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RSS icon Comments on HIV Infection Rates Among Young Gay Men

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Also, wasn't there increased scrutiny of HIV prevention programs to remove anything that could be even remotely construed as encouraging gay sex under the Bush administration? Isn't this perhaps an indication that, while the more explicit HIV prevention materials may give Bush and his fundamentalist backers "the Ick", these programs are more affective at reaching their target audience?

Posted by John | June 27, 2008 10:59 AM
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Interesting points. Love when you address questions in the back of my mind (the whole burden of the fictional community of responsibility)

Slog is good overall. I'm glad that you have another outlet for your pieces.


And uh..happy..pride?

Posted by Non | June 27, 2008 11:01 AM
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"Abstinence-only sex ed programs donít acknowledge the existence of gay people, much less give young gay people the tools they need to protect themselves."

Actually, I'd expand on that point. I know of NO sex ed program that acknowledges the existence of gay people. Mine back in high school was pretty comprehensive (we had a huge problem with teen pregnancy... classrooms converted into nurseries to encourage mom and dad to stay in school, etc.). I learned all fifty million ways to keep a girl from getting pregnant. I learned about all sorts of STDs, sperm-killing foam, diaphragms, and more. There was even required viewing of a video of a birth (three football players passed out, and one girl went into false labor). They even told us which condom brands are less likely to break during heterosexual intercourse.

But, nothing at all on gay sex. Notta. Zip. Not that I was looking at that point (I didn't come out until a few years later). Still, seeing as how we had notebooks and notebooks of information on hotlines, clinics, counselors, and welfare programs we could turn to for help with our straight sex lives, you'd think the could've at least handed us an index card with a few info hotlines or clinics or medical experts we could talk to safely about gay sex.

And, you're right. There is no gay community. I know many Seattleites disagree on this point. But really, I've never encountered this supposed inclusive, all-encompassing gay community. The closest thing we have is an annual parade. And if that constitutes a community, then I'm sure there's also a "Thanksgiving Community" and a "Veterans Day Community" and a "Christmas Community."

Thanks for posting all this. Here's hoping someone listens.

Posted by James | June 27, 2008 11:04 AM
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While we can offer some help to the ones who run away from the miserable small town you chose to live in (or the intolerant high school you sent them to), and to the ones you kick out on their asses,

I think this may ultimately be the rub, at least as far as the statistical increase in infection rates goes. Sexual minorities typically make up about 35% of the population of homeless youth and young adults -- much higher than their demographic footprint in the population generally. Even those queer youth who don't get kicked out can expect less financial support from parents and family members generally, and this lack of family support can lead to a higher incidence of poverty and all the risk behaviors that are endemic to extreme poverty.

But when it comes to shaming parents into action -- come one. You're a parent; you understand the compulsion to protect and nurture your own child. If something happened that was emotionally powerful enough to counteract that compulsion in yourself -- if your relationship with your kid became so degraded that you stopped wanting to take care of and protect him -- would the opinion of some PTA group or a community advocate really be able to reverse that?

Obviously I'm not saying it's right. I'm just saying I don't think it's something that can be corrected by the broader public. So I think we appeal to the "gay community" because the "gay community" are the only people open to the appeal -- not because it's their responsibility per se.

Posted by Judah | June 27, 2008 11:09 AM
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James, no community is inclusive and all-encompassing. That's just humanity. If you're looking for an ideal, you'll never find it.

The sad fact -- and I mean that honestly, not condescendingly -- that you have yet to find your own community does not mean it does not exist. It cannot be a shock that it doesn't exist to those who haven't discovered it, but it does exist to all of us who live in it every day of our lives.

If you haven't found it, then you're either looking for something else without knowing it or you're looking in the wrong places. It's there, it's not perfect, but it's yours for the having.

Posted by whatevernevermind | June 27, 2008 11:14 AM
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@5:

When did I ever say I haven't found my own community? Please re-read that comment carefully. I think you may be reading way too much into the life of a person you've never even met or tried to get to know.

I just find it refreshing to hear Mr. Savage state that there really isn't a "gay community" that is responsible for and responsible to all gay people. It's something that isn't said and acknowledged nearly enough. There are those exclusive gay cliques - many of them. But, I wouldn't be surprised to hear that a vast majority of gay people aren't a part of them.

Anyway, this is getting off the most critical points he brought up: sex ed, gays, and the responsibility of parents.

Posted by James | June 27, 2008 11:25 AM
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Very dramatic, James, and if I'd known you'd be that defensive, I'd never offered my opinion. Also, I think you're misreading Dan's words to fit your viewpoint, but I don't know you and haven't tried to get to know you, so how could I possibly have an opinion about that, either?

