Some years back, I wrote a piece to the infectious and still omnipresent HIV disease.
There is no logical reason for anyone to become infected.
We are not dealing with logic. We are dealing with people.
We are dealing with human beings whose only concern is : who will love me? Am I worthy of love ?
If what we’re confronted with is either unprotected sex and possibly being alone or literally diving in and hoping for the best, we often take the leap and hope for the best.
Anybody who has ever been sexually active has had interactions wherein the strategy was one of hoping for the best.
Hoping that you are both monogamous or at least if you aren’t you are the only one that this person is having unprotected sex with.
I blame the shame and our collective refusal to address our sexual concerns and what it is we really require.
I am sex positive.
I understand many people choose abstinence which is avoidance at its most extreme.
People who only have this one option are limited when situations present themselves that require more than saying “no”.
Another option us old timers (myself and anybody who was around during the first and most devastating round of fear mongering and stupidity that was 1983)like to indoctrinate younger folks into is the condom/protected sex for every encounter with someone unless you know their sexual history.
We must create a new set of tools to deal with the concept of staying uninfected and strategies to cope with new infections should they occur.
I am shocked and pissed off when the only strategy is one that is mired in drama and upset instead of real world solutions to real world problems.
The most devastating thing that HIV/AIDS has done is not death, sickness or even suffering and prolonged misery among those infected.
HIV’s most riveting and far reaching devastation has to deal with the amount of fear and shame it created and the stigmatization of those infected.
Those of us who have who have remained uninfected feel vindicated.
As an out black gay man who has lost boyfriends, professors etc to this disease, it was my ignorant assumption that at a certain point (middle age) I would no longer have to think about or navigate HIV and its presence in my life.
Some of my friends have taken drugs(for two decades) that vary in their effectiveness regarding the ability to manage their illness .
In Long Beach, California , a large portion of our community has been infected and everyone continues to scratch their heads in lieu of having real conversations and coming up with real action to make some serious changes.
What prevents us from reinventing the real type of sex we are having and not the kind we are taught to like and or the type we are telling our friends we are engaging in?
Many of us live in and interact from a place of shame when we have to admit our love for the dick, getting fucked, our sexual partners nuttage or the joy and pleasure that comes from distributing a good pounding to a willing ass.
If I can’t admit and own my desire how in the hell can I adjust and rethink my personal type of pleasure?
My own personal way to give the finger to HIV is to date and fuck and love those who have been infected.
I have not always felt this way nor interacted in the most humanistic and loving way when someone has shared a positive status with me.
Part of my willingness to participate in making the infected “the others” was an awful experience I had more than two decades ago with a few select assholes who made their sexual appetites more important than being honest.
I willingly chose to stigmatize others and feign shock when I met folks who were determined to remain sexually active.
I assumed that HIV infected people should give up sex.
When people shared with me that they were not only being sexually active but were also not apologetic about it, I got pissed off.
My assumption was that they were lying to someone somewhere and that they were undoubtedly putting all of us “good, follow the rules” people at risk.
This thinking was challenged at age 40.
Meeting and talking with so many infected individuals changed my heart and my mind.
HIV and AIDS is not the problem.
Lies, a refusal to be honest and an overriding commitment to being right and stupid at all costs, these are the real issues and barriers to ripping HIV Stigmatization from our collective conscience.
What are you willing to let go of to claim more of your humanity ?