New York: Harlem Gay Advocacy Group Protests Sex Party Banning Condom Use
May 23, 2006
In New York, the Harlem-based HIV/AIDS advocacy group Gay Men of African Descent (GMAD) called a protest for May 20 in response to a gay sex party where condoms were banned. "Anyone caught using jimmies [condoms] will be asked to leave with no refund given!" read the event invitation.
GMAD Executive Director Tokes Osubu said he was "shocked and disgusted" by the invitation. "I'm sick of 18-year-olds coming in here HIV-positive. It's got to stop," he said. "We want to send a strong message to [the party's promoter] and promoters like him that it's unacceptable, and to the larger community that we're not all complicit in this behavior. We're not just idle bystanders."
The party is apparently the third such gathering held by the promoter, who returned a message seeking a comment but declined to disclose his identity. The invitation thanked the 54 people who attended the last event.
The controversy comes just weeks before the 25th anniversary of the AIDS epidemic and at a time when activists continue to note the alarmingly high rates of infection among black men. According to CDC, in 2004 the HIV diagnosis rate for black men was seven times that of white men, and the chief route of transmission was sex between men.
Other activists also expressed outrage. "It's not just about the men who participate but about what a community will allow to be done in its name," said Phill Wilson, executive director of the Black AIDS Institute. Wilson also blamed funding disparities in prevention and treatment programs for black men.
"It's the year 2006 ... and some men are still carrying on like it's 1976," wrote activist and blogger Keith Boykins. "It's time to put an end to these condomless sex parties."
05.19.06; Marcus Franklin
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.