Seeing Red: Corrupt AIDS Charities

January 28, 2009

body_positive_article3

When it comes to the AIDS debate, battle lines were drawn long ago.

Arguments around the ethical behaviour of drug companies, governments and even non-for-profit AIDS charities have split the gay community down the middle.

Critics of lethal medications prescribed to fight a mystery virus that many are told will one day make them sick and die have been chased out of the very community organisations they founded in order to support their loved ones during the peak of the “AIDS crisis”.

Those with first hand experience of the heavy handed, self-righteous behaviour of their once-loved HIV/AIDS support groups have been fighting back against a propaganda war of smear, misinformation, censorship, and commercial and charitable fraud on an international scale.

During the the late 1980’s and early 1990’s a vast number of HIV charities were set up around the UK by the families and friends of AIDS sufferers in order to provide better services for those suffering from the condition. But in recent times these organisations have been infiltrated by a small and impenetrable clique of NHS bully-boys and faceless men in suits – the representatives pharmaceutical giants who now sponsor these mammoth exercises in public charity fraud.

Around three years ago an anonymous blogger who goes by the name of “plusman” has been consistently exposing in precision detail just how this has happened to one such charity in Manchester, England named “Body Positive”.

Now it appears these big boys of the drug making world are so in bed with the likes of Body Positive they are sponsoring their everyday operations. In October 2008 the charity announced via Body Positive’s website and newsletter it was proud to be launching a “photographic competition” to celebrate GlaxoSmithKline’s 21st anniversary of providing HIV treatment. Treatments which have included the controversial AZT amongst many others which activists argue are even more toxic than the HIV virus itself. The prize for the winner of this competition?

The eventual winner was awarded £5,000 cash – although the winner must then donate the money to an “HIV charity of their choice” courtesy of GlaxoSmithKline. The lucky charity turned out to be GMFA (gay men fighting AIDS). Along with over a dozen other major drug manufacturers who all supply HIV medications to the NHS at the highest price paid by any country in the western world most of these companies also provide significant funds to the majority of the charities. So you can understand why staff are reluctant to stamp out the slightest utterance of criticism leveled at the hand which feeds them.

Despite all the lawsuits against GlaxoSmithKline and the predecessor companies it eventually swallowed up in relation to the ongoing scandal that is AZT, decades of evidence continue to mount up– and “AIDS Charities” which include Gay Men Fighting AIDS and Body Positive plus dozens of others continue to censor public discussion on the issue even from their own service users, the same people they have blindly convinced taking AZT (and still are) could save their lives which in turn leads to their death as a result of it’s deadly side affects.

Today, most HIV-positive people receiving treatment on the NHS are prescribed combination therapy of anti-retroviral drugs.

The most common mixture consists of three medications one of which is AZT and the other drugs are close relatives with similar properties. People are STILL taking these drugs despite the warning issued to doctors in 1999 by GlaxoSmithKline and which is still included in very small print on the warning leaflet which reads:

“PROLONGED USE OF RETROVIR (AZT) HAS ALSO BEEN ASSOCIATED WITH SYMPTOMATIC MYOPATHY (AIDS) SIMILAR TO THAT PRODUCED BY HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS.”

Although they may have been modified to have slower, slightly less toxic affects over the years when compared to the original formulation of AZT, these drugs themselves can and do cause AIDS. Drug companies urge the public to report any side effects as a matter of priority (via the AIDS charities) so in effect what we are seeing is the evolution of the same type of mass human guinea pig experiment that continues to be unleashed on the public, particularly on gay men. The relatives of those who die even though their loved ones had been taking HIV medications and felt perfectly healthy are told the death is AIDS related, not as a result of “advanced HIV infection”. Any attribution of blame to the possible side-effects (as the warning above describes) is dismissed.

Service users held a protest outside Body Positive North West in Manchester on 16th Jan 2009 in anger at the way the charity is run

Service users held a protest outside
Body Positive North West in Manchester
on 16th Jan 2009 in anger at the way
the charity is currently being run.
Two weeks earlier the charity began offering
a controversial instant HIV testing service.

Unfortunately the plot thickens even 15 years after AZT was introduced. Body Positive recently began offering free “one minute instant HIV testing” at a number of bars in Manchester’s Gay Village, primarily targeting gay men.

