    For example, there are some who believe the recurring “THIVK you don’t have HIV?” campaign can supplant the message into the minds of younger, impressionable minds to seek out HIV simply to erase the fear of the prospect of infection due to the perception of inevitability this message transmits.

    Whether by intent or design THT is and was always unfit for the purpose of HIV prevention, and no amount of obfuscation or diversionary tactics by Partridge can fool us otherwise.

  16. Alex Sparrowhawk 1 Feb 2013, 5:44pm

    I’ve aired my comments about this before but it is clear that narrow campaigns targeted at high risk audiences ARE NOT WORKING. We need to go back to national campaigns that target all of society. Lets stop ‘picking’ on gay men and maybe they’ll pay attention to the messages instead of developing the attitude that “HIV is something that might happen to a ‘slut’ or someone into S&M not someone like ME”. It is clear MSM have become immune to the messages that charities and campaigners pour out.

    I mean honestly who in a druken state is going to pay attention to messages written on condoms if by the time they get home they’re off their faces?

    And we need to look at WHY gay men are continuing to risk their own health. Not enough research is being done to look at the mental health of gay men, how many more men have to contract HIV, develop depression or commit suicide before we respond efficiently??

    1. Staircase2 1 Feb 2013, 11:01pm

      Well said

  17. As Pink News’s self-appointed HIV expert with a foot in the THT, I would implore W6 to detect the general tone that has run throughout this thread.

    Do you feel it, W6?

    People have had enough.

    They’re angry.

    They’re tired of being fobbed off with the same old bull, downright lies and distortion of statistics.

    They’re calling time on the corruption, the self-serving greed and wilful negligence of the HIV sector, here and now.

    W6, you are defending the indefensible, and on a deeper level you must surely know it.

    The elephant in the room can only get so big before it becomes all too self-evident.

    W6, you are a decent guy, so why not at least try to break free of your PC conditioning and join the rest of us here calling for positive change in HIV prevention so that the mistakes of our generation are not inflicted on the next, and the one after that?

    Use your influence wisely within the HIV sector to be a catalyst for such change, or be a part of a fast-sinking ship.

    Your choice.

    1. There are several anti THT commentators making a very big noise today, but tomorrow they will be commenting on another PN story. It is all well & good posting all these fine words here on PN, but actions speak louder than words………I see very little action coming from you or any other commentators on this subject.

      My views are my own & I do not intend to change just to fall in line with the right wing scaremongering agenda we constantly witness here on PN.

      This is one study that tells me nothing new – interesting that you readily accept this particular scientific paper, yet tend to rubbish the HPA when it suits – you can’t have it both ways can you?

      I also notice that you have changed your tune with regard to NAT, last week it was a very different tactic I seem to remember, fair weather commentator, blows with the wind to play to the gallery!

      1. “The ship” you refer to has been sinking for at least 3 years according to you, but it seems to me that in the face of Government cuts “the ship” has battened down the hatches to weather the storm – what are you & your ever so vocal friends going to put in its place?

        Please carry on with your overblown rhetoric, it really is quite reassuring that you are all talk & no action!

        You have the nerve to ingratiate yourself with me, may I remind you of your previous record of consistently discrediting me? Leopards & spots spring to mind!

    2. And what exactly is your groundbreaking HIV prevention strategy? All I have seen from you so far is advocating treating HIV+ people like garbage and then lying to HIV- people by telling them that HIV is a death sentence. Unfortunately simply being “un-PC” (codeword for being a complete and utter douchebag) does not make a strategy actually successful.

      1. Samuel B. 8 Feb 2013, 6:46pm

        Quel surprise, W6 caught red-handed again creating multiple aliases in a vein effort to engineer consensus as the entire gay community has waken up to the truth.

        W6, there comes a time when the elephant in the room becomes too big for even you to deny, and the more you do the bigger the fool you become.

        1. I think you have completely lost the plot Samuel, odd that you bury your conspiracy theories here, rather than answer basic questions I have posed to you in the more recent THT comments page.

          You believe whatever you want but when you make the claims you do I will always be here holding you to account for your wild, inaccurate, scaremongering!

          It must be a very difficult life when you are constantly looking over your shoulder & not able to trust anyone or any reasoning based in empirical evidence!

  18. Samuel B you are an ill-informed, idiotic, conspiracy theory dispensing moron. You have the gall to say that stigmatizing HIV will somewhat help the epidemic, it’s stigmatized more in sub-saharan Africa than anywhere else on the planet and it hasn’t helped one bit. You’re as bad as the morons who claim that making homosexuality illegal will stop AIDS.

    1. Samuel B. 2 Feb 2013, 9:06am

      If you’re going to wade in at this late stage when the consensus is that your sector is an unmitigated threat to our community, at least do so without resort only to insult and invective.

      And do your research too:- in recent years aggressive campaigns have been an effective tool in reducing or stabalising the rate of HIV infection in Sub-Saharan countries like Uganda, Zambia and Botswana:-

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2276790

      It’s the oldest PC trick in the book to use victimisation as a tool to protect the perceived victim’s feelings so as to avoid and evade responsibility to take necessary and appropriate action.

      In the HIV sector’s case stigma is wielded as a giant baton to boost its services portfolio for which the THT alone now receives some £25 million a year, most of it spent on, ahem, “running costs” – despite having stripped many core services to the bone – inflated staff salaries and perks.

      You call it conspiracy, Matt:- the rest of us call it criminal.

      1. Samuel B. 2 Feb 2013, 9:24am

        Here is another link for you to digest, Matt:-

        http://www.avert.org/hiv-aids-africa.htm

        The approach these countries consistently used in their HIV campaigns was fear-based, because fear is the only effective deterrent for moderating risky behaviour:- that is an established fact, which is why campaigns against smoking and drink driving, for instance, aren’t sexed up or glamorised like HIV campaigns.

        Of course the PC fascists will hyper-focus on the counter argument that fear-based campaigning won’t work for everyone as a ruse to discredit it, and yes, the fact is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach that works for any type of pubic heath outreach initiative.

        Yet the HIV sector has consistently clung to this argument as justification for protecting the feelings of the minority while evading their duty to take effective (ie. fear-based) action, thereby sacrificing the interests of the majority on the altar of political correctness.

        People are now awakening to this deception.

        1. You must be reading a different version to the one I am reading Samuel, as I do not see any reference to fear based campaigning – what I do see written is that ARV’s work & testing has become a key part of managing the epidemic, together with harm reduction strategies such as circumcision & providing additional information relating to good nutrition.

