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Sex, drugs and sausage rolls: London life, love and other random stuff

What everyone should know about HIV

with 40 comments

Image: AIDS awareness ribbon

Do you have all the facts?

I often get contacted by people on Facebook or Twitter asking me about HIV, either because they’re curious or believe they’ve put themselves at risk and need some reassurance.

I’ve always been very open about my status, and I’m glad people feel they can ask me instead of sitting there stewing. But it’s become increasingly obvious to me recently just how many people there are out there who know almost nothing about HIV. I’m not judging anyone, just making an observation.

You may remember a while back I wrote a post called ‘Why we should never stop being scared of AIDS’, and I stand by that sentiment. You should be damn scared of AIDS — it may be a manageable condition nowadays, but it sure ain’t fun — but there’s a difference between those who fear it because they’re ignorant, and those who have the facts, protect themselves and still have fun.

So I’m going to give you the basics. I’m not a doctor, so this isn’t written with the education of someone with a medical degree. I hope I’ve managed to slim down the technical side of things without compromising accuracy, but I’m quite happy to be corrected if you want to leave a comment.

This blog has had over half a million visits in the past year. If I can make just one of those visitors think twice about taking risks, then I may well have saved a life.

So here we go:

The science bit:

HIV’s a clever little bugger. When it enters your body, it targets your white blood cells. There are many different types of white cell, and they don’t just live in the bloodstream. But in very simple terms, they’re your immune system — the more of them you’ve got, the healthier you are.

HIV latches on to the white blood cell and empties its DNA into it. In doing so, it effectively turns the cell into a factory for producing more HIV — when the white blood cell reproduces, so does the virus.  Sneaky, huh?

But it gets sneakier. When HIV copies its DNA to human DNA it makes a small ‘mistake’ and mutates ever so slightly. This is why it’s so hard to find a cure — because by the time we develop one, it’s irrelevant because of how much the virus has changed.

If you imagine the yearly mutation of the flu virus to be the size of an A4 piece of paper, HIV’s equivalent could arguably be a couple of football pitches.

How do I know if I’ve got it?

Well, the simple answer is — you can’t. Not without a test. Once you’re exposed to the virus, your body will try to produce antibodies to fight off the infection. It’s the presence of these antibodies that the doctors look for when they test you for HIV, but it can take anywhere between thirty and ninety days before there are enough of them to detect in a test.

Some people will develop flu-like symptoms a couple of months after infection. Others may not show any symptoms at all. My experience was pretty traumatic. I was so weak I couldn’t even move, I barely ate. I lost nearly two stone and I had a blotchy red rash all over my body.

Attractive, huh? Thinking twice yet about barebacking?

PEP

It stands for post-exposure prophylaxis — and it could save your life. It’s basically a course of HIV medication that you take for a month after you’ve been exposed to the virus, and it could cut the risk of you developing HIV by around 80%.

But you need to be quick — you’ve got about a 72 hour window after exposure to get the treatment (the HPA in the UK say ideally within one hour and not beyond 72 hours). You can get it from Accident and Emergency or through selected GUM clinics. Have a Google and you can usually find where to get it in your area.

Accidents happen, condoms split or get forgotten in the drunken, drug-fucked heat of the moment. Nobody at a clinic is going to judge you, they just want to help. But make no mistake; this is not some magic ‘morning after pill’ — the side effects can be gruesome, and can include heavy vomiting, diarrhoea, nausea, insomnia and dizziness — but it’s better than the alternative. It might be a second chance at an HIV-free life.

So don’t blow it — and take a bit more care next time.

So what should I classify as safe sex?

There are certain activities which can be said to be lower risk than others. Oral sex, for instance, is a lot lower risk than penetrative sex. But the actual risk is dependent on a number of factors.

For instance, if you have oral sex with someone who’s got a high viral load and is highly infectious, that’s obviously going to be a greater risk than if, like me, they’re undetectable (I’ll explain what that means in a second).

On the flipside, they could be undetectable, but if you’ve nicked your gums when you dashed to the bathroom to brush the taste of vodka from your mouth before you got down to it, then the risk goes back up.

And whether you’re male, female, top or bottom, barebacking’s a no-no. Just stick a bloody condom on. You may think you can’t catch it from a passive partner, but you can, and you probably will. If you rupture something while you’re banging happily away up there, you’ll be absorbing the virus straight through the head of your dick.

Nice.

So should I avoid sex with someone who’s positive?

Sex with a positive person — as long as it’s safe — shouldn’t be something to be frightened of. If they’re kind enough to tell you beforehand, you should assume they are in control of their health, and are at the right stage of their treatment, and therefore won’t do anything they feel will put you at risk.

