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AIDS Action Now: "Harper is creating an AIDS crisis in Canada"

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AIDS Action Now: "Harper is creating an AIDS crisis in Canada"

AIDS Action Now released a video tonight, on the eve of World AIDS Day, calling for the federal government to recommit to the fight against AIDS and hepatitis C in Canada. In the new video, the group condemns the Harper government for "refusing to address this national healthcare crisis."

 

 

 

 

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Is it just me or are the Aids
Is it just me or are the Aids Action Now stats in contradiction to the information here:
http://www.canada.com/health/changing+face+Canada/3913025/story.html
This article says approximately 65,000 people living with HIV and AIDS are in Canada (2008).

Yet we are led to believe that 1 in 4 gay men in Toronto have this disease. That seems improbable to me from these numbers. Can we please get some evidence and some clarity because this is actually giving me a great deal of anxiety.

Certainly in any case there are ways to deal with this, but just the sheer numbers seems so high when once says 1 in 4. Is it accurate? Please let me know.

I have to echo the comments
I have to echo the comments above that a concerted effort is required to point out the absolute stupidity and ignorance behind bareback fetishism in the gay community. I am SICK to my stomach of hearing the bullshit about condoms being difficult to use or ruining the experience. Absolute bullshit. It's almost as if there is a vicious cycle of destruction underlying these lax attitudes about sex and condom usage in the gay community by people who cannot deal with their own status and are maliciously seeking to "breed" or affect others as they have been.

The video is damn near perfect, but let's see AAN!'s stance on barebacking which is now reaching "norm" levels when it comes to sexual activity in the gay community. It would be interesting to see the ridiculously high numbers of gay men living with HIV+ in Toronto studied in terms of sexual practices to better focus efforts.
I think there should be a
I think there should be a campaign for the ENTIRE LGTB community to get tested during a period of time-- ANONYMOUSLY.

There is no place people can go to get tested on a DROP IN BASIS FOR A RAPID TEST---------This is utter stupidity.

We must make the entire LGTB community by any means we can to know their status and to make this much, much more accessible.
I would like to add a comment
I would like to add a comment about Jonathon's thoughts on sex. I agree with him. HIV took away something from gay men-- in some senses if we live in a city we have this feeling that even if we have a partner we don't know what they are doing when we are not around. Yes one can say find a partner you trust, but how many people out there have had partners they thought they could trust to find out they were not able to. Condoms are not comfortable for sex for many --- in fact a lot of men find it downright frustrating to use them, but most do anyway out of fear-- the fear is huge, and most of the time it takes over. I think the risks people take are often when they simply decide to let go of fear, and in some ways it is liberating -- but it sure as hell is a REAL fear because at the end of the day ever time we line up to get tested we feel like our worlds can come crashing in on us. The joy one feels making love to a partner can not be so callously demonized as some posters on this comments site have seemed to do. At some point in time all people want to have the experience of skin to skin contact with a lover-- it's what made us after all, and there is nothing dirty about it, but sadly it is rife with real risks. I understand no one wants to deal with the aftermath of this-- but no one really wants to go through life without pleasure either. It is like a battle in oneself dealing with this. Gay men realize that by the time they are say 40 if they have not found a life partner they might end up with more casual partners then they might like, and like russian roulette even with protection they know it can happen at anytime. For the cold hearts out there think about that for a moment. Compassion goes a long way and some of these comments have no sense of real life and human beings desire to actually life-- while they are alive. I too advocate condom use, but I realize it is not going to be there in every situation and relationship every time for every person.

I have read that there are other prevention stategies, and one of those is making sure people get tested, treated early, and put on medication, as the new medications make them less infective to others. I think a great deal of responsibility lies with those who do test positive, but in many cases people are afraid to get tested. With rates like 1 in 4 who wants to know if the bullet clicked? It is an awful thing to thing of, and most of the people I know simply avoid it and keep living. I sure as hell hope they kick this disease in the A$$ when it comes to institutions that do research because I would like to see it wiped out. There are always risks with unprotected sex but we also would not be on earth without it, so surely one can understand the desire of some to have it. No one wants HIV or AIDS-- but in our efforts to reduce the numbers of new infections we need to look at the psychology behind the increase and deal with it.

I think increasing the availability of anonymous rapid HIV testing is a very good idea, and also increasing the awareness that if someone is positive they can reduce their risk of infection to others.

Working on promoting safe sex practices is also important, but I hope more money goes into research to come up with a vaccine like they have for HPV.
I always find these blame
I always find these blame games odd. While certainly $ spent on strategies to reduce HIV would benefit the cause, at the end of the day Xtra is presenting this information while owning squirt.org. As a gay male I find it strange that Pink Triangle Press blames the Conservative Government when it has the power through its media, sex sites, etc. to make a much greater concerted effort to:
1) Get the word out that 1 in 4 men in Toronto have HIV (and similar statements elsewhere) and thus on sites such as squirt.org it might be a good idea to have highly visible awareness efforts on the topic -- not only in condom use but in other areas such as the following points:
2)Use creativity to show youth the reality that HIV is in fact still a threat and that medications have side effects regardless of the common knowledge that people are living longer healthier lives
3) Have videos/ statements etc. from people like Dr. Montnamer who might get the message across that those that are positive, or don't know they are postive, can lower their risk of spreading the disease to others by early intervention (and working hard to deal with many of the misnomers, and ill confused 'facts' that are currently rampant about the safety and effectiveness of these medications
4) pressure places like the hassle free clinic to actually be hassle free-- some people might not be showing up for their scheduled pre booked 2 week appointment, so pressuring them to allow for drop in immediate testing availability would go a long way for a person that might drop in from Oakville for the weekend etc.
5) Stop blaming the government and take responsibility while advocating for what is needed.

