Newsbites: PrEP, Queer Huffle, Irish Blood, Fading Away?
PrEP: Off & On…
In March, NHS England announced it was to end consideration of funding PrEP treatment (pre-exposure prophylaxis) as an HIV prevention programme in England. Weeks later they rowed back from that position following the threat of a legal challenge.
The National AIDS Trust (NAT) decided it had a strong legal case to challenge the NHS England decision. NAT began legal action on 12 April and the HIV charity received a response from NHS England stating that ‘NHS England will carefully consider its position on commissioning PrEP in light of [NAT’s] representations’.
NHS England will meet in May to decide whether to put PrEP back into the decision-making process from which it had previously been removed. If it goes back into the process there will be a Clinical Priorities Advisory Group (CPAG) meeting in June to decide on what NHS England will commission in 2016/2017, and PrEP will be considered alongside other proposals.
Deborah Gold, Chief Executive, NAT, said: “We welcome this change of mind from NHS England. NHS England had previously told us that it was impossible for them to reconsider their decision. Faced with legal action, they have now changed their mind. We trust that NHS England, when it re-evaluates its position, will come back with a resounding yes.
“PrEP is one of the most exciting prevention options to emerge since the HIV epidemic began and offers the prospect of real success in combatting this virus. To deny the proper process to decide whether to commission PrEP, when 17 people are being diagnosed with HIV every day, is not only morally wrong but legally wrong also.”
Following moves by Britain, the USA, and others, it looks as though the Republic of Ireland will be dropping its life ban on men who have sex with men donating blood. Whether a 10 year ban, 5 year, 12 month (as in Britain) or no bar at all will apply is still up in the air.
Big Bi Move
Big Bi Fun Day, May’s annual bi family-friendly gathering in Leicester, is coming up on May 14th.
However the website’s moved – after several years at www.bigbifun.tk it’s now at www.bigbifunday.topbit.co.uk
News blog the Huffington Post has rebranded its “Gay Voices” sections as “Queer” rather than gay.
Many LGBT people – mostly older – hate the term. Understandably so, as it was one of the sticks people were hit with time and time again. All LGBT words have that for some people and some contexts; just look at the gap between being bisexual and owning the label, or the use of gay as a playground slur.
Queer is, in the round, more inclusive than gay. So this is a step forward. The danger in replacing the “alphabet soup” of LGBT… is that by combining all the labels into one generic term we quieten the voices for the different strands that are submerged.
It doesn’t have to go that way though. We hope the Huff will strike out in the other direction.
Bi Site Fading Away?
Some twelve years ago bisexual.com launched as a great interactive site: a blend of monthly articles, busy forums and a fairly busy chatroom.
Sadly over time Drew, the lynchpin of the site, became more interested in other projects. The fresh content stagnated, while the unmoderated forums descended from interesting conversations into trolling and repetitive ‘dickpic’-heavy threads.
The chatroom broke for a final time about six months ago and after some investigation one of the core users found that Drew had passed away. A few months of the site lumbering on seemed to reach an end in March when the site vanished from the web.
It reappeared a month later with no word from any admin as to what had happened. We do hope it gets picked back up and maintained.