In order to dig deeper into the HIV-related issues that affect gay men, we created these exclusive roundtable discussions with HIV experts from around the country.
With HIV transmission rates disproportionately escalating in gay communities of color, we take an in depth look at some factors attributing to this spike and discuss what AIDS advocates can they can do differently in order to have a more effective impact.
Moderator: Kenyon Farrow
Panelist: Vaughn Taylor-Akutagawa
Panelist: Sheldon D. Fields, Ph.D., R.N.
Panelist: Francisco Roque
While we all know that unprotected anal sex -- also known as barebacking -- poses a high risk for transmission of HIV, too many gay men are still engaging in it. Despite knowing this risks, why are folks passing on the latex?
Panelist: Rashad Burgess
Panelist: Walt Odets, Ph.D.
Panelist: Jeffrey Parsons, Ph.D.
TheBody.com takes an in-depth look at issues affecting the MSM community.
Recently, a U.S. study found that young, black, gay men prefer "masculine" men as partners, and believe that such partners are less likely to have HIV. Some members of the media and the LGBT community have used those results to make sweeping generalizations about gay black men. TheBody.com sat down with the lead author of the study, Errol Fields, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., to address these misconceptions regarding masculinity and HIV risk.
Kellee Terrell, TheBody.com's news editor, writes about why she believes that the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's frightening new public service announcement geared toward gay men does more harm than good.
For the past 20-plus years, Gary Paul Wright has dedicated his life to fighting the AIDS epidemic in New York City. Wright, one of the founders of the House of Latex, worked for Gay Men's Health Crisis and New York City's Department of Education before starting his own organization, the African American Office of Gay Concerns (AAOGC), in Newark, N.J. Wright talks with us about AAOGC, its Status Is Everything HIV prevention campaign and the needs of LGBT African Americans and Latinos in Newark.
Since the HIV/AIDS epidemic first hit the U.S., it has deeply and disproportionately impacted the gay community. This year, at the XVIII International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2010) in Vienna, the MSM community -- both U.S.-based and globally -- was a topic of serious conversation. Here is a roundup of those discussions.
Dr. Steve is HIV negative, while Dr. Bob has been living with HIV since 1991. We all know Dr. Bob's thoughts on their relationship, but what's Dr. Steve got to say about his best friend and lawfully-wedded husband?
Gay Men's Health Crisis has relaunched its well-received anti-homophobia campaign "I Love My Boo." The campaign includes posters depicting young black and Latino couples proudly kissing, hugging and holding hands. These affirming images couldn't have come at a better time: Not only are HIV rates among young gay men on the rise, but the U.S. has seen five LGBT teen suicides triggered by anti-gay bullying in three weeks.
Take a deep breath. Don't hang your head. Reach out for support. You're not alone. Over the years, dozens of gay men living with HIV/AIDS, or working in the HIV/AIDS field, have shared experiences and advice in response to the question: What Would You Say to Someone Who's Just Been Diagnosed With HIV? Read on for samplings of wisdom from a diverse range of men in our community.
Bishop Kwabena Rainey Cheeks, Washington, D.C.; Diagnosed in 1985
First, look around and see that people are living well with HIV. Then take your time to educate yourself about the virus, your health, and treatment options -- separate the facts from your fears.
James Nicacio, Selma, Calif.; Diagnosed in October 2001
What I would want to tell people who are newly diagnosed is that it's OK. All the emotions that come up when you're first told that you're diagnosed are OK. Take it day by day. Everybody handles it a little differently. Some people are able to accept it and some people are not.
The most important thing would be to probably find somebody to talk to, whether it be a family member, a doctor, a nurse, a peer advocate. Talk to somebody, work through some issues, ask all the questions that come to your mind, educate yourself and really learn about what HIV is and learn about what you can do to stay healthy. This may mean making your doctor's appointments and taking your meds if you need to take your meds. Learn how important it is to stay adherent to your medications so that you can lead a full life.
For many gay men who have gone through the process of coming out as gay to themselves, their families and loved ones, telling others they're HIV positive is like coming out all over again. Read stories and tips from HIV-positive gay men who've grappled with the question: How Do You Decide When to Share With Others That You're HIV Positive?
Joe Ohmer, Bronx, N.Y.; Diagnosed in 2002
I feel like, if someone cannot accept me for who I am, my issues that affect me, then they're not worth having in my life. Mind you, I don't go down the street, meet somebody and say, "Hey, what have you got in the paper there? I'm HIV positive." No, it's not like that. But certainly, if it's somebody I'm thinking about having sex with, before that even comes to issue, they need to know that I'm HIV positive, so if they want to run away, they can, because I don't want the running away part to be just as we're getting intimate. I don't want to have to tell them after the fact, and them to get all hurt and afraid -- because there's still a lot of fear out there.
Also, if somebody feels like they're becoming a friend, with the possibility of being a good friend, they certainly deserve to know my status. If they are getting into my intimate circles where I'm going to tell them, you know, my hopes and dreams, yes, they deserve to know that I'm HIV positive.
Ahmad Salcido, San Francisco, Calif.; Diagnosed in September 2007
The first person I told I was positive was my best friend Ramsey, who lives in San Francisco and who is the one that extended his hand to me and said, "Look, I live in San Francisco. San Francisco has these great agencies, has this great program for gay and HIV-positive people, so you're more than welcome to come over." ... I told him, "You're like my little angel, you know?"
In Islam, we believe that if you're a true Muslim, God takes care of your problems before they come to you. It's funny because I've known him for five years, and it's like, "OK, when I met you, I met you for a reason. God knew what was going to happen, so he put you there as my little angel."
At a huge international HIV/AIDS conference, TheBody.com spoke with several individuals that hail from some of the toughest countries in the world when it comes to being gay and HIV positive. Read or listen to the voices of these men and women as they respond to the question: What's Life Like for HIV-Positive Gay Men in the Country Where You Live or Work?
Joseph Akoro, Nigeria
To be HIV positive as a young person and a gay man -- or a man who has sex with men, however you identify -- in Nigeria is bizarre because the law discriminates against you having sex with a man, so you do not have any access to health care as someone who has sex with a man. Also, the government does not even provide those services because they do not acknowledge men who have sex with men.
Ian McKnight, Jamaica
In the Caribbean, men who have sex with men suffer extreme discrimination and stigmatization. We have seen where that has resulted in people being beaten, people being killed in Jamaica. We saw that recently in Nassau. We see, for example, where the violence is catching on in countries like Antigua and St. Lucia. We're also seeing deaths, and we're seeing people threatened. ...
I feel that it's also important to state that there is a community. People come together to just hang out and chill. People come together for educational purposes, so there are programs in place for the LGBT community, predominantly around safer sex and HIV issues. People party, of course."
Looking for more? Check out TheBody.com's full listing of opinion articles and reports on issues related to gay men and HIV/AIDS.