The Safe House 2009 Pilot for LGBTQ Youth Explained & more

In response to numerous requests for more information on the defunct Safe House Pilot Project that was to address the growing numbers of displaced and homeless LGBTQ Youth in New Kingston in 2007/8/9, a review of the relevance of the project as a solution, the possible avoidance of present issues with some of its previous residents if it were kept open.
Recorded June 12, 2013; also see from the former Executive Director named in the podcast more background on the project: HERE also see the beginning of the issues from the closure of the project: The Quietus ……… The Safe House Project Closes and The Ultimatum on December 30, 2009

Friday, October 25, 2013

US Study finds HIV Test Plus Counseling Doesn't Cut Infection Rates

New research finds that prevention counseling with HIV testing didn't cut sexually transmitted infection rates any more than testing with information only.

By Janet Kim, MPH, Everyday Health Staff Writer
TUESDAY, October 22, 2013 – HIV prevention counseling has long been a standard part of the HIV testing process, but a new study finds that it may not be all that useful in keeping certain groups of people from contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

The results of Project AWARE, a study published today in theJAMA, showed no added benefit from risk-reduction counseling offered in conjunction with a rapid HIV test. "I think that right now, to my knowledge, this is probably the best evidence that can really inform the question if there is still a role for risk-reduction counseling," said Lisa R. Metsch, PhD, lead investigator of Project AWARE and chair of the Department of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health in New York City.
Recommendations to Streamline HIV Screening

When the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last revised their recommendations for HIV testing, in 2006, one major change was not requiring prevention counseling as part of HIV screening. The idea was that if there were no counseling requirement, more people would get HIV screening, and it would become a routine part of medical practice.

At the time, the American Medical Association supported this change and expected physicians to support the updated recommendations. News of this change in guidance, however, was a cause for concern among HIV/AIDS advocacy groups. They feared that without prevention counseling, people would not be adequately or accurately informed about how to protect themselves and others from HIV.


"If we do away with prevention counseling, if we do away with additional intervention based on prevention, we're not going to have an AIDS-free generation," cautioned Lynnette Ford, MSW, managing director of program services and evaluation at the New York City nonprofit GMHC, who strongly believes in the value of prevention counseling.
HIV-Positive, But Unaware

Not knowing one's HIV status remains a significant concern in the United States, where about 20 percent of people with HIV are unaware that they're positive. Because they unknowingly put others at risk for the disease, they are responsible for many new HIV infections. And the later an HIV-positive person is diagnosed, the more advanced their disease and the more challenging it is to improve their health outcomes. One of the main goals of the federal government's National HIV/AIDS Strategy is to reduce the pool of undiagnosed HIV infections.

Earlier this year, in April, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended HIV screening for everyone ages 15 to 65 regardless of their HIV risk status. The task force reasoned that HIV screening efforts on such a widespread scale would help to better control the HIV epidemic by identifying more people who are at risk or are already HIV positive. In contrast with the CDC recommendations, USPSTF recommends prevention counseling for all sexually active adolescents and for adults at increased risk for infection.

Even with the CDC and USPSTF HIV screening recommendations in place, prevention counseling continues to be a mainstay of HIV testing efforts. There's some speculation that the long-held perception of prevention counseling's effectiveness likely overshadows research about it. Probably because existing data are not clear, said Dr. Metsch. "The studies done to date did not clearly speak to the issue of whether to provide counseling at the time of HIV testing," she noted.

But, added Metsch, "There was one particular study called Project RESPECT that was published in 1998, and this was the solid scientific base supporting risk-reduction counseling at the time of testing. But it was done before antiretroviral therapy, before the era of rapid testing, when HIV was basically a fatal disease."

As Metsch and her colleagues stated in the JAMA report on the new study, Project AWARE was designed to fill this gap.
No Added Benefit From Risk-Reduction Counseling

The Project AWARE randomized clinical trial ran from April 2010 to December 2010, to evaluate the effectiveness of a rapid HIV test with either risk-reduction counseling or information only in reducing the rates of sexually transmitted infections. Counseling involved a single brief discussion with individuals about their sexual risk behaviors and how to reduce their risks for HIV and other STIs. The information-only session was limited to the basics about HIV and the test itself.

