FS115_COVER:FS 19/11/2009 21:46 Page 2
Midlands & East Anglia
THe fIT aNd sexy gay mag Issue #115 WINTeR 2009
HIV and me Guys tell all about living with HIV today
Bums are back The return of GMFAâ€™s Arse Class
Ways TO BeaT THe HOLIday BLues
geT THe LIfe yOu aLWays WaNTed + find out how inside
Swine Flu update the lateSt From poSitive adam win a hot boyS calendar For 2010
FS111_COVER:FS 10/04/2009 11:42 Page 4
Clinic @ 146
Even if you havenâ€™t got any symptoms, sometimes you can be worried that you have an infection, but the answer is closer than you think!
Healthy Gay Life & Whittall Street Clinic bring a full range of STI testing services to the heart of the gay village. New testing methods mean less discomfort and quicker results.
CHLAMYDIA RING GONORRHOEA W Fast track O N SYPHILIS B UR s O ti Y ti R a O p F He ENT! M vaccination APPOINT HIV also available HEPATITIS B Thursday mornings from 9.00am - 12.00 Call Healthy Gay Life to book your appointment 0121 440 6161. All services are FREE and confidential The Clinic is available to all gay and bisexual men living in Birmingham whether or not they have HIV or are untested.
Healthy Gay Life 0121 440 6161 www.hgl.nhs.uk firstname.lastname@example.org
FS115_P03_INTRO:FS 19/11/2009 21:54 Page 3
The fIT aNd sexy gay mag Issue #115 WINTeR 2009
Welcome Just before we plunge into the festive madness of Christmas and New Year, we stop and mark World AIDS Day. Every & %! year, more gay men in the UK +%) (! $ are diagnosed with HIV. At the same time, fewer gay men die with HIV each year than are diagnosed. This means that + there are more gay men living with HIV in the UK than ever before. If you don’t have HIV and are having risky sex with different guys, the chance of you having risky sex with someone who does have it gets greater every year, whether you know it or not. Without a cure, our best bet of beating this epidemic once and for all is for all of us, HIV-positive and HIV-negative guys, to take responsibility for our role in the spread of HIV and wear condoms every time we fuck. It’s as simple as that. Cary James x Editor Guys tell all about living with HIV today The return of GMFA’s Arse Class
#& '+* "', #&)# !
Find us on Myspace at www.myspace.com/fsmag or join our fan page on Facebook by searching for FS magazine. Come on... do it now!
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FS115_P05_Upfront:FS 20/11/2009 20:42 Page 6
World AIDS Day December the first is World AIDS Day, the one time during the year when HIV/AIDS gets the attention it deserves. In the UK, gay men have been the hardest hit by the virus and thousands of men died before there were effective treatments. Today we are lucky, treatment for HIV is improving and few men now suffer serious side-effects, but there is still no cure for HIV. If you catch the virus it will still have a big impact on your health and your life. Around 200 gay men with HIV die in the UK each year. The best way to protect yourself and your partners from HIV is to use a condom and plenty of lube for fucking - or not to fuck at all. And here are some other things you should know...
With fewer men dying than are being diagnosed, there are more gay men living with HIV in the UK than ever before. One in twelve gay men in the UK have HIV. This can increase to as much as one in eight in cities. Around a quarter of gay men with HIV don’t know it, so they may think they don’t have HIV, even though they do. If you have HIV, you are at increased risk of cancer, heart and liver disease. Although treatments are effective, there is no cure for HIV and if you catch HIV, you will have to take medication for the rest of your life. One in five gay men find out they have HIV too late to get the full benefits of the treatment. Almost all gay men living with HIV today would not have caught the virus if they had used a condom every time they fucked.
World AIDS Day Events Sunday 29 November
NOTTINGHAM: Church service at St Peters Church, 12 High Pavement, Nottingham NG1 1HN. For more details call Armorel on 0115 845 7135.
Monday 30 November
BIRMINGHAM: PositivelyRed Free Gala at Birmingham Town Hall starting at 7pm. For more information visit: www.worldaidsdaybirmingham.org.uk.
Tuesday 1 December
BIRMINGHAM: PositivelyRed Fashion Show at Selfridges at 7pm followed by the Red Lantern Procession from Rotunda Square at 7.30pm. For more information visit: www.worldaidsdaybirmingham.org.uk. NOTTINGHAM: Street collection in Nottingham City (all money going to the Hardship Fund, for people living in Nottingham with HIV). NOTTINGHAM: An evening of education, awareness and entertainment at "Life At The Mission" with live dance, music, theatre, art auction, video, buffet and vigil,. 6 to 8pm All are welcome. 22 Lower Parliament St, Nottingham, NG1 3DA. Call Ric at HGN on 0115 947 6868 for further details.
Hot boy calendar alert! What better way to usher in each new month of the new year than with another shot of hot, sexy boys. And that’s exactly what you can do with the Corbin Fisher’s Best Friends calendar! It’s chock full of hotties for every month of the year and publisher Brumo Grumunder has given us ten copies to give away to you lucky FS readers – hurrah. All you have to do is answer this simple question:
WHAT IS THE FIRST MONTH OF THE YEAR?
A. July B. August C. January Email your answer along with your name, address and contact phone number to email@example.com or send your answer on a postcard to the address at the back of the mag. Good luck!
FS115_P06-07_page 6:FS 19/11/2009 22:12 Page 6
Six ways to beat the holiday blues Donâ€™t pig out
Make time for yoeuholidays,
During th om take a break fr d find some an the festivities on elf. Focusing time for yours mber e help you rem yourself will y. p akes you hap what really m rks at any time of year. wo This actually
A healthy diet can help promote a sense of well-being, but thatâ€™s not always easy this time of year. Enjoy holiday eating, but remember that moderation is the key. Pigging out will reduce your energy levels, making you feel lethargic and more prone to low moods.
FS115_P06-07_page 6:FS 19/11/2009 22:12 Page 7
Get some support
Get some sleep Make sure you get enough sleep to prevent fatigue, maintain a high energy level, reduce your stress level and prevent you from feeling depressed.
Holidays te nd to remin d us of the lo sses in our lives and it ’s natural to have feelin gs of anger sadness or , confusion. You don’t have to cope wit h this alone. Having a support net work of fam ily and friends can help to relieve the losses in ou lives. If you r don’t have any of these han dy ring the Samarit ans a gay helplin or e to talk things over. You do not have to be suicid al to ring the Samaritans.
Don’t ge tt plastereotally d
Alcoho ld your b ehydrates od you fee y making l slug Drink p lenty o gish. f water feel r t energe efreshed and o tic. Alc oho depres sant an l is also a d drink to exc in depres ess can mak g e sed fee lings w orse.
Get off your arse Taking a little light exercise, even a walk, can significantly improve your mood. Make it a priority. Schedule it into your day or just grab any spare time you can. If you need someone to speak to, ring the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90, the London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard on 020 7837 7324 or go to page 28 for listings of where you can find more advice and support.
