If you build it, they will come. That might work with straight people and baseball but for our community I’m banking on if Gaga preaches it, they will listen. No, I’m not talking about the overhyped Born This Way album, but Gaga’s latest social issues campaign about HIV and safe sex.
HIV/AIDS is still a major concern within our community. In 2009, 49% of all reported new cases in Georgia were gay/bisexual men and nationwide there were over 22,000 new cases of HIV infection in our communities.
Over the last ten years, HIV has affected several people in my life. I trusted the wrong person. I didn’t think it was an issue. I was drunk and didn’t use a condom. The reasons why vary but there’s a common thread through each of their stories. They knew better.
If I walked into a bar in Midtown and handed you a revolver and told you there was a single bullet in it and to place it to your head and pull the trigger, would you? I think most of us would say no but that’s what we (myself included) do every time that we make a decision to have unprotected sex.
I’m definitely not a saint when it comes to safe sex but as a community we’ve dropped our guard. Young gay and bisexual men are becoming more susceptible to the disease. Advertisements meant to erase the stigma of HIV/AIDS depict the healthy lifestyle you can still live and there are those out there who think that becoming infected isn’t a game changer. It’s still a disease. You’re still going to get sick.
Reckless behavior is only going to facilitate the spread of the disease. If you know someone who isn’t practicing safe sex, call them out on it. We’re killing ourselves and need to stand up for our community. If we want others to respect our community we need to start by respecting ourselves and that means our bodies. The bottom line? Get tested. Know your status. Be Safe – Always.
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