‘Fuck off and die of AIDS'. This was one of the lines in the hate mail sent to Glasgay festival producer David Leddy. It is also a reminder of the continuing lack of understanding. ignorance and intolerance surrounding AIDS. Here are the facts:

I In the world today 48 million people live with HIV 'AIDS.

I 8000 people die from AIDS every day.

I In the last year there have been 53 million new cases of HIV and 3000 deaths.

I In the UK 52729 were registered by 30 September 2002.

I 4164 of those were diagnosed in 2001 .

I It is thought that this will increase by 40% by the end of 2003.

I In Scotland 3529 people are known to be HIV posmve.

I From. 1 July—30 September 2002. 71 new cases have been registered in Scotland.

I 25 of these cases were through male sex. 37 heterosexual sex. 2 IV drugs and 5 unknown.

Yet people still believe they won't get AIDS. They don't inject drugs. they don't live in Africa and they're not having penetrative sex with a gay man. The frightening thing is that this is not the view of some uneducated rookie from hicksville: these are professional. socially aware men and women. Trust me. I know some of them.

Despite an increase of infections now happening through

heterosexual sex. there is still an unbelievable Tgl‘-()f£ll‘-(Z€3 and complacency. People are more worried about pregnancy than anything else. Although gay men account for 55%; of HIV transmiSSion in the UK. there is also a frightening increase of unprotected sex. The rise in cases of syph;I:s confirn‘ this. Tne Questions have to be asked why this trend is happ n:ng. Are people trying to prove their love for the:r partner? Is it because of the irriproving drugs for AIDS Sufferers? r are people still fooling themselves that it won't happen to then"?

According to the chairperson of World AIDS Day Lothia". there is still stigma and discrimination surrounding HIV and AIDS. The organisation believes that attitudes are not changing and complacency is as strong as ever. People stle tn rik the virus can be COntracted only through intra-veeous dr..g use and gay sex. It also confirmed that a high percentage of lllfC‘CTlOl‘ is now through heterosexual sex. especially froit‘ people who have travelled overseas.

No matter how yOu dress it up. the facts remain same. I" you don't use a condom y0u are butting ;.«'ourse!f and others at risk from HIV. What yOu have to ask is whether =! :s '.'.ro"t‘r‘ it fc.r a quick shag . . . no matter how good it is.

While yOu're thinking about it. take time out to ren‘en‘ber those who have died. those who have suffered and those affected by HIV and AIDS. I think all know the answer. Be safe. IJane Hamilton)

I See listings for services and V/gl/S.


HELEN SANDLER (ED) Groundswell: The Diva Book of Short Stories 2

(Diva Books 329.99 0.000 CLAIRE OF HE MOON (18) 102min

(Millivres Mutlimedia. DVD. €19.99) 0..


Defloored by Diva 64 THE LIST 28 Nev—12 Dec 2002

Editor Helen Sandler had a hard task to follow up the LAMBDA award winning first Diva Book of Short Stories. but she has excelled herself with Groundswell.

This new collection has contributions from well known names such as Ali Smith. Jackie Kay and Emma Donoghue. but it is for its breadth and discovery of less familiar authors that we should be thankful. Incorporating British and North American writers. the settings in Groundswell range from the Biblical to now. taking in the post-war era. and 18th century New England settlers. The stories are idiOSyncratic. often throwing light on intimate lesbian lives where we least expect them. The book helps us understand our gay lives, giving us a continuity and context.

There are a lot of great stories in this anthology. but truly wonderful is Aberdeen based Sue Vickerman's ‘Between Mark & Melissa'. About a male to female transgender yount ster who goes to a party. it is full of laughter and compassion. yet not scared to look at bigotry and

prejudice in a small town setting. Irish Cherry Smythe's ‘Suckling Pig' aiso combines humour and pathos. as two women lovers begin to think about having children. I wanted this short story. tender and completely contemporary story to go on and on. American writer living in London. Elizabeth Carola. contributes ‘Trans' about an American Jewish woman marching for peace. Like the best works of art. it helps us understand how we live now.

From Millivres comes the trashy. talky lesbian romance Claire of the Moon from 1092. Written and directed by Nicole Conn. it's set in a women writers' retreat on the north west American coast. where promiscuous blonde fernme Trisha Todd finds herself rooming With butch academic Karen Trumbo. Personalities clash. as do working patterns. but there's an underlying erotic attraction between the two women and by the end of 90 minutes. guess what finally happens? Literate. but predictable. and unevenly acted Claire of the Moon is an example of lesbians reclaiming Mills 8 Boon territory. (John Binniel

Cl LIBS CLUB VELVET Ego, Edinburgh, Fri 29 Nov

The Venue has been one of the homes of women- only nights in Edinburgh for the last six years. Angel Delight and its forerunner Diva have seen plenty of women ()lll()\/lllg their lasses' nights out. in every sense of the phrase. Not only were these nights (iuality fun for girlies who wanted to pull girlies. but they allowed gay women to be themselves in a non-- intimidating enVIronment without having to put tip with the hassles of bemused on- lookers. Sadly. due to funding cuts. the Venue is closing its doors to such nights as we wave goodbye to Angel Delight.

But there's no need to panic yet. for the same team is opening a brand new club night for women and their specially invited male friends. Club Velvet will be held upstairs at ngo on the last Friday of every month and it is promising to push women— only nights in new directions with a fresh outlook. The launch party on 29 November will be a blast with a live performance from pop-rock band the Angel Coriversations. DJ Michelle IJoy \Niggle Poptastici on the decks and drink promos ahoy as we warm up for the Christmas and Valentine's specials in the coming months.

And if you're in Glasgow around the beginning of the festive month. Bennet's very own (‘iirls on Top is still going strong and is celebrating its fourth birthday on (3 December with DJ Sara. drink offers and a special guest appearance from Karen Dunbar from Chewrn' the Fat. (Mererid Williamsi

Ego girl