          You really are a prize pill*ck your inflammatory & inaccurate postings always make having a serious debate about HIV such a wasted opportunity. Rather than wage war on the likes of THT why not draw a line under where we are & concentrate on how prevention services should be configured in the future – we never have the opportunity to get that far because you stymie the debate by bringing your dislike for HIV charities into the debate time after time & sadly other commentators join you because they too have no vision about what is really needed in HIV prevention – there are never any useful solutions I notice, just tribal hostility!

          1. Really, W6, you should know better than Matt to resort to insulting words.

            When a debate is reduced to name-calling then automatically, by default, you lose any moral high ground you may have occupied as you desperately thrash around for something – anything – to pull your opponent off guard.

            Insults, name calling, smears, intimidation… all stock in trade tools of the blinkered PC fascist conditioned into being closed to the light of truth.

            It’s people like you with your insane theories and dangerous policies and agendas that are destroying the world – and life – bit by bit.

            Perhaps one day your conscience – and that of others like you damaged by your great god, PC – will return, just as it was present when you were born into this world.

            But it’ll probably only return in your last gasp, when your squawking ego surrenders to that aspect of living which it has no control over:- dying.

            Which will then of course be too late to repair the legacy of destruction your ilk leave behind.

          2. Oh how many times have I heard this sermon…………….& sadly I will continue to hear many more times! You have admitted to me in the past Samuel that you use inflammatory wording & your passion (often misplaced) goes over the top – well guess what, I’m telling you (as you asked me) you need to back down & actually take a deep breath!

            All this crap you are spouting is old hat, you are going around chasing your tail, in the mean time things are not getting much better, where is the community response to HIV, where is the activism, where are the demands for better services, where is the stand against Gov cuts? If you want to bring change about you have to demand that change & get involved. 3 yrs you have been whining about wanting change – all your bluster & outdated argument has been in vain. A complete waste of energy.

            At least I get stuck in where I can & I make a difference – what have you done to change HIV infection rates? ZERO!

      2. Did you actually read any of that paper Samuel, or was it the first thing that you could find on Google?

        Basically what is says is that treatment works. & guess what the treatment that is available to the particular region is that of generic ARV’s!

        You are the most HIV ignorant person I have had the displeasure to come across; your bleatings all stem from your absolute irrational fear of sero converting (to use your terminology) yourself. It must be such a blight on your life constantly living with such fear!

        1. I see your selective referencing filter is working overtime again, W6, zooming in on and cherry picking your facts to push your own agenda while blatantly ignoring the weight of evidence presented to support my response to your HIV sector chum Matt’s ignorant posting above..

          We are not talking about generic ARVs here:- Matt brought up the issue of stigma and sub-Saharan Africa and I presented evidence to show that “aggressive” HIV campaigns targeted to at-risk communities in Uganda, Botswana and Senegal have had a downward impact on HIV rates.

          And closer to home, the authoritative http://www.lifeormeth.com web site really struck gold with this:-

          “The San Francisco Dept of Public Health reported new HIV infections among MSM citywide were 20% lower in 2006 than in 2001 due to the city’s graphic, upfront campaigning. During the same five-year period, new HIV cases in London – which shuns such campaigns – SOARED BY 58%.”

          1. If I may indulge you further, W6, I proffer this link from the highly reputable http://www.avert.org:-

            http://www.avert.org/global-hiv-prevention.htm

            “The pioneering AIDS organisations found that the most effective approach was to provide men with explicit information and skills training in how to practise safer sex, and how to negotiate safer sexual relationships. This type of programme proved very popular and helped many thousands of men, initially with little support from the federal government. Largely because of this community-led response, levels of high-risk sexual behaviour plummeted among urban gay communities in the mid- to late 1980s, and the rate of new HIV infections fell substantially.”

            Nuff said.

          2. I don’t see the words “fear” written anywhere in the references you have provided. Now I wonder what the generally held definition of explicit could be?????? “explicit – stated clearly & in detail, leaving no room for confusion or doubt”. I don’t see any reference about fear in that definition either, so how can you jump from this cherry picked quote & make such a bold statement that suggests the HIV campaigns were fear based? THT’s Hardcell website is explicit, but somehow for you it is complicit – ignoramus!!

            I think it is you who is not only selectively cherry picking, but also shoe-horning particular phrases to suit your argument! It is clear that you know nothing about the African community; why would you, as a right leaning individual you have been known to refer to this group in the most unpleasant terms in the past!

            I have no idea who Matt is, but at least he seems to understand the subject, unlike yourself & the other twinset & pearls brigade discrediting THT!

          3. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/explicit

            a. Fully and clearly expressed; leaving nothing implied. b. Fully and clearly defined or formulated: “generalizations that are powerful, precise, and explicit” …

            Now pray do tell me, W6, how the definition of the word “explicit” as defined above could possibly be applied to any THT or GMFA campaign?

            Precisely, it can’t, because to be explicit would be to trample over precious tenets of political correctness held so dear by these avoiders of truth.

            Conversely, the opposite of the word “explicit” is “implicit” which means implied though not directly expressed:- indeed, the perfect description of every single HIV campaign since 2000.

            Well and truly hoisted by your own pertard for the umpteenth time!

            Really, W6, must do much, much better… :)

          4. “The San Francisco Dept of Public Health reported new HIV infections among MSM citywide were 20% lower in 2006 than in 2001 due to the city’s graphic, upfront campaigning. During the same five-year period, new HIV cases in London – which shuns such campaigns – SOARED BY 58%.”

            We have debated this before & I provided proof then that the figure of 58% was inaccurate (I think it was more like 42%) & during the same time there was a significant decrease in undiagnosed HIV in the UK……………….it always facinates me that you refer to US studies & somehow think they are pertinent to the situation here in the UK, cherry picking at it’s finest me thinks.

            What would the message look like today, we no longer have facial wasting or crix belly, night sweats & diarrhoea can be features of HIV, but usually untreated HIV. Meds can be changed to mitigate against diarrhoea, most side effects are short lived & if they are not change the combo! As always going over old ground!

        2. Further required reading, and this time may I request you focus on the topic in hand, namely the efficacy of explicit HIV campaigns:-

          http://www.amfar.org/content.aspx?id=158

          http://www.ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=2025

          These two links emphasise the power of cause and effect in motion when properly applied to HIV prevention:- the acclaimed Stop AlDS charity announces a city-wide graphic series of HIV campaigns – under the umbrella title “AlDS Is No Picnic” – for San Francisco commencing October 2002.

