South Africa's LGBTI newspaper since the 1980's

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World Aids Day 2014

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Come 1 December 2014 millions of people will be flaunting a red ribbon of some sorts. Every year they become more innovative and creative. It's amazing how the simple red ribbon on a safety pin has evolved since the first World Aids Day in 1998. There are mosaics, quilts, tattoos, even ribbons written in the clouds. 

Beadedribbon

To date the function of World Aids Day and what it signifies has been an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. This year World Aids Day is turning sweet sixteen and to me it should be a circumspect celebration of man and life.

We have come a long way from the long shadow cast by the 80's 'Grim Reaper' prevention messaging, to the major scientific advancements in treatment and more comprehensive prevention options. Though antiretroviral therapy requires daily medication and frequent doctor visits and blood draws, it's highly effective. People who start and continue treatment are 96% less likely to transmit it to others, and they're less likely to get sick themselves because of improved immune function.

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Hothouse upgraded

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After 16 years, the Hothouse has shed its old frock and is donning a brand new coat. It was time for a fresh look to take us through the next couple of years. And wow, does it looks great!

NewHH11

We stripped the flooring, threw out all the old furniture and went on a shopping spree! Out with the old walls, sprucing it up in fresh green and blue colours. The lighting throughout was changed to reflect a more modern feel, with loads of LED’s and strip lighting. The private cabins have all been fitted with new mattresses and the locker room completely overhauled with new fire engine red lockers. With the new lockers and improved cameras in, we trust that security will be vastly improved in the locker room.

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Elton John supports local gay men to combat HIV

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A new $7 million grant for the Anova Health Institute's Health4Men project to address HIV in South Africa's gay, bisexual and MSM (men who have sex with men) community has been announced in both Washington and Johannesburg. This significant international funding boost to expand MSM-targeted HIV-related services in South Africa is the result of a new partnership between the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

 

In Washington, Sir Elton John and American Secretary of State, John Kerry, announced the collaboration between the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) and the U.S President's Emergency Fund for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) to support initiatives focusing on MSM in South Africa.

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Letting my 'guard' down

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Shortly before my 28th birthday, I discovered that a friend of mine was HIV positive. He wasn't a very close friend, but I knew him quite well and it came as a shock to me because he was well educated, intelligent and financially established in the world, and I believed that people like him did not get HIV. I couldn't understand how someone like that could be "dumb" enough to have unprotected sex. In the nineties almost every gay movie I could get my hands on was about gay men struggling with HIV or AIDS. How could he not have known to wear a condom? It was constantly drummed into us.

After a few years I moved to the big city and met other clever, educated people with HIV, and assumed it was drug or alcohol related. Why else would they have had unprotected sex?

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Sex really is overrated

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We put so much effort into finding dick or ass and as soon as you shoot your load, it's all over. Take website profiles, for example. We invest hours into making sure we have the perfect profile, pictures and intriguing blogs. Then after hours, sometimes days of going through tons of stupid inboxes, nudges and confessions you finally get that character you somewhat connect with.

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