HIV in UK down again

There has been an 18 per cent drop in the number of people newly diagnosed with HIV, 5,164 last year, the biggest fall on record, according to Public Health England.

New cases of HIV are falling among gay and bisexual men for the first time, thanks partly to use of Prep.

In London new cases among gay and bisexual men fell by 29 per cent.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/10/03/hiv-cases-among-gay-bisexual-men-drop-first-time-experts-hail/

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Zanzibar arrests gays

Twenty people have been arrested in Zanzibar for alleged homosexuality.

“They are implicated in homosexuality. We arrested them and are busy interrogating them. The police cannot turn a blind eye to this practice,” said regional police commander Hassan Ali Nasri on state television. The twelve women and eight men were arrested in a hotel where they were undergoing training from an NGO that works on HIV/AIDS education programmes. In February, Tanzania announced it was stopping many privately run health centres from providing AIDS-related services, which Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu said promoted homosexuality.

http://www.africanews.com/2017/09/16/tanzania-20-arrested-in-zanzibar-for-homosexuality/

Prep has changed behaviours

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Medical Daily | 17153

Two-thirds of gay and bisexual men said they didn’t use a condom the last time they had anal sex, and more than a quarter considered themselves to have a “risky sex life,” including sex with partners who are HIV-positive, reports Newsweek.

Gay Men Fight Aids surveyed 500 gay and bisexual men, asking them about the risk involved in their sex lives. Twenty-seven percent consider themselves to throw caution to the wind in their sex lives.

The use of PrEP has changed all the rules for gay and bisexual men. HIV-negative men on PrEP, and HIV-positive men who have an undetectable viral load, meaning they cannot pass on the infection due to their HIV treatment, can now have sex without a condom without risk.

http://www.newsweek.com/gay-sex-65-percent-men-didnt-wear-condom-last-time-they-did-it-652063

PrEP trial announced

UK Health Minister Steve Brine has announced the timetable for a major trial into pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) drug Truvada.

Truvada is a pill taken before sex which has already been shown to reduce the risk of infection with HIV in high risk persons by 86%.

The trial is expected to begin during August 2017, and at least 10,000 people are expected to be enrolled over the next three years of the trial.

Up to £10 million has been made available to fund the three year trial.

Yes, it was a big gay out

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Dean Purcell | 17034

New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English attended Auckland’s Big Gay Out at Coyle Park in Pt Chevalier despite dark clouds threatening to spoil the day. A number of political parties had stalls. As well as the Prime Minister, ACT leader David Seymour and Labour leader Andrew Little attended.

English hoped to be more warmly received that his predecessor John Key was, after he was booed off stage at last year’s event. Auckland mayor Phil Goff posed for photos with those present, joined by councillors Cathy Casey and Richard Hills.

The theme of this years event was ending HIV. Green Party leader James Shaw was also there, and said his party had a “pretty clear track record” of standing with the LGBT community. The Greens were committed to eradicating HIV from New Zealand by 2025. “There’s a tonne of work that still needs to happen for this community, particularly in public health.”

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/aucklander/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503378&objectid=11799304

At last some good news about HIV

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Gus Cairns/Twitter | 17024

New HIV infections in gay men have fallen by nearly a third since 2015 across England.

This welcome reduction may be because gay men are buying medicines online.

A similar fall was reported by four London sexual health clinics in December. The new preliminary results from all sexual health clinics in England for 2016 show the same trend is happening across the country.

Valerie Delpech of Public Health England told the HepHIV conference in Malta: “Provisional data suggests that HIV diagnoses among gay and bisexual men in England has fallen, although it is not possible to confirm this at a national level until all data for 2016 have been received.”

Until last year, gay men accounted for just over half of new HIV infections in the UK.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2120186-new-hiv-infections-in-gay-men-have-dropped-by-a-third-in-england/

Survivors face more problems as they age

Older people now represent 1 in 3 of those living with HIV, but the government isn’t ready for this fast-growing aging population, and social care is a ticking ‘timebomb’ as more older people living with HIV face loneliness and poverty, says the Terrence Higgins Trust.

Michael said he is worried about life in a care home where HIV treatments are not widely educated and a stigma is still present. “Care home staff are not usually trained in working with people who have HIV, as they’ve never had to deal with it before. So like anyone else, they will have their own pre-conceived ideas about HIV, which could be decades out of date.”

As HIV diagnoses are rising in people over 50, Michael said the only way to improve social care is education. “We also need to educate GPs, care homes and society as a whole about HIV, so that those of us who are growing older with HIV are getting the support we need to live well in older age.”

The report also reveals that six out of ten older people with HIV are living in poverty – double that seen in the general population; eight out of ten experienced moderate to high levels of loneliness – three times more than the general population; one in four respondents said they would have no one to help them if they ever needed support with daily tasks, and eight out of ten are concerned about whether they will be able to access adequate social care in the future.

For Your Activist, it is quite simple. It is wrong to discriminate against people with a sniffle; and it is wrong to discriminate against people with HIV.

What does the future hold for people growing old with HIV?

Cameroon’s crisis

Gay rights groups brave abuse and violence to fight HIV in Cameroon, reports Reuters.

Fleur listens intently to the speaker talk about gay sex before slowly raising his hand. “Can we catch AIDS by swallowing sperm?” he asks, prompting laughter from his peers at the group discussion held by Alcondoms, an organization promoting the rights and health of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

It is serious business.

Cameroon has the second highest HIV prevalence rate in West and Central Africa (Nigeria is worse) and men who have sex with men are hit the hardest according to UNAIDS. One in 25 people in Cameroon are living with HIV, but almost a quarter of men who have sex with men in Yaounde have the HIV virus.

In Douala, the economic capital, two in five men who have sex with men are infected, according to the state’s national AIDS control committee.

Cameroon’s gays live in fear.

The fear of discrimination and threat of five years in prison are driving MSM and LGBT people away from hospitals and state programs, according to civil society groups who say they fill the gap by providing condoms, counseling and healthcare. Animosity is growing between a largely conservative society and a younger generation less concerned by homosexuality in a country which prosecutes people for being gay more aggressively than almost any other nation in the world. 50 people were convicted of homosexuality between 2010 and 2014, for acts ranging from cross-dressing and wearing make-up to a man texting ‘I love you’ to another man, according to data collected by The Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS.

Gay Activist wishes them success, health and their human rights for 2017.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-cameroon-lgbt-idUSKBN14G0AC?il=0

HIV Rampant in Condom-free Phillipines. What a surprise

Religious conservatism and restrictive policies in the Phillipines that the Duterte administration has inherited are fueling a rising HIV epidemic in the Philippines, particularly among men who have sex with men, say Human Rights Watch.

Condoms are not currently generally available in the Phillipines.

The report said Philippines has outstripped its Asia Pacific neighbours in terms of HIV prevalence, with statistics showing a tenfold increase in cases recorded over the last five years. It said last year, the Philippine Health Department reported that at least 11 cities recorded high HIV prevalence rates of more than 5 percent among the MSM, with Cebu City – the country’s second-largest city – recording a staggering 15 percent prevalence rate.

The numbers were markedly higher than the overall prevalence rate for the Asia Pacific region, which was just 0.2 percent, as well as the rate in Sub-Saharan Africa, which has the most serious HIV epidemic in the world but has a rate of 4.7 percent for those in that group.

https://asiancorrespondent.com/2016/12/philippines-urged-break-condom-barriers-hiv-epidemic-among-gay-men/