Too many members of the gay community, with our hard-won marriages, our adopted kids, our newfound respectability, regard the guys who haven't yet got there as traitors. Letting down the side. Tainting the gay brand. Doing what the homophobes accuse us of. Let's not be Pharisees. Let's welcome our gay brothers into the fold and protect them from what is still the most serious consequence of sexual risk. Let us save them from HIV. Let us offer them PrEP.
If tomorrow we wake up to find we've left the EU - the biggest single reason will be that the Leave campaign seized the hope agenda. In reality, I think voting to leave the EU is essentially a gesture of despair. The only hope we have as a region is to help Europe, and by doing help ourselves as part of Europe.
You should realise when you are riding roughshod over someone's pain and should<em> f*****g shut up and listen a bit</em> if you actually want people to engage with your point of view, and maybe agree to disagree. Instead of feeling they have to run away, or block their ears and go la-la-la. Or no-platform you, which is the institutional equivalent.
In the 30 years I've had HIV, I never expected to feel sorry, tender even, for a Hollywood actor, let alone Charlie Sheen: wanting to give this hot man-mess a hug, clap him on the back, spur him on to sober up and start living with HIV rather than dying from the shame of it. I really hope Charlie's self-outing as HIV positive does mark his final emergence from whatever swamp of chaos he's been floundering in this last five years.
The issue us that <em>no-one</em> that catches such a still potentially lethal sexually transmitted infection should be paraded before us for public disapproval, because all you do is perpetuate the message that HIV infection is something to be ashamed of. Something deserved. It's not.
Kids Company may well have been a chaotic mess organisationally; Batmanghelidjh's charisma may well have blinded important funders to that, and her ambition may have blinded her to it. But attempts to destroy the therapeutic understanding on which the charity was based smell to me of character assassination and will do nothing but set back therapeutic work with deprived kids (and adults) for years.
We can achieve it by testing, so as to minimise the number of guys who don't think they have HIV, but do. We can achieve it by maximising viral suppression and getting as many HIV+ guys on treatment as possible. We can achieve it by using PrEP, not just because it works, but also to take the anxiety and rabbit-in-headlights paralysis out of gay dating.
I think we as gay men are uniquely vulnerable to this virus. If you accept that gay men aren't just going to stop having anal sex overnight, then you have to accept that we have the kind of sex that is 18 times better at transmitting HIV than the sex heterosexuals have, and that means we are 50-100x more likely, in most places in the world other than parts of Africa, to meet a positive partner.
So what just happened is that on 16 October the researchers behind the PROUD trial, in which 545 gay men in England were given daily pills of the anti-HIV medicine Truvada(R) either immediately or after a year's delay, announced that what had been intended as a mere pilot study had been so dramatically successful that they were offering all participants immediate PrEP...
I do understand that for many, the science is not easily understood, and that you may still think doubt about the origins of AIDS is still a matter for legitimate discourse. It is not. It is an entirely irresponsible thing to do, and I beg you even at this late stage to withdraw the screening of this film.
To those less acqainted with the workings of HIV, and more surprised by the news, you'd think this would be cause for celebration. In the gay community, however, the news was received by many with disbelief ("This is bullshit science" said one) or downright fear
Four years ago it was proven that if you give people HIV drugs and they take them, their chance of infecting someone else falls by at least 96%. It's stupid to drive into hiding the people you may need to treat to continue your fight against AIDS.
I can't quite claim a full three decades with HIV. It was in 1984 that I turned up at a clinic with a crop of throat ulcers so impressive the doctor had a photo taken. In retrospect, they were my first HIV symptom.
30/11/2011 22:36 GMT
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