          Lo and behold, by summer 2007 the HIV epidemic affecting gay men in San Francisco is reduced to the level of endemic status as a direct result of the campaign’s unquestionable success, whose impact served as an effective deterrent for sexually active gay men.

          No doubt you’ll be zeroing in on any mention of your beloved AVRs, W6, but then denial/cognitive dissonance in the face of overwhelming evidence is a key area of PC training, so, erm, no surprise there then…

          1. Good to see that you are up to date with your links – this is a campaign from 2002, bang up to date! We have debated this before & here you are bringing forward your tired old links in a desperate effort to somehow prove these disgusting campaigns actually work. I note from the second link that there does not seem to be a direct causative effect with the scaremongering tactics used, but that more +ve men are sero-sorting, that early ARV intervention has probably helped as has the demographic “churn” in San Fransisco. As quoted the rates in SF are stable just as they are here in the UK over the past 10 yrs!

            You will need to do much better than that to convince me (and others I suspect) that scaremongering & using outdated images of HIV infected individuals works in preventing new infections. In case you hadn’t noticed +ve men are generally very health looking, we don’t often see the outward signs of HIV infection today as there aren’t any!

          2. Samuel B. 2 Feb 2013, 1:02pm

            W6, your blatant obfuscation and avoidance tactics are clear for all to see.

            These links are used to provide an example of the efficacy of hard hitting HIV campaigns:- to show how such an approach has a direct effect on reducing the rate of HIV transmission over a given period in one particular locale, as indeed “aggressive” campaigns have done in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa.

            That there are not more recent examples to provide related to the UK experience is self-explanatory:- because PC fascists have for years been monopolising the HIV budget and won’t allow any explicit campaigns through!

            So you will not comment on the direct comparison that Life or Meth makes between the decline in HIV rates in San Francisco and the increase in the UK between 2001-6?

            Thought not.

            You have no response which is why you resort to cheap shots instead in an effort to denigrate and diminish what are perfectly valid statistical comparisons.

            Develop a backbone and some basic common sense why don’t you.

    2. Spanner1960 2 Feb 2013, 2:35pm

      Bugger the stigma, only smack-in-the-mouth honesty works.
      How about “Use a condom or die”?

      1. Samuel B. 2 Feb 2013, 2:48pm

        Exactly, Spanner, say it as it is:- the truth will always out, as they say.

  19. Samuel B. 2 Feb 2013, 1:14pm

    W6, you have lost the argument on this thread many times over and I am not prepared to indulge your ego and partake in yet another of our famous two-way slanging matches, which I had hoped were a thing of the past.

    So continue twisting facts and distorting the stats by all means as that is what you are clearly here (as a paid shill?) to do:- undoubtedly it makes you happy and wins the approval of your HIV sector PC cohorts and enables them to continue pushing through policies that are to the overall detriment of gay men.

    As you have demonstrated time and again on these boards, you are a sad little man imprisoned by your resolute belief and misplaced loyalty and devotion to a false ideology that has been programmed into you, but which you are too scared and timid to break away from through fear of exercising your own mind and expressing your innate beliefs, lest that casts you adrift from the braying herd and enables you, God forbid, to develop your own identity.

    I feel your pain.

    1. I’ve also heard this sermon more times than I care to remember…………………………..one assumes you are a bit rattled Samuel as you have in the past stated you find these exchanges emotionally upsetting. If you came to the debate with accurate up to date information & showed a reasonable understanding of the subject matter then perhaps you & I would get on rather better.

      Either way as usual no one has got to grips with the problem at hand, instead it always comes back to the same tired argument HIV charities & Pharma Co’s, oh yeah & the usual tirade when you are rattled! I suggest you stick to ladies apparel & leave the important stuff to those of us who know a thing or 2 about HIV

    2. Spanner1960 2 Feb 2013, 2:33pm

      Oh go on Sam!
      Handbags at dawn and all that. ;)

      1. Samuel B. 2 Feb 2013, 2:46pm

        Exactly Spanner.

        I attempted to engage in an armstice, our very own Glasnost, if you will – but the shrill side of W6 just can’t help itself.

        No, the time for niceties, platitudes and felicitations are over.

        From this point on, the war for truth is resumed.

        1. War for truth? – what total bull$hit…………………….I think you have a great deal of swatting up to do, not only on HIV, but on charity funding, not to mention the NHS changes & Local Authority control of the HIV / Sexual Health Prevention. Hopefully all that will keep you busy for the rest of this year. As I say all headline & no substance, just like a red top journalist!

          The boy will never learn, if he is going to debate he needs to have some basis of fact in his argument & not rely on his at best rudimentary, outdated & scaremongering tactics to convince any sane person of his argument!

  20. Spanner1960 2 Feb 2013, 2:27pm

    “A return of risky sexual practices”?
    I had no idea it had ever gone away.

    Yet everyone still thinks it is quite safe for us to donate blood.

    1. You don’t think straight people are barebacking left right and centre??

  21. velcrovera 2 Feb 2013, 4:49pm

    @w6_bloke: judging by the scoring system your irrational viewpoints aren’t even remotely popular on this board. Can’t u entertain the possibility that your theories may be wrong and causing great offence to those of us let down by the hiv lobby or will u even be continuing your insane ranting when the men in white coats arrive to drag you kickin and screamin to the nearest looney bin?

    1. I don’t post to be popular & the voting system really does not interest me one jot…………factual debate is all I am interested in. Did you have something interesting to bring to the debate, or are you mearly trolling?

      1. Hysterical Screamer No. 243 2 Feb 2013, 6:04pm

        That’s below the belt, W6. Everyone has the right to comment how they wish, without being accused of not having said something that you, personally, consider “interesting”.

        1. Here is the link to the comments page where Samuel suggests that his friend gets re-tested

          http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2012/10/29/terrence-higgins-trust-to-launch-new-hiv-testing-campaign/comments/

          Samuel says in relation to test results & ARV’s “HIV tests aren’t 100% reliable and I dread to think how many are needlessly on a lifetime regime of toxic drugs that will gradually wear their bodies down and destroy them because they were zealously prescribed them by charity workers who receive funding from the drugs’ makers.”

          Samuel says in relation to a friend who has been confirmed as +ve here in the uk & is apparently taking ARV’s ” He is visiting Australia at the end of the year and I have strongly advised him to retest there without disclosing his UK HIV test, as indeed I would strongly advise anyone who’s tested positive if they have access to alternative testing methods.”

          Read the exchange of views to get the full picture…………….

          1. If you read the complete comments page you will understand my complete frustration at the claims Samuel makes about testing accuracy & the protocols that are in place here in the UK. Anyone reading that particular thread could be left worried & concerned about the inaccurate & harmful comments made by Samuel.