Personally I hold all of the board members, employees, and members of Pink Triangle press just as responsible as Harper, but at the end of the day it is up to all of us to act responsibly.

Sex is such a beautiful thing, and I am sure many feel it extremely frustrating that this disease is simply a matter of a period of time passing for them to be exposed, and some do not believe that removing their pleasure from sex in life is worth it-- that is until they have a life changing disease. Sadly this seems to be the norm I have found in this city, and as our main source of media I hope PTP does everything it can. Squirt is a site about casual anonymous sex-- starting there and doing everything it can would be a good start.

Jonathon
Phil and AM both have a point
Phil and AM both have a point and I agree with Phil it's time to start turning this into a moral question and a moral debate. New infections have been on the rise for several years now. The fact that they increased under the conservatives is incidental. Its the continuation of an upward trend.

It's time that we as gay men and MSM start establishing that anal sex without a condom is WRONG and that anal sex in general is a very very high risk behavior that WILL increase your chances of contracting HIV. It's not politically correct enough for the socialist hippies but that's the point.

Politicizing the message with anti-conservative, anti-Harper, anti-war, anti-military crap is not the way to go. Besides some of us support military spending and newer safer weapons for Canadian troops...like myself.
Paul: I have no issue with
Paul: I have no issue with the term "men who have sex with men," (MSM) nor do I believe it is replacing "gay men." In fact, I believe it's a very accurate and important distinction, as many men do not identify as "gay," but do enjoy sexual relations with other men. My issue is about how the queer community has all but been erased from the face of AIDS, while Africa, women, babies & injection drug users all come first. Sounds alarmingly like homophobia to me.

I also strongly urge the queer community to stop blindly pointing the finger at HIV positive guys as the "problem," when the bulk of new infections in the MSM community are passed on by "negative" guys who don't know they're infected yet.

It's time for a serious discussion about HIV/AIDS...and it's got to include HIV negative guys taking responsibility for their own health and sexual choices. People need to get tested, be honest about the results AND get supported by the community (which is NOT the experience in Ottawa and elsewhere now).
While I find the video makes
While I find the video makes many excellent points I agree with Shawn about the almost total neglect of queer men in the video and in our prevention campaigns. I continually see comparisons made for various populations suggesting some like Aboriginals, immigrants and intravenous drug users have higher rates of infection, which they do, but seldom do I see acknowledgement that queer men, who comprise at most 5% of the population, comprise at least 45% of new infections each year. Perhaps this is the result of the fact that there has never been a dedicated federal strategy backed with funding to address HIV in the queer community, even though we have always been the group hardest hit by HIV and AIDS.
The reality is that HIV/AIDS is an epidemic that largely affects marginalized populations and until we get serious about addressing the issues that lead to marginalization in our society we aren’t likely to have much success in significantly reducing HIV infections in any of the communities impacted by HIV. In the queer community the HIV epidemic is playing out in the context of other epidemics including very high rates of depression, attempted suicides, substance abuse, partner violence and childhood sexual abuse which all result because of the homophobia and heterosexism which are rampant in our society especially within our education and health care systems. The recent public discussion of suicides by our youth is just a symptom of the problem, and queer youth suicide is not a new phenomenon but rather something that has been occurring silently for decades. Is it any wonder that youth who are brutalized by an education system that devalues their lives grow up into adults who devalue their lives by not taking measures to ensure their health and wellness. It may be fine to tell people to always use condoms but until we address those broader health and social issues that impact on our lives those messages will often fall on deaf ears. It may get better for some of us but for many it doesn’t get all that better when we carry the deep wounds that occur to our psyches during our school, years.
Men-who-have-sex-with-men is
Men-who-have-sex-with-men is more accurate than 'gay men'. And, not all gay men have sex. Being gay doesn't transmit HIV - behaviours do. And there are men who have sex with men who are not gay and reject that identity construct, especially men from outside the Western world who don't believe that sexual behaviour determines their identity. The focus of that term MSM is on the behaviour, not the subjective identity which varies a great deal and isn't particularly useful in epidemiology.
Well said Shawn.'gay men' are
Well said Shawn.
'gay men' are being ignored and replaced by "men-who-have-sex-with-men".

Shawn wrote: [i]"I'm also concerned by the ongoing erosion of gay men and men-who-have-sex-with-men from HIV/AIDS campaigns. In that entire video, gay men were mentioned only a single time; represented with just one stat for Toronto. Gay men remain the most at-risk group for new infections, yet we continue to see our community erased from the face of AIDS. So, sure...go ahead and get mad at the government if you want, but please also spare some of your outrage for the AIDS campaigns that don't seem to give a damn about HIV when it involves two men fucking."[/i]

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