The investigators enrolled 5,012 men and women who sought services at nine STI clinics in the United States. Study participants were categorized in three groups:
Men who have sex with men (MSM), which included men who have sex with men and women
Men who have sex with women (MSW)
Women who have sex with men and/or women

All participants had a rapid HIV test and received either counseling or information only at the time of the test. They were screened for various STIs at both the start of the study and six months later. Medical records were reviewed to assess any diagnoses of STIs between these points in time. All of the participants were tested for gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, herpes simplex virus 2, and HIV; women were tested for trichomoniasis as well. Participants were also asked about their sexual risk behaviors -- including total number of sex acts, number of unprotected sex acts, total number of sexual partners, and number of unprotected sexual partners -- in the six months before the study and the six months after the start of the study.

At the six-month follow-up, overall STI rates did not differ significantly between the counseling (12.3 percent) and the information-only (11.1 percent) groups. The rates of STIs by gender (for the MSW and women-only groups), age group, and race/ethnicity also did not differ significantly between the counseling and information-only groups.

Results were different in the MSM group: 18.7 percent of those who had prevention counseling were found to have had STIs compared to 12.5 percent in the information-only group.

Interestingly, investigators found the overall number of risky sexual behaviors was somewhat lower in the counseling group than in the information-only group. One possible explanation, they surmised, is that "the magnitude or nature of the behavior change was insufficient to reduce STI incidence."
Should the Role of Prevention Counseling Be Reconsidered?

Results of the Project AWARE trial will be welcome or discouraging news, depending on which side you favor in the ongoing debate over the role of prevention counseling at the time of HIV testing.

On one side, as the study authors concluded, "[W]ithout evidence of effectiveness, [risk-reduction] counseling cannot be considered an efficient use of resources."

Nicholas Hellmann, MD, executive vice president of medical and scientific affairs with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation in Washington, D.C., agrees. "HIV prevention counseling is viewed by many health facilities to be too costly and labor intensive, and by tested individuals to be inconvenient," said Dr. Hellmann, who was not involved with the new research.

"This study shows little or no health benefit from routine HIV prevention counseling for individuals before testing," added Hellman, noting that it "provides a rationale for removal of this key barrier to more routine and widespread HIV testing."

"Prevention counseling is a mainstay in GMHC's toolbox to combat HIV and AIDS," said GMHC's Ford, who was also not involved with the research. "I think the role of prevention counseling should not be reconsidered…there is a need for prevention counseling. Not having prevention counseling, we really miss an opportunity to potentially use teachable moments with clients."

"Prevention counseling is most often successful when utilizing other approaches, such as motivational interviewing or longer-term interventions," Ford said, "Because let's face it, behavior change does not occur overnight."

In lieu of risk-reduction counseling, the authors of the new study proposed "a more focused approach to providing information at the time of testing [that] may allow clinics to use resources more efficiently to conduct universal testing, potentially detecting more HIV cases earlier and linking and engaging HIV-infected people in care."

"I feel that there are lots of other new and exciting developments in the HIV prevention arena that we could be doing," Metsch noted. "I also think…there still could be a place for other types of counseling."


Aphrodite's P.R.I.D.E Jamaica, APJ launched their website

Aphrodite's P.R.I.D.E Jamaica, APJ launched their website on December 1 2015 on World AIDS Day where they hosted a docu-film and after discussions on the film Human Vol 1

audience members interacting during a break in the event

film in progress

visit the new APJ website HERE

See posts on APJ's work: HERE (newer entries will appear first so scroll to see older ones)


CVM TV carried a raid and subsequent temporary blockade exercise of the Shoemaker Gully in the New Kingston district as the authorities respond to the bad eggs in the group of homeless/displaced or idling MSM/Trans persons who loiter there for years.

Question is what will happen to the population now as they struggle for a roof over their heads and food etc. The Superintendent who proposed a shelter idea (that seemingly has been ignored by JFLAG et al) was the one who led the raid/eviction.

Also see:

the CVM NEWS Story HERE on the eviction/raid taken by the police

also see a flashback to some of the troubling issues with the populations and the descending relationships between JASL, JFLAG and the displaced/homeless GBT youth in New Kingston: Rowdy Gays Strike - J-FLAG Abandons Raucous Homosexuals Misbehaving In New Kingston

also see all the posts in chronological order by date from Gay Jamaica Watch HERE and GLBTQ Jamaica HERE


see previous entries on LGBT Homelessness from the Wordpress Blog HERE

May 22, 2015, see: MP Seeks Solutions For Homeless Gay Youth In New Kingston

War of words between pro & anti gay activists on HIV matters .......... what hypocrisy is this?

