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18,089

December 2, 2010

disclaimer: i know that the below falls in the “rant” category – and i’m sorry it won’t be like so many other posts today – shiny, happy, hopeful.  i’m just not there.  i’m angry that we are still talking about this disease all these years later.  apologies if i offend, but it is what it is.

—-

so today is world aids day – a day of remembrance created to make sure we don’t forget how hiv/aids has ravished the world.  but the problem as, as drug treatments have made hiv/aids more manageable in the developed world, we’ve forgotten that more manageable, doesn’t mean cured.

the numbers:

  • 22,469 new infections in gay men
  • 13,180 new infections in heterosexual’s (look!  straight people get it too)
  • 6,683 new diagnoses in the 40-44 year old age category (can’t really blame that on not knowing how to protect oneself can we)
  • 599,819 total number of people living in the united states with hiv/aids
  • 18,089 people died from hiv/aids in the united states in 2007

there are a ton of reasons why hiv/aids new infection rates continue to increase year after year:

  • lack of understanding risky behavior
  • drug use (lowers ones ability to make logical decisions)
  • condom apathy
  • self-esteem issues (the need to feel “connected” to someone else in the most base way possible)
  • proliferation of barebacking porn that makes it seem ‘normal’ to have unsafe sex (don’t get me started on the straight p0rn world which has never embraced condoms – oh yea, that’s right – straight people don’t get infected – i know so many straight people who still think condoms are just for birth control)
  • choice

i understand all of these concepts – but that fact that in 2010, people are still getting infected pisses me off to no end.  we all need to collectively take ownership for our actions and do what it takes to have protect ourselves.

at the end of the day:

  • it’s easy to forgo the condom in the heat of the moment.
  • it’s easy to get wasted and just let the tide take you under.
  • who the hell isn’t sick of wearing condoms after all this time?
  • the older i get the more i realize we’re all fucked up in our own way and we all want to feel connected.  and we are desperately trying to find ways in which to connect.  even unhealthy ways…
  • people say that barebacking porn doesn’t influence people – i call bullshit on that one.  if you already have the self-esteem of a gnat and you see these hot guys going at it like animals,well, i can understand how one can make that leap – ‘they’re so hot and getting it the way i want to get it’, ‘those guys are so hot, they can’t possibly be sick’…  i just wonder what their life is really like in the quiet of their own head when the camera’s are off.*
  • i’ve heard a lot of talk about ‘choice’ as in “i could get run over crossing the street tomorrow, so i’m gonna live the life i want today” – and while i can understand that, i don’t think many people are just crossing streets willy nilly without looking both ways first.  you also buckle your seatbelt, try to eat right, work out & wear a parachute if your jumping out of a plane.  so the logic of you could die tomorrow, just doesn’t pan out when most folk’s are taking simple steps every day to not die.  it’s not about disregarding the “fear of death”, it’s about taking responsibilities for your actions.

having spend the last 15 years actively involved in hiv/aids causes (both prevention and service), and growing up a hemophiliac (and gay) the specter’s of aids hits way to close to home for me.  i’ve watched this disease absolutely waste people away – both physically & mentally.  when i think of the statistics going up, it just upsets me to no end.  and i hate the fact that people in my life (and yours) are becoming statistics.

at the end of the day (boy i like that phrase don’t i), with rates on the raise,  it’s just a fundamental slap in the face of those that fought, and died before us.   hundreds of thousands of people suffered and died for the cocktail that is keeping people alive today (albeit with some amazingly horrendous side-effects).   when i think ‘aw, fuck it – it’ll just be easier to not care’ i think of those that would give anything to be alive today – to have a second chance, when nobody knew what was causing ‘the gay cancer’, or when people think ‘good riddance, they’re just gay anyway’

i am blessed to have grown up a hemophiliac and not receive any tainted blood.  i am blessed to grow up in a world that more-or-less supports and respects me as a gay man.  and i sure as fuck am not going to throw it all away for a few minutes of ‘connection’.

so there it is, wear a condom, don’t play messed up and for fuck sake, respect yourself enough to take care of yourself.

Everyone and every voice
All of life that you see
All are possibilities – Melissa Etheridge

 

 

 

 

* i understand that i’m making a huge generalization about porn.  while i don’t think that everybody in porn is like this, an argument can certainly made for a wide swath of them.

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