However, you always have a choice, and it’s your decision whether you have sex with them or not. Don’t just go with the flow’ while silently freaking out.

I’ve been turned down by countless guys because of my status, but the one thing I always say is: “I’m not the first positive guy you’ve slept with — I’m just the first one who’s told you.”

So why should I get tested?

Well, apart from the obvious peace of mind, there’s another thing to consider. So here’s science lesson number two:

There are two indicators of how an HIV+ person’s body is coping with the virus:

  • CD4/T-cells: It’s a little complicated, but they’re pretty much the same thing. T cells are a type of white blood cell, and CD4 is the protein on a T cell’s surface that the HIV binds to. For this reason they’re sometimes known as CD4+ T cells. A healthy person can have a count of anything between 500-1500 per drop of blood.
  • Viral load: This is the number of copies of HIV per drop of blood and can vary wildly. At my worst, it was over half a million. Now I’m on drug therapy, it’s below 50 — or in clinical terms ‘undetectable’

So therefore, high CD4+low viral load = good news. When the CD4 drops below, say 250, this usually indicates the immune system has suffered damage, and then it’s usually time to consider drug therapy.

So if you don’t get tested, you won’t know if you’ve got HIV, and if you’ve got it, how the hell can you know how your body is coping with the virus? The longer the virus goes unchecked, the more it’ll have the chance to damage your immune system — and that’s where the trouble starts.

Also, the higher the viral load, the more infectious you are to partners — even if you’re indulging in relatively low risk sex.

You may not need to go on meds straightaway. I didn’t start taking them until I’d been positive for six years (I was diagnosed eight years ago). In fact, my CD4 was still around the 1000 mark, it was just that the virus was multiplying exponentially, and it was time to bring it under control — I looked awful, I was about two stone underweight, I was ill all the time, eczema, night sweats, diarrhoea, the lot. I was quite glad, actually.

In a nutshell

Well if I haven’t hammered the point home enough already, I’ll just say it one more time:

Go. Get. Tested.

And if you feel you don’t know enough about HIV, make it your mission to learn about it. You can find out a lot about HIV from websites like AIDSmap, or from charities like GMFA or Terence Higgins Trust.

You may think it’s one of those things that just happens to other people — like a house fire or car accident. But it’s not. It’s real and it’s on your doorstep.

Knowledge is power as they say. And the more people who take control of their health, the better. There is no cure, but with the right care you can live a long and happy life.

I’d like to think of myself as living proof that having HIV and having a fucking great life aren’t mutually exclusive, but if I hadn’t got myself tested, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t be here now, and I wouldn’t have had the chance to experience all the amazing things life has sent my way.

Thanks for reading.

Guy, Interrupted

Written by guy_interrupted

October 3, 2010 at 10:03 pm

40 Responses

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  1. Thank you SO MUCH for writing this :) <3

    Justin

    October 3, 2010 at 10:10 pm

  2. You certainly are one guy who is proud to stand up and say ‘this is me’. I would say that I was a ‘runner’ from the issue, but have grown up to realise running is not the answer! Keep going and keep writing! Your fan site is not far away

    adcc1978

    October 3, 2010 at 10:19 pm

  3. Great post! Aidsmap publish a great book called ‘Living with HIV’ and it’s free if anyone wanted to know more in depth information.

    Stephen

    October 3, 2010 at 10:19 pm

  4. Another great and informative blog post. It’s true to say I too was rather naive to all the facts, this info is very concise. You’re very brave to be so open about your own status. My hat goes out to you. xx

    Trevor

    October 3, 2010 at 10:21 pm

  5. Great post, as always. Worth pointing out that PEP is a pretty horrid course of drugs, and that the decision to give it to you is always up to the discretion of the doctor – you’ll never get it automatically. They make tht decision based on your likelihood of picking up the virus.

    Scary thing I heard about, coming soon to a clinic near you: PrEP – pre exposure prophylaxis. Like PEP but taken before the risk event. Not sure I like that idea, since PEP isn’t actually proven 100% effective, and nor will it protect against other STIs. But I’m told it’s likely to be available soon.

    Elliot

    October 3, 2010 at 10:23 pm

  6. this blog is amazing it comes for the heart,i have got so much info about hiv that i never new.
    keep up blogging/
    jj

    jj

    October 3, 2010 at 10:30 pm

  7. thank you for writing this. one thing that i would add is that HIV is not the only viral sexually transmitted infection that could be prevented by practicing safe sex and testing. hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus are highly contagious and can cause life-threatening infections for which we have no effective cure. but by being smart and sensible about our decisions when it comes to sex, we minimise the chances of contracting these infections.