            I agree that the comment above is somewhat “below the belt”, but given it was a personal attack on me I think I was quite justified to make the remarks I did.

        2. Samuel B. 3 Feb 2013, 9:39am

          W6 again twists and distorts to divert the debate from the matter in hand and smear me at the same time.

          Nowhere have I said I don’t trust the system in the UK:- what I HAVE said is that different countries utilise different HIV testing methods – e.g. South Africa and Australia – and it’s possible for the same person to received different diagnoses in different countries and that false pos readings can and do happen.

          I’ve a friend who received a pos diagnosis several years ago after a routine STI check-up.

          He was offered an HIV test but told the clinician he never engaged in penetrative sex but was persuaded to test anyway.

          He tested pos, which was a considerable shock to him and everyone who knew him, and he’s been in semi-denial ever since.

          He’s now in Oz and I suggested, as a friend, he test again without disclosing his status so he can accept his pos diagnosis for real this time around, with the faint hope that their testing might yield a neg result.

          1. Samuel B. 3 Feb 2013, 9:40am

            No method of health testing is totally fool proof, and no pos result should be taken at face value these days without double-checking.

            As I said in the debate to which W6 hysterically refers:-

            “These days it is frankly common sense not to accept a health-related test result of any kind at face value but to get a second test done anonymously elsewhere, ideally in another country.

            Every day the newspapers are full of horror stories of people being misdiagnosed for all manner of illnesses and diseases.

            Why should HIV be any different, particularly when it has been proven that different types of HIV tests are capable of yielding different results?”

            My friend was in a state of angst and denial about his evaluated status.

            Receiving a pos diagnosis has not proven that conflicting diagnoses between different testing methods in different countries don’t occur but has at last enabled my friend to accept and embrace his pos status and eradicated any possibility or doubt it was false.

          2. Samuel B. 3 Feb 2013, 9:52am

            Oops, the last paragraph should have read:-

            “Receiving a pos diagnosis IN OZ…”

            I would add that for W6 to bring this unrelated issue out of left-field – in a typical underhand smear tactic so typical of his PC ilk – says more about the desperation and depths he is prepared to plummet to score a cheap point in this debate.

          3. I think the readers can make up their own minds about this particular point Samuel – if anyone wants to read the complete comments page they will soon realise the full context in which this comment was made.

            For you to try & persuade an individual who has already had a positive result here in the UK & who has been prescribed ARV’s by their clinician is frankly unforgivable as it not only gives false hope, but is extraordinarily irresponsible.

            In the same comments page you try to discredit rapid testing in outreach settings & suggest that there are people taking ARV’s that do not even have a positive diagnosis.

            These comments are dangerous & as I said at the time are bordering on HIV denial. You may not understand the significance of your claims, but you are deliberately undermining the testing, treatment & care of HIV here in the UK.

            I want to bring attention to your drivel, because it is both dangerous & anxiety provoking, as are your claims about generic ARV’s.

          4. I would also add Samuel that it was another commentator who picked up on my claim & realised the significance of it & quite rightly asked me to provide the proof of this serious claim.

            You can squirm all you like & try to portray a version that appears to be a friend looking out for a friend. Any decent individual would have been actively supporting his / her friend to accept the diagnosis not giving false hope & potentially undermining the UK clinicians who are providing treatment & care for your friend.

            Your conspiracy theories relating to HIV & the Pharma Co’s have distorted any rational thinking you might possess, as can be demonstrated by this very sorry story.

            My anger & frustration with you is that you constantly make false claims about HIV testing, care & treatment which has to be challenged because they are plain wrong. I will not stand by & let you spout all this crap, others may be taken in by your lies & half truths, but not me, I know my subject area very well!

          5. It has nothing to do with this debate, but for the record let me make my stand on testing absolutely clear here:-

            In the UK we’ve had a very sound and strategic testing system that for years has been conducted by clinicians at STI clinics in which access to counselors has been de riguer.

            In recent years testing has metamorphised into a jamoree, with testing wagons pulling up outside clubs and pubs and gimmicky record-breaking testing days on Old Compton Street.

            The outcry against G.A.Y.s testing day stunt on these very boards was deafening, and it’s fair to say that the call to testing has reached extreme, near hysterical proportions, with PN reporting just 2 days ago that THT is flogging DIY home testing kits sans counselor.

            There’s a genuine zeal among all HIV charities to test at all costs, and under the above conditions I jolly well am NOT going to accept a pos diagnosis at face value yet fear for some who may have done and received a false evaluation amid the hoohah.

          6. … And with the new onus on testing/treatment-led prevention, yes, I’m VERY suspicious that HIV prevention is being turned on its head and we’re being conditioned into accepting treatment as a self-fulfilling prophesy:- neg and pos alike.

            You call it conspiracy theory when it is in fact critical thinking based on a multitude of evidence around us today that indicates that Big Pharma is pushing treatment as prevention for all manner of conditions:- statins being a recent example.

            With the likes of Glaxo being fined billions at every turn for burying damaging studies into the long-term effects of their treatments, anyone who is prepared to accept a pos diagnosis at face value and not research the treatments they are being prescribed for the rest of their lives is not doing their due diligence:-

            http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2012/01/12/pharma-company-hid-vital-data-on-tamiflu-scientists-claim/

            Further reading:-

            http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/category/projects/health/

          7. … Conversely, W6′s approach is to accept whatever we are told on matters relating to our health – or are conditioned to believe – unconditionally, and that the answer to all our ills is the popping of pills around which many scientific studies exist to prove their efficacy and safety when many of the reports he cites are only as trustworthy as the scientists or academics who compiled them.

            And what we see time and time again in the press is the influence of Big Pharma in corrupting such findings in their favour:- they are even known to influence the NHS and, of course, THT has been funded for years by leading AVR makers.

            Indeed, in 2007 the National Institute for Heath & Clinical Excellence warned:-

            “”Patient organisations need to think very carefully about why pharmaceutical companies are giving them money and they have to make sure they are not beholden to a pharmaceutical company.”

            http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6642749.stm

            As Fox Mulder used to say, trust no one..

          8. The “genuine zeal” for testing as you describe it from Clinicians, HIV experts, Public Health Experts & Epidemiologists, not just HIV charities – they all say the same thing across the globe, increased HIV testing is a vital cornerstone in any HIV prevention strategy. A logical individual would review the evidence for increased testing & form an educated opinion & either accept there is a need or not as the case may be. What you are constantly doing Samuel is undermining the whole process of community based testing & thereby want to deny many people access to convenient HIV testing.