War of words between pro & anti gay activists on HIV matters .......... what hypocrisy is this?

A war of words has ensued between gay lawyer (AIDSFREEWORLD) Maurice Tomlinson and anti gay activist Dr Wayne West as both accuse each other of lying or being dishonest, when deception has been neatly employed every now and again by all concerned, here is the post from Dr West's blog

This is laughable to me as both gentleman have broken the ethical lines of advocacy respectively repeatedly especially on HIV/AIDS and on legal matters concerning LGBTQ issues

The evidence is overwhelming readers/listeners, you decide.

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Homeless MSM Challenges and relationships with agencies overview ........

In a shocking move JFLAG decided not to invite or include homeless MSM in their IDAHO activity for 2013 thus leaving many in wonderment as to the reason for their existence or if the symposium was for "experts" only while offering mere tokenism to homeless persons in the reported feeding program. LISTEN TO THE AUDIO ENTRY HERE sad that the activity was also named in honour of one of JFLAG's founders who joined the event via Skype only to realise the issue he held so dear in his time was treated with such disrespect and dishonour. Have LGBT NGOs lost their way and are so mainstream they have forgotten their true calling?

also see a flashback to some of the issues with the populations and the descending relationships between JASL, JFLAG and the displaced/homeless LGBT youth in New Kingston: Rowdy Gays Strike - J-FLAG Abandons Raucous Homosexuals Misbehaving In New Kingston

also see all the posts in chronological order by date from Gay Jamaica Watch HERE and GLBTQ Jamaica HERE


see previous entries on LGBT Homelessness from the Wordpress Blog HERE

Newstalk 93FM's Issues On Fire: Polygamy Should Be Legalized In Jamaica 08.04.14

debate by hosts and UWI students on the weekly program Issues on Fire on legalizing polygamy with Jamaica's multiple partner cultural norms this debate is timely.

Also with recent public discourse on polyamorous relationships, threesomes (FAME FM Uncensored) and on social.

Popular Posts

RJR - Surprise Yes vote by Ja on Sexual Orientation Removal from Summary Executions Resolution

Beyond the Headlines host Dionne Jackson Miller has Arlene Harrison Henry and Maurice Tonlinson on Human RIghts Day 2012 on the the removal of language in the form of sexual orientation on the Summary Executions UN Resolution - On November 21, 2012, Jamaica voted[1] against resolution A/C.3/67/L.36 at the United Nations condemning extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions which urges States “to investigate promptly and thoroughly all killings, including… all killings committed for any discriminatory reason, including sexual orientation

Homeless MSM evicted from Cargill Avenue (evening edition)

28/08/12 CVM TV again rebroadcast a story of homeless MSM and the deplorable living conditions coupled with the almost sensationalistic narrative of the alleged commercial sex work the men are involved in. Gay Jamaica Watch has been following this issue since 2009 when the older populations of MSMs who were for the most part displaced due to forced evictions and homo negative issues and their re-displacement by agencies who on the face of it refused to put in place any serious social interventions to assist the men to recovery CLICK HERE for the CLIP

Information, Disclaimer and more

Not all views expressed are those of GJW

This blog contains pictures and images that may be disturbing. As we seek to highlight the plight of victims of homophobic violence here in Jamaica, the purpose of the pics is to show physical evidence of claims of said violence over the years and to bring a voice of the same victims to the world.

Many recover over time, at pains, as relocation and hiding are options in that process. Please view with care or use theHappenings section to select other posts of a different nature.

Not all persons depicted in photos are gay or lesbian and it is not intended to portray them as such, save and except for the relevance of the particular post under which they appear.

Please use the snapshot feature to preview by pointing the cursor at the item(s) of interest. Such item(s) have a small white dialogue box icon appearing to their top right hand side.

God Bless

Other Blogs I write to:
Recent Homophobic Incidents CLICK HERE for related posts/labels from glbtqjamaica's blog & HERE for those I am aware of.