    RC

    October 3, 2010 at 10:34 pm

  8. Hey guy,
    Sorry don’t know what your first name is, but this post is fantastic! I once dated a man for a while who had been positive for 20years. And I absolutely agree with you… It is ones choice to sleep with a poz man. My choice was that. I actually liked the guy. Safe sex up until one night we were both plastered, I was scared so I did go to the docs like not even 5 hours. . . In a drunken state went and got the meds. Pep or whatever drugs they call em, it was wretched. Not to mention hell expensive. Thank you for posting this as I didn’t know this about you. I commend you, you’re sweet as pie in my book. And sorry for being annoying.

    Anyways cheers, and thanks again! Always love reading your blogs! -Jake

    J'ake @CheeleaderJock

    October 3, 2010 at 10:38 pm

  9. Thank you. There is a great deal of general ignorance and fear out there and there can not be too many people giving factual advice and information. The key messages of play safe and get tested cannot be reiterated enough. Thanks for your honest, open and down to earth approach. XxX

    @TheBigGayAl

    October 3, 2010 at 10:52 pm

  10. Thank you for this. I’m glad you posted it.

    About PEP. Its advised by the HPA (UK) that it should be taken within an hour of exposure (or assumed exposure) and not beyond 72 hours. Prescribing it is up to the doctor you see as its not licensed for that indication in the UK.

    There’s still more work to do in the UK around HIV/AIDs. Thankfully the MRC dedicated AIDs centre in London is hard at work for treatments and cures. One of them looking at PEP and its effectiveness. Keep up the good work guys!

    Mx

    Mark

    October 3, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    • Thanks Mark, I just updated the main post with that information on the PEP ‘window’.

      guy_interrupted

      October 3, 2010 at 11:39 pm

      • Welcome Kristian. Glad I could help. I’ve some new articles on this topic if you want them.

        Mark

        October 3, 2010 at 11:44 pm

      • Feel free to post any links here :)

        guy_interrupted

        October 3, 2010 at 11:50 pm

  11. I always consider myself fairly clued up on the issue of HIV/Aids. However it wasn’t until I was diagnosed positive that I realised there was still hell of a lot I didn’t know.

    The problem I have with it, and I’m speaking from someone who did consider himself fairly ‘informed’ is that although there is plenty of information out there the mode in which this information is passed on needs to be way way more proactive than it currently is.

    I hadn’t specifically gone to the GUM clinic for a HIV test, however, thankfully in my case; my local GUM has now adopted a proactive approach to testing. My understanding is no matter what you attend for they will specifically ask you directly do you want to be tested for HIV whereas in the past the position was test when requested to test.

    I’m painfully aware of what happened last time a Government sponsored campaign was commission to highlight HIV/Aids I am also very much aware that this alone caused more harm than good. I’m also aware that this campaign did more damage than good and created the vast majority of the stigma attached to the virus. But seriously. I switch the TV on and I see campaigns for cancer awareness, heart disease; some sexually transmitted diseases… yet nothing about HIV/Aids, which I find alarming in wake of a stead increase in cases where a positive diagnosis is given. Correct me if I’m wrong, but hasn’t THT recently updated their statistics from 1 in 7 to 1 in 5 is living with HIV and is unaware of it (I think this stat is for London only)? Although, having said all of this, I tend to find the real ignorance comes from the one community that is statistically affected by HIV more than others in the UK – the gay community. Yeah we wear our red ribbons over Pride weekend and wear them again in December, we’ll even attend the Vigil but we still have unprotected sex, primarily due to the fact that the attitude from some if that HIV is something that always affects someone else, and more worryingly the thought of HIV doesn’t even play into it. Now I know I’m generalising here slightly. Not everyone is like that, but a hell of a lot are.

    Very little comes to mind from the 4 week period after I was diagnosed, however one thing that sticks in my mind is a conversation I had with one of the partners at the firm I work at when I returned to work. He asked how I was, ask how my counts were and did I have to start medication, etc etc. when the meeting was drawing to a close, he finished the conversation off by saying, “well I guess it is not the death sentence anymore and the Medication clearly must work, because you just don’t hear about HIV anymore”. And that’s the problem!! We don’t hear about it anymore and in that silence comes some degree of ignorance/denial to the fact HIV has not gone away, just everyone is still to shit scared to talk about it in any form of real open public forum.

    The Equality Act finally kicked in recently. I do wonder how many people are even aware of its existence; let alone the legislative measures imposed to protect the rights of people with HIV whilst attempting, in some way, to address the uncertainty over legal disclosure? I’m guessing not a lot.