            There is a large cohort of individuals who will never go to a traditional STI/GU Clinic for a variety of reasons; some of these people will have undiagnosed HIV & as well as putting their own health at risk they are potentially putting the health of others at risk. Clearly you do not understand the significance of early diagnosis & treatment, again because of your obsession with Pharma Co’s

          9. It is all very well you saying that if all the undiagnosed people are using condoms there is no risk of transmission, but there is – the higher the viral load the more likely transmission occurs, another concept that you seem not to understand or not want to understand.

            We know that not everyone consistently uses condoms or uses them correctly. Like it or not Samuel there will always be a group of individuals who will not use condoms all the time – this is human nature! We can either accept that this is the case, or deny that unsafe sex happens & believe that we can scare people into consistent condom use – this aint gonna happen any time soon.

            The way to fight an infection like HIV is to consistently reduce the levels of virus in the population – how do we do that if we do not use testing & treatment as part of a prevention program? I believe that 80% of the new infections are coming from 20% of undiagnosed individuals, we need smarter methods to reach that 20%

          10. What this particular story & the study behind it shows is that testing amongst gay men is still not at a threshold that will significantly help reduce the population viral load. It also indicates that a better approach is required in terms of reaching those 20% of people that are fueling new infections. I firmly believe if we could see a modest decrease (say 8 – 10 %) in undiagnosed HIV we would be a significant improvement in the new infection rates. I had been optimistic that in 2012 HPA figures show undiagnosed HIV amongst MSM has reduced from 26% in 2010 to 21% in 2011, but on discussing this with Valerie Depesch, Chief HIV Surveillance Officer at the HPA, she explained the confidence interval of the figures was not accurate enough to show this was a significant improvement

            Behavioral change interventions need more £ provided if they are to be effective & help improve the sexual health of the 20% who are struggling with self destructive behaviours which lead to new HIV cases

          11. I believe the debate we SHOULD be having is how do we re-configure our HIV services to best deliver the outcomes we all desire – lower levels of new HIV cases & a reduction in the harm that some MSM are inflicting on themselves through drug & alcohol addiction.

            All the stakeholders (HIV Charities, NHS Clinicians & Commissioners, Local Authority Public Health officials, Community Leaders & Gay Men) need to work together, pool both resources & talent to arrive at the best solution for HIV in their local areas & Nationally. In the biggest shake up in the configuration of the NHS we may have an opportunity to try & shape the services for a better future. Funding is a key issue, but anyone who believes there is sufficient funding to tackle these immense problems is not living in the real world.

            I have said this until I am blue in the face Gay Men must work together to demand change, where is the activism, where is the passion – there only seems to be fine words but no commitment!

          12. Samuel B. 3 Feb 2013, 1:37pm

            But W6, the zeal to push testing is in line with other high-pressured, fear-mongering efforts designed to support Big Pharma’s new push to medicate, innoculate, tranqualise and vaccinate as many different people as possible even under the flimsiest of pretexts.

            I proffer a classic example:-

            http://www.naturalnews.com/038931_flu_epidemic_vaccinations_scare_tactics.html

            The HIV sector’s fear-mongering efforts to force gay men to test – including a campaign depicting a gay man strapped into an electric chair – is the height of hypocrisy and double standards when they have REFUSED to employ such tactics to deter risky sex.

            So what we learn from this is fear is acceptable in changing behavioral decisions when it is designed to identify already HIV-infected pos guys but NOT to prevent that infection in the first place?

            Insanity of the highest order!

            Another factoid for you:-

            Hospitals and meds combined kill 180,000 Americans each year, and you advise us to place our trust in them?!!!

          13. That campaign was actually part of the community involvement campaign which was run by 56 Dean Street, which is a very well respected NHS HIV / Sexual Health Clinic in the heart of Soho. The campaign asked joe public to come up with a campaign, why did you not enter? Personally I did not like the poster concept, but as it was the winning entry then I went with public opinion. It seems to me that whatever “the HIV sector” do to engage with gay men the cry from you is always the same………………….it is all crap & it does not work!

            Is it any wonder that I have very little time for you. Your obsession with big pharma is seriously clouding any judgement you have – you are so wedded to the concept that you will go to any lengths to try & prove your point & at the same time you are discrediting the great advances in HIV science, treatment, care & the effective delivery of testing services! You should be totally ashamed of yourself!

          14. “Another factoid for you:-

            Hospitals and meds combined kill 180,000 Americans each year, and you advise us to place our trust in them?!!!”

            This is another method you consistently use to discredit what happens here in the UK – why do you always look to the US for your “facts” & studies? The UK has much better outcomes that the US in many health related areas – HIV being one of them? Any data that comes from the US should be treated with caution in my opinion, because thier healthcare systems are very different & the Pharma drugs are very heavily marketed in the US – I am yet to see a billboard that shows drugs like Prezista, Reyataz, Atripla etc being advertised here in the UK – that I would very much object to & I hope it will never happen!

      2. Samuel B. 2 Feb 2013, 8:11pm

        @w6_bloke: I don’t post to be popular

        You certainly don’t have anything to worry about on that score, luv.

  22. This is a debate about the reasons for rising HIV cases in gay men, in response to which most of us have been decrying the abject failures of the HIV “prevention” sector to fulfill its remit and thereby allow this situation to fester.

    It is NOT about a bitch-fest W6 and I engaged in months ago, which W6 has attempted to sidetrack this debate into thereby steering in an entirely different direction in a vain effort to smear me and score some much-needed points at the same time (well below the belt, even for him).

    The REAL story today is that the HIV prevention sector is now admitting that the efforts of those within the same sector have been been ill-thought out, poorly evaluated, badly misguided and improperly targeted.

    Additionally, the sector is now pushing testing and treatment-led prevention at the expense of genuine, grass root condom/safer sex campaigns.

    So if you can’t stay on topic, W6, may I suggest you start your own forum in which only you have exclusive access?

    Sheesh!

    1. I was asked to provide a link to a claim I made, which I have done. The more you protest the bigger the hole you are digging for yourself.

      Through your clever use of overblown statements & choosing to always focus on THT as failing gay men, you are guaranteed to garner support from other commentators, as there is a clear dislike for THT amongst gay men. So what? As you keep telling me a consensus opinion is just “group speak” & it doesn’t indicate that the opinion is correct!

      Underneath this charade there is always the HIV / Pharma conspiracy theory & just like the rantings of the AIDS denial lobby, here you are on PN with your pernicious scaremongering about HIV testing, care & treatment in every HIV related news item.