Only six months earlier over the pond in New York City half of those who took an almost identical “rapid mouth swab test” received false-positive results. Needless to say, those who manufactured and sold these instant tests for public use pocketed the money and continue to market similar “instant HIV tests” under new branding.

So why are groups like Body Positive so keen to guilt-trip the public into getting an HIV test in this dubious manner?

  • When adequate counseling is not provided to help people deal with the consequences of having an HIV test.
  • When those they target are likely to be intoxicated at the time.
  • Despite many “instant” testing procedures are riddled with failures still requires a visit in person to a fully equipped clinic in order to confirm and then reconfirm the result anyway.

By offering instant tests and counseling, this odious bunch can instantly capture new service users, when they’re at their most vulnerable, and thereby secure additional funding.” One former service user offers a valid explanation over on Plusman’s blog (Beware! Think twice before having an HIV test at Body Positive North West).

If having the infamous red AIDS ribbon an integral part of it’s corporate branding wasn’t enough for them, as an further insult to those who challenge the current HIV dogma they perpetuate and the memory of those who have died as a direct result from the toxic side effects of HIV medications, Body Positive have adopted the “Green Ribbon” (also the symbol of Rethinking AIDS Day on April 23rd) as their symbol for this new fraudulent testing service.

Body Positive aren’t alone in this dubious practice. The Lesbian and Gay Foundation regularly visit gay saunas in the North West of England offering HIV and Sexual Health testing and their London-based counterparts the Terrance Higgins Trust also offer a similar “outreach service”. Their argument is that if gay and bisexual men don’t access their services in these types of settings such as saunas and bars where men are known to meet for sex then they never will.

If you’ve had yourself a cheeky sniff of Poppers or a few Ecstasy pills and a maybe few pints earlier that evening then chances are your immune system has already taken a battering, and your mental state may also be a little wobbly to say the least. Are these really the most ethical and responsible (let alone hygienic!) places to be literally begging vulnerable people to take an HIV test?

Labour MP Harriet Harman poses for a photo opportunity at Body Positive, the target of protests by angry service users. Around the world similar protests have taken place by people seeking to raise publicawareness of similar unethical practices.

Labour MP Harriet Harman poses for a photo opportunity at Body Positive, the
target of protests by angry service users.
Similar protests against corrupt AIDS
charities and their stance on
pushing toxic treatments and ineffective testing
practices continue around the world.

Here at GayMafiaWatch, we recently exposed how the Lesbian and Gay Foundation along with their friends at the George House Trust have been colluding with the manufacturers of “Poppers” and the producers of “Bareback” porn that glorifies unsafe sex. Down at your local sauna where (somewhere between the sling, the glory hole and the sewage strewn steam room) once a month you may find the occasional “LGF Sexual Health Outreach Clinic”.

Even though their efforts are failing considering the “dramatic rise in gay men diagnosed with HIV” – often in the same areas they concentrate their work, these organisations are swamping the gay community with similar guilt inducing “testing is not a choice” propaganda yet they all fail to take into account the consequences and situational context which can have a drastic affect on the emotional well-being of the participant and even the outcome of the actual test itself.

Public health professionals and poorly-informed, under-trained volunteers are behaving like zombies, urging HIV positive people to “commence treatment as soon as possible” even if they aren’t sick despite the indisputable possibility that HIV treatments are part responsible for unnecessary-like deaths. This helps to increase the funds they receive from the Drug Companies and in turn their profit margins. Having such a powerful influence on our community is having an effect, you can see it everywhere. AIDS-related profiteering scandals, cover-ups and censorship are at the heart of the corruption that is ravaging the entire gay community, just like AIDS there’s no cure in sight, just yet.

Even if you don’t really care about asking critical questions yourself and you’re not yet convinced by the arguments you’ve read here today, it’s hard to deny that there is an active assault on the intelligence and dignity of those of us who do. People who question the current AIDS doctrine are branded as dangerous extremists, assumed to be HIV positive in denial and even threatened with the prospect of dying a painful threatened with the prospect of dying a painful death.