    Having said all the above, since diagnoses last year I’ve found informed blogs like this one really useful in not only learning more about the virus itself, but also other peoples experiences of living with HIV. Because Diagnoses and the choice of Medication (I’m not currently on meds) are only the start of things – life isn’t over, life does still go on… but there are so many other hurdles placed in your way, ones you probably never even thought would affect you, so it is good to hear about the experiences of other to help make people more ‘aware’ because as you rightly state, knowledge is power – please keep doing what you are doing and hopefully others will follow suit.

    anthony

    October 4, 2010 at 9:21 am

  12. That was an amazing blog post and I totally admire your courage in being so upfront about your status.

    I thought I knew quite a lot about HIV but after reading your post I realise I didn’t. I’m happy to say I’m negative, I regularly get tested and am always safe as I’ve seen the devastation HIV and AIDS can cause so I do everything in my power to try to prevent infection but I’ve had my slip-ups in the past like most!

    Anyways, thanks for writing a great and informative post, I really thought it was one of the best I’ve read.

    Sam xxxx

    Sam

    October 4, 2010 at 9:25 am

  13. Great post and really glad you made it, dude. I’ll be honest, it cleared some stuff up for me and I thought I was relatively well informed.

    Just one thought, and it’s on this:

    “If they’re kind enough to tell you beforehand, you should assume they are in control of their health, and are at the right stage of their treatment, and therefore won’t do anything they feel will put you at risk.”

    Personally, I think that making any assumptions when it comes to this is a bad idea. Fair enough, if the person you’re with has been honest with you up front they’re less likely to do something stupid, but people have done and do do silly things. Similarly, what they feel may not put you at risk may be wrong due to their own misconceptions. I won’t rant, but you know where I’m coming from ;)

    Mathew

    October 4, 2010 at 9:57 am

    • True, I guess I’m only speaking for myself when I say that. I guess I just hope for the best in people, but I get your point completely :)

      guy_interrupted

      October 4, 2010 at 10:27 am

  14. Hey

    Great blog post mate and its very refreshing to see someone so open and honest about their status and wishing to help people become more aware of the virus itself.

    I too find it is a lack in peoples understanding (or ignorance) about HIV that makes them believe it won’t happen to them, but there is a fear or denial out there which makes it sometimes a very frustrating when people don’t take safe sex seriously!

    I have found its through lack of awareness/information that fear/denial exists but by writing this blog, even if it helps 1 extra person understand more about HIV, its a step in the right direction. Great work mate

    Sydney

    October 4, 2010 at 11:52 am

    • I kind of get the feeling it’s not just fear or denial or ignorance but also a certain kind of cocky arrogance that comes with being young — the young tend not to believe in their own mortality to some extent. Also in a way the existence of the cocktail has created a certain amount of complacency in people — the quote Anthony posted above about how “the Medication clearly must work”.

      Being HIV+ has gone from being a death sentence to being considered a “manageable condition”. And yes, that’s true. But the cost is still horrendous. Not just financial cost — which for people who live in countries without universal health care is a very serious concern since the drugs are **extremely** expensive — but the cost to one’s quality of life, to one’s possible longevity, the cost in terms of the side-effects the drugs have, the social and emotional costs. It’s not something you can shrug off like having to take antihistamines every spring or autumn for allergies. And as serious as diabetes is, it’s a hell of a lot more complicated to deal with than diabetes even, and carries a far greater social stigma even in this day and age (though there, too, it’s a lot better than it used to be).

      I won’t even go into the topic of the disturbed people who go to “poz conversion parties” or the even more disturbed people who deliberately poz unwitting partners. I’m just talking about the people who think it’s “cool” and “hot” to bareback because they have the attitude that HIV is no “longer a death sentence.” That’s true, but it’s not something to take lightly. So I think it’s not just a matter of people thinking “it won’t happen to me” but also a matter of people thinking “even if it happens to me it’s not that big of a deal”.

      Again, my thanks to the author for another characteristically-well-written post :)

      Justin

      October 4, 2010 at 12:08 pm

  15. Thanks for writing about your experience with HIV. I know it’s often hard for positive people to let others know. I know this from personal experience. Everyday I’m forced to make the same decision again and again. Do I tell this person about me being positive? If so, how will they react? etc. etc.

    You’re 100% right that people should never stop fearing AIDS. I’ve lost very good friends to this virus, and I know there will be others. Happily, I’m finding more and more men and women out there who are serious about taking care not to contract HIV, or, if they already have it, spread it around. With the constant beating of the drum, sites like your help remind people and reenforce not to be complacent and forgetful of the killer that is still out there.