Frankly, I think this particular mystery has been solved.

Posted by whatevernevermind | June 27, 2008 11:28 AM
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@7:

Dude. Chill. It's Friday and gorgeous outside. (Assuming you're in Seattle, that is.)

Sorry we tripped here. But have a nice weekend!

Posted by James | June 27, 2008 11:59 AM
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from my experience with other mid-twenties gay guys, there seems to be a very casual attitude about STDs. most of them can be cured, i guess, and there really isn't a great fear of HIV, i think. with the great advancements in HIV management, some don't think it's the death sentence is was 15 or 20 years ago. while that is a good thing, i think it has lead some to not worry about being safer anymore. sadly.

Posted by konstantconsumer | June 27, 2008 12:16 PM
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Judah @4 wrote:
--But when it comes to shaming parents into action -- come one. You're a parent; you understand the compulsion to protect and nurture your own child. If something happened that was emotionally powerful enough to counteract that compulsion in yourself -- if your relationship with your kid became so degraded that you stopped wanting to take care of and protect him -- would the opinion of some PTA group or a community advocate really be able to reverse that? --

Yeah, actually, I think it could. The military wasthe first organization in the US to treat blacks & whites equally - and now segregation is a thing of the past in this country. Blacks and whites may still not be treated equally, but prejudice against balck folk is considered something shameful. Hence all the claims that "I'm not a racist, but...".

A similar program would certainly help gays and lesbians, at least to the same extent. Parents would be shamed into taking care of their gay and lesbian kids - or at least not toss 'em out.

But frankly, like gay marriage, time will will bring in the most changes. Younger people don't fear homosexually like older people do [for the most part], so perhaps in a generation or so things will change for the better. But trying to hurry up that change seems like a good idea to me.

And Dan, Gays and Lesbians may not, as you say, share a single community, but they do have shared political goals. And one area were the "Gay Community" could help is by agitating to have homosexuality acknowledged in high school sex ed courses.

Just my Humble Opinion...

Posted by Schweighsr | June 27, 2008 12:31 PM
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no, the CDC does not say HIV infection rates have risen fast. they say HIV diagnoses have risen. the CDC acknowledges in their report that this is an "important distinction." this data is based on passive surveilance, not an actual study. there is a difference.

a number of new HIV tests have been recently approved by the FDA. here is the list...

http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/testing/rapid/rt-comparison.htm

note the approval dates for all these tests fall within the time frame in question (2001-2006). these tests are much less invasive (finger prick or cheek swab vs. blood draw) and have a much shorter turnaround time (30 min vs 1 week) than the older test. as a result, more people get tested. more tests = more positive diagnoses.

basically, the data at the front end of the study were obtained by different methods than the more recent data. whether the uptick is due to increased infection rates or increased TESTING rates is impossible to distinguish.

Posted by brandon | June 27, 2008 12:42 PM
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I am a gay teen in high school and I guess I've grown up around hiv/aids awareness programs. I've grown up around "hearing" about them rather, having never actually been to one or no where to find them. Queer as Folk probably helped further my never going to get infected and going to exercise every precaution possible attitude! Lol not exactly where you would think a new gay boy would get his info but it works I guess.

Posted by anthony | June 27, 2008 1:51 PM
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I am a gay teen in high school and I guess I've grown up around hiv/aids awareness programs. I've grown up around "hearing" about them rather, having never actually been to one or no where to find them. Queer as Folk probably helped further my never going to get infected and going to exercise every precaution possible attitude! Lol not exactly where you would think a new gay boy would get his info but it works I guess.

Posted by anthony | June 27, 2008 1:52 PM
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I am a gay teen in high school and I guess I've grown up around hiv/aids awareness programs. I've grown up around "hearing" about them rather, having never actually been to one or no where to find them. Queer as Folk probably helped further my never going to get infected and going to exercise every precaution possible attitude! Lol not exactly where you would think a new gay boy would get his info but it works I guess.

Posted by anthony | June 27, 2008 1:53 PM
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Sorry =[[ im on my phone and it kept giving me error messages........... very sorry.

Posted by anthony | June 27, 2008 1:58 PM
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@10

Does it strike you at all that the difference between racism and homophobia is that white people don't (as a rule) have Black children? Or that the issue under discussion here is parental refusal to support gay children? That doesn't have to be explicit. The homophobes in my family generally refuse to support their queer children on the grounds that the kids have "made bad choices," not because of their sexual orientation. Though that's clearly the subtext.

Posted by Judah | June 27, 2008 2:47 PM

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