Honesty is best, says charity chief

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The Independent Online
Honesty is best, says charity chief

James Deutsch, a 33-year-old biologist, who is HIV-positive, is to become the new chief executive of the Aids charity, Crusaid. By openly admitting his condition, Mr Deutsch, a lecturer in the biology department at Imperial College, London, is hoping to help change attitudes to HIV in Britain.

"I think Britain has been surprisingly lacking in public people who have HIV and talk about it. People's understanding has suffered as a result," said Mr Deutsch, who is from New York, but has lived in England for 10 years.

"Most of us who are gay have had to go through a period when we have had to lie about that. Having got through that, you do not want to go through further periods of deception," he said.

Crusaid is a fund-raising publicity generating charity, with an income of about pounds 1.3m, which gives grants to smaller Aids charities and administers a small hardship fund for people with HIV and Aids.

Mr Deutsch, who was educated at Harvard University and King's College, Cambridge, believes Aids and HIV is in a transition period, between being an untreatable fatal disease and a manageable chronic illness. "Developments in treatment over the last year have made it less obvious that charitable giving is still necessary. But people still need information, so they can decide whether or not they want to be tested and what treatment they need.'

Annabel Ferriman

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