One vicious anti-dissident blog even appeals to members of the public for information so that it can smear those who write articles such as this one which reads:

“If you know any outstanding warrants or actual criminal reports about our infamous AIDS dissidents, please post it here! Please post the URL where you discovered the “dirt”.” (posted as AIDS Dissidents are Convicted Criminals – even though they haven’t yet any evidence explain why).

The impartiality of this particular blogger becomes shakier when you notice how the site is littered in adverts for various dating sites such as HivDate.com, commercial enterprises that profit from HIV directly by offering to connect positive people with other positive people. Similarly, various blogs attempting to deny the link between the use of Poppers proceed to explain their argument shortly whilst at the same time providing advertising space for the products. For the record, you won’t see any such advertising here on GayMafiaWatch.

Remember, the truth always comes out. Those concerned with finding out the truth about AIDS (rather than spending masses amounts of money and time smearing and silencing them) are convinced more research and unbiased education will ensure it does sooner rather than later.

“We do not ‘err’ because truth is difficult to see.
It is visible at a glance. – We ‘err’ because this is more comfortable.

–Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Recommended Reading
‘AIDS; The HIV myth’ – Jad Adams, Macmillan London UK, St. Martin’s Press New York USA (1989)
‘Positively False; Exposing the myths around HIV and AIDS’ – Joan Shenton, I.B. Tauris, London (1998)
‘The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory’ – Dr. Henry Bauer (2007)
‘Ten Lies about AIDS’ – Etienne De Harven, M.D, Trafford Publishing 2008

Useful Websites
ReThinking AIDS
The Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis
AidsMyth
Exploring Myths about the HIV Virus
Alt Heal
Global views of current criticism of International AIDS policy
Heal London
For those questioning the orthodox version of HIV/AIDS

Related articles by GayMafiaWatch
Elton John: Libel Queen
Plenty of other gay men are dropping dead, but unfortunately this talentless piano strummer known as Elton John is still standing right next to his “AIDS Foundation”. After the charity was recently critisised by a national newspaper we explore how Elton mounted and then failed miserable in his attempt to silence the truth about what’s really going on at his little enterprise set up to profit from the AIDS scam.
Stonewalled?
Inventing Homophobia, Manipulating the Media and Masonic Connections
Series of ongoing articles about the UK-based gay rights group “Stonewall”.
Blood Money
what exactly is one of Britain’s biggest, most well funded biggest gay health charities decided to throw in some free advertising for gay escort websites that promote bareback porn worshiping unsafe sex acts via their monthly magazine. – You just couldn’t make it up if you tried!


Blood Money

December 1, 2008

lgf_freddieYou might be forgiven for thinking this advert was about raising funds for those affected by HIV/AIDS – Wrong!

It’s World AIDS Day, and to celebrate the Lesbian and Gay Foundation have decided to throw in some free advertising for gay escort websites that promote bareback porn worshiping unsafe sex acts. – You just couldn’t make it up if you tried!

So just what exactly is one of Britain’s biggest, most well funded biggest gay health charities playing at this time?


Are they raising funds for HIV/AIDS?

No, infact the advert doesn’t even mention the issue despite the connotations and the black and red silhouette photo of Queen front-man Freddie Mercury. The Mercury Phoenix Trust might have something to say on the matter considering they also use this iconic image but unlike the LGF they have the rights to use Mercury’s name and image for the purposes of raising funds for HIV/AIDS related causes as it was established by Mercury’s fellow band members after his death.


So why have they specifically chosen this iconic image to raise funds?


The hidden implication of this fundraising campaign by the cash-strapped Lesbian and Gay Foundation suggests that if you are facing an early death from AIDS (as Freddie Mercury sadly did) and you’ve got a bit of spare cash set aside that could infact still be sitting in the bank once you’re dead and buried then you might be wise to give it to them in the hope it’s a worthy cause.

What’s so wrong with that you? -might be right to ask.

Well nothing, but there are plenty of other more worthy causes out there you might wish to consider Read here about how they fleeced the public by redirecting money raised from Manchester Pride.

Eric is a volunteer at Body Positive, another charity in Manchester that supports people living with HIV. After seeing the above advert in this month’s OutNorthWest magazine produced by the LGF he contacted GayMafiaWatch to inform us he was making a complaint.