FS115_P09_Adam:FS 19/11/2009 22:15 Page 9
My name is Adam I’m 23, gay, and HIV-positive. This is my life... ’Tis the season to be jolly? As the clocks go back, the Christmas decorations make their way to the high street and credit card limits are stretched - we’re eventually reminded of World AIDS Day. Not by the government, not by schools but by shocking headlines splashed across morning newspapers. Our own government has failed an entire generation of teens, resulting in increases of new cases of HIV in young people around our country and the world. When did you last see an HIV awareness campaign on your TV screens? Instead, chlamydia and gonorrhoea have been made priorities. When I first started to write my blog I wanted to be honest, frank and upfront about the reality of HIV and share the good and bad moments of my diagnosis and how I’ve reacted to my positive status. I’m lucky. I’ve coped well. My body is doing an amazing job in staying afloat and not letting HIV get the better of it. My last counts surprised even my doctor with a CD4 of 580 and an undetectable viral load. Not bad for four or five years being positive, living a typical twentysomething lifestyle and not being on medication. Maybe it’s not an immediate death sentence, but there will come a point when this body will fail me. Just like the muscle boy at the gym who is into sleaze but wouldn’t dare tell his gym buddies and certainly doesn’t tell them he’s HIV-positive. Just like the jet set businessman at the top of a global corporation who joined the mile high club. Just like the father who fucked about with a guy he met
WorldAIDS Dayshouldn ’tbe theonlymo mentthe presscover HIVand AIDS,itsho uldn’tbethe onlymomen tyouthink aboutgettin gtested,or theonlymo menty wearyourre ou d ribbon
on the street and has to take care of his wife and kids. These are the people living with HIV and the reality will catch up with us. Intrusive and for some intolerable medication regimes that have to be taken. Regular doctor’s appointments interrupting your day. Dealing with ignorance from one night stands and even employers. No guarantees that tomorrow you’ll feel as good as today. Thankfully we’ve inherited a National Health Service that might not be perfect, but stands by us and truly wants to make our lives as normal and fulfilling as anybody else’s. Then there are the charities campaigning at policy level to ensure our voices are heard and that schools will engage in meaningful sex education and employers employ us. World AIDS Day shouldn’t be the only moment the press cover HIV and AIDS. It shouldn’t be the only moment you think about getting tested, or the only moment you wear your red ribbon. HIV and AIDS isn’t confined to a single day for me or you. It’s 24 hours a day, every day, 365 days of the year, forever. I’ve told my story, you’ve lived through some of my HIV moments and I’ve had my say. Maybe it’s time you thought about what you are doing about it. Oh and one last thing before we forget... use a condom. You can download all of my columns from www.gmfa.org.uk/fs To find out about the reality of living with HIV visit www.worldaidsday.org and the National AIDS Trust www.nat.org.uk.
FS115_Cover Story:FS 19/11/2009 22:18 Page 10
Change for g With this being the season for New Year resolutions that are often broken, Stuart Haggas finds out how you can keep those promises you make to yourself and live the life you really want... Whatever we do in life, we’re under pressure to do the good things better and the bad things less. But despite the barrage of advice we get from all those television programmes, people find change difficult. For many of us, the tradition of making New Year resolutions is an annual event which we expect to fail at year after year – in fact, trying and failing to make significant and lasting improvements to our lives has become a bad habit in itself! “To make changes work, focus on where you want to get to, rather than where you are now,” suggests Adam Clark of www.gaylifecoach.co.uk. “Imagine what it will feel like looking back on a period when you’ve drunk moderately, been free from the clutches of nicotine and had healthy, enjoyable sex. Use your imagination to see it as vividly as possible. Allow yourself to become excited by the feelings of being in control of your own life. And then draw on this energy as you take your first steps towards that vision.” Life coach Laura Fischer agrees: “Start by creating a vision of what you desire to show you where you want to go. Dream big! Don’t worry about how you’ll get there right now, and realise it won’t happen overnight. When you start with a clear vision it makes it easier to make decisions.” You might think about the extra cash you’d have in your pocket, and how much healthier your body
would be, if you quit smoking or reduced your alcohol intake; or imagine how hot you’d look on the beach in Ibiza this coming summer if you got in shape; and appreciate that if you get into the habit of using a condom every time you fuck, you’ll stop feeling guilty or worried afterwards. The process of change can be challenging, but if your life isn’t working the way you want, then change is the way forward. If you approach it from a fresh perspective, with a positive frame of mind and the right network of support behind you, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to make that change – and stick to it. It’s worth a try, isn’t it?
Aim for a realistic goal If you’re overambitious, you’re unlikely to succeed. For example, if you’re hoping to have a body worthy of a Men’s Fitness model within six months, you’ll inevitably be disappointed with the results no matter how hard you work out. Once you’re unhappy with your progress, it’s likely that you’ll abandon your goal and go back to the bad habits.
If you’ve failed before, try a new approach If you’ve failed once, you’re likely to fail again. By choosing a route you’ve unsuccessfully followed before, you’re setting yourself up for more failure and disappointment. As life coach Laura Fischer says: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” This doesn’t mean you should, for example, forget about quitting smoking – only that you should try a slightly different approach. Instead of going cold turkey. you could try nicotine replacement therapy or join a stop smoking group. By changing the approach, you might change the outcome and give yourself the best chance to quit this time.
Plan ahead If you were starting a business, you’d begin by writing a business plan – so why not do the same for your life? Once you’ve identified your key objective, plan exactly how you aim to achieve it. Don’t be afraid to get input from experts. If your aim is to lose weight or gain muscle, a personal trainer at your gym can help devise your exercise plan. A sexual health mentor could help you sort out your sex life.
FS115_Cover Story:FS 19/11/2009 22:18 Page 11
r good Record your ups and downs If your aim is to reduce your alcohol intake, UK charity Drinkaware recommends maintaining a drink diary to monitor how many units of alcohol you consume each day, and under what circumstances. By tracking your drinking over time, you’ll learn which situations you can handle, which ones to avoid, and which strategies and actions help control your cravings. You’ll find the drink diary, plus other tips and tools, at www.drinkaware.co.uk. The same concept works for other vices too. By keeping a journal you’ll also be recording the fact u that each day you make If yo urself o a positive step towards rd y ng your a your ultimate goal, w e r ievi ’ll have h which is great for c a for ts, you ook keeping you l e motivated. es targ s to
id g thin d to bes lt. ar su forw e end re th
We’re rewarded for our loyalty as consumers by various incentive schemes, like Nectar and Tesco Clubcard points. If you reward yourself for achieving your targets, you’ll have things to look forward to besides the end result. However, be careful what kind of incentives you incorporate: for example, if your goal is to get fit or cut down on the booze, then you shouldn’t choose a food- or drinkrelated reward like a gourmet meal. Instead, get a new haircut, try a massage, or treat yourself to that special Japanese import Kylie CD you’ve always wanted from eBay.
FS115_Cover Story:FS 19/11/2009 22:18 Page 12
Lessen the blow “I would venture to say that everyone has avoided doing something because it seems overwhelming, so you never start,” says life coach Laura Fischer. “Don’t let this feeling paralyse you.” Instead of aiming for one huge end goal, Laura recommends breaking it down into smaller targets so it’s altogether more achievable. For instance, if you drink excessively, aiming to gradually reduce your alcohol intake over time is more obtainable than abstinence from the outset. Be realistic and honest with yourself, because your aim should be to have a series of targets that you can commit to within a realistic timeframe. A succession of achievable targets will give your life a framework, and as you achieve each one you’ll gain the confidence and self-discipline needed to take you forward. As Laura explains, “If you keep taking the small manageable steps you will be amazed at the impact.”
