Freshly Doug Weekender

It was either this or that picture of the Pope made out of rubbers

Hosting my show The Rainbow Report on Joy 94.9 last night was very enlightening. We were wondering why HIV infection stats are falling in New Zealand and rising in Australia, with the past and present Executive Officers of the Victorian AIDS Council and the General Operations Manager of the New Zealand AIDS Foundation. The conversation was enlightening, to say the least. Grab the podcast for more.

Meanwhile the relentless propaganda for Truvada or some other form of pre-exposure prophylaxis – taking anti-retroviral drugs while you’re healthy to reduce the risk of contracting HIV in the first place – continues to ramp up. The drug companies must be rubbing their hands with glee. The New York Times sounds a note of caution. In fact, several.

Although Truvada alone can prevent an H.I.V. infection, it cannot control one that has already taken hold. If an H.I.V.-positive patient were to take Truvada alone, or if a user were to become infected while taking it, the H.I.V. strains they carry could become drug-resistant. The infection would be hard to treat, and it could spread to other people.

Skipping doses or using Truvada on occasion, as if it were a party drug, would invite both infection and the emergence of drug-resistant strains. In one major study, only 10 percent of the participants took Truvada as directed.

Perhaps the most serious concern is that some who take the drug will assume they no longer need condoms. But condoms are still necessary, because Truvada is not 100 percent effective.

Condoms are also necessary because none of the AIDS drugs protect against syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, hepatitis or any other sex infection. Some doctors fear a mass abandonment of condoms followed by the emergence of an epidemic of other STIs.

And who is going to pay for the drugs, may I ask? Taxing Mr & Mrs Average so the gay boys can ditch the condoms – and let’s not pretend we won’t – is going to be a political nightmare

Mixed messages coming out of Uganda about the ‘Christmas Present’ the Speaker of the Parliament promised the Ugandan people: the bill to hang homosexuals. Rebecca Kadaga is in Italy today, visiting the Pope, and Parliament is due to finish for the year tomorrow. One wonders which way his holiness is urging her to go? Unless the sitting is extended, the bill will die – but only for this year. The Prime Minister doesn’t seem keen. But there’s always 2013.

And finally, another US state moves towards equal marriage, with Illinois likely to join the roster of marrying states in January. The Swiss are being more cautious: the lower house of parliament has voted to allow gays in Switzerland to adopt children, but in very limited circumstances, passing the sensitive issue back to the Senate.

Have a great weekend – and hang onto those condoms.

About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)