    People don’t have to contract HIV, but if they do, it’s reassuring to know that there are so many medications available to stave off sickness and make like easier to live. I’ve been on the same regimen for over 6 years. I’m lucky to only have to take 1 pill a day with very few side effects. But if you’re reading this, don’t be fooled. Others are not so lucky, instead they have to take handfuls of medications so they can keep the virus in check. But they’re still alive.

    If you’re sexually active, please wear a condom every time you have sex. Some of you will say “I don’t wear a condom and I don’t have HIV.” You’re very lucky…and like every Russian Roulette player, your luck will eventually run out. Why take that chance? It’s simply not worth the risk. Condom, condom, condom. Always wear a condom. (I’m wearing one now as I write this! :-) ) But seriously, if you fuck or get fucked, wear a condom. Trust me, they will save your life.

    And GUY, there’s nothing wrong with looking like Danny Dyer. You’re both sexy bitches! Though I’d say you look like a cross between Danny Dyer and Russell Tovey (mmmmmm, sexy).

    Much love!

    Ian

    Ian

    October 5, 2010 at 12:50 am

  16. I appreciate the frankness and simplistic explanation about things I’ve always wondered about, tried to find, and never found a suitable explanation that was simple and frank.

    I really do appreciate it, and I hope that people are more aware and hang-ups and peoples’ issues with the situation become less aggressive and negative-oriented.

    oskyldig

    October 5, 2010 at 11:08 pm

  17. Another great post.

    My boyfriend is HIV positive, he told me before we met for our first date and my first thought was ‘no way stay away’ but I realised how stupid that was… and I’m glad I did… we’ve been together 2 years now.

    But I had a real ignorance around HIV before I met him. And since been with him I’m just astonished at how little is done to raise awareness around HIV. Messages like this need to keep getting out, make sure people are aware of what life is like with HIV and hopefully get them to stop taking risks.

    Now I look back I can’t believe the risks that I took when I was younger, and how lucky I was to not transmit HIV.

    My boyfriend struggles, and it breaks my heart from time to time, but I try to stay strong for him, and support him. And we manage to have a great life. We have an active sex life – we use extra strong condoms, make sure we check them every time, and I get tested every 4 months. But sometimes my boyfriend gets a bit panicky and stresses about passing it on to me, and how he will blame himself, and he couldn’t live with himself if it happened – but I keep assuring him that we both know the risks, we are both making the decisions, and we are both taking the right precautions.

    My point really is that life isn’t easy living with HIV, so stay safe and learn the facts. Be catreful, the risks just aren’t worth it.

    But you don’t have to think it’s the end because you have contracted HIV – there are medications that can help control it, and you can still have a great life. And all the better if you can get great support from your boyfriend, family, friends, etc – don’t live with it on your own.

    Adrian

    October 6, 2010 at 5:48 pm

  18. Brilliant blog. Your honesty, knowledgeable delivery and humanity make you a wonderful writer.

    Evie

    October 6, 2010 at 9:47 pm

  19. Thanks for writing this very concise and easy-to-understand article :) It’s a very good overview of HIV.

    Cliff

    October 8, 2010 at 11:39 pm

  20. Wow. You are such a selfless person and brave beyond 99% of the people on earth. Best of luck and I’m happy that you’re enjoying life :)

    ulysses

    October 12, 2010 at 12:34 am

  21. I hear he had a good date last night so I think so ;-)

    Justin

    October 12, 2010 at 8:37 am

  22. This was a nice, concise overview of HIV. Along with the condom message, I would add “trust but verify” to whatever a potential (or actual) boyfriend might tell you. In my last major relationship, my bf told the truth, but not in the order it happened. He basically lied to me about his testing history, so for nearly 2 years, I took risks that I certainly would not have taken had I known the real story. Sadly, that story was not revealed until the initial physicals for the adoption process (yes, we were at that point) showed that he not only was HIV+ but fit the definition of full blown AIDS (76 T-cells, viral load of 669,000). Since I’d had my full workup first, we already knew I was clear (and we hadn’t had sex in over 6 months…a fact he let me attribute to weight gain following jaw surgery). I’m not sure what the doctors told him, but at one point he told me that I must be “immune” to the virus. If only that were true, I’d be giving blood regularly to research to find out WHY! But he quickly came down with PCP, lost 40 lbs, and got very ill before his meds kicked in. Luckily, his virus was fairly weak, so it had taken him 5 years to show any symptoms. The breach of trust over the testing history led to us breaking up, followed quickly by a DUI for me. If knowing a bf’s status is important, ask to see the printout. I’ve dated other HIV+ since on brief occassions, and most dumped me because they decided the stress of “serodiscordance” was too much. I take Adrian’s view that two adults who have the facts can decide if the risk is too great or not.