Believe in yourself – and stand strong You’re more likely to succeed in your endeavours if you genuinely want them for yourself, rather than trying to change for someone else. Attaining a perfect six-pack might still not get you a date with that hunk on Gaydar, so don’t do it just for him! “Taking 100 percent responsibility for everything in your life puts you in control,” agrees Laura. “You can blame others for everything in your life, but that won’t get you anywhere.” Laura also warns that you should beware of people who try and sabotage your efforts. Although support from friends and family is important, it’s not necessarily guaranteed. Laura explains: “If you’re trying to improve your health by consuming less alcohol, you may get resistance from the people that you party with because that could mean you won’t be going out as much, and they may feel they are losing their drinking
buddy. They may not want to change and they may not want you to either.” Similarly, you may be under pressure from sex partners to have unprotected sex, but whether a condom is used or not is as much your decision as theirs. One easy way to take charge of your own sexual health is to ensure you always carry condoms. “It is critical to believe and trust yourself and the choices you make,” says Laura.
Taking 1 respons 00% for ever ibility yt in your hing l puts yo ife ui control n .
Have a back-up Life can be a bitch, so it’s foolhardy to assume that making dramatic changes to your life and well-being is going to be easy. You’re likely to hit many hurdles along the way, so why not try and anticipate them and then figure out a contingency plan for each hurdle? If you’re trying to improve your diet, not only should you bin every calorific snack in your fridge, you should also stock up on healthy treats for when you get the munchies – such a pre-emptive strike may avoid a midnight dash to Costcutter for an illicit Ben & Jerry’s binge! If you’re trying unsuccessfully to stick to a gym regime, then arrange to work out with a friend – by turning a gym session into a social engagement, you’ll feel obligated to go. If you’re struggling to give up alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, or even unsafe sex, try and identify situations when you find it hard to resist doing them, and avoid them. By avoiding certain situations you may also avoid desire for them. For example, instead of hanging out in a packed Soho gay bar, why not temporarily take yourself away from temptation? Instead, treat yourself to a monthly cinema pass and spend your evenings with Matt Damon or Shia LaBeouf. Be careful not to substitute one vice for another, such as satisfying your craving for a cigarette by eating crisps or chocolate, because piling on the pounds isn’t likely to encourage you to keep quitting smoking.
FS115_Cover Story:FS 19/11/2009 22:18 Page 13
Don’t be afraid to call in the professionals If sticking to your plan is tough, there are people who can help. “Finding people who support you on your new path and provide you with accountability will help you achieve your goals,” agrees Laura Fischer. “This could come in the form of professional support, like a life coach, Alcoholics Anonymous, sexual health counsellor/mentor, a personal trainer, or friends and family.” Your GP might be another good place to start, particularly if you’re trying to stop drinking or smoking, and there are numerous charitable organisations, telephone support lines, and websites like the NHS Smoking Helpline (0800 022 4332 or www.gosmokefree.co.uk), GMFA’s stop smoking website (www.gmfa.org.uk/quit), and the National Drugs Helpline (0800 776600 or www.talktofrank.com). If you’re not always having the sex that you really want and you’re taking risks when you don’t really want to be, lots of counselling and support is available. If you want to quit smoking, there are gay quit smoking groups. Check out the listings at the back of FS for more details and for the number of helplines that can guide to exactly the kind of services you are looking for.
Take ch a of your rge own sexual he always alth... ca condom rry s.
FS115_HIV Feature:FS 19/11/2009 22:22 Page 14
HIVand HIV has been part of gay men’s lives for 25 years and more gay men in the UK have HIV than ever before. The bad old days of highly toxic treatments and almost certain death are gone, but what is it like to be a gay man with HIV today? We meet some men who are living with the virus to find out...
GeORGe, 29 How did you view HIV-positive guys before you were diagnosed with the virus? I was wary of them and remember backing off in a not very cool way from one guy who I met on holiday when he told me.
How did that change when you found out you were HIV-positive? Well obviously I was one of them now! Though I suppose I have always been determined not to flake out and fall to pieces. I had a bad week at first thinking 'my life is over' and so on and then I got on with it. But I had a strong family and friends network to support me and I had counselling which all helped a lot and I know many people aren't so lucky.
When were you diagnosed with HIV? I was diagnosed in 2001 and I couldn't believe it to start with. I couldn't work out how it had happened as I had been using condoms. Then I remembered a drunken night in Ibiza when there
I had a bad week ing at first think r’ e ‘my life is ov t but then I go on with it. was no lube and things got a bit rough and I guess it was then and I was just unlucky.
What has life been like since you’ve been living with HIV?
What has been your experience of treatment?
Life has gone on. There have been some amazing times and some rough ones. Starting meds wasn't much fun but now it's just another part of the daily routine and they work and they're free on the NHS. How incredible is that?
I have very good treatment at the Bloomsbury clinic. The nurses and my doctor are great and extremely well informed and good at shutting me up and making me feel better when I go off on a hypochondriac panic.
FS115_HIV Feature:FS 19/11/2009 22:22 Page 15
I honestly don't think about it all that much. It certainly isn't running through my mind when I'm out with my mates. I have a good buddy who is HIV-positive too which is helpful for talking about things. And when I tell guys I'm interested in and they don't react positively I move on quickly. I always say it upfront because for me it's easier to deal with when I haven't really invested much time or emotion in a situation.
What do you wish you knew before you caught HIV that you know now? I don't know really. I think the things I've learned since have been as much about getting older and a little bit wiser from life experience as they have been about having HIV. And I regret the way I acted with the HIVpostive guy I backed away from on holiday!
What advice would you have for HIV-negative men? I wouldn't presume to hand out advice. I'd hope people keep having safer sex and use lots of lube! I would prefer people not to say they were looking for 'disease free' men on their online profiles too. Something about that just makes me feel a bit grim. Maybe just HIVnegative would cover it?
HIV FACT Not using enough lube or the wrong kind of lube is one of the main reasons condoms break or slip off during sex. For latex condoms (which is most of them), only use water- or silicon-based lube. Lube with oil in it, like Vaseline or baby oil, will eat into the latex and make them more likely to break. Polyurethane condoms like Avanti can be used with any lube, including oil-based ones. Spit is a very bad lube as it dries up quickly causing more stress on the condom and making it more likely to break.
Whatâ€™s it like to be a gay HIV-positive guy on the scene?
FS115_HIV Feature:FS 19/11/2009 22:22 Page 16
How did you view HIV-positive guys before you were diagnosed with the virus?
How did you view HIV-positive guys before you were diagnosed with the virus?
Having an ex who was HIV-positive made me slightly more understanding than I probably would have been. My fears of HIV made it hard for me to go and get tested and when I tested HIV-positive, I just didn't know how to handle my fears and emotions.
I had a boyfriend back in the early nineties who was HIV-positive so that really opened up my eyes to the HIV world. He unfortunately died at the age of 30 and I found out that I was HIV-positive about five months later.
How has it changed your life?