      Quite frankly readers should be made aware of your real objective here, which is to discredit all advances in HIV treatment & care & to undermine at every step the work that THT et al are dong in the fight against HIV.

      You are a disgrace!

    2. Having read through this, mostly thoroughly tedious, slanging match, the most striking point is actually that it’s Samuel B who persists with the ad hominem attacks, particularly the most vitriolic ones, often displaying a Daily Mail style obsession with ‘PC gone mad’.

      What’s slightly more concerning is the apparent level of support for some of the more irrational statements, though this could just be astroturfing. Many of Samuel B’s posts, while cherry picking research that often don’t support his point, display an almost hysterical obsession with the Big Pharma conspiracy. While he’s very welcome to his opinion, I don’t believe I’ll lend much credence to a fashion retail shop floor manager in matters of scientific research, especially where most of his interpretations could have come straight out of the pages of Bad Science, and many are just illogical. It’s symptomatic of a naive ‘biomedicine is bad’ mentality’ that enables quackery like homeopathy to continue to flourish.

    3. That said, I am inclined to agree that there is a place for more blunt awareness campaigns, but that doesn’t mean that this should preclude all other initiatives.

  23. Hysterical Screamer No. 243 3 Feb 2013, 12:14pm

    W6, thank you for posting the link to the page on which Samuel B exposed lack of faith in HIV tests carried out in the UK, by saying:

    “I too have a dear friend who maintains he only practised condom sex and who was put onto meds as soon as he was diagnosed positive even though his T-cell count was healthy. He is visiting Australia at the end of the year and I have strongly advised him to retest there without disclosing his UK HIV test, as indeed I would strongly advise anyone who’s tested positive if they have access to alternative testing methods.”

    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2012/10/29/terrence-higgins-trust-to-launch-new-hiv-testing-campaign/comments/

    Samuel B, your statement has put your credibility in serious doubt and has unfortunately placed you amongst the delusionals and the conspiracy-theorists.

    I’ve been reading all you have been saying and you have made some good, strong, and valid points. Sadly, however, these have now been undermined by your ludicrous statement, above.

    1. There is no doubt that Samuel does make some very good points in some of his arguments, but it all gets lost when he makes claims that are simply not true – my frustration is that where I have tried very hard to explain why he is wrong, but I get labelled a Pharma or at THT schill. I am more than aware that my writing style portrays me as an aggressor much of the time, but the sheer frustration & anger I feel about these misleading testimonies only serves to make me dig my heals in even further.

      As a positive individual myself, it is my duty to correct poor understanding, it is my duty to challenge myths & mis-information. I have taken the time to take accredited HIV qualifications, I research widely & form opinions based on science & factual evidence, hence my assertion, I know my subject area.

      I have not set out to deliberately discredit Samuel or anyone else, but I will not stand by & let Samuel make inaccurate & discrediting statements he does!

      I appreciate your comments!

    2. Samuel B. 3 Feb 2013, 2:02pm

      I entirely respect your decision, Screamer.

      I set out my reasons for why I advised my friend to recheck clearly in the above few posts:- it’s exactly what I would have done for myself given the same set of circumstances.

      My advice was benign rather than malign and in no way risked jeopardising his health as he was already on a strict regimen of antivirals and there was no question of him stopping those.

      I acknowledge you accept I have made some good points, and my views can’t possibly concur with everyone elses’ all of the time.

      Finally, I’m not savvy on treatments and testing like W6 is:- my interest is in preventing the spread of HIV.

      But prevention is fast becoming an entirely testing and treatment-led approach at the exclusion of effective and genuine HIV prevention strategies, so inevitably the debate will venture into complex areas in which W6 has the upper hand.

      Yet he is pushing for such an approach at all costs without considering our arguments for a balanced approach.

      1. All you have to do Samuel is read up about HIV, the principles of testing, the principles of treatment, how treatments work, the basic epidemiology & surveillance of HIV. It really isn’t rocket science, if I can learn the basics I am damn sure you can, given your alleged superior intellect & education.

        This is an inability to look into the detail of the subject, but make highly inaccurate & deliberate assertions without having a rudimentary understanding – unforgivable if you really as interested in HIV prevention as you say you are.

        Personally I think all this is driven by your irrational fear of contracting HIV & you are looking for someone else shoulder that blame for the anxiety you are feeling. The way to solve the problem is to get clued up & engage in the science you are at pains to avoid at all costs, instead preferring to trust your “gut feeling”.

        There are plenty of easy to read guides on the basics of HIV on the net, I suggest you start reading!

        1. As for me having a test & treat approach only this is your perception, & a perception you wish to perpetuate to try to further discredit me. We (PN readers) never get into the read debate about HIV prevention as you & I get stuck on the same merry-go-round of THT, Pharma & the conspiracy theories ad-infinitum! It stops the debate – a very important debate & it seems to me that this is your overall intention!

          Your view of me Samuel has been distorted because I am open about my HIV status, I am not ashamed of my status, & I have in the past volunteered for THT – these points have conspired in your head & you have consistently made all sorts of accusations about me. Guess what they are all completely wrong!

          As a community peer educator it is my responsibility to present an accurate picture of living with HIV & how it can be prevented easily be prevented. You on the other hand are fixated with big Pharma & this gets in the way of any reasoned debate with you!

          1. Samuel B. 3 Feb 2013, 3:26pm

            Fair comment, W6, and I warmly applaud your more moderate tone here.

    3. Samuel B. 3 Feb 2013, 2:23pm

      In other words, while W6 unquestionably means well, he is placing all his faith in this new policy that prioritises testing and treatments over genuine and effective HIV prevention initiatives that have become more or less redundant for the past 15 years.

      Most in this debate, yourself included, would agree that what is clearly needed is a balance between the two:- that is, encourage testing and possibly treatment also for non-infected men – but NOT at the expense of ignoring the ongoing spread of HIV altogether!

      Touch wood I will remain neg, but if the day arrived where I received a pos result then of course I am going to seek an alternative test – ideally via a different method of testing – elsewhere.

      I would do the same with any life threatening diagnosis because that is just plain common sense:- false readings do occur and no measuring equipment is totally infallible.

      I could not, would not, accept a life-threatening prognosis on the basis of one reading and one testing method!

      1. And that is where your understanding fails you…..do I really have to explain this again?

        An HIV test (anywhere in the world) looks for either anti-bodies or antigens or both. Yes sometimes there are false results or unequivocal results. Everyone in the UK has a second blood result taken on receipt of a “reactive” HIV test result – this occurs in clinics & in community outreach settings; anyone with a reactive test result is then provided with a clear care pathway to get that test result confirmed by the viral load test.

