Monday, October 27, 2008

Meet Gus, A Friendly Rectal Microbicide Advocate

Gus Cairns
London, England

With a degree from Oxford University, Gus Cairns has an intriguing story and quite a commitment to individuals living with HIV. Having been diagnosed with HIV himself more than twenty years ago, he reached his lowest-ever CD4 count of 10 in 1997. “Soon, I will have spent more time recovering from AIDS than dying of it,” he says.

His pre-AIDS career shows a varied life path, as he worked as a musician, barman, male escort, and a social worker who helped set up the UK’s first-ever Safe House for young runaways. As he watched his friends die from AIDS around him, he became an invested volunteer at the UK Coalition of People Living with HIV and AIDS in 1998 and then went on to become the editor of Positive Nation, the UK’s magazine for people with HIV. As an accredited psychotherapist, Gus divides his time between his growing practice and his role as a writer, editor, and advocate for HIV/AIDS issues. While he maintains that he is not the most vocal advocate, his passion lies in writing to support his more vocal colleagues. His work has focused on reshaping HIV prevention for MSM and people living with HIV.

Gus’s interest in new prevention technologies, specifically rectal microbicides, stems from a personal issue, as his partner is HIV negative. “I’m interested in them [rectal microbicides] because anyone who is HIV positive and has sex should be. They could potentially lift off the shoulder of positive people a huge burden of guilt, stigma, and responsibility,” he states. While Gus is unsure about how effective microbicides may be, he still feels it would be important to have it as an extra layer of safety in sex that is both easy and fun to use. He appreciates efforts towards microbicide research and funding because it involves an inherent de-stigmatization of anal sex and pleasure between all sexes around the world.

When he’s not sitting behind his computer writing or serving on various British committees targeting HIV, Gus travels extensively, taking an interest in MSM issues in other parts of the world. He is also a singer in London's gay chamber choir Diversity.

Meet more Friendly Rectal Microbicide Advocates on the IRMA site here.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...