April is Sexually Transmitted Disease Awareness month. Many awareness months come and go but this one is particularly interesting because even though most sexually transmitted diseases aren't fatal they tend to add a cloud over the heads of many people due to stigma and ignorance. You don't have to contract one. But if you do, life can still be good. Here are three things you need to know.
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a proven concept. Regardless of whether opponents want to admit it or not, "bio-medical prevention" IS the key to reducing new-HIV infections in the highest-risk groups where previous risk-reductions methods have failed. Today, thanks to new research and science, we have a new method that can help those who are at the highest risk. We do not need more data; we do not need more trials to look at efficacy and safety ... PrEP is already a PROVEN concept. Anyone who says otherwise either doesn't know how to read data, is pushing their own agenda, or they are simply regurgitating the views of other people who have no clear understanding of the topic.
"No cellphones gentleman" said the bouncer.
Rashid, the birthday boy, turned around to return his to the car while I chit-chatted with security. A world of endless possibilities opened up to us with 808 speakers blasting some current hood music, patrons spectating, drooling and fantasizing the entertainers with cups in hand and Mary perfuming the air. It was as if SIZZLE MIAMI and FLAVA MAGAZINE came to life. The kids lived, died and were resurrected! I'd never seen so much ass, dick, timbs (timberland boots) and fitted caps in one setting. Marveling at the skill sets of those who were clearly confident, Nicki Minaj provided soundtrack for the ongoing performance as red, blue, green, purple, and yellow strobe lights and created ambience throughout the tight hole in the wall (no pun intended). I, on the other hand, just got off from a 12 hour shift and wasn't exactly in a partying mood. With no Mary or drink just imagine how overwhelming to partake this space clearly new to this level of striptease. I've never been big on stripper culture, nothing against it or strippers but it's just not my scene (you have my two trips to Swinging Richards to thank for that but that's another post ... can't give it up to you just yet).
Sometimes all it takes is hearing a story that you connect with to realize that everything is going ot be okay. I want to make sure everyone knows that you are not defined by your disease and that there's so much more, and that you are still you.
Last time I wrote on this topic I expressed the thought that with many HIVers now living long and productive lives they would increasingly be required to be caregivers rather than recipients of care. My partner is undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, after all. and while the prognosis is pretty good, the balance of who needs help in our relationship, physical and emotional, and who doesn't, has shifted.
Este mes de abril será el 25 aniversario conviviendo con el VIH. Los últimos 2 años de vivir con el VIH han sido los más difíciles para mí y muchos no saben esto. No me gusta para mostrar o decirle a la gente cuando me siento enferma, y es muy frustrante para mí saber que estoy haciendo todo que debo y más y todavía se siente como que estoy como un bebé -- y cualquier virus anda en el aire lo cojo y estoy enferma de nuevo. Parece que no he podido tener un descanso. He escrito antes acerca de sentirse atrapado ... nunca completamente enfermo de hospitalización y nunca 100 por ciento saludable para sentirse bien.
This April will be my 25th anniversary living with HIV. The last 2 years of living with HIV have been the hardest for me and many do not know this. I don't like to show or tell people when I feel ill, and it is very frustrating for me to know that I am doing everything I am supposed to and then some, and still feel like I am a baby -- exposure to any virus or bug and I am sick once again. It seems I haven't been able to catch a break as far as getting ill and I have written before about feeling stuck ... never completely ill for a hospitalization and never 100 percent healthy to feel good.
So I'm doing my usual Facebook searching, and came across a very interesting video of a former porn model who, at 24 years old, was diagnosed with AIDS. Justin Washington, more publicly known as Snow Bunni, recorded a video for The Luckey Star Blog of himself in a hospital bed discussing his recent diagnosis, briefly explaining who he was, and very briefly touching on how the party lifestyle took him over.
How many of you remember being told that you had tested positive for the antibodies which cause HIV? I remember it like it was yesterday! The results were shocking, nothing would EVER be the same! I was filled with dread, I was filled with shame, and I was filled with fear. Took me a few years to get comfortable in my skin.
Maybe we should blame the criminal prosecutions of people with HIV on the mythical legend of Gaetan Dugas, also known by his slanderous nickname, Patient Zero. Dugas was a gay flight attendant from Canada who, according to Randy Shilts' 1987 book And the Band Played On, was among the first people with HIV in the United States.
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