No, I was extremely surprised as my boyfriend and I always practised safer sex... always. He suspected he was infected many years before by a previous partner. I assumed the same for me as well when I found out.
Before I was diagnosed I would work all hours God sends and then go out and party. Now, I take time out to sleep and unwind as I am often so tired. The treatment I am on means my eating habits change constantly. One minute the thought of food makes me feel sick and the next I can’t eat enough. So sticking to a healthy diet when I can is important to me.
What has been your experience of treatment?
Were you expecting to be diagnosed with HIV?
What has life been like since you’ve been living with HIV? I have to say that HIV has not really changed my life that much. When I discovered I was HIV-positive I thought that I would be stuck in the dead end job that I had at that time, but two years later I got the job of a lifetime that paid very well and
The treatment I’m receiving is good. It doesn't involve lots of tablets which is good as swallowing tablets is a pet hate of mine. I do sometimes feel a little bit nauseous or dizzy PEP is a treatment you can have if but that isn’t very often. you think you have been exposed I do have bad days to HIV which can stop you from when I feel sick or ill and becoming infected. PEP is available sometimes the best from GUM clinics and A&E thing to do is just to departments. Obviously PEP is not stay at home and try a replacement for condoms or a to relax.
What do you wish you knew before you caught HIV that you know now?
morning after pill, but if you have been exposed to HIV, it is there for you. For more information visit www.gmfa.org.uk/pep.
The one thing I wish I knew before I caught HIV was that PEP was available in an emergency when you think you have come into contact with the virus. If I had known that I would have got on it straight away. PEP isn't a pleasant thing to take. I know two people who have taken it and they had some of the worst side effects but it worked for them.
allowed me to do so many things I would've never done. It didn’t matter whether I was HIV-positive or not. I just wanted to do it, and did!
What’s it like to be a gay HIVpositive man on the scene? I think there are so many guys out there who are HIV-positive but don't know it, and so many who know it but don't identify themselves that way. Having said that, I do identify myself as HIV-positive as I feel 100 percent more comfortable in dating guys who are the same. I don't think HIV-negative guys get what we have been through, especially guys my age who lived through the eighties and nineties and saw lots of people die at such an early age. It was not just friends, but relatives as well.
What advice would you have for HIV-negative men? My advice to HIV-negative men is to assume ALL partners are HIVpositive, no matter what they tell you.
FS115_HIV Feature:FS 19/11/2009 22:23 Page 17
There was not much to know back in the eighties about HIV, so you had the lucky ones - the ones who did not get HIV, and the unlucky ones - those who did. You also had the ones who caught HIV and died before triple combination therapy came out. I consider myself lucky to still be alive. When I was in my twenties and living in NYC, I had so many close friends (and a partner) who died of AIDS, and every day I try to live my life like I am living a life for them, a life they were never able to finish.
When were you diagnosed? I was diagnosed about three years ago. I had been unwell for a few weeks and my doctor randomly suggested I get an HIV test, which seemed really random considering their was no obvious link to my illness at the time. I went for a HIV test just to rule it out, but didn't expect to be told I was positive.
How did life change when you found out you were HIV-positive? When I found out I was positive, I started to speak with other positive guys and this was quite settling. It caused me to believe that my diagnosis was absolutely fine, but I've learned over the past few years that although HIV is everywhere, the number of misinformed people is quite astonishing. Actually, having HIV is not completely OK. There are bad sides, hard times, negative emotions, and negative effects. This is something I had to learn on my own over time. I believe a lot of positive guys play HIV down in order to protect their own emotions.
What has life been like since you've been living with HIV? My first reaction was to tell everyone – every gay internet site, work colleagues. “I’m HIV-positive and I'm OK with it!” This was just my form of self defence. Everyone else around me said they were OK so why would I want to tell people I wasn’t? Over a period of 14 months I stopped going out and lost contact with a lot of friends. I didn't realise what I was doing until I had nothing left. Some part of my brain must have believed that my life was over, so over the 14 months that was the way I made my life become. Then after a really tough bit of depression, I hit rock bottom. I was signed off work with depression, went into counselling with THT, and attended one of their support groups Positive Hub I think it was. This helped massively and for the first time I was able to deal with the negative emotions which I had
I don't think e HIV- negativ e at w guys get wh ugh, hro have been t s my uy especially g lots of w age who sa at a people die young age.
Around one in four gay men with HIV don’t know they have it, so if you ask them if they have HIV they may say no. And men who are in the early stages of infection and not on treatment are usually highly infectious. If an HIV-negative guy has risky sex with them, he has more chance catching HIV than if he had risky sex with an HIVpositive guy on treatment. The best way to protect yourself and others from HIV is to use a condom for fucking.
hidden away. I got my life back on track. Now I feel like me again, but a bit wiser. I have HIV, I'll always have HIV and that is something I have come to terms with.
What is like to be HIV-positive on the gay scene? There are two issues - one is that there are some people who avoid relationships and sex with positive guys at all costs. Isn't that what condoms are for? How many negative guys are 100 percent sure that every sexual partner they have is negative? Rarely does this happen, yet when someone openly says that they are HIV-positive and wants to use a condom, they can be considered too risky to even consider touching. At least nine out of ten men I have met who think they know a lot about HIV really don't! I’m amazed at how people take in information. Very rarely does it come from official sources. It’s all just word of mouth. Yet these misinformed individuals are the ones who like to think they know it all and are misleading others. My advice is that you should only believe what you hear from official sources.
What do you wish you knew before you caught HIV that you know now? I think I already knew HIV was a bad thing. To be honest that's all you need to know. But what I wish I had known was just how easy it was to catch. Because HIV didn't exist in the town I was from, it was never a real thing for me.
What do you wish you knew before you caught HIV that you know now?
FS115_HIV Feature:FS 20/11/2009 20:50 Page 18
How did your view of life change when you found out you had HIV?
How did you view HIV-positive guys before you were diagnosed?
Everything changes when you become HIV-positive. It doesn’t matter who you hear it from because it’s not the same when it’s you that’s infected. It changes everything... from how you approach making new friends to losing old friends and who you tell or don’t tell, whether it be work or family. It has changed my life so much that it’s taken me just over two years to finally get back on track. I’m not myself any more. I’m someone else. It’s almost like being given a blank canvas to rework yourself with.
I thought of them as dirty, old, infectious, on medication, and that they didn’t have long to live.
How did that change when you found out you were HIV-positive? My opinion changed completely and I realised that HIV-positive men were the opposite of all the things I had thought before.
When were you diagnosed? I found out I was positive in May 2006. I wasn’t really surprised.
It changes from everything, proach how you ap iends fr making new old to losing friends and or who you tell don’t tell.
What has life been like since you’ve been living with HIV? Before I caught HIV, I never thought too much about being in a crowded club or shopping centre or just out and about. Now it has changed me to the point if I was shopping and saw someone coughing nearby I would avoid them because I don’t want to catch anything. If friends visit with the tail end of a sore throat or flu-like symptoms I now ask them to stay away till they are clear of it. I don’t fly anymore for fear of getting something from the recycled air. I take my fate into my own hands now and don’t allow anyone else to do that for me.
