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read_me.gif Southern Voice Washington Blade

Oklahoma City and HIV’s second wave

Young, black men at risk

by j. brotherlove


According to a recent CDC study, new HIV infections among gay black males between the ages of 13 and 24 grew by 15 percent in 2007, about 10 times higher than in the gay community overall. These increases in recent years has some calling this the second wave of the AIDS epidemic. details the difficulties health educator Mark Knight and his coworkers face while reaching out to young, black gay men in Oklahoma City.

“There is a definite disconnect with what the virus means to the younger generation and what it meant to those of us who were there in the beginning.”

One only has to look at the plethora of “bareback” and “raw sex” porn videos to see that an interest in at least viewing risky sexual behavior has grown. The influence these videos have on young viewers isn’t well documented. But many activists cite bareback porn as a contributing factor.

What is known is that teenagers and young adults often feel impervious to harm. Also, with the advances in HIV treatment, most young men haven’t directly experienced the large amount of deaths of friends and family experienced by gay men in the 1980s.

He adds:

“Younger folks think that all you have to do is go and take some medication and you will be fine, without understanding the medications themselves come with a whole host of side effects.”

pub: 07/07/2008 | previous entry | next entry | feedback x 4 | subscribe

I would argue that these young men aren’t influenced by bareback porn videos. they are, however, meeting men online who are misrepresenting their own HIV status. when what was intended to be a safer-sex encounter veers off into riskier behavior, as is common, the hiv+ individual is afraid to disclose for fear of rejection or even anger. the most dangerous assumptions then occur: the now unsafe encounter ensues because each partner is falsely assuming that the other is either already HIV infected or certainly HIV free, or else they would not participate in the encounter.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. It’s always the responsibility, and at times, obligation of the infected person to disclose immediately. assuming that your partner is also HIV+ and as a result, it is permissible to engage in an unprotected encounter is what has the infection rate skyrocketing. You only have to look to your own seroconversion to see the fallacy in that assumption.

Simply put, only HIV+ individuals are capable of transmitting the virus. Any prevention efforts must begin by addressing the sexual behavior of individuals already infected with HIV in order to have any success in lowering infection rates.

2. Jeff

This is just sad, although, I would not really think its due to bareback porn, its due to not caring about ones self. In this day and age, you can’t be living anywhere in this country and not know how HIV is spread.

To fix this? Good question, but, it starts with the individual. I took a safer sex class years ago, and, the first word he said was when you sleep with anyone, you are sleeping with everyone they have slept with and just assume they are positive, so use a condom. Condom use isn’t that hard to do, and, its not just young black men, but, black women as well, along with any other sexually active adult dating.

And, yet another reason I’m glad you are back blogging, I had not heard this story.

SOMETHING has to be done on a more personal level. i know i try to talk to the young bucks at the gym all the time about personal responsibility in regards to sexual activity. it’s just so aggravating to see it be a problem when WE can beat this thing!

It comes down to building a culture of knowledge, common sense, and safety. If you want to have sex, you just have to do it safely. However, it seems that unsafe sex culture is setting a new deadly standard of conduct.

In that case, a possible reeducation about the reality of HIV culture needs to be explored with us young folks. Bareback sex is alluring, but more often than not leads to terrfying and challenging consequences.-QH

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