Ian (lovingboth) wrote,

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HIV in the UK poll thoughts

Hmm, publicising the poll on HIV in the UK on livejournal_uk certainly upped the numbers responding.

I'm surprised at how popular home tests for HIV would be... but then I'm in London, male and bisexual, so there are lots of clinics who would treat me well, plus I'm clued up enough to know how to find somewhere that can treat me now, rather than in a couple of weeks.

One of my objections to home kits is the possibility of using them to test someone else... not necessarily with their consent: "I had this dream that I was being bitten by an insect, and when I woke up, there was a spot of blood on the sheet." "Never mind that, why didn't you tell me you had HIV, you bastard?!?"

The main argument in favour is that it would increase the number of people testing. Modern treatments are a very good reason to know as soon as possible - the drugs aren't nice (many of them have all sorts of side-effects) but since 1996, they've absolutely slashed the number of people dying from Aids.

Is the roughly constant level of male-male infections a success or failure? I think it's both. As there are more men with HIV than there were in the mid 80s (those drugs again, so if you survived until the mid 90s, you're probably still alive now), the proportion who are 'just infected' is dropping, so it's a success seen in that light.

But the inability to reduce the level in almost twenty years is also a pretty dismal failure.

How many people are expected to be living with HIV in the UK in five years time? About 100,000, ie twice the number now.

Should sexual transmission of HIV be a criminal offence? I was surprised at how many thought so (even if no-one at the time of writing thought it should be if condoms were used).

Come on, everyone old enough to have sex should know that there are people who will lie - whatever the law - to get the sex they want.

"Of course I love you." "Of course I want a relationship with you, not a one-night stand." "Of course I won't come in your mouth." "Of course I'm not having sex with anyone else." "Of course I don't have HIV." Etc etc etc.

Now, of course, that's bad, and I'm sure most of the people reading this will go 'I've never done that'. But pretending it doesn't happen is foolish, particularly when you're risking your own health.

Most people with HIV don't tell new partners. Given the numbers who'd run away screaming if they did, I can understand why.

Mohammed Dica, who was convicted last year of 'grevious bodily harm' after being accused of infecting women with HIV, won a retrial earlier this year. Annoyingly, it was on the grounds that the judge at the first trial denied him a particular defence (that the women knew he was HIV+ before they had sex with him) rather than because it breached the absolutely clear precedent that it wasn't an offence...

Oh, which is the leading general sexual health organisation in the UK today? I dunno either, but it's what THT wants to become.
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