||[Feb. 14th, 2011|06:21 pm]
The hotel room view, as usual, this one at the Delta Chelsea in Toronto, where I was ensconced for most of last week.
I had a pretty good time at The Gay Men’s Sexual Health Summit.
The buzz words of the day in the world of HIV prevention are as follows:
Asset based – in other words, focussing not on weaknesses and what people are doing wrong, but on their strengths and how to build on those.
Resiliency – one of the assets we hear a lot about now, in particular the resiliency of negative gay men who have stayed negative all this time, despite the odds.
Syndemics – the ability of several pandemics to react with each other and affect each other to form a larger more complex entity – for example risk behaviour, mental health issues, drug dependency and homelessness can together produce results hugely difficult to deal with
My take is that HIV prevention is getting much more sophisticated now, rooted in research, theorizing and the accumulated wisdom of what works and what doesn’t. Whether it is any more successful, particularly in the gay male population, is debatable. Certainly new infections continue unabated, but what would the situation be if there were no interventions at all, one asks? And what is the impact of the perception of a disease which is generally no longer life-threatening, but instead a chronic manageable condition?
Of course I lap up this kind of discussion, always have done. Prevention is, in the end, like one giant jigsaw puzzle where someone has gone and stolen some of the pieces, but a search around the house reveals the odd one here and there.
Meanwhile, I had my PositveLite hat on much of the time, and did two interviews with Brian filming, me doing the actual interviews. Brian presented a session on the site and we both did a lot of politicking with those present. It almost felt like work, but in a good way.
One thing that came across loud and clear at the conference is that Twitter, of which I’m a recent convert, has arrived big time in our community. I love it. It was great to meet a few fellow tweeters, almost like those LJ meet-ups we used to hear about. And btw, on that note I met up with muddster one evening, and we had a rather nice dinner and convo at Just Thai on Church Street. He’s a super nice guy.
And over on PositiveLite, I have an extremely interesting post up today, or at least I think so. It’s the story of an injection drug user, HIV-positive for twenty years, currently serving a sentence at Warkworth Institution, a medium-security gaol just a few miles from our place. He consented to an interview with one of my agency’s support workers. If you’re curious about the conditions for HIV-positive inmates in our prison system read the piece here.