What has been your experience of treatment? I have only just started treatment, so far the side effects are minimal for me. I guess I’m lucky in regards to what side effects I do get. I have vivid dreams and I sometines have sleepless nights. I just have to take each day as it comes.
You ’ can’t ‘untenllce someone o it. you’ve donuet It’s abo o learning wt h to trus I had knowingly put myself at risk with a particular person a number of times.
What has life been like since you’ve been living with HIV? It has been lonely at times. I have my ups and downs and I can find it tiring. I think about it most days, especially when I cut myself and I bleed or when I have to go to the clinic to have my tests done. I am lucky I have a mentor with my employer and a group of close friends, who are all extremely supportive of me and will listen if I need to talk to them about anything any time.
What’s it like to be a gay HIVpositive man on the scene? It’s difficult deciding who to tell and who not to tell in terms of friends, relationships or one night stands. You can't 'untell' someone once you’ve done it. It’s about learning who to trust with it and that’s something that will always be with me. I feel there’s a lot of stigma against HIV-positive guys from all areas of the community. I think there is very little education about HIV in schools, especially in connection with homosexuality. I think prevention and the safer sex message need to start at an early age, in the classroom. For more information about HIV and being HIV-positive: www.gmfa.org.uk/positive.
A registered charity in England & Wales (no.288527) and in Scotland (no.SC039986).
For more about how HIV is passed on, check out chapsonline.org.uk/biology For answers to your questions about HIV and sexual health, call
FS115_P21_Health:FS 19/11/2009 22:29 Page 21
SwineUPDflu AT E
STI Corner The place to come for STIs (not literally of course)
Nurse Drew Payne brings us up to date on Swine Flu and getting vaccinated...
Swine flu is still with us. For most people it’s still a mild illness, giving them two or three days of symptoms, but for people who have compromised immune systems it can be very serious. The best thing you can do to prevent yourself getting it is to be vaccinated, if you are in one of the groups who is eligible to receive it.
Who can get the vaccine? Previously it was stated that the vaccine would be offered to everyone, but at first it will be targeted at certain groups: people between six months and 65 years old who have an underlying health problem that affects their immune system. This includes people with chronic lung, heart, liver, kidney or neurological disease, anyone who has an impaired immune system, either from disease or medication, and anyone who has diabetes. This includes people with HIV at all its stages according to the Department of Health. Anyone who shares a household with someone who has HIV or one of the above illnesses should also get vaccinated, and also anyone working in healthcare who has contact with patients.
How do you get the vaccination? GP practices are going to be the main point to get the vaccination. If you’re at risk you should be contacted by your GP to arrange to have it; but if you don’t hear from them do get in contact. You might have got lost in the paperwork. If you don’t have a GP, contact NHS Direct (0845 4647 or www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk). They have details of who you can contact in your area.
This month: Genital Warts What are they?
How safe is the vaccine? The swine flu vaccine has been prepared using the same method as the seasonal flu vaccination, and we have been using it for over sixty years without any major health risks. Some tabloids have linked this swine flu vaccine to GuillainBarré syndrome, a rare neurological condition, but all the clinical trials done on the vaccine have shown no such link. If you’re allergic to eggs you do need to tell whoever gives you the vaccine. There are two swine flu vaccines. The only difference is that one of them was cultured on eggs. Getting vaccinated is still the best protection against swine flu. If you’re in one of the risk groups, don’t ignore it because it can be a very serious infection.
Swine Flu Facts: Most years 90 percent of people affected by seasonal flu are over 65. 88 percent of people affected by swine flu are under 65. Swine flu affects more people under 25 than people over 65.
Warts are abnormal skin growths caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). Genital warts can be found on the inside or outside of the cock and arse. Usually white or pink, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes: smooth and flat, rough and bumpy, small and isolated, and cauliflower-like clusters. They can be itchy or painful. If this happens, it can cause severe discomfort or bleeding when you have sex or use the toilet. It usually takes about three months from the time of infection for genital warts to become visible.
How do you get them? You can get them by skin to skin contact during sex.
How do you treat them? It can take a long time to get rid of them, and treatments may have to be repeated several times. Treatments include applying creams, freezing them with liquid nitrogen, burning them with acid or lasers, or removal by surgery as a last resort. Untreated warts can spread extensively throughout the genital and anal areas. Warts don't cause any serious health problems themselves, but they can cause irritation and make you more vulnerable to other infections like HIV.
How do you prevent them? HPV spreads easily, so skin contact with warts should be avoided. However, the warts may go unnoticed and so avoiding HPV can be difficult, especially since condoms do not always cover the area where warts may be present. This is perhaps why warts are the most common viral STI diagnosed in the UK.
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Hey GMFA, I’ve got a problem! The team at GMFA answer questions from their website that you may be too shy to ask in the flesh... just a little but it’s not too much. I’m worried and would like to know what you think it could be and if I should go to my GP. There are a number of possible explanations for the blood in your poo. For example, it could be piles, it could be an infection or it could be irritable bowel syndrome. The only way to know what it is to see a qualified doctor, so yes, we recommend that you do this. From your description of the amount of blood it doesn't sound as though it is a critical emergency, but we would still recommend that you see your GP, because health problems are usually much easier to manage or clear up the sooner you have them diagnosed and properly treated.
Why do I want to wee? Why do I feel like I want to wee during anal sex with my boyfriend? I always go beforehand and I am not really nervous during sex. I am very worried. This is quite a common sensation, because of your boyfriend's cock rubbing up against/coming into contact with your bladder. If you haven't already tried this, I would suggest trying a few different positions to see if the same thing happens - the best positions to get the bladder out of the way are doggy style, and you sitting down on to your boyfriend’s cock. If you are still having the same sensations in these positions I would suggest that you visit your local GUM clinic who are able to help in all aspects of sexual health, to see if they can help diagnose the problem.
wound area. I’m concerned that if pre-cum had touched the area, I could have caught HIV. Is that possible? I feel I’m probably being paranoid but wanted to ask the question. Considering the situation you describe I think the likelihood of HIV transmission taking place would be very small to nonexistent. This is because your graze had a scab, and this is a barrier to infection. HIV only lives for a very short amount of time in the open air, and not enough of it would have been transferred for it to have been infectious.
Could I have caught HIV? Yesterday, I did some sit-ups on a plastic bench and chafed my bum. This left a small graze which scabbed over. I had fun with someone tonight who I had seen before but this time he said he had HIV. We never had anal sex, although his cock touched my arse, and it didn’t really touch my
For more info about sex and sexual health or to ask a question visit: www.gmfa.org.uk/sex.
How risky is... rimming
Why am I bleeding?
In case you have never had the pleasure, rimming is licking someone's bumhole.There is no data to suggest that anyone has caught HIV from rimming, although there are other risks. Hepatitis A is most often caught from rimming and both gonorrhoea and Hepatitis B can also be passed on this way. There are also a number of gut infections you can catch from rimming. Even a recently washed bumhole may carry some extremely infectious, microscopic organisms, but there is an even greater risk if you rim someone who hasn't washed beforehand, or who is suffering from diarrhoea. These risks can be prevented by using a dental dam, although not many guys use them. You can get a vaccination against Hepatitis A and B from your GUM clinic.