Steps to take when confronted by the police & your rights compromised:

a) Ask to see a lawyer or Duty Council

b) Only give name and address and no other information until a lawyer is present to assist

c) Try to be polite even if the scenario is tense

d) Don’t do anything to aggravate the situation

e) Every complaint lodged at a police station should be filed and a receipt produced, this is not a legal requirement but an administrative one for the police to track reports

f) Never sign to a statement other than the one produced by you in the presence of the officer(s)

g) Try to capture a recording of the exchange or incident or call someone so they can hear what occurs, place on speed dial important numbers or text someone as soon as possible

h) File a civil suit if you feel your rights have been violated

i) When making a statement to the police have all or most of the facts and details together for e.g. "a car" vs. "the car" represents two different descriptions

j) Avoid having the police writing the statement on your behalf except incases of injuries, make sure what you want to say is recorded carefully, ask for a copy if it means that you have to return for it

Notes on Bail & Court Appearance issues

If in doubt speak to your attorney

Bail and its importance -
If one is locked up then the following may apply:

Locked up over a weekend - Arrested pursuant to being charged or detained There must be reasonable suspicion i.e. about to commit a crime, committing a crime or have committed a crime. There are two standards that must be met:
1). Subjective standard: what the officer(s) believed to have happened

2). Objective standard: proper and diligent collection of evidence that implicates the accused To remove or restrain a citizen’s liberty it cannot be done on mere suspicion and must have the above two standards

 Police officers can offer bail with exceptions for murder, treason and alleged gun offences, under the Justice of the Peace Act a JP can also come to the police station and bail a person, this provision as incorporated into the bail act in the late nineties

 Once a citizen is arrested bail must be considered within twelve hours of entering the station – the agents of the state must give consideration as to whether or not the circumstances of the case requires that bail be given

 The accused can ask that a Justice of the Peace be brought to the station any time of the day. By virtue of taking the office excluding health and age they are obliged to assist in securing bail

"Bail is not a matter for daylight"

Locked up and appearing in court:
 Bail is offered at the courts office provided it was extended by the court; it is the court that has the jurisdiction over the police with persons in custody is concerned.

 Bail can still be offered if you were arrested and charged without being taken to court a JP can still intervene and assist with the bail process.

Other Points of Interest:
 The accused has a right to know of the exact allegation

 The detainee could protect himself, he must be careful not to be exposed to any potential witness

 Avoid being viewed as police may deliberately expose detainees

 Bail is not offered to persons allegedly with gun charges

 Persons who allegedly interfere with minors do not get bail

 If over a long period without charge a writ of habeas corpus however be careful of the police doing last minute charges so as to avoid an error

 Every instance that a matter is brought before the court and bail was refused before the accused can apply for bail as it is set out in the bail act as every court appearance is a chance to ask for bail

 Each case is determined by its own merit – questions to be considered for bail:

a) Is the accused a flight risk?
b) Are there any other charges that the police may place against the accused?
c) Is the accused likely to interfere with any witnesses?
d) What is the strength of the crown’s/prosecution’s case?

 Poor performing judges can be dealt with at the Judicial Review Court level or a letter to the Chief Justice can start the process

Human Rights Advocacy for GLBT Community Report 2009

What Human Rights .............

What are Human Rights?

By definition human rights are our inalienable fundamental rights. Inalienable means that which cannot be taken away. So our human rights are bestowed upon us from the moment we are born and, thus we are all entitled to these rights. Because we are entitled to our human rights and they cannot and should not be taken away from us, we as a people must strive to protect them, government should protect them and breaches of our rights should be highlighted and addressed appropriately.

Human rights are the same for everyone irrespective of colour, class or creed, and are applicable at both the national and international level. In Jamaica, our human rights are enshrined in and protected by our Constitution. Internationally, there have been numerous laws and treaties enacted specifically for the protection of human rights.

Milestone document

Most notably of these is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This declaration is seen as a milestone document in the history of human rights. It was proclaimed by the United Nations, in 1948, as a common standard of achievements for all nations, and sets out the fundamental human rights to be universally recognised and protected.

The Declaration sets out the following rights:

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Equality before the law

Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Everyone has the right to freedom of movement

Everyone has the right to a nationality.

(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.

(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government;

Everyone has the right to education.

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.