“I’m disgusted the LGF have gone straight for the blood on this one, they are already ramming home the message for people to give them money as it is whilst they are still alive – now they want it even when we’re dead!” “they are taking advantage of the fact many of their readers may be facing an early death from HIV and want to cash in on their life savings,  it’s grotesque. This is a new low for them, many of us didn’t think they could actually get
any lower. I will be complaining to the highest authority”

– Eric, Volunteer Body Positive North West for nearly 10 years.


But don’t they pay for all the free condoms and lube in Manchester’s Gay Village?

No. Manchester’s LGBT Community has infact been held to ransom and now pays for the “free” condom and lube distribution scheme itself through wristband sales at Manchester Pride. Around 25% of ticket sales go towards funding the LGF’s involvement in this initiative.

But they produce lots of information on sexual health for gay men, don’t they?

Sort of. The sexual health literature they produce is actually funded publicly through the NHS via Manchester Primary Care Trust’s Public Health Development Service. This cosy relationship isn’t just professional either. Curiously it’s Senior Public Health Development Advisor is married to (well Civil Partnered anyway!) the Chief Executive of the NHS. They have a lovely four bed semi in the leafy outer-outer London district of Chorlton, South Manchester

So what are they raising money for?

It’s hard to say as their annual accounts are vague to say the least. What they do reveal however between the glossy pie charts and colourful lack of detail is the startling fact that the Lesbian and Gay Foundation spends more on raising funds than it actually generates.


Shockingly last year the charity’s accounts showed this had lumped them with a major deficit. No wonder they are pushing so hard from every possible angle using as much emotive language to get people to donate. If these figures add up as they appear to it looks as if the LGF actually lost around £22,000 in 2007.

    £55,000 (income received from fundraising activities)
    £77,000 (income spent on fundraising activities

    (Source: LGF Annual Review 2007)

Over the past year it’s no wonder various rumors have begun circulating suggesting the LGF are now facing a serious financial deficit. Pleading with the public in the covering page of it’s 2007 annual review the LGF’s Chief Executive Paul Martin stated:

“it is becoming increasingly more difficult to gain funding for the work that we are doing” – “The LGF has never made a direct request for financial support before.”

This is a complete Lie.

lgf_montage1
Since it’s conception the LGF has collected public donations in and around Manchester’s Gay Village and through various events including World AIDS Day and Manchester Pride. Before it came into existence after a merger between Healthy Gay Manchester (a council and NHS run initiative) with Manchester Lesbian and Gay Switchboard both organisations had dozens of collection tins in bars all over the village, after the merger they replaced them with LGF branded collection tins. Funds raised by one of Manchester Pride’s previous incarnations have nearly always gone into the LGF’s fat purse.


In 2001 “Manchester GayFest” granted the LGF a sum of over £30,000 which it decided to spend on upgrading it’s former premises on Charles Street with a wheelchair ramp. Several months later the LGF moved up the road to Princess House deeming the entire idea a complete waste of money.


“You do have the potential to end homophobia by please financially supporting the LGF.” – Paul Martin confidently declares.


Really Paul? – Maybe money really can solve everything! However, in response to the controversy over the LGF’s involvement in Manchester Pride local Councillor Iain Lindley rubbished Martin’s suggestion in his blog by stating:

“I wasn’t aware that you have to pay a £20 entry fee in order to be against homophobia, bigotry and hatred… – what nonsense.”Cllr Iain Lindley, Salford Walkden South

In the proceeding comments one member of the community also made an even stronger accusation about the LGF’s alleged abuse of funding and further confirming the bullying tactics we reported on back in May:

“As someone who is active in the womens/lesbian community in Greater Manchester I am sick and tired of the Manchester-centric, village obsessed Lesbian and Gay Foundation claiming to represent me and somehow by producing a never ending supply of pointless and wasteful literature about “ending homophobia”, a cause they cannot be expected to defeat alone or within our lifetimes.

I am very frustrated about how they constantly manipulate members of the community unto thinking they are the champions for equality and safer lifestyles when a great deal many of other individuals and groups have the same intentions yet are blocked from having the opportunity to do so because of their domination and monopolisation of the funding and the opportunity to promote the good work of voluntary groups other than themselves. They are not accountable to anyone, they
purposely duck and dive and keep their meetings in secret, they carryout no consultation whatsoever with the wider community and arrogantly claim to represent the voices and needs of anyone who cares as much as they claim to.”
– Laura

The charity’s dubious relationship with commercial sponsors who profit from the “Pink Pound” in Manchester’s gay village recently prompted us to investigate how the manufacturers of the popular recreational drugs marketed as “Poppers” (or “Room Odorisers”!) were using the LGF’s “community health and lifestyle” magazine “OutNorthWest” to direct their advertising at gay men – “Poppers the Sweet Smell of Hypocrisy“.

