How can you prevent yourself from getting HIV? Condoms – Condoms – Condoms! Photo by Timothy Takemoto.

by Chuck Longacre
Gayly Columnist

Remember the afternoon “quickie” you had last Monday with the hot fireman you found on “GRINDR?” You know, the one that you’ve bragged about with your friends? Think about it, what else did he bring to your fun? Think about it again - was it worth it? No? Then tell me WTF are you thinking? After finding out you have crabs you have to wait two weeks for your syphilis and HIV test results. Condoms could have prevented at least two of those worries.

Obviously, the question bears repeating: What the F*ck! What will it take to get this through your thick head? HIV and AIDS are real and they affect us all. Just within the past 24-hours over 150 Americans have received an HIV-positive diagnosis. It is major life-changing news. One of them may have been a close friend, or a family member that you love. It might even have been you.

On November 27, 2012 posted information from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Of the estimated 12,200 new HIV infections that occurred in 2010 in the 13-to-24 age group, 72 percent of estimated new HIV infections in young people occurred in young men who have sex with men (MSM).  By race/ethnicity, 57 percent of estimated new infections in this age group were in African-Americans. 

CDC director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden said“That so many young people become infected with HIV each year is a preventable tragedy. All young people can protect their health, avoid contracting and transmitting the virus, and learn their HIV status.”

In talking with many counselors from our part of the United States, we are finding a lot of truth to this statistic. Some are glad to see that a larger group of young men are coming in to be tested. This shows they are concerned about their HIV status. This is definitely the right thing to do. However, being tested every three months is not preventing you from getting HIV or AIDS!

How can you prevent yourself from getting HIV? Condoms – Condoms – Condoms! Using condoms with a water-based lube is the number one key to being safe. If we chose to have unprotected sex with our sex-partners, it places us at an even higher risk of getting HIV and a myriad of other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

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