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Sunday, April 29, 2007

¿SAFE SEX: IS THERE A PROBLEM?


Studies show that gay men fall into three groups: those who take HIV risks frequently, very rarely, and not at all. Three out of four gay men are in the latter two groups. Hence homosexual men remain the group at the greatest risk of getting infected with HIV. The primary mode of transmission of HIV between men is through anal sex without a condom. For young gay men there may be particular problems with trying to practice safer sex. Some young gay men may not feel secure about obtaining or using extra strong condoms for anal sex because if they are seen purchasing or in possession of them it might be interpreted as a disclosure of gay identity. They also rarely have the benefit of sex education in school in which sexual behaviour between same-sex partners is discussed. This can make it very hard for young gay men to feel comfortable about negotiating safer sex. Some young gay men believe that having fewer partners and being monogamous is adequate protection against HIV. This may explain why some young men are getting infected because it's within these relationships that some of them are having unprotected anal sex. This is often on the basis of assumed negative HIV status. Why are so many gay men tempted to play this game of Russian roulette? Why is this happening? Surely, gay men know better and the word has been out for years now. Among some men, there seems to be a conscious or unconscious desire not to survive the epidemic. Is this due to depression, anxiety, loneliness or hopelessness about the future? Repeated losses leave most men uncaring about their own future; they are beaten down by the epidemic. Too often, we see AIDS as a "GAY DISEASE." And this "HOMOSEXUALIZATION" of AIDS causes confusion between being gay and being HIV+. Hence some men appear to believe that no gay man will survive the epidemic, so safer sex guidelines become irrelevant. The overwhelming nature of the epidemic and its decimation of the gay community lead some men to conclude that AIDS is their fate. They feel helpless in the face of so much loss. I feel that unconscious internalized homophobia may induce some men to believe that because they are GAY, they will get AIDS as a matter of fate, retribution or punishment. TALK ABOUT THE DWINDLING OF SELF-ESTEEM…All gay men, it seems to me, struggle to some degree or another with this issue. And when self-esteem falters, the desire to take care of yourself and others can also lessen. Thus, for many homosexual men, the unsafe sexual practice of all is the one that is most satisfying, both physically and emotionally. Anal intercourse is a way of deeply bonding and for many is the expression of closest intimacy. Here we see that both internal and external homophobia has tended to trivialize gay male sexual expression. Too many casually dismiss the importance of anal intercourse as an expression of intimacy. And thus they minimize the problems associated with safer sex techniques. However, there is a complex of social, political and internal psychological forces at work today in the GAY COMMUNITY. These factors need to be understood and addressed, if the spread of HIV is to be stopped from further destroying the GAY COMMUNITY. Until such AIDS will continue to attack society and will deeply impact the world.

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