    Jason

    October 25, 2010 at 8:38 pm

  23. This was a very honest and interesting blog. I think it should be passed on to others and your knowledge in this certainly helps me my friend

    fukkerkyle

    October 27, 2010 at 7:35 pm

  24. Thank you so much for sharing this Kristian. You explained the ”science bit” really simply, and made it easy for me to understand. I am not HIV+, but there are people in my life who are. Knowledge is power as they say, and you are potentially saving lives. I find you, your writing collectively inspiring, witty, and a real treat to boot! (Oh, and your handsome as hell!) ;)

    ”The world is a better place with people like you in it”

    Take care
    Garrett ;)

    nativegar

    May 6, 2011 at 9:32 pm

  25. Why after 28 years, is it that all the orthodoxy has in the way of prevention is a lackluster woman’s vaginal gel and giving a toxic prophylactic anti-HIV chemical compound, targeted at sexually active HIV negative gay men? Cui bono?
    - Why has there been no AIDS epidemic in Europe or North America, despite repeated predictions over the last 25 years?

    - Where is the vaccine against HIV that’s been “just around the corner” since 1985?

    - What’s happened to the tens of billions of dollars invested in AIDS over the last 25 years?

    - How did Africa manage to double its population in the last two decades while we were told the continent was drowning in disaster?

    - How did Uganda become one of the fastest growing countries today, even though it’s been hit harder by HIV/AIDS than any other African nation? And how did it overcome the epidemic without AIDS drugs?

    - Why has the discoverer of HIV, Prof. Luc Montagnier, declared that “someone with a good immune system can get rid of HIV within a few weeks”? http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=WQoNW7lOnT4

    Have you ever asked yourself these or other questions? Do you wonder why there are so few critical comments about HIV/AIDS in the public discourse? Are you curious to know who’s profiting from the ‘’HIV/AIDS’’ hysteria? Aids – Cui bono?

    Do you suspect we might have been misled or fooled with ‘’HIV’’, just like we were fooled with ‘swine flu’, ‘bird flu’, ‘mad cow disease’ and other epidemics that failed to materialize?

    ricci

    August 4, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    • Ricci, are you HIV positive? Because if you aren’t, you should shut the fuck up.

      guy_interrupted

      August 5, 2011 at 11:23 am

    • Please see replies under your questions:

      -Why after 28 years, is it that all the orthodoxy has in the way of prevention is a lackluster woman’s vaginal gel and giving a toxic prophylactic anti-HIV chemical compound, targeted at sexually active HIV negative gay men? Cui bono?

      HIV prevention is targeted at EVERYONE. The gay community has worked tirelessly to constantly spread the message; just because we don’t shut up about it doesn’t mean we’re the only ones affected by it. It’s like saying only women get unlicensed minicabs because we see adverts of a girl in one.

      - Why has there been no AIDS epidemic in Europe or North America, despite repeated predictions over the last 25 years?

      There would absolutely be an epidemic if we let people like you become the poster boy of HIV prevention.

      - Where is the vaccine against HIV that’s been “just around the corner” since 1985?

      Probably with the cure for cancer. An obtuse question gets an obtuse answer.

      - What’s happened to the tens of billions of dollars invested in AIDS over the last 25 years?

      You know where. On “a lackluster woman’s vaginal gel and giving a toxic prophylactic anti-HIV chemical compound, targeted at sexually active HIV negative gay men”.

      - How did Africa manage to double its population in the last two decades while we were told the continent was drowning in disaster?

      Because they had a lot of UNPROTECTED SEX. Its simple math’s.

      - How did Uganda become one of the fastest growing countries today, even though it’s been hit harder by HIV/AIDS than any other African nation? And how did it overcome the epidemic without AIDS drugs?

      It also used to have one of the highest mortality rates; however Uganda has been one of the hardest working African nations in the fight against HIV and AIDS. From a simple google I found this:

      Strong government leadership, broad-based partnerships and effective public education campaigns all contributed to a decline in the number of people living with HIV and AIDS in the 1990s.

      Although there is a lot to learn from Uganda’s comprehensive and timely campaign against the AIDS epidemic, emphasising Uganda’s success story must not detract from the huge consequences that AIDS continues to have across the country.

      There are an estimated 1.2 million people living with HIV in Uganda, which includes 150,000 children. An estimated 64,000 people died from AIDS in 2009 and 1.2 million children have been orphaned by Uganda’s devastating epidemic.

      http://www.avert.org/aids-uganda.htm

      You see Ricci, when there are enough people like Kristian in a country trying to raise awareness about HIV they can make a big fucking difference.