I’m a 20-year-old gay male. Recently I have been having blood come out every time I poo. It’s not
For more information on sex and how to make it safer, visit www.gmfa.org.uk/howrisky.
Ever wanted to know more about your arse? On this one day course you’ll learn how to keep sex fun, safe, pain free and pleasurable, whether you top, bottom or flip both ways
THE ARSE CLASS
COURSES FOR GAY MEN We are running ‘The Arse Class’ in cities in England. All places on the course are free of charge. The course starts at 10am and finishes at 5pm
Book your place online at www.gmfa.org.uk/national or call 020 7738 3712 BSL interpreters available by arrangement
Saturday 23 Jan 2010 City Agency
Saturday 30 Jan 2010 City Agency
Saturday 6 Feb 2010 City Agency
Saturday 13 Feb 2010 City Agency
Centre for HIV & Sexual Health
MESMAC North East
GMFA courses delivered nationally in partnership with
FS115_P24 Arse Class:FS 19/11/2009 22:32 Page 24
Get your arse in gear GMFA’s the Arse Class can change the way you think about your bum and how you use it. Course creator Barrie Dwyer answers your questions about the course to give you an idea of what it’s all about. What kind of stuff do you talk about? We spend some time talking about all the parts of the arse that are involved in sex. We talk about what it’s used for, why certain parts feel so good during sex and why some parts put you at risk of catching HIV and other STIs. We also look at the taboos around getting fucked, give lots of tips on how to make your sex life even better and talk about how you can keep your arse healthy. I’ve tried being fucked before, but it didn’t really work. Can this course help? If it was issues around pain, worries about HIV, you having little or no idea about how it was supposed to be or feel, or if it felt completely alien, then yes, the
5 things... you’ll get from the Arse Class 1. Smart tips for both tops and bottoms to make arse play both sexy and safe. 2. Confidence about increasing the pleasure and reducing any discomfort you get from being fucked. 3. Learn the truth about some of the myths around getting bummed. 4. How to keep your arse healthy. 5. All the facts about the risks of catching HIV and other STI through your arse and how to avoid them.
course can help. The course is about what you can do and what you can encourage your partner to do to make getting fucked safe and fun. I get kind of embarrassed talking about sex, let alone getting fucked. Would this course be a complete nightmare for me? Most men aren’t that happy to walk into a roomful of strangers and start chatting about getting bummed. So everyone is in the same boat really. It’s our job to make you feel as comfortable as possible with what the course is about, so that you get out of it what you want to. We have been running this course for more than five years now and we have never had a participant run from the room screaming with embarrassment. What kind of guys go on the course?All sorts of gay men. Men just like you. Guys who want to know how to make bum fun better. Is there actually sex involved in the course, like demonstrations?The short answer is no.You’ll have to find your own ways to use your new knowledge when you leave the course. Why would someone want to go on the Arse Class? Because it’s one day out of your life that could mean that you feel better about the sex you want as well as enjoying it more safely when you do have it, for the rest of your life. GMFA are running Arse Classes all around the country. To find out more check out the ad on page 23 or visit www.gmfa.org.uk/national or ring 020 7738 3712 for more information and to book a place.
USE loads of LUBE when you get fucked The skin inside your arse is delicate and can be damaged, which makes it easier to catch or pass on infections such as HIV. Make sure thereâ€™s lots of lube up your arse when you get fucked. For more information on how to use condoms and lube visit www.gmfa.org.uk/sex All GMFA's campaigns are devised, planned and executed by positive, negative and untested volunteers. To volunteer for GMFA write, phone or email: Unit 43, The Eurolink Centre, 49 Effra Road, LONDON SW2 1BZ. 020 7738 6872. firstname.lastname@example.org. Registered Charity No.1076854. Part of the London Gay Menâ€™s HIV Prevention Partnership.
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Sort it out! FS readers and a trained counsellor give their advice on how to tackle one of life’s problems. This month’s problem OK, here goes. If I am about to have sex with a guy and he tells me that he’s HIV-positive I really don’t know how to react. It does make me a bit nervous having sex with him, but I don’t want to make him feel bad, so I pretend like it doesn’t worry me at all. I have even taken risks that I normally wouldn’t, just to spare his feelings or in the hope that it will make him feel better in some way or to show just how ‘cool’ I am with the whole thing. I feel like a complete plonker afterwards, and even if I liked the guy, can’t face seeing him again. I know it sounds stupid, but it keeps happening. Jared – South London Dear Jared, When someone tells you they are HIV-positive, just be honest and true to what you feel. You have a right to change the sex you have and to not have sex at all if you know someone is HIV-positive. As long as you aren’t rude or insensitive in the way you express your feelings, you have nothing to feel bad about. Not all men with HIV will understand your feelings, but most probably will. Just remember that men with HIV don’t always know they are positive, so it’s better that whenever you have sex with a man whose status you cannot be 100 percent sure of, you have the kind of sex you are comfortable having with a man who is HIV-positive. I’m guessing this isn’t the only part of your life where you’re doing things you don’t want
to do in order to spare people’s feelings. Dean via email
Dear Jared, In some ways you have been lucky. The majority of HIV-positive men don’t usually disclose their HIV status to sexual partners so I’m guessing that you come across as someone who your HIV-positive partners feel that they can trust. Of course, just because some men have told you that they are HIV-positive doesn’t mean that the rest of your partners have not been infected with HIV. Many men have been infected but have not been diagnosed, and think that they are still HIV-negative. The best way to prevent new infections is for everybody, whether they’re HIV-positive or negative, to
behave as if their sexual partners have a different HIV status. If you have a standard rule for how you’re going to protect yourself, then it will help not to change your rules depending on what they told you. Everybody that I know who is HIVpositive wishes that they were still HIV-negative. None of them would want to infect anyone else. If you explain to someone what you are and are not willing to do, in order to maintain your own HIV-negative status, it will probably make things easier, and less worrying, for you both. And if you know that you’re only going to have safer sex then you may be able to enjoy yourself enough that you will want to see that person again. Miles via email
A counsellor’s opinion Counsellor Sona Barbosa of the GMI Partnership says:
Dear Jared, I can understand how difficult it must be to react when someone you like tells you he’s HIV-positive, as well as having to make a decision on the spot. You seem to be more preoccupied with what these men think than with yourself and your health. It seems to be more important for you to fulfil someone else’s expectations than to be safe or to be honest about your feelings even after someone has been honest with you. By taking the risk you expect to be rewarded by being liked and approved by these men. By not asserting yourself you will also avoid a complicated situation in which you would have to confront the person. However this decision to not be
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honest leaves you with negative feelings which are difficult to deal with, such as anger, sadness, resentment, and frustration. Furthermore, you seem to be losing possible relationships; at this point was it really cool to take the risk? And was it worth it? If someone respected you enough to be honest and disclose his HIVstatus, you owe him, and yourself, the same respect by letting him know what you are comfortable with, and what your boundaries are. That way you can both decide together how to go forward in the relationship. It might benefit you to talk this through with a counsellor, with whom you can explore why you feel a need to please people and also develop appropriate assertiveness skills in order to make your own choices with confidence. Good luck! If you think that you may want to see a counsellor, visit www.gmfa.org.uk/counselling or go to page 28 for information on where you can get free counselling.
