56 DEAN STREET – why I’m angry!!!

So…56 Dean Street fucked up. Yes, from the reposts of reports and comments in my social media feeds, it would appear the consensus is that they ‘FUCKED UP’.
Europe’s busiest and most visible sexual health clinic accidentally disclosed the names and email addresses of some 800 patients in a group email containing open CC’d contact details instead of a ‘blind’ BCC set up. This is not good – granted. I myself have done the same thing, not with such confidential information but I have fucked up on that front a few times too. I can’t diminish the severity of this clerical error. But it was an error, no malice, a plain old fashioned mistake. And please before you launch an attack…I do not intend to try to trivialise what has happened here. What I am going to do is ask you look at it with some some heart and with a sense of what our community’s responsible reaction to it should be.
56 Dean Street can not undo what has been done. All they can do now is apologise, offer their support to those affected by the incident and make damn sure they put processes in place that will ensure this can never happen again. And I am sure as hell they will do this above and beyond their own requirement to damage limitate.

Here is a clinic on the cutting edge. Making actual changes to the system and to lives. There is only one way Dean Street have been able to become the innovators and open armed ‘family/best friend’ style sexual health clinic that they are. The reason is HEART. Everything they do is with heart. But the risk of having a heart is that it can be broken. And I know every single person that works at Dean Street and Dean Street Express or that collaborates with them will ALL be sickened and upset that this has happened.
Of course we should be fucking angry! But pause a moment and ask exactly what we should be angry about. We should be disappointed with Dean Street that this happened but not angry. Instead allocate you anger where it ought to be. Be angry that we still live in a world where a person living with HIV should even have to be frightened that others might find out about their positive status. The others from right across the board…employers to family to friends to lovers to allies and to enemies. Be angry about this. Be angry but be active! CHANGE THIS. We can’t find a cure today but each and every one of us can take a little bit of power away from HIV TODAY! We just have to be kind and stop all this HIV stigma bullshit that we still drag around and hock up on the regular! And I mean both internal and external HIV-phobic actions.
Be angry also at budget cuts to sexual health. Perhaps if Dean Street had been allocated more support and resource this situation would never have occurred. DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS TOO! Demand that we have the appropriate allocation of budget for Dean Street and their sister clinics around the UK.
Dean Street have offered me so much love and support over the years. Now they need it and it’s only fair and human and ‘with heart’ to offer it back in return.
Let’s not scaremonger and erode all the amazing work we are all doing as a community to open up the dialogue about HIV by stepping away from Dean Street. Let’s keep that great work alive and breathing and push it further. We need to encourage regular testing, early diagnosis and early treatment. All these parts of the chain will reduce new transmissions and allow us to start to work towards a HIV free world.
Let’s try at least to find the advantages and the opportunities hidden in this unfortunate situation.
This is my stance, I hope you join me.

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