      - Why has the discoverer of HIV, Prof. Luc Montagnier, declared that “someone with a good immune system can get rid of HIV within a few weeks”? http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=WQoNW7lOnT4

      Here’s a video of Dr Coldwell who preaches that Cancer should be cured through prayer

      When you visit the AIDS wards to tell the patients they’re just pretending, could you stop by the cancer wards to tell them they’re not praying hard enough please.

      -Have you ever asked yourself these or other questions? Do you wonder why there are so few critical comments about HIV/AIDS in the public discourse? Are you curious to know who’s profiting from the ‘’HIV/AIDS’’ hysteria? Aids – Cui bono?

      Grow up Ricci. Why are there so few critical comments? That’s like questioning if racism really exists because you’ve never personally seen it.

      I don’t personally know Kristian, but I do read his blog and I for one commend him for sharing his experience and actively working to educate others in HIV and AIDS.

      There is nothing more positive than trying to help other people and I am glad he is here and hope others follow suit and learn from his example.

      -Do you suspect we might have been misled or fooled with ‘’HIV’’, just like we were fooled with ‘swine flu’, ‘bird flu’, ‘mad cow disease’ and other epidemics that failed to materialize?

      Why stop there Ricci, I think you should go all out and buy a bible, prit-stick and pair of scissors. If you work hard enough you’ll be able to explain swine flu, mad cow disease AND why God hates gays and killed the dinosaurs.

      I never usually comment on forums but in reading your comments Ricci I don’t think you realise how hurtful your words are. Replace HIV/AIDS with Cancer or Leukemia and ask the same set of questions; they are ridiculous. Terminal illnesses are devastating, come in many forms and behind their associated buzz words are shrouded in a lot of ignorance. The disease might kill the person but it’s the ignorance that will kill the generation if we don’t speak up and LEARN about them.

      In future, if you don’t like a blog, DON’T FUCKING READ IT.

      junglerory

      August 5, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    • Ricci Have you heard of logic? One simple fact that could answer a lot of your questions is that HIV is contracted by unsafe sex……..More often unsafe sex produces Babies…they take 9 months to be born…..no one dies nine months afters contracting HIV. See it’s a numbers game.

      Have you considered that ‘swine flu’ etc was controlled due to government public health announcements. Good thing no? Have you considered that if they did the same thing with HIV there would be far fewer people living with it.

      Also you look like a strapping young lad. I bet your immune systems really good…would you being willing to have unprotected sex with someone to prove your well researched theory? Unfortunately for you I don’t have HIV and I plan to fool those pesky HIV campaigners by using a condom. But if I ever happen to catch say the bubonic plague ill be happy to cough in your face.

      PS

      I generally like to give my money to charities focusing on adult education. I’m off to cancel my direct debits because after millenniums of funding you are proof there’s just no cure for stupidity.

      Me

      August 5, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    • I think next time before you post, you really need to check your evidence.

      The so-called epidemics that failed to materialise, did in fact and are still around today. Swine flu was an actual pandemic not an epidemic due to the number of people who contracted it. It was, like someone else suggested earlier, down to government public health efforts that controlled it somewhat. However, it still came and is around in our environment today, just less active. Controlling something like swine flu or mad cow disease is easier than something like HIV – which is a contradiction for an epidemiologist like me since swine flu is an airborne virus, where as HIV and BSE is not.

      As for the vaccine against HIV, Google it. You will see that drug development and see how long it takes to actually develop a vaccine, test it at length, re-rest to ensure it is safe or humans and then finally mass-produce it. This all takes time, usually 15-25 years. This time is shortened if (like the swine flu vaccine) there is something already in use that can be adapted. For HIV there is not.

      There has been great success with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in actually controlling HIV infection and reducing linked mortality. Yet, the drug regimens were unable to completely eradicate HIV infection. Those on HAART due achieve a better life expectancy due to the suppression of HIV to levels below the limit of detection. But it still remains. The failure of vaccine candidates to protect against HIV infection and progression to AIDS has led to a renewed focus on the biological mechanisms responsible for HIV latency. Developing an active treatment, like many other diseases, is trial and error. See: Bowman MC et al. (2009). “Pharmaceutical approaches to eradication of persistent HIV infection.”. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=3754988

      The billions of dollars invested in HIV and AIDs research was put to good use, and still will be. It funds centres, people and studies worldwide aimed at formulating not only a cure for this disease, but also preventive measures. A lot of work is also done on management of patients with the condition, to improve their quality of life. Without this work, people would have died that are around today. For this, I am grateful.

      The doubling of Africa’s population, this one is simple – birth control. With it a population stagnates, without it, it booms. This is precisely what happened in Africa. Sadly, due to the lack of birth control many children were born with HIV. A legacy they will have to live with.