Next month’s problem... I've recently split with my partner after a long-term relationship. The break-up has been slow and drawn out and I'm still in the fallout from it. I also work in a bar which encourages sex on the premises and shows porn videos including a lot of bareback porn. Increasingly I've been focusing on it while working, becoming somewhat obsessed with the depictions of closeness and contact of raw sex. I have started logging on to bareback cruise sites on the web, checking out and flirting with guys into raw sex. I have not yet taken the final step but I want to as I crave the intimacy and close connection that barebacking has come to represent for me and which I have been denied for so long now. I feel it is only a matter of time. Anon via email If you have some advice to give, or you have a problem that needs sorting, email it to: email@example.com or search for ‘FS magazine’ on Facebook, become a fan, and post on the Sort It Out forums.
FS115_P28-29_listings C:FS 19/11/2009 22:44 Page 28
Listings Groups and services in the Midlands and East Anglia... Clinics Birmingham
Phone: (01332) 207704, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or www.gayderbyshire.co.uk
ABPlus: walk-in one-hour HIV-testing and STI screening. Wednesdays 2.30-6pm at 29/30 Lower Essex Street, B5 6SN. Phone: 0121 622 6471. Fastest: walk-in one-hour HIV-testing. Wednesdays 1.305pm at Aston Pride Health Centre, 74 Victoria Road, B6 5HA. Phone: 0121 694 6440. HGL Clinic: Sexual health clinic for gay men at HGL. Thursdays 9am-1.30pm by walk-in and appointment at 146 Bromsgrove Street (next to City Tattoo). Phone: 0121 440 6161.
Mesmen Project: offers condoms and lube by post to men who live in South Staffordshire. Phone: 01543 411 413 or place an order online: www.mesmen.co.uk.
Telford and Wrekin
Trade at Celts Sauna: sexual health screening, advice and support. Tuesdays 3-7pm at 38 Narborough Road, LE3 0BQ. Phone: 0116 254 1747.
THT: write to: 4 Park Street, Wellington, Telford TF1 3AE, phone: 01952 221410, or email: email@example.com.
Healthy Gay Nottingham: Sexual health clinic for gay men at The Health Shop with STI screening, plus free condoms and lube. MondayFriday 10am-4.30pm except Wednesday when open 2-4pm. Closed daily 1-2pm. 12 Broad Street, Hockley, Nottingham NG5 2DU. Phone: 0115 947 6868. Fastest: walk-in HIV testing and STI screening. Thursdays 407pm at 5 Barker Gate, NG1 1JU. Phone: 0115 882 0121.
Telford and Wrekin THT: sexual health clinic by appointment only. Tuesdays 2.5pm at 4 Park Street, Wellington, Telford TF1 3AE. Phone: 07952 221410.
Condoms by post Birmingham HGL can send you condoms and lube in the post provided that you live in the following Birmingham postcode areas: B1-B38,B40, B42-B48, B70-B76 or inTipton, West Bromwich, Smethwick, Oldbury, Rowley Regis, Wednesbury or Blackheath. You can order them online from www.hgl.nhs.uk or ring 0121 440 6161.
Leicester Trade can deliver condoms to anyone living in Leicester and Rutland. Phone: 0116 254 1747 or place an order online: www.tradesexualhealth.com.
Birmingham Healthy Gay Life Counselling Service: sexual and mental health counselling service. Phone: 0121 446 1085 or 07976 919 481 or visit www.hgl.nhs.uk. THT Midlands: phone: (0121) 694 6440.
Leicester Trade: offers counselling and one-to-one support. Appointments can be made outside office hours in some circumstances. For more info phone: 0116 2541747 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nottingham Healthy Gay Nottingham: phone: 0115 947 6868 or email: healthygaynottingham @nottinghamcity-pct.nhs.uk. THT Nottingham: phone: 0115 882 0121 or email: email@example.com.
Telford and Wrekin THT: phone: 01952 221410, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Courses and workshops
GMFA, along with TEN, THT, TRADE, and the HGN run courses in the Midlands and East Anglia. For more information visit: www.gmfa.org.uk/national or ring 020 7738 3712.
Derbyshire Friend: free Condoms and Lube.
Coventry/ Warwickshire THT Coventry: condoms by post service. Phone: 024 7622 9292 or email: email@example.com.
HGL run regular assertiveness, relationships, and confidence-building courses. For more info phone: 0121 440 6161 or visit: www.hgl.nhs.uk.
Leicester Trade runs various safer sex workshops throughout the year. Topics include: understanding HIV, negotiating safer sex, and self-esteem. For more details ring: 0116 2541747 or visit www.tradesexualhealth.com.
Drop-in centres Birmingham ABPlus: drop-n for people with HIV providing therapies, advice, refreshments and more. Mondays and Fridays 10.30-3.30pm at 29/30 Lower Essex Street, B5 6SN. Phone: 0121 622 6471. HGL: open to all gay men, bisexual men and men who have sex with men. Friday afternoon 2.30-6.30pm at 146 Bromsgrove Street.
Coventry THT Coventry: Junctions group for gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men in Coventry/Warwickshire. Saturdays 2-4pm at THT: 10 Manor Road, CV1 2LH. For more info phone: 024 7622 9292.
Older LADS Café: group for mature gay and bisexual men. The second Monday of the month, 2-5pm, except Bank Holidays. For more information call or text Martin Hogg on 07870 565884 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Helplines THT Direct: 0845 12 21 200
Derbyshire Derbyshire LGB&T help, info and advice line: 01332 349 333. Tuesday to Thursday 10am-1pm and 7.30-9.30pm.
Leicester Trade: 0116 2541747. Monday to Thursday 9.30am-5.30pm and Friday 9.30am-4pm.
Norfolk BLAH Youth Helpline: 01603 624924. Wednesdays 6-8pm. Time to call: 01603 219299. Tuesdays 6-8pm.
Nottinghamshire Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Lesbian and Gay Switchboard: 0115 934 8485 or 01623 621 515 Monday to Friday 7-9.30pm, or visit www.nottslgs.org.uk, or email: email@example.com.
Healthy Gay Derbyshire: Social support, groups, advice, information and training. MonFri 9.30am-2pm at LGB&T Pavillion Centre, 2-3 Friary St. Phone: (01332) 207704, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or www.gayderbyshire.co.uk.
Married Men's Group (MMG) at HGL: a support group for men who are married or in relationships with women. Alternate Mondays 67.45pm. For more info phone: 0121 440 6161.
Leicester Trade: Monday to Thursday 9.30am-5pm and Friday 9.30am-4pm at 15 Wellington Street, Leicester.
Nottingham THT Nottingham: for more information phone: 0115 882 0121 or email: email@example.com.
Telford and Wrekin THT:Tuesdays 2-5pm and Fridays 10am-1pm at 4 Park Street, Wellington, Telford TF1 3AE. Phone: 07952 221410.
Wolverhampton LADS Café: weekly social group for gay and bisexual men over 18. Mondays 6-9pm, except Bank Holidays. For more information call or text Martin Hogg on 07870 565884 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mayisha at HGL: a group to help support the social needs of Black African and AfroCaribbean men and women. For more information email: Mayishabham@yahoo.co.uk. LGBT Alcohol Support Group at Centre 146: provides support to individuals, partners, friends and families who are affected by problematic alcohol use. Meets on the first and third Tuesday of the month 7.30-9pm. For more info phone Tony on 07941 238170 or email: email@example.com.
