Saturday, 7 June 2008

THT in the Sauna

Let me begin by saying I have nothing but respect for the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT). I think they do amazing work in the fight against AIDS but a recent story in the Pink Paper has led me to wonder they are on the right policy track. According to the paper, gay sauna Chariots will now be receiving out reach visits by THT to promote safe sex including now the offering of testing to clients. This follows earlier trials at similar venues. On the face of it I think the move is a brilliant one, on the other hand (and the story doesn't really cover this) I wonder about the visibility of these new testing services. Won't people be put off visiting the sauna? Particularly men who have sex with men, and those who identify as straight? Yet when I take a look at the cruising listings for the venue there doesn't seem any talk about the new service or expressions of concern so my minor worries seem unfounded. As the presence of testing becomes more the norm in commercial PSE venues I wonder whether their will be a commensurate rise in risky sex in other PSE environments- the cottage, cruising ground and dogging car park as men who fear being tested retreat to the open air sex venue.

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