Homosexuality can be cured, Salvation Army says.

The Salvation Army’s all-inclusive congregation policy does not extend to homosexuals, Swedish broadcasters TV4 claimed on Sunday evening.

During an undercover news report broadcast on one of Sweden’s biggest channels, Salvation Army leaders told a covert journalist working for news programme “Kalla Fakta” (Cold Facts) that he, being a gay man, could not join the army originally formed in London in 1865. Instead, an officer offered to “cure” him through prayer.

The programme also claimed that the Salvation Army was involved in an agreement with Africa’s Malawi Council of Churches, which comprised of voting for the imprisonment of gay men.

Despite Sweden being the first country in the world to remove homosexuality as an illness, local SA officers told the journalist that homosexuality is “fundamentally wrong”.

The Salvation Army’s basic position is that homosexual sex is a sin. The Bible says a man shouldn’t sleep with a man in the way he sleeps with a woman, one chapter leader told the TV4 reporter. Anatomically we are not shaped that way, so in that sense I do think it is wrong, another soldier said.

The Salvation Army now accuses the Swedish TV programme of infringement.

There is no revelation, there is no surprise, there is just a cheap but costly straining after sensationalism, a Salvation Army spokesperson in Sweden said. We interpret the Bible in a way that defines sex as something that should happen within marriage and as something between a man and a woman.

The top officer of The Swedish Salvation Army appeared live in the programme on Sunday, ignoring questions about whether homosexuals were included in their “all inclusive” policy. She claimed no knowledge of the MCC agreement.

The Salvation Army was founded by William and Catherine Booth in London in 1865 and are although describing themselves as “mainstream protestant” considered to be practising Biblical literalism.

I don´t know where the salvation army get their gay-sex facts, but to be fair gay men don´t have sex with men the way you have sex with women – thats kinda not possible, so if the reason gay-sex is wrong is that the bible says: a man shouldn’t sleep with a man in the way he sleeps with a woman, then I can´t see that gay-sex is forbidden.


Three new AIDS advances embolden the medical community

After three decades, major developments in HIV treatment and prevention are finally moving forward at a steady pace – two studies and one extraordinary patient have captured the attention of doctors and scientists, and made the idea of a cure less fantastical.

Doctors say American Timothy Ray Brown was indeed cured of HIV in Germany. The “Berlin Patient” was being treated for leukemia when he was given a bone marrow transplant using the stem cells of a HIV resistant donor. More than two years after the transplant, his bloodstream is now free of HIV even though he´s not taking antiretroviral drugs.

Many of us view this as a unique case that´s not relatable to people doing very well on medications, says Peter Anton, a professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. However, it does provide proof that it´s possible to eradicate HIV from the body. Until now we haven´t had that proof because of concerns that there are hidden reservoirs of HIV as well as low levels of HIV replication we cannot detect.

There is also much excitement over microbicides, a new type of prevention method in the form of a gel applied vaginally or rectally to prevent infection, especially after last year´s announcement that a vaginal gel containing the antiretroviral drug tenofovir had a 39% success rate among South African women. Further advances could boost those numbers, and more studies are under way. Human trials of rectal microbicide will likely begin in two to three years.

If you go to a bar nad ask how many people know what a microbicide is, most people won´t raise their hand, Anton says. We want to change that.

Another breakthrough came out of a study on pre-exposure prophylaxis, PrEP. Results showed that regular doses of the antiretroviral pill Truvada cut HIV infection rate by 44% among a group of HIV-negative, specially men and transgender women who have sex with men. While Anton is heartened by the findings, he offers caveats, specially about people preemptively taking PrEP without further confirmation of its success. The second major PrEP worry involves those who contract HIV while taking the regimen – there´s a chance they could become resistant to other antiretroviral drugs.

There are so many people who do not know their diagnosis, Anton says. If they end up taking prevention medicines but are already HIV-positive, they could be utilizing single-drug therapy, which is a big NO-NO. To avoid drug resistance, HIV-positive people need combination-drug therapy.

As studies on PrEP continues, regiment refinement is likely on the horizon.

One of the efforts on the PrEP side was to study preventive use in a controlled setting so we could document whether you need it daily or weekly, Anton says. This is going to be looked at further so we can give more informed guidelines than those out now.

HIV, a thing of the past?

An american man with HIV is cured after a bone marrow transplant, german scientists say.

It was back in 2007 the american who then both had HIV and blood cancer, he got treated for the cancer with a bone marrow transplant. It turns out that the donor had the genetic mutation making you immune to the HIV virus, and it some how cured him.

Today, almost four years after the transplant, the patient is still HIV free, and there is no sign of it hiding anywhere in his body.

The results conclude that we have, in fact, cured this patient of the HIV virus, the germans say.