This week I had dinner with two great guys, a couple who have been together for over 3 decades.
During our dinner the subject came up of friends we had lost to AIDS.
Recently they shared that at a presentation by an AIDS Charity they were asked for their involvement and frankly a lot of money. The speakers explained that the highest rate increase of HIV infection were in young men and increasing at an alarming rate.
The two couldn't believe it, one said he was flabbergasted and very upset about the information. He explained,'you mean you want our money to go to a bunch of people who are putting themselves at risk, either directly or indirectly? You want us to support people that clearly do not care enough about their own health and welfare to protect themselves. You want money to go to young men who 'know better'? When we were young HIV wasn't understood- it was new-it was this thing that was transmitted when we didn't know what it was or exactly how to protect ourselves.This is thirty years later? How can these young men not know how to protect themselves?
I don't know why but the most vocal of the men became very apologetic - and said that he hoped he didn't sound horrible and that he was a compassionate person. He was shaken by this conversation- 'I just don't understand if these kids had seen what we had seen as young men-the way this disease ravaged the world and especially the gay community-the fear and the sadness was just too much.
If you have been positive for 20 years or 20 hours it is devastating news. We should have compassion to everyone who faces the challenge with HIV and AIDS.
There are questions though to be asked.
Are we not responsible as a community to be as proactive as we can be in regards to promoting safer sex practices? Gay men are over a third of NEW infections every year.
Has the attitude changes because HIV is a more 'treatable' disease not the 'death sentence' it once was?
What is our personal responsibility?
Besides practicing safe sex are there other opportunities that we are missing?
From the late 1980s until around 2000- you couldn't find a gay porn that DIDNT use condoms.
Why has this changed so much?
Recently in the porn world much of emphasis is on 'bareback' sex. It has become a HUGE money maker.
The major gay porn studios are primarily making safe sex movies. At the same time they are struggling to stay afloat financially in this free internet porn downloadable world.
Will they be able to continue to produce safe sex movies that sell while other studios make big profits promoting unsafe sex? Will you continue to support them if the go condom-less? should you ?
My brief experience in the Porn industry was with Main Stream studios they ALL used safe sex practices. I commend them for that.
Online chats and hookups used to be if you said you liked to BareBack it was RARE -
Now if you DONT bare back thats RARE-
With all that we know- all that we have learned in the past 3 decades-