Last Friday was National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, and I celebrated by masturbating with a condom on.
Yes, it’s true that going in raw feels so much better than sex with a rubber, but the threat of HIV is everywhere and that terrifies me.
The few gay friends I have are all negative, but the wider circle that encompasses their friends includes many people that are positive, making it difficult for me at times to comment on, mock, or berate people with HIV/AIDS without unintentionally offending someone.
Friends have called me a homophobe with an irrational fear of AIDS. When they make this accusation I point them to whatever story in the news that best illustrates my view on the matter of HIV and the dangers of bareback sex, the most recent being the case of Michael Johnson.
Michael Johnson, 21, was a student at Lindenwood University who recorded 32 videos of himself engaging in bareback sex with 31 men, exposing them all to the human immunodeficiency virus he neglected to tell them he had. Five of the men that were recorded have come forward. Two have tested negative for HIV, one stopped cooperating with police, and the test results for the other two have yet to be made public.
Taking into account that several of the videos were recorded in his dorm room, it is assumed Johnson’s partners were fellow students or members of the school’s wrestling team, of which he was a member.
The semiliterate disease-carrier went by the alias “Tiger Mandingo” on various social networking sites and made feebleminded inspirational posts on his Facebook page such as, “Since sex got easier to get. Love got hard to find.” and “if you have a hard time reading. and some one try to make fun of you. do what Tiger Mandingo does to them. stay in college or go to college show them how wrong they was to (laugh) at you. when you see them again tell them I may not be able to read very good but Im going to make something of my life and not look around bring people down when i do it like you did me. PS if you want to be something find it in college!”
Johnson was immediately expelled from school after the first charge was made in October.
Then there’s a the case of Mike Dozer and the infamous “Condoms Are for Pussies” shirt he wore on the set of a bareback scene he shot for Cocksure Men last November. The picture of Dozer wearing it alongside costar Charlie Harding caused quite a bit of controversy in the gay-porn blogosphere.
Harding came to Dozer’s defense (NSFW link), claiming the shirt was an “inside joke” between he and his partner, Scotty Rage, though I think an “inside joke” between two people begins to need more context when someone else wears it on their fucking chest. If the only context to a “Condoms Are for Pussies” T-shirt is that you’re about to shoot a bareback scene, then yes, there’s no way around it, you’re promoting bareback sex and mocking anyone who chooses to use a condom.
Critics have accused Dozer and Harding of being bug chasers and money-grubbing whores and that their willingness to perform bareback means they’re likely HIV+.
Those who shamed Dozer for promoting bareback sex were now being shamed for jumping to a reasonable conclusion, though their conclusion wasn’t much of a fact until QueerClick recently posted a story about Dozer’s real-life troubles.
Last December Mike Dozer AKA Christopher Steele, 33, was charged with the statutory rape of a 14-year-old boy he met on a gay cruising app. Steele’s attorney claims that when the teen revealed he was underage, Steele “took off,” but “this kid kept pursuing him,” and whatever happened next warranted the statutory rape charge, I suppose.
The defense team has also charged the bareback porn star with reckless endangerment because…wait for it…wait for it…Steele is HIV+. That’s right. All the people who have been accused of being serophobic (the latest banal addition to the PC lexicon) were right! More importantly, the disclaimer that appears before all Cocksure Men productions that states, “All actors are HIV- and were tested using adult industry standard tests including the PCR/DNA HIV test, the same one used by the straight adult industry” is total BULLSHIT.
Steele’s attorney attempted to make his client some sort of martyr of serophobia. “Charging someone with [reckless endangerment] because they are HIV+ is homophobic and ignorant. We don’t go to people who have herpes, colds, Strep throat and charge them. If that is the standard, they need to be indicting everybody. It’s amazing that, 35 years later, the public is still oblivious to the simple fact that HIV does not equal AIDS.”
I love that. Gay men have called me ignorant when I tell them HIV is icky and that I prefer to only have safe sex with HIV- men. I wonder, though—if I’m so ignorant, why am I the one who doesn’t have to take a bunch of pills for the rest of his life in order not to die?
This new generation of never-to-be-questioned totalitarian tolerance is deeply concerning to me. It wasn’t that long ago you could say on a cruising profile you were “clean,” that is to say, HIV-. Now the inference is that people infected with The Hiv must be “dirty,” so “clean” must never be used to describe your HIV status lest you become a pariah among your queer peers.
Considering HIV-tainted blood is classified as a biohazard, I imagine saying someone who’s HIV+ is “dirty” is one of the nicer things they can be called.
In 2010 the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in Chicago, 18% of men who have sex with other men are HIV+, which is on par with the national average of 19%, but of those 18%, 53% don’t even know they have the disease coursing through their veins. That means that roughly one in five gay men living in major cities in the US are HIV+ and one in 10 that live in Chicago don’t even know they are. That’s fucked-up.
The Millennials, as I’ve been told, are “changing the sexual landscape,” but is that change for the better? More gay men than ever are contracting an incurable disease that is probably one of the easiest to avoid.
Taking zero accountability for your actions and blaming others for not accommodating to your selfish and life-altering decisions is hardly a step forward in the right direction.
Making everyone believe there’s nothing wrong with being HIV+ may help make life easier for those who are already living with the virus, but it certainly hasn’t helped decrease the number of those infected, and shouldn’t that be the goal above all else?
I’ve never supported hate or discrimination targeted at The Gays or those infected with HIV, but whenever I see a cute guy who I later find out is poz I can’t help but think, “Ain’t that a shame?”