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Combative Responses in 'Am I Infected' Forum

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Recently, I posted a response to a question in the "Am I Infected?" forum, and a fellow positive individual replied to my post in a very insulting and combative style. Basically, I was accused of trying to promote an agenda and of "trying to pass anecdotes off as fact." Someone asked if oral sex was a risk for HIV transmission, and I answered saying:

--- Quote ---Can HIV be transmitted through oral sex?

Yes. "Minimal" risk is still a risk. I got HIV through receptive fellatio (no ejaculation). Note, I was using a personal experience to support the previous medically correct statement.

Oral Sex is a risk of transmission even though popular belief likes to dictate otherwise. While it may not be as risky as unprotected anal or vaginal sex, it is still a risk.
--- End quote ---

This is the reply I received:

--- Quote ---Moltenstorm, on this side of the forum we do not subscribe to "popular belief." We subscribe to first tiered peer-reviewed science.

it's rather insulting to suggest otherwise.

If you are here to help educate others with science-based HIV risk assessment and transmission education, then by all means please pitch in. If you are here to promote your anecdotal experiences as quantifiable fact, then I am afraid you have an uphill battle ahead.

This is not the support forum for the infected. This is the fact-based forum for the uninfected and the worried well.  On the other side of the forum, I do not care - to a tremendous degree - how someone got infected. On this side of the forum, I refuse to allow anecdote to pass itself off as science, no matter whose anecdote.

PS: I am aware that the only incursions into this forum seem to concentrate on spreading your personal story, and implying that the rest of us are following some sort of agenda by (rightfully) placing receptive fellatio exceedingly far down the risk higherarchy. That, to me, speaks rather strongly of an agenda. An agenda which first-tiered peer-reviewed science does not support.
--- End quote ---

My question: Is this the standard that we are holding poz members to in their conduct on the "Am I Infected" forum? Is it acceptable for one to flame another simply because they made a statement and used their personal experience to back it up?

There may be people who try to cause trouble in that forum, but does that give us the right to be so combative and insulting off the bat? Shouldn't we be held to a higher standard when interacting with that particular forum?

Granted, I realize that my "popular belief" comment may have been taken out of context, but instead of asking me either in PM or in the forum, this individual assumed that I was slandering others on this forum when, in fact, I was not. If this individual had stopped to ask me, the clarification would have been readily available and given. I would have gladly told this individual that I was referring to the general population's belief that oral sex is completely safe. Instead, this individual took a rather pompous and insultive style in his response.

Is this acceptable? I would hope not.

Your thoughts?


I stand by my words in that forum. And yes, those were my words.

If I come across as harsh in that forum, it's because of the shitstorm that such anecdotal pronouncements bring about. Suddenly you get quoted all over the AM I INFECTED forum as though you are a scientific paper. Then worried wells take your post as permission to awwk you out in the LIVING WITH forum, to the point of posting there with intrusive and irrelevant questions.

The sanctity of the LIVING WITH forum is of great concern to me. Also of great concern is the accuracy and scientific-basis of the responses in the "AM I INFECTED" forum. Anecdote is not data. And putting one's own experiences in that forum is hardly providing scientific information. Especially when it contradicts the WELCOME THREAD and LESSONS sections, painstakingly put together by a tremendous collaboration of people.

I quote Andy Velez in a message today regarding oral sex. As one of the founders of aidsmeds, and one of the most respected experts in that forum, and along with Tim and Ann, one of the most meticulous researchers, his word reflects the science-based paradigm of the AM I INFECTED forum.

--- Quote from: Andy Velez on July 18, 2006, 02:24:16 PM ---Take a good deep breath and relax. No kidding.

Giving oral is more of a risk in theory than in reality. In actuality there have been only a very small number of documented cases and even those are iffy. Whereas there is considerable evidence to support that it is not a risk, an even less of one when ejaculation doesn't take place.

I don't know that I would have considered it necessary to even get tested. You certainly have reliably tested negative even with the 4th one which was a few days shy of 13 weeks.

If you're sexually active it's a good idea to have a full panel of STD tests done at least annually and every six months is even better. There are a number of STDs out there which are much easier to acquire than HIV.

As to giving oral, you have to decide what level of risk you are comfortable with. I can tell you there have been longterm studies of sero-dystonic couples. There was lots of oral and protected vaginal & anal sex, the result of which was none of the sero-negative partners became infected.

--- End quote ---

I am sorry you were offended by my post. I do, however, stand by the words I chose. Apparently that has soured you on me regarding the site as a whole, since in a PM you referenced my discussion of my pets in this forum, and other discussions in LIVING WITH. If that is the case, I urge you to place me on ignore, so that my presence does not cause you undue concern. Trust me, I am well aware that my participation in the AM I INFECTED forum has alienated me from many members in the LIVING WITH forum. It's a sacrific I am happy to make, in the interest of scientific quantifiability and credibility that keeps aidsmeds head and shoulders over other HIV information resources.


--- Quote ---Is this acceptable? I would hope not.
--- End quote ---

It's not only acceptable, it's REQUIRED on this site to provide accurate, scientifically quantifiable information.



I do not think Molten (or myself when you did it to me) had any sort of "agenda" other than trying to help others. I think this can be easily inferred by his posts in the "living with" section. He had no ill intentions and thus does not deserve to be treated with disrespect. All your points can easily be conveyed w/o such a condescending tone. Molten is not a worried well troll and doesn't deserve to be treated like one.

I'm loathe to get into a debate about oral sex other than to say I pretty much disagree with your position on it, and your position does not agree with the "Lessons" section.

Having said that, I do think you make some good points about the strangeness of the posters in "am I infected". I imagine a united front to these posters may be the best method. Again, being new one can't necessarily know this.

Well, that's my two cents, and have no worries...I don't go to the "am I infected" forum anymore.



While I disagree with your method, you did lower your post to a personal insult when you stated:

--- Quote ---PS: I am aware that the only incursions into this forum seem to concentrate on spreading your personal story, and implying that the rest of us are following some sort of agenda by (rightfully) placing receptive fellatio exceedingly far down the risk higherarchy. That, to me, speaks rather strongly of an agenda. An agenda which first-tiered peer-reviewed science does not support.

--- End quote ---

The rest of your post would have been fine had it not been for this little part.

And if you truly were to get technical... Science is merely the knowledge brought about through repeated anecdotes. Science learns from repeated "interesting events" which is what an anecdote is.

You owe me an apology. Whether or not you choose to give it, is your perogative. I will not put you on ignore since I have no other grievance with you.

I stand by the FACT that I am medically correct when I said "Minimal risk is still a risk." The FACT that there ARE documented cases only supports that. The lessons even state that. So, you were wrong, and out of line.

I bear no ill will, just don't insult me. You could still have said what you had to say without using the pompous tone you took and without the personal attack.


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