Tuesday, 23 July

'I Kissed a Boy' star Dan Harry signs up for HIV vaccine trial

Odd News
Dan Harry from Coatbridge was a contestant on BBC Three's

A contestant who appeared on the UK's first gay dating show is taking part in a new HIV vaccine trial.

Dan Harry, from Coatbridge, has volunteered for tests which will see him exposed to a genetically engineered replica of the infection.

If successful it will help experts develop a prophylactic vaccine to stop HIV-negative people from ever contracting the virus.

Mr Harry, 27, is due to get his first dose of the trial vaccine next week.

Last month he was one of 16 participants in the ground-breaking BBC Three show I Kissed a Boy.

| Dan Harry pictured with nurses from the HIV vaccine trial

Now he is one of five trial volunteers who will be given three doses of a vaccine designed to mimic HIV over a 12 month period.

Mr Harry told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme: "I know that HIV has had such an impact on my community in the past.

"People have lost their lives, people have lost loved ones and for that reason I was very passionate to be involved in the fight against HIV."

Since the beginning of the HIV epidemic in 1981 more than 80 million have been infected with the virus and and more than 40 million have died from it.

But with modern treatments the diagnosis is no longer a death sentence and it is now regarded as a manageable chronic condition.

| Dan Harry met his boyfriend Ollie King on the show which was filmed in Italy

Mr Harry never contracted HIV and would not be able to take part in the trial if he had.

But he said he wanted to do it as a tribute to previous generations of the LGBTQ community who made it possible for I Kissed a Boy to air.

He said: "I meet people all the time who say they watched the show with their parents and that's something that makes me quite emotional, we've come so far.

"My first dose in on Monday and I will then just be keeping a diary each day about how it makes me feel.

"Then I will be going in and out of the hospital regularly to do various tests to see how i react to it."

The trial, EHVA PO1, is being run by specialists in London at the St Stephen's Centre and Westminster Hospital as well as with partner sites in Europe.

| Dan Harry marched with Terrence Higgins trust at London pride this year to raise awareness of their work to end HIV

Mr Harry said that due to the lack of education in school he was left anxious about HIV and it left him scared to come out as gay.

He explained: "I never heard the word gay if it wasn't used as a slur and never got any LGBTQ education in School. Any education on safe sex was focused around the heterosexual experience.

"Since having done the show and now having this new platform I'm very much motivated to just use my platform to bring positiveness in to my community. So I'm happy I can bring awareness to this trial."

Mr Harry also told Good Morning Scotland that his profile has allowed him to shine a light on the work of the doctors involved in the trial.

"There is a misconception around HIV, it still predominately affects gay men in the UK but actually the implications this vaccine could have is on a more global scale," he said.

"Especially in like third world countries where HIV is more prevalent its very much a ground-breaking trial and I'm very proud to be a part of it."

Source: bbc.com