        The confirmatory viral load test result looks for HIV itself, or rather the genetic RNA markers attributed to HIV being present in the body – this is a very different to the antibody/antigen test. This is standard practice across all resource rich countries. If after the results of a viral load test you are still unhappy about the result then sadly this is a form of denial I am sorry to tell you!

      2. “and possibly treatment also for non-infected men”

        Where have I ever suggested that non infected men should be treated in this thread, or any other thread for that matter? If you are referring to the use of PrEP or even PEP you are deliberately mis-representing what I have said on these important subject areas. What I have said in relation to PrEP is that this is an intervention that I am cautious about for a variety of reasons, but I do see that it has potential uses for the most at risk individuals & buys time for the possibility of behavioural interventions to be established, thus reducing risk.

        In your usual fashion any suggestion that either PEP or PrEP have their uses you make overblown statements that simply are not true “PEP is given out like soap powder” as an example!

        You are such a difficult person to get through to…..it is so very frustrating!

        1. hhmmm. . . . maybe he’s very well well-intentioned but unfortunately not formally well-educated? not ever been through a rigorous undergrad course in a disciplined subject?

          1. I wouldn’t be so bold to speculate on that point!

        2. Samuel B. 3 Feb 2013, 4:00pm

          I was referring to the proposal to give PEP-like treatments to neg men as a pre-sex preventive aid:- not alluding to your condoning of such a measure although it sits firmly within the testing/treatment approach you adhere to and into which all prevention initiatives are morphing into.

          Can we be clear with regards to HIV testing:- can different testing methods utilized in different countries – for example ELISA and WESTERN BLOT – yield different results?

          I’ve always been led to believe they can though would be happy to tap into your knowledge of HIV testing for an unequivocal yay or nay.

          Are there not also several conditions such as chest colds, influenza, rheumatoid arthritis, hepatitis and recent inoculations that can yield a false pos result?

          My advice to my friend followed my typing “conflicting HIV test results” into Google and coming up with myriad links, ie:-

          http://www.blogtalkradio.com/theintelhubnewsnetwork/2011/07/29/the-myths-of-science-with-liam-scheff

          Thank you.

          1. if you think it ok to give advice to anyone by typing a few words into Google shows you aren’t aware that something like 90% of the stuff ordinary joes have put on the Internet is pure shite & that you don’t have the education to tell the difference!

          2. Testing protocols vary differently around the globe, it is possible to get either a false positive or false negative test using an ELISA protocol test. In the UK, ELISA based 4th Generation tests are used in the majority of clinics & outreach settings. These give what are called “reactive results” to HIV anti-bodies & or the P24 antigen. A reactive result, does not necessarily mean an individual is HIV positive.

            The Western Blot test is used as a confirmatory test, & also looks for HIV anti-bodies, this test is very specific to particular HIV proteins & is used as a confirmatory test where there has either been a “reactive” or inconclusive ELISA test result. To answer your question directly both tests need to be performed to confirm an HIV diagnosis.

            ELISA tests are very sensitive; Western Blot tests are very specific. The 4th generation “duo tests” often used today are very accurate at predicting a positive result, but are always followed up with a confirmatory tests.

          3. As well as the confirmatory HIV tests that are taken, other tests include a viral load test which looks directly for the viral RNA & a CD4 cell count along with many other tests. Our protocols are very well established here in the UK, but if anyone is anxious about the possibility of an incorrect test result they should discuss this with the health professional undertaking the test & find out what tests are being run.

            The window period is of vital importance – many people get anxious if they feel they have been exposed to HIV & test far too early. The duo tests I mention are accurate from about 4 weeks after infection, whereas a Western Blot Test would take longer, because an anti-body response has to occur in order for a Western Blot test to pick up a result.

            There will always be some errors but I believe here in the UK they are minimal & we have the safeguards in place to ensure accuracy of testing is paramount – the same cannot be said for the US in my opinion!

          4. I would also add that scanning the net for any HIV information is really not helpful as it seems you have discovered Samuel. I only use trusted sites because of this very reason. I come across a great deal of anxiety when people have used Google to search HIV related info & found all sorts of plausible “rubbish” regarding HIV & particularly around testing accuracy.

            This is why I am so precise about the information I post – accuracy is essential to prevent undue anxiety & fear; I will never compromise on my level of detail I am sorry to say, so please do not ever expect me to. The devil is always in the detail

          5. You often say I am selective in my reading – actually I am not, but I am selective in what I post hear & elsewhere. Today I have double checked my understanding of the ELISA & Western Blot Tests to make sure that I am posting the most up to date information available. You call this approach selective filtering, I call it responsible filtering as to avoid providing any inaccurate information. Unless you can accept that I do know my subject & I am capable of providing good quality information we will never ever get on & the next 3 yrs will remain the same.

            I always find it odd that many people distrust “lay individuals” who have taken the time to become deeply acquainted with their illness – how else am I to form an opinion, simply rely on Dr’s – they get it wrong frequently!

            I am lucky to have a brilliant HIV Consultant & we have a great good working partnership, he advises me & I make the final decisions, just as it should be in my view (but this style is not for everyone)!

          6. Samuel B. 3 Feb 2013, 7:17pm

            Thank you for your very concise explanation, W6.

            Clearly at the time my friend was in great distress and abject denial about his diagnosis so I went online, as I say, to find out more about false pos results and came across sites like the one I linked you to which, as you say, was perhaps a hasty thing to do.

            But when someone dear to you is suffering you do what you think is right and look for anything that can provide some hope.

            Ironically it was only when he retested in Australia that he came to terms with the fact that he is indeed pos and is now able to get on with his life because he is no longer in denial about it.

            But I’m still concerned that some who test pos – like the lady in the radio interview – might in fact be neg and unnecessarily on treatments:- the haste to test gay men in settings in which their immune systems are compromised by alcohol and drugs combined with big pharma’s ramped up zeal to late to push treatments at all and sundry only hastens my concern

          7. I listened to the link – sadly as soon as I hear the words “HIV has not ever been isolated” I just switch off. The accounts given by both the patient & the Dr are feasible, lab errors do occur. Of course we do not know which ELISA test was used, which is an important consideration. I would question the short time frame the the Western Blot results was available; it takes several days to get a confirmation test back as the method is time consuming

            This is 1 test out of goodness knows how many; even if the patient had relied on the incorrect result the Viral Load & CD4 tests would have identified that there was a problem that needed further investigation. It is possible to be anti-body +ve yet have no detectable viral load & there are other tests that would determine the presence of HIV, including pro-viral DNA testing. Babies to +ve mums are always born anti-body +ve but generally do not have detectable HIV

            It is a plausible account but has conspiracy fingerprints all over it!

