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Friday, September 12, 2008

New HIV Infections

posted by on September 12 at 13:16 PM

They’re occurring primarily among young African American men and older gay white men. The closet (a.k.a. “the downlow”), poverty, the insanely homophobic African American church, and a lack of access to medical care drives the AIDS epidemic among young African American men. But what accounts for the new infections among gay men in their 30s and 40s? Despair? Stupidity? Does our luck just run out at a certain point? (And, yes, luck does play a role in staying HIV-negative.)

And seldom is it asked, is our HIV prevention strategies working? Doesn’t look that way.

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The African church is homophobic for one reason: they feel like we're stealing their victim status.

Posted by You know it's true. | September 12, 2008 1:23 PM

Older gay white men?! Yeah, you know, um...huh. God fucking dammit.

Posted by Mr. Poe | September 12, 2008 1:24 PM

White men in their 30's and 40's? It's not lack of luck, it's the internet. Car, credit card, place of your own, slutty dating site. You can hook-up at three times the rate of your average college kid.

Posted by Bubbles | September 12, 2008 1:33 PM

"ARE our HIV prevention strategies working?"

Posted by grammar cop | September 12, 2008 1:35 PM

I'm concerned; you consider gay men in their 30s and 40s older? What do you call gay men that are 50+?

Posted by Banna | September 12, 2008 1:37 PM

Dan, you're being shortsighted in attributing the rise in AIDS among young African American men.

The African American church is no more homophobic than white ones, which are insanely homophobic as well. There is nothing uniquely homophobic about African American culture.

But there is a disproportionate number of young African American men being sent to prison.

Common knowledge is that African Americans are more homophobic than white people. There's little to no evidence of this. There is however a great deal of evidence that young black men are imprisoned at a rate that is significantly higher than young white men or women of any race. This makes addressing the problem more complicated, because it brings in our shoddy prison system, our broken judicial system, and the ever favorite police misconduct. It will not be easy to address and deal with this problem, but it will be harder if we make assumptions and ignore the facts.

Posted by ceeb | September 12, 2008 1:37 PM


Unfuckable. Unless they kept themselves in great shape throughout the fuckable years of 35-52. Once they're at 65 or so, they'll grow the old-man stink. That's just plain nasty. I like to sleep with men, not death.

Posted by Mr. Poe | September 12, 2008 1:42 PM

Ceeb (#6): I don't know of any gay-inclusive mainstream African American churches, but if you can point me towards any, I'd love to learn more.

Bubbles (#3): Dan means "luck" in that if you have a few more decades to play russian roulette, you are more likely to end up with a bullet in your brain. The things you bring up are risk factors, but you clearly underestimate the ability of horny college kids to hookup without cars, money, and a private pad.

Dan: If it is, in fact, luck that accounts for the rise in older gay white men, then you have to give credit to those safe sex programs. Otherwise, these men would get infected at a much younger age!

Posted by rdm24 | September 12, 2008 1:45 PM


No wonder their infection rates are up; if that's the way younger 'mos see them, older homos must be the desperate of the disparate; sleeping with whatever presents itself.

Posted by Banna | September 12, 2008 1:53 PM

@8 Well, off the top of my head there's Trinity, Obama's old church.

Posted by ceeb | September 12, 2008 1:53 PM

Is it any wonder in the age of prevention and strategies for the cult of beautiful advertising that the aged and diseased of biblical colorings come back out in cyclical patternings every 100 years;

When we are in the midst of a revelatory new age of increased metabolic market rate adjustment for gentrified voter based immigrants, do you think the pundits will recognize false profiteering and mock it like they will scratch their heads at this obvious referrance to an advertisment of an asian kid looking up the page across another advertisment at an adult themed content material legal ad for escorted hairstyles?

Posted by daniel | September 12, 2008 1:54 PM

@8 Well, off the top of my head there's Trinity, Obama's old church.

Posted by ceeb | September 12, 2008 1:54 PM


Yeah, but it's okay. Like I said, they're already dead. Who cares? Report to carousel.

Posted by Mr. Poe | September 12, 2008 1:55 PM

the strategies arent working because theyre aimed at middle class populations in the african american community. dc has one of the highest infection rates in the nation, but it has outlawed needle exchange programs, incarceration rates seem to play a role, and though to me it makes lots of sense, it seems to be speculation. are the african american women getting infected the poorest of the poor? the drug addicted? the underclass? if so than the messages need to be targeted to that population. unfortunately, public health agencies partner up with agencies that seem to have one PC message for all. i think there needs to be more research and public health agencies need to hold agencies accountable. if theyre not showing reductions than funding needs to stop and the populations that are being infected need to recieve the outreach services. after all, public health is about reducing the infection rates at the lowest cost possible. we need to know what economic sectors of the african american population are being infected.

i recomend everybody read the book, wisdom of whores, it is truly an eye opener.

Posted by SeMe | September 12, 2008 1:55 PM

The African American church is no more homophobic than the white American church, I might even go so far as to say they are less homophobic, I have yet to have a black church start preaching homophobic politics at me or about the need to defend marriage at the state level. You hear about it more because more religious black people call out religious homophobia. And religious white guys don't really do that as much, as far as I've seen.

Black preachers like Al Sharpton will call out black churches for homophobia, but white preachers like Pat Robertson seem to feed it more than anything. Maybe because black people are more liberal leaning in general, or maybe because white people don't feel the need to police themselves, since they don't have to worry as much about the opinions of some white people being taken as the opinions of white people as a group.

Gay white guys age 30-40, I would say it's due to having sex up the ass. Younger people usually get reminded a lot to stay safe and wear condoms and whatever, older people aren't and when you combine that with having sex with guys in your ass sooner or later you will get AIDS this is true of males and females.