The use of Poppers have been scientifically proven to lower the body’s immune system (not good for anyone with HIV!).

After which there came an angry response causing the LGF to remove most of the adverts for poppers in the next issue. We also received a number of comments including this one from a worried teacher:

“I am a teacher at a large comprehensive school in East Manchester I am also a member of the Lesbian community I was astonished to read your article regarding poppers adverts combined with subliminal messages promoting their use in the LGF’s magazine. The following day we had a visit from a group who were running a workshop on homophobic bullying and they left behind (along with some excellent resources on how to combat homophobia in their defence) several copies of the LGF magazine. Worried that I may become blamed for distributing this type of dangerous advertising to my pupils I quickly informed the Deputy Headteacher who advised me to promptly bin the publication.

Amanda  (Teacher)


In the latest issue of OutNorthWest (December 2008), right next to the aforementioned full page glossy appeal for money direct from the death beds of AIDS sufferers there appeared a peculiar article on “Sex Workers” which was also promoted on the contents page under the full on face shot of a rather photogenic young man under the title “Sex Bomb – HIV explodes amongst young gay men” with the slightly smaller title “A three page special on gay men and lesbians who sell sex.

Alongside the Sex Workers article they were kind enough to provide listings to other organisations who could offer support and advice (a rare thing for the LGF unless of course they are run by their friends or by themselves under different names!). However they also felt it appropriate to also list a well known gay escorts website manchesterlads.com apparently because it has pages with “advice for anyone selling sex“. This may be true but they also list other more suitable sources of information, so how is it the LGF is providing free advertising accompanying such an article in this context for manchesterlads, which is a purely commercial website which (although it claims not to be an escort agency) that makes money from escorts by charging them to host a listing.


In a further sickening twist, the site also carries numerous bold advertisements for explicit gay DVD’s that glorify unsafe-sex and “Bug-Chasing” or “Breeding” (the practice of purposely seeking to become infected with HIV) including “Council Trash”, “Bare Huge Dicks #9, “London Cum Pigs 2”, “Fuck Me Raw”, “Breeding Season” and “I’m Gonna Fuck You Hard and Bareback“amongst many others.


Interestingly some of the same escorts listed on manchesterlads also appear in a number of the videos advertised on the site.

Although they mostly go under pseudonymous on the escort listings page, many of these (mostly young) men are well known faces in Manchester’s gay village, and many of them also happen to be from low-income families, have left school with few if any qualifications and possibly also vulnerable.

We caught up with a “Liam” – a male sex worker from Wythenshawe, one the poorest council estates in Britain located in the south of Manchester. This is what he had to say about his own experiences:


“I had just dropped out of college and a bit stuck really, I would have stayed on the course but since I just about passed for 18 I had started going out nearly every night into the (gay) village and was taking a lot of “K” (Ketamine) and pills so my head was really too messed up to focus. After clubbing some nights we used to go to B******* Sauna mostly only because the night buses around here are rubbish so we’d hang out there, get wasted, sometimes have a shag with some random guy then get the first bus home and sleep off the come-down!

After people started to get know me around the village I got friendly with a group of young guys I’d met in the Sauna who suggested I try escorting to earn a bit of extra cash. They’d signed up to manchesterlads already and one night at the sauna we logged onto the website and they got me signed up to it as well. Being skint all the time I jumped at the chance. I was already really used to going with anyone in the dark room just ‘cos I was mashed and horny so getting paid to do it never seemed like a bad thing. I don’t use manchesterlads now as they charge quite a bit to keep your listing online (amounting to £240 a year) and now I’ve got a few regular clients I don’t need to pay manchesterlads to get me new business. I live right near the airport so it’s quite handy for most of the guys I meet and it suits me for now but I do regret dropping out of college and don’t think I will ever go back now. My life is too centered on scene”
Liam, 19, Escort


Ultimately the Lesbian and Gay Foundation may exist as a force for good, even though it appears the continuing influence of a small number of corrupt, self-important, greedy vampires has warped them from their original objectives.


