Tuesday, January 18, 2011

For the record: My stance on MSM Websites; A response to my critics

For my critics out there who disagree with my stance on MSM Websites.  First, I appreciate open dialogue. Let’s keep the conversation going.

Second, I take responsibility for my dual diagnosis.  I have since day one.  It would be ridiculous for me to say MH, A4A, BBRTS, BB, etc…..gave me HIV and Hepatitis C.  That is NOT what I am saying. What I am saying is these websites have become CATYLYSTS to behaviors which lead to HIV infection and other STI’s.  

The facts speak for themselves and one can draw conclusions and inferences based on these facts or ignore them completely. I choose to know the facts, and draw conclusions and inferences based on this data.  If you would like to look at this factual data then I invite you to visit http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/surveillance/incidence.htm

It is not facts alone though that have riled me and risen me to speak out about these websites.  I speak with passion about this particular issue, because these sites were the catalyst behind my behavior’s and ultimate infections.  Just as for so many the “brick and mortar” establishments were in the 80’s and early 90’s.

While, we know that HIV/AIDS is NOT a gay disease, the perception of it being such is still widely perceived, the stigma, unfortunately, 30 years later, is still around today.  It’s especially disheartening to all of us in the gay community when numbers come out from the CDC referencing 52 percent of all HIV infections are within the MSM community, and that year after year there is a continual climb within this subset of the population.

Did you know that in the 90’s for a brief period that HIV infections among MSM and overall was declining, and then started skyrocketing in the late 90’s and still today where there has been a steady incline in new infections year after year.   Just as those working in HIV/AIDS were beginning to see a glimmer of hope and get somewhat of a handle on this virus; the wheels starting turning backwards. What happened in the 90’s? The Internet; and with the advent of the internet came virtual bath houses.  

Someone also had written an anonymous comment that “it’s not the venue; it’s the behavior we need to change”.  Well, working on behavior alone is not working.  While we have learned to combat this illness from the ideological ways of yesteryear, we must continue to improve upon these methods and create new ways.  

I will not give up on this issue, despite what many of my critics say.  I will continue to put pressure on these sites, and bring to light what I believe is causing a continual; rise in new HIV infections year after year.
Further discouraging is that these sites are now set up on myspace, facebook, and twitter targeting the MOST at risk young individuals.

If just one vulnerable young adult stays off these sites because of my advocating, then I will be satisfied.  I did not ask for these diseases, and I have not asked for this responsibility to take on these websites. I will keep rising up, standing out, and speaking up for what I believe.  I hope you have the courage to as well.  

I admire the courage of Larry Kramer and all those who like me are out there every day fighting for what they believe.  Stay true to yourselves, and be well.

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