My HIV Journey
Let Me Clear My Throat on White Men in Communities of Color
December 15, 2014
Recently, communities of color have ignited a movement that has taken the world by storm in the wake of the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases. The problem being highlighted is one that goes back to the very foundations of our country: racial inequality. As I have been at various protests and demonstrations, including many in St. Louis and Ferguson, I have tried to figure out what this means for the HIV/AIDS movement, considering that communities of color are disproportionately bearing the burden of new infections. The irony of the situation is not lost on me; even as much as I want to help address inequalities within the communities of color, I must do so while considering my place in the movement.
Why You Might Not Want to Start HIV Medications
November 18, 2014
There are a lot of considerations that go into a decision to start medications for HIV. It is true that the earlier that a person starts medications, the better the long-term outcomes. I am a realist, however, and I understand that not everyone is ready, willing or able to start medications as soon as they are diagnosed. Inevitably, I come into contact everyday with newly diagnosed individuals who are considering this very question. Here are five points that I would like people to consider when talking about HIV medications.
I Am a Survivor of Intimate Partner Violence
September 26, 2014
My name is Aaron M. Laxton. I am an award-winning International HIV/AIDS activist. I am a social worker, a writer. What I want you to know, however, is that I am also a survivor of intimate partner violence (IPV). Intimate partner violence can happen to anyone regardless of age, race, sex, gender or orientation.
Ferguson, Missouri, Activism and ACT UP
August 18, 2014
By now, Ferguson, Missouri has gained international attention. Being a 4th generation-resident of St. Louis, I wish the attention was for reasons other than police brutality, riots and the death of an unarmed teenager. Last night, day seven of the movement, I decided to venture down to Ferguson. For those of you who are unaware, Ferguson is in St. Louis County, located about 15 minutes north of downtown St. Louis.
The Real Casualties in the PrEP-Battle
May 6, 2014
I sit waiting at a coffee shop in the Central West End at the Washington University in St. Louis Medical School. This meeting, like most these days, are spent working on strategic planning for implementing PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis), a one-pill-a-day drug regimen that has been shown to be up to 99% effective in preventing HIV infection. People slowly trickle into the working group and we start to address the task at hand. Who could benefit the most from access? Believe it or not, it is not those who are waging a moralistic attack on whether or not it should be used. For the most part, it is not even the people who will read this article or who are on social media. That is because the people who could benefit the most from PrEP are limited on resources. The young, black male who has sex with men or the Latino ages 13-24; that is who are falling casualty of this absurd power struggle.
Let HIV-Negative People Decide Their Own Prevention!
April 17, 2014
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.
Meth, PrEP and What Could Have Been
March 25, 2014
Let me take a second to debunk a commonly held myth: "Meth is not fun or pleasurable." That simply is not true, in the beginning. The fact is that there is something about the experience of using meth that seemed attractive to me. The truth is that there came a point where it became far too much work to achieve the same high that you had the first time I used. This is commonly referred to as "chasing the high" not to mention the toll that my body paid in the process of that futile mission. This mission could best be described as "my love affair with meth."
I Am Considered an HIV Criminal
March 25, 2014
"Why should I care about HIV criminalization? People who purposely expose others to the virus should face justice." This response is nothing new. By now, I am well-acquainted with answering the question. As an HIV-positive male who is living in a serodiscordant relationship, prosecution under HIV criminal statutes is an ever-present fear. It does not matter that my partner is aware of my HIV positive status or that I am undetectable and on antiretroviral therapy. Conversely, if you are living with HIV you need to be aware that HIV criminalization impacts you.
Where Would We Be Without AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF)?
March 4, 2014
This is a very loaded question and one that is without doubt going to invoke debate and conversation. For all of the negative things that people say and read about AHF (AIDS Healthcare Foundation) there is one simple reality: At least they are doing something. I already can hear people saying, "All they do is create stigma, shame and enemies and that is not what we need." Maybe so, but at least they are doing something.
The New Battle of New Orleans: Insurer Says "Ryan White No Good"
February 21, 2014
There is a new battle raging in the deep-south that without doubt could have implications for everyone living with HIV/AIDS across the United States. Louisiana has found itself in a battle between those living with HIV/AIDS and insurance providers, namely Blue Cross/Blue Shield (BCBS).
My HIV Journey
I am simply a guy who on June 6, 2011, received the news that over 33 million people have received: I am HIV positive. I decided in that split moment to record the journey that I was embarking on so that I might help others as they receive that news.
I am not a doctor and I do not endorse any agenda other than simply living a healthy life. I am an activist and advocate and simply want to make the world a better place. I hold a degree in sociology and psychology. I am a product of the Missouri Foster System and this is one of my main passions, second only to the work I do with HIV/AIDS outreach and prevention.
I embrace a sex-positive model. People are going to have sex; it is a natural part of who we are. However we need to make sure that it is safe. I can be found on weekends throughout St. Louis, Missouri, passing out condoms and safe-sex kits.
Whether in St. Louis, D.C. or around the nation, I always jump at the chance to help change not only policies to better serve those that need help but to also change the landscape of the society that we live in.
Subscribe to Aaron's Blog:
December 15, 2014 - Let Me Clear My Throat on White Men in Communities of Color: A Blog Entry by Aaron Laxton
November 18, 2014 - Why You Might Not Want to Start HIV Medications: A Blog Entry by Aaron Laxton
September 26, 2014 - I Am a Survivor of Intimate Partner Violence: A Blog Entry by Aaron Laxton
August 18, 2014 - Ferguson, Missouri, Activism and ACT UP: A Blog Entry by Aaron Laxton
May 6, 2014 - The Real Casualties in the PrEP-Battle: A Blog Entry by Aaron Laxton
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