Unfortunately they are making matters so much worse thanks to their tendency to blend dodgy advertising that contradicts their sexual health message in their flagship publication time after time, dubiously siphoning away funding from other smaller charities (as Laura has claimed) into their own ghost projects and then finishing it all off with a never ending slurry of  explosive “sex-sells” imagery that is a main cause of why many gay men of all ages continue to experience serious issue of low self-esteem, responsible for individuals engaging in wreckless, self-destructive behaviour, recreational drug use, abusing steroids to get a better body, engaging in risky sexual encounters (like bug-chasing), selling their body over the internet and possibly contracting HIV as a result.


You could say that the Lesbian and Gay Foundation are part of a vicious circle when it comes to sexual health prevention and promotion.


First they came for your blood, and now they’re after your money!


Poppers – the Sweet Smell of Hypocrisy

September 29, 2008

Who’d ever thought a little glass bottle could cause so much damage? Originally developed to help people with serious heart conditions, these dangerous drugs are still being sold all over the country – and on the gay scene you can’t miss them.

GayMafiaWatch reports on one of today’s biggest and most controversial sexual health scandals which first emerged back in the early 1980’s when gay saunas, bathhouses and sex clubs in California stopped selling poppers in response to public health concerns at the height of the first AIDS crisis.

At the time little research had been conducted on the causes and affects of HIV/AIDS scientists and community figures agreed on one thing – poppers were in some way connected to an increase in unsafe sex amongst gay men, and inevitably HIV. Dozens of reputable studies exist that strongly suggest the direct inhalation of poppers can predispose the user to developing AIDS related illnesses including many types of cancer which gay men in particular tend to fall victim to such as Kaposi’s Sarcoma. Take a look at this comprehensive list of research published in the Lancet, the Journal of Toxicology-Clinical Toxicology, the British Medical Journal and the American Journal of Medicine to name just a few.

In 1990 the Anti-Drug Abuse Act came into force, effectively outlawing the commercial retail sale of poppers right across the United States and in 1996 the Medicines Act ruled that retailers selling poppers could be prosecuted in the United Kingdom. After escaping prosecution for many years through the abuse of a legal loophole which allowed poppers to be legally sold to the public as long as they are marketed as “Room odorisers” or ”Aromas” on the 24th August 2008 the most commonly sold formulation of these foul smelling, euphoria inducing gay glamour drugs (Isobutyl-Nitrate) finally became illegal.

The Government assumed the country would at last be free from the scourge of poppers once and for all but they assumed wrong. The manufacturers were already one step ahead of the game and simply sidestepped the move by altering the formula used from Isobutyl Nitrate to Isopropyl Nitrate . Many had already prepared the withdrawal and replacement of their existing brands with completely legal alternatives that are just as potent, just as profitable and just as dangerous.

50% of gay men admit to using poppers in the past 12 months”
Terrance Higgins Trust Gay Men’s Survey 2008

Cancer in a Bottle?

It’s well known that many gay men use poppers to relax whilst having anal sex, especially for the first time. Younger gay men or those just coming out are therefore much more likely to find a use for poppers, not only for the pleasurable and relaxing affects making anal sex more comfortable but also to allay fear and anxiety associated with their first gay sexual encounters. Unlike with alcohol and cigarettes, the relatively unregulated and discreet nature and convenience offered by by sex shops, saunas and internet mail order services ensures that any age restriction on the sale of poppers to under-age customers would be difficult to enforce. HIV is now at it’s highest rate ever, particularly amongst the current generation of young gay men in our big cities, many of whom failed to received adequate sexual health education at school due to Section 28 of the local government act which outlawed the “promotion of homosexuality” we are allowing our youth to dive head first into a minefield of risks, aware of the consequences.

Despite the massive amount of public resources being ploughed into safer-sex messages targeting Crystal-Meth users, binge drinkers and participants in other more well know high risk sexual behaviours, alarming research carried out by the Medical Research Council and the Terrance Higgins Trust has recently declared that poppers appear to be “the only drug associated with an increased risk of acquiring HIV” and concluded “if you sniff poppers there’s an increased risk of HIV transmission if you have unprotected sex”. In 2007 the Terrance Higgins Trust also released findings of a major new study which discovered 80% of HIV positive men used poppers compared to 58% who remained negative. The connection between HIV and poppers is indisputable.


