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Why still bareback?
May 10, 2008

Hello Bob, I found out I was positive in January of this year. It has been a rough couple of months, but I have learned to live and accept it. Anyways, I am trying to re-enter the dating scene, but am very scared. Whenever I am online in chatrooms, etc., meeting other guys, I am shocked that so many HIV positive people still continue to bareback with other HIV positive people. I know that there are studies, blah, blah, that make reference based upon low viral loads and cd4s, etc. I have insisted on safe sex only, and have been rejected because I would not bareback with other poz guys. I have had more success 'hooking up' and dating neg guys that will have safe sex. Very confused, shocked and kinda sad about all ot it???

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Our HIV-prevention message is not as effective as it was two decades ago. There are many reasons for this. Young men today seem not to be as frightened of HIV as were MSM living in the pre-HAART era, and therefore may be more likely to engage in high-risk sexual activity, like barebacking. The availability of effective HIV therapies has fostered a less cautious approach to HIV prevention for these young guys. Unfortunately this perspective conveniently overlooks the reality that HIV remains an incurable illness and can be a horrendous challenge to live with.

Another issue is "condom fatigue." Some guys are really tired of struggling with latex wrapping their Mr. Happys before playtime. Also, certain recreational drugs can lower inhibitions and raise sexual drive, leading to unsafe behaviors.

Continue to insist on safer sex. If you get rejected because of that, you really don't want to be hooking up with Bill Barebacker anyway.

Finally, I'd suggest you get involved with your local HIV/AIDS service organizations to help spread the safer sex/HIV-prevention message. We need hot, sexy studs like you to remind the MSM community that safer sex, aside from being essential to saving our lives, can also be passionate, toe-curling, own-name forgetting, wake-the-neighbors hot and satisfying. There is no doubt we need to update our prevention message to reflect the new realities of today's HIV/AIDS epidemic. I hope you'll become part of that effort.

Stay safe. Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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