Derbyshire ReachOut: men’s social group Thursdays 7-9.30pm at 23 Friary Street, Derby. Phone: 01332 207 704 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: www.gayderbyshire.co.uk.
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Listings Norfolk Time Out: a confidential social and peer support group for men who are gay, bisexual or exploring their sexuality. Meets every Tuesday evening in a safe, discreet venue in Norwich. Phone: 01603 219299 or email: email@example.com.
Nottingham Breakout: a social group for gay and bisexual men of all ages with various fun outings, events and speakers. Phone: 0115 947 6868, visit: www.breakoutnottm.org.uk or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Older men’s group: a social and support group for gay, bisexual and men over 55 who have sex with men. Phone: 0115 947 6868, visit: www.healthygaynottingham.org.uk or email: healthygaynottingham @nottinghamcity-pct.nhs.uk.
South Staffordshire Married Men’s Group (MMG): a support group for men who are married or in a relationship with a woman.Meets alternate Wednesdays. Phone Mike: 07814 027 479.
Telford and Wrekin THT: monthly group for people with HIV. For more info phone: 07952 221410, or email: email@example.com.
Youth groups Birmingham OutCentral Youth Group at HGL: For more information phone: 0121 440 6161.
Coventry GYGL (Godiva Gay and Lesbian Group): under 25s group meets Friday evenings. Phone THT Coventry on: 024 7622 9292.
Derbyshire Ilkeston Youth: 25s and unders group meets 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month. Phone: (01332) 207704, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or www.gayderbyshire.co.uk. LGB&T Youth Forum: under 25s group meets Saturdays 1.30-5pm at 2-3 Friary Street, Derby DE1 1JF. Phone 01332 207 704, email: email@example.com. Swadlincote (Global Youth): 25 and unders group meets 2nd and 4th Monday of the month. Phone: (01332) 207704, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or www.gayderbyshire.co.uk.
Norfolk BLAH: 25 and unders group meets in safe venues in Norwich, Great Yarmouth and
Cannock Chase Hospital Brunswick Road, Cannock WS11 5XY Phone: 01543 572 757
Princess Royal Hospital Apley Castle, Telford, Shropshire TF1 6TF Phone: 01952 222 536
Stoney Stanton Road Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital, Stoney Stanton Road, Coventry CV1 4FH Phone: 0247 684 4164 Manor Road Terrence Higgins Trust, Coventry, 10 Manor Road Coventry CV1 2LH Phone: 02476 229 292
Manor Hospital Moat Road, Walsall WS2 9PS Phone: 01922 633 341
Derby London Road Community Hospital London Road, Dudley DE1 2QY. Phone: 01322 254681 Kings Lynn. For more info phone: 01603 624924 or email: email@example.com.
Nottingham Outburst: under 25s group on. Monday evenings. For more info phone: 07940 761 160, visit: www.cityyouth.co.uk, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dudley Guest Hospital Tipton Road, Dudley DY1 4SE Phone: 01384 244820
Hereford Gaol St Sexual Health Centre Gaol Street Health Centre, Hereford HR1 2HU Phone: 01432 378934
GYGL (Godiva Gay and Lesbian Group): a group for under 25s. Phone THT Coventry on: 024 7622 9292.
Leicester GUM Phone: 0116 258 5208
LGBT Youth Forum: meets monthly at various youth centres in Staffordshire. Phone: 01543 419 002, email: email@example.com. SPACE LGBT: a group for up to 21s on Wednesdays. Phone: 01543 419 002, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: www.space-youth.co.uk.
Loughborough GUM Phone: 01509 568 888
Telford and Wrekin
Arrowside Unit Alexandra Hospital Site, Woodrow, Redditch B98 7UB Phone: 01527 516 398
I-Mix: weekly. For info phone: 01952 221410, or email: email@example.com.
GUM clinics Birmingham Bordesley Green Hawthorn House, Dept of Sexual Medicine, Heartlands Hospital, Bordesley Green, Birmingham B9 5SS Phone: 0121 424 3300 Floodgate Street Terrence Higgins Trust, Unit G7, The Arch, 48-52 Floodgate Street, Birmingham B5 5SL Phone: 0121 694 6440 Email: info.birmingham@ tht.org.uk Great Charles Street Birmingham Chest Clinic, Great Charles St, Birmingham B3 3HX Phone: 0121 424 3300 or 0121 424 2456 Whittall Street Whittall Street Clinic, Whittall Street, Birmingham B4 6DH Phone: 0121 237 5700
West Bromwich Sandwell General Hospital Dartmouth Clinic, Hallam Street, West Bromwich B71 4HJ Phone: 0121 580 0929
Wolverhampton New Cross Hospital Wednesfield Road, Wolverhampton WV10 0QP Phone: 01902 695 000 If your area is not listed, ring THT Direct on 0845 12 21 200 to find a GUM clinic in your area. If you would like your group or organsation to be listed here, send your info to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nuneaton Shepperton House George Eliot Hospital, College St, Nuneaton CV10 7DJ Phone: 0247 686 5162
Rugby Hospital of St Cross Barby Road, Rugby, Warwickshire CV22 5PX Telephone: 01788 663 218
Shrewsbury Royal Shrewsbury Hospital Mytton Oak Road, Shrewsbury SY3 8XQ Phone: 01743 261 059
Staffordshire Staffordshire General Hospital Weston Road, Staffordshire ST16 2LR Phone: 01785 257 731 ext 4260
FS is edited by Cary James. The FS team for issue 115 was John Adams, Barrie Dwyer, Stuart Haggas, Matthew Hodson, Drew Payne, Shemmy, Gavin Smith, and James Stafford. Cover model: Mike. FS is part of the CHAPS Partnership. Appearance in FS is not an indication of an individual’s sexual orientation or HIV status. The views of our writers are not necessarily the views of FS, of the organisations mentioned, GMFA, or of the editor. You can subscribe to FS for just £7 per year. Contact 020 7738 6872 or email email@example.com. You can view the current issue and past issues of FS online at: www.gmfa.org.uk/fsnation. Volunteers contribute to the planning, writing, editing and production of FS. To volunteer or donate, contact GMFA using the details below. Published by GMFA. Unit 43 Eurolink Centre, 49 Effra Road, London, SW2 1BZ Tel: 020 7738 6872 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.gmfa.org.uk Charity number 1076854. ISSN 1750-7162
Stoke-on-Trent North Staffordshire Royal Infirmary Princes Road, Hartshill, Staffordshire ST4 7PS Phone: 01782 554205
Design and layout by www.christiantate.co.uk
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In case you missed them, here are some things to remember from this issue...
A RED Ribbon
E B U L
your reminder that HIV is here and affecting all of us. CONDOMS AND LUBE
the perfect stocking stuffers.
YoUR ARSE what you can learn all about at GMFA’s Arse Class.
REWARDS WHAT YOU SHOULD GIVE YOURSELF WHEN YOU REACH A GOAL – LARGE OR SMALL.
the number of gay men with HIV us. who don’t know they have the vir
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