Both human and animal studies indicate that poppers use significantly suppresses the immune system.” US Toxicology-Clinical Study

Flavour of the month?

Popular gay magazines, especially the free ones have numerous adverts promoting poppers from at least three separate retailers. None of these adverts state what they are intended to be used for, what the dangers are or what they contain. The current advertising campaign for Clone Zone’s relaunched brand of Ispoproyl Nitrates are covered with slogans such as “for your lifestyle” “extra strong aroma” and “new sensation”. One big gay nightclub in Manchester has even named a club night in honour of a popular brand of poppers and shamelessly used the bold imagery of poppers bottles in it’s promotional flyers and magazine adverts. They also sell poppers behind the bar. OutNorthWest regularly features similar prominent advertisements for poppers.

In it’s September 2008 pride special, timed to coincide with the complete Europe-wide ban on the sale Isobutyl-Nitrate, Clone Zone took out an entire half page advertisement dedicated to promoting their new “Xtreme Xtra Strong” brand of poppers. Directly beneath it on the same page is an advert for Cheshire’s gay and bisexual men only “Sauna Sauna” which also sells poppers. Despite featuring a very brief paragraph contained within an unrelated advertisement from the Terrance Higgins Trust on page 46 providing a very brief overview of the risks associated with poppers out the 87 pages in OutNorthWest, twelve of these pages promote outlets that sell poppers direct to the public. Despite the immense opportunity to do so in this free, glossy, popular publication which claims to have a readership of over 60,000 people – it’s publishers, the Lesbian and Gay Foundation (formerly Healthy Gay Manchester) failed to mention the news or the reasons behind the ban on Isobutyl-Nitrate. Given all the evidence and the fact that their main mission is to improve the health and well-being of the gay community surely they should be more concerned about the cost to our health than the revenues of their advertisers? The priorities of this NHS funded organisation are back to front to say the least.

Explicit adverts for new brands of poppers that remain legal due to a legal loophole. Adverts are often found places alongside adverts for gay saunas and escort services

Explicit adverts for new brands of poppers that remain legal due to a legal loophole. Adverts are often found places alongside adverts for gay saunas and escort services

Good for your night out? But how good for your health? Part of the above advert was printed in the September issue of OutNorthWest the official publication of the Lesbian and Gay Foundation, a charity which was established to promote sexual health within the North West’s gay community. The magazine makes most of it’s revenue from advertising. The magazine is available in libraries, colleges, universities, doctors surgeries, GUM clinics, clubs and bars where poppers are sold and GayMafiaWatch has had reports of the magazine including the adverts in several Manchester High Schools. The charity also receives funding from the local Primary Health Care trusts to develop health promotion initiatives for gay men whilst providing a platform for the dubious advertising of cancer causing brands of poppers. Is this a case of double standards or ethical bad practice? By accepting such advertising and placing it directly next to adverts for sexual services the Lesbian and Gay Foundation and Manchester NHS are directly advocating the use of poppers within the context of risky sex.

The Hard Sell?

An additional risk to ones health is also heightened through the co-use of poppers with drugs such as Viagra (stiffeners!). As both drugs cause the lowering of blood pressure, using them both together, particularly if someone already has a heart condition has proven fatal. One inevitable side effect of using poppers which occurs almost immediately after the rush wears off is the inability to maintain an erection, pretty bad news when you’re having a shag – and where you’re likely to find most people using poppers! To counteract this awkward side affect many guys are taking both without realising, or caring about the risks.

If that wasn’t worrying enough many saunas and mail order services that have made an undisclosed fortune through the sale of poppers over the years are also beginning to cash in on the market for prescription free alternatives to Viagra, and despite the lack of brand name or patent many of these readily available stiffeners now being peddled to the gay market through gay magazines and sex shops. One major sauna chain even has vending machines in the changing rooms selling packets for less than £10 right next to the poppers. Most of these hard-on inducing products contain a substance described as “herbal viagra” or “kamagra” with virtual the same effects as the real over-the-counter stuff and of course, the same risks. Those profiting from the sale of these dangerous drugs are well aware of the risks but will no doubt continue to sell them and earn a quick buck for as long as they can get away with it.