      The only fool here is you.

      Mark Ryan-Daly

      August 5, 2011 at 8:02 pm

  26. I’m sorry Ricci, did we miss the fact that you grew up under the stairs with harry potter and your naive, and unfounded views on this issue are mearly you requiring educating! As in the Bolg and other comments posted. HIV is very really and very relevant to quite a few people! I think a day spent on a ward with patient’s suffering from HIV, or indeed visit africa’s third world countries, may infant change your sceptical views!

    May I please suggest that in future the consideration of the real facts and research from a well rounded source, be conducted before you decided to publicly post your miss guided views!

    Lee

    August 5, 2011 at 11:21 am

  27. Dear Ricci,

    As a doctor with particular interest in HIV and Immunology I feel I may be able to answer some of your questions.

    1) the ‘toxic prophylactic’ medication you talk of it not only given to sexually active gay men. It is given it to men and women of all sexualities. I have also had it myself after sustaining a puncture wound from a used needle when at work, and I’m not a gay man.

    2) you are correct, there has been no epidemic in europe or north America, and we should be thankful. However infection rates are on the rise in the UK again, in both the gay and straight communities.

    3) the difficulties faced with creating an HIV vaccine are huge and incredibly complex. The author has listed one reason above – the high mutation rates of the virus. There are many other reasons, however, including the fact that it is a human disease and we haven’t got a animal model to use in experiments that mimics the human disease exactly. There have been a few studies where experiments in macaques have shown promise, but then when the vaccine was trailed in humans there was no effect. In one study the vaccine actually increases the risk of contracting HIV in a subset of people!

    4) by asking where the tens of billions of dollars invested in HIV research has gone you are showing your own ignorance about how the scientific process works. Remember in the early 1980′s we didn’t even know this disease existed. Now we know exactly how the disease works, have identified many drugs that work against it, and are conducting extremely technical studies into new treatments all the time. I would class that as progress, personally.

    5) I’m not going to justify your comment about the population of Africa with a response.

    6) firstly, Uganda has not got over the HIV epidemic. Who told you that?! Secondly, they have not gone without treatment. I can guarantee that.

    7) I didn’t watch the video of the discoverer because I don’t need to. The statement ‘anyone with a good immune system could fight it off’ is incorrect. The condition of your immune system is irrelevant – if the situation is right and all the variables are such that you contract HIV then thats that. There is one very small subset of the earths population that are immune to HIV. This is because one of the proteins on the surface of the immune cells (this time not a CD4 cell, as Guy was talking about, but a macrophage/monocyte instead) is needed for the HIV virus to enter the cell and begin it’s attack on the bodies immune system. A small percentage of humans do not have that protein, and so the virus cannot enter the first cell. But you don’t know if you have that protein on your cells, so hoping you are part of the very small group of people that are immune is not safe. And you are not protected against other sexually transmitted infections, such as hepatitis B/C or syphilis.

    7) no one tried to fool you with the ‘swine flu’ epidemic. The World Health Orginisation advised that the swine flu vaccine had the potential to start an epidemic. Our government and many others across the world took their advice and planned for it. If they had ignored that advice and there had been an epidemic, what do you think would have happened? We didn’t have enough ICU beds this winter because of swine flu, and this is WITHOUT it being an epidemic. Instead of thinking up conspiracy theories when disasters fail to happen maybe you should just be happy they failed in the first place.

    DrA

    August 5, 2011 at 12:53 pm

  28. this blog is awful sorry. no original ideas, written by someone with the same intellectual capacity of geri haliwell. the brain dead gym queens of clapham may disagree with me though.

    total boing

    September 6, 2011 at 3:15 pm

  29. Great post and informative content! I recently became involved intimately with an HIV+ person and also came across the aidsmap.com website which I found to be very helpful as well as informative. . . .

    Oh and as for him. . . . .. he is just GREAT!!

    OneStepCloser

    December 1, 2011 at 10:37 am

  30. This is a great post on hiv awareness but i find some of the post responses oh here unnerving. Im a gay 28 year old man diagnosed 2 years ago and on treatments and til coming to terms with it. What i find provoking is that hiv postive guys would have sexual relationships with negative guys knowing there a chance it could get passed on regardless on how careful they are with each other. I understand you can’t help who you fall in love with, but the whole thing just seems messed up. I am at a stage of my life where i would deny myself of falling in love in fear of getting hurt and rejected. I suppose i still got a long way to go and alot to learn. Thanks for your blogs im getting immense inspiration and direction from reading them.

    Darren

    March 20, 2012 at 10:18 pm


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