          8. What has always worried me about your understanding of these things is that you seem to trust no clinical opinion, this worries me greatly. I know how hard it is when people get a positive result, I read & hear about the personal stories every day. It is interesting what the patient said – she was more concerned about the “society issues” than the virus itself, it seemed she could face the mortality question but not the social stigma & fear that goes with a diagnosis; I also read about this on a daily basis.

            I am glad your friend is doing well, but as I have said before I am concerned about YOU (strange as it seems) – I think you need a good chat (s) with a Health Adviser as I believe you are very anxious about the whole HIV subject area, it seems to be causing you some undue anxiety. Either that, or get hitched to a nice Jewish boy, then there will be nothing to worry about for you personally.

  24. An interesting article by Attitude editor Matthew Todd in Saturday’s Guardian:-

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/02/gay-shame-terrence-higgins-trust?INTCMP=SRCH

    1. I think Matthew Todd made a grave error with his knee jerk comments in this piece, as many of the Guardian readers expressed in their comments to this article – he makes some very good points, but his swipe at THT was not needed & indeed in a Twitter conversation I had with David Stuart of Antidote both he & I agreed that greater collaboration is required & bitching about THT funding was not particularly helpful for garnering a more collaborative approach.

      Antidote, THT & 56 Dean Street are all working together to help tackle drug & alcohol issues. The CODE Clinic initiative is aimed at harm reduction for gay men into the “harder sex scene”, not something I think you will approve of Samuel?

      1. Samuel B. 5 Feb 2013, 1:40am

        Well, firstly, it was incredibly daring of The Guardian to publish such a truthful and glaringly honest piece because the verisimilitude of Matthew’s viewpoint was always going to be construed as judgmental by its PC/bleeding heart/hand-wringing liberal readership that thinks everyone should have the right to party to self-destruction amid the silence of our pubic health arbiters who look the other way.

        The THT reference was a tacit one and only understood by people such as most contributors to this debate who comprehend the causes and symptoms behind the malaise in scene-goers’ health over the past ten years and THT’s role in participating in its sexualisation and degradation via, for example its support of the hard sex bareback scene.

        I don’t think it’s the last we’ll hear from Matthew on the subject, not by a long way:- the fact he is at the helm of the largest selling and most influential and respected gay periodical should send a collective shudder throughout 314 Grays Inn Road.

        1. Basically we should all go out to “tiddly wink” bars & drink lemonade, because as gay men we cannot be trusted to make decisions for ourselves & live with the consequences of out actions? I am sure the twin set & pearls brigade like nothing more than to sit around swapping knitting patterns & gossiping, but don’t expect us all to be making jam on a Sunday!

          The problems that Mr Todd highlighted are not unique to gay men – they are the same difficulties faced by many young people here in the UK & elsewhere in the world. The great advances in equality are to be very welcomed, but how can we as a group keep asking to be provided with the help & support that is not provided to other groups within our society. We need to man up in my view!

          The current edition of Attitude is the Naked Edition – Mr Todd has double standards & perpetuates the stereo-typical, unattainable gay man image which only fuels many of the problems regarding self-esteem, body image & a sense of not belonging!

          1. Samuel B. 5 Feb 2013, 2:25pm

            The point Matthew clearly makes, W6, is the set of circumstances many gay men contend in their formative years – ie. perceived feelings of intense shame – that are by and large unique to us and which, in itself, justifies particular emphasis being placed on us and funds provided to empower feel like worthy human beings.

            I’m afraid your very well-worn liberal song sheet excuse that such issues also affect straights comes from a place lacking in empathy for your fellow gay, which contradicts the excellent work you do with regard to guiding the same individuals to the most appropriate treatments.

            When the likes of THT actually play an active role in promoting and incentivising the hyper-sexualised underground sex scene instead of actively empowering gay men to respect their health and speaking out against environments that fall short of protecting and safeguarding their patrons’ well being, then we can see clearly how it is a symptom of the problem Matthew so eruditely epostulates.

          2. Are THT expected to deal with all the woes of gay men? Personally I think we should be lobbying for improvements to metal health services for all, & better access & care pathways for individuals who have difficulties with alcohol, recreational drugs & other substance abuse.

            I have some questions for you:

            Why are gay men not able to discuss these important issues with their GP’s & get the appropriate help & support?

            Why are charities like PACE not being more vocal & getting appropriate levels of funding for gay men (only)?

            Where is the money to come from for all these services aimed exclusively at gay men?

            If it is to come from the HIV prevention spending how will this be justified & evaluated to provide the necessary outcomes of reduced incidence of HIV in the UK?

        2. Samuel B. 6 Feb 2013, 3:20pm

          You have missed one vital factor in your equation, W6:-

          The self-named and outrageously misnomered “Gay Men’s Health Charity” GMFA.

          Now where the hell were they when our gay scene began burning?

          No doubt on the latest NLP PC training course I would wager.

          1. I don’t notice any answers coming from you on any questions I pose, rather like Mr Cameron at PMQ’s – he get asked a direct question but never answers, always deflecting but never engaging directly! I see that despite the exchanges here, you still have nothing new to say & are making the same very tired accusations on the most recent THT / HIV news story. No doubt the THT bitching brigade will once again side step the real issue which is how do we as a community win the battle against HIV.

          2. What are your proposals Samuel, how are we going to fix the problem……………………..your private sector chums?

  25. Matt Williams 5 Feb 2013, 11:27am

    If people bothered to read the original Lancet article (HIV incidence in men who have sex with men in England and Wales 2001—10: a nationwide population study, 1 February 2013
    doi:10.1016/S1473-3099(12)70341-9) it says nothing of the sort. It says a modest increase in uptake of HIV treatment, increased testing and earlier diagnosis of HIV has made no difference to the incidence (rate of new cases) of HIV. The BBC and others have once again speculated to get a good headline.

  26. Samuel B. 5 Feb 2013, 6:17pm

    Sorry, couldn’t resist posting this 160th contribution to this electric debate just for the sheer hell of usurping and ousting the revolting Lynne Burrows from the top spot in PN’s “most read stories” chart! :)

    1. That much we can agree on – anything that help consign that gila monster (a poisonous lizard) to the obscurity where she belongs can only be a good thing.

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