Popular gay club night glamourising imagery of a bottle of poppers to promote a club night on the same weekend the most popular brands became illegal

Popular gay club night glamorising imagery of a bottle of poppers to promote a club night on the same weekend the most popular brands became illegal. It's no wonder poppers are popular on the gay scene when clubbers and drinkers are bombarded with their normality.

Gay Gold Rush?

Combined with the rush, the desired psychological factor of decreased inhibitions, increased sexual libido and the placing of poppers for sale in venues where high risk behaviour is already prevalent such as clubs and saunas the question must once again be asked… Why are our bars, clubs, magazines, saunas, dating websites and sex shops found on gay scene so eager to continue promoting these dangerous substances despite the overwhelmingly strong evidence suggesting they are having a devastating effect on the gay community and the state of gay and bisexual men’s health?

The answer is pretty obvious, it’s all about the money, lots of it. The average bottle of poppers costs more than a pint of beer, more than a packet of cigarettes and certainly more than enough ecstasy pills to keep you dancing all weekend. Once opened the shelf life deteriorates and within a couple of weeks your once fragrant “room odoriser” begins to smell like the bottom of a footballers boot, and although there is still a small “rush” to be had from each sniff of your now binnable bottle of toxic chemicals, the headache, combined with the unbearable stench you’ll endure in pursuit of one last rush of euphoria just isn’t worth it. Keer-ching! Off you pop, down to the village for a new bottle. The profit margins are massive.

It’s time to ditch poppers once and for all.


Ivan Massow vs Zurich – “Because Shit Happenz”

May 12, 2007

Angry at life insurance premiums being higher for gay men due to being a HIV ‘high-risk-group’, Massow made millions by providing financial services to the gay community that didn’t penalise applications on the grounds of their sexuality. Then in 2003, after years of working as rivals and Massow criticising their policies, financial giant Zurich apparently apologetic for it’s actions of the past approached Massow offering him a deal. There was more money to be made. Did Massow see a solution to finally eradicate the need for a separate league of insurance for gay men? or did those pound signs blind him? The deal was Zurich would borrow Massow’s company £320,000 in the deal, in return for selling their insurance. Massow alleges part of the deal was that Zurich would stop asking people about their sexuality and drop HIV tests for gay men. He’s now in court Zurich’s lawyers claiming they have not changed their policy and that Zurich “tried to ruin him”. Zurich demanded the loan back and Massow refused to pay it.

Many in the gay community were dubious and refused to believe Zurich had changed when Massow signed the deal back in 2003. They were right and poor Ivan has gone home with his tail between his legs (truth be told actually he’s “festering in exile in Barcelona because of corporate homophobia” – according to this article in the Independent. People in exile rarely have a page in a national newspaper, and it’s doubtful he’s ‘festering’, I wouldn’t be surprised if living was pretty easy for Massow now in Spain, a stones-throw from the bustling muscle mary gay resort of Sitges.

Massow must have also neglected to read up on the shameful long list of homophobic tory policies (section 28, opposition to partnership rights, gay adoption, good and services, trans recognition the list goes on..) when he joined the Conservative Party aged just 14. At the Conservative Party Conference in 1999 Massow was Lady Thatcher’s escort, a time when plenty of harmful anti-gay emissions were still being propagated by the ‘nasty party’.

It feels like Massow’s principles are something he’s been working on for a long time. They come second to his business interests. Many admire him for coming from a poorer background and then going on to make millions in his twenties which is fair enough. It’s a shame because Massow could have been more of an ally and an advocate for the greater queer rights movement that at one time could have benefited from his support. Sadly the record’s too scratched now. By selling us out in the name of good intentions Massow’s current credibility is zero with large sections of the gay community who once saw his visions as revolutionary.

Is Massow an integral part of the modern Gay Mafia? Remember it’s a concept, like the illuminate or the secret service their existence is denied. If there is a Gay Mafia operating in the traditional ‘gang-land’ sense then Massow’s not one associate to worry about any more. If anything you should feel sorry for Massow, he’s been chewed up and spat out.

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