Posted by EmmiG | September 12, 2008 1:56 PM

You don't see skeletons walking around spotted with Kaposi's anymore serving as a reminder of the awfulness and tragedy of this plague. You have a younger generation - oh, I'd say 40 and younger - who haven't lost 80-90% of their friends to the disease.

If people start dropping like flies again because of drug immunity or super bugs (and let's all hope that never happens again), guys will be more careful (unless they're incredibly stupid...which is possible) because - alas! - for many nothing is stronger than self-interest.

Posted by Bauhaus | September 12, 2008 2:00 PM

Have you seen the number of guys at the bars in Seattle who will bareback? And these are the guys who are "professional gay males" or "have their shit together". The guys who are OUT on top of it all are many of those who are willing to fuck raw!!! It is fucking INSANE!!!!! This has little to do with "downlow" and more to do with the delusion that the cocktail will make you live forever.

Shit, you have to see a copy of their latest HIV test result along with using a condom to get laid in this town. Remember when just asking and using a rubber was enough?

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | September 12, 2008 2:08 PM

also, the nytimes article answers dan's question of why prevention efforts are not working.

“In one of the most dismal statistics provided by the centers, researchers said that 80 percent of those found to be newly infected by the disease had not been reached by prevention efforts, which are often sponsored by federal, state and local health officials.”

Posted by SeMe | September 12, 2008 2:10 PM

I slogged through some scientific articles to see if black people were more homophobic than whites. It doesn't appear to be true.

Black and white men on average have about the same attitudes, but white women are by far the least homophobic. White men who go to church frequently are by far the most homophobic.

Posted by jrrrl | September 12, 2008 2:21 PM

@11, that you?

Posted by ellarosa | September 12, 2008 2:31 PM

you gotta throw meth into the mix here too when talking about increasing hiv prevalence.

Posted by natbot | September 12, 2008 2:37 PM

@grammar cop, Dan was referencing the famous Bushism "Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning?"

Posted by libcln | September 12, 2008 2:40 PM

Stay tuned for changes in these data - what the CDC doesn't make public is that the data do not include California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Washington DC, and several other states. So, those with high Latino, or African American, populations in some cities are not counted. The CDC is making estimates based on incomplete information. This will change as they begin to accept data from the previously excluded areas.

Posted by Sam | September 12, 2008 2:46 PM

Dr. Elizabeth Pisani's take on AIDS in black america:

Black America is one of the rare countries, along with Brazil and a handful of West African countries and Caribbean islands, that has both a concentrated (targeted) epidemic and a generalised epidemic. Let’s be very clear what those terms mean. In a concentrated epidemic, most new HIV infections take place in well-defined high risk behaviours — almost always selling or buying sex, injecting drugs and having anal sex with lots of partners. People who do those things may pass HIV on to their regular sex partners, but if you take those groups out of the equation (for example by providing very effective prevention for everyone that needs it), the epidemic will die out in a generation. In a generalised epidemic, HIV gets passed between men and women who are linked in loose sexual networks — the town wife and the country wife, the rich but boring husband and the poor but dashing boyfriend. Commercial sex, sex between men and drug injection may boost the epidemic, but the virus will get passed on indefinitely even without those behaviours.

As I say, Black America probably has both. Half of all black men with HIV picked up the virus in anal sex with another man. A quarter injected it into their veins along with drugs. Over all, fewer than a quarter of black men got infected in sex with a woman, and infected men still far outnumber women — as is common in concentrated but not in generalised epidemics. About a quarter of infections in black women in the US are injected; that leaves three quarters infected in unprotected sex with a man. Black women are far more likely than white women to report several sex partners in a limited time frame, which is the critical issue in sending an epidemic “generalised”. Left Behind wants black men to get responsible when it comes to sex, giving Uganda as an example. Which is a shame, because it looks like multiple partnerships are on the rise again in that former paragon of HIV prevention in Africa.

The report chides US officials for falling back on gay activists when looking for solutions to HIV in the US:

“Blinded to potential international precedents, policy-makers in the U.S. almost instinctively look to previous experience in the urban gay communities in the 1980s when thinking about community mobilization to fight AIDS, even though tis unique history of gay AIDS activism has only limited relevance to the challenge confronting Black America.”

Since I’ve been known to rail about the dangers of exporting San Fracisco style activism to prevention efforts in Africa I ought to be pleased. But there’s a danger of throwing the baby out with the bath water (as the Left Behind report goes on to acknowledge). Yes, Black America needs community leadership on HIV. But it should focus that leadership on changing the behaviours that put most people at risk for HIV. And those behaviours continue to be dominated by anal sex between men (including in jail?) and drug injection.

A final quote from the report:
“In the final analysis, this epidemic isn’t terribly complicated. When we allow politics, subjective notions of morality and profit-driven health economics to reign over public health, the most vulnerable in our society are lfet behind.”
Hear, hear!

Posted by SeMe | September 12, 2008 3:06 PM

@21: excellent point. top drawer.

Posted by adrian | September 12, 2008 3:23 PM

Seeing as how it's Friday--and hopefully we're all about to get paid 'n laid--I gotta know: Who are you guys havin' all the unprotected buttsecks and why?

Jacking off together with your date and/or more attractive friends is a perfectly hawt and acceptable way to end (or begin) an evening. It's also basically impossible to get HIV that way. So why must you ride the baloney-pony, esp. on the "first date?"

Posted by Original Andrew | September 12, 2008 3:38 PM

Is it really a question?

Nowadays condoms use is seen as antiquated and all the fags in town are more consumed with their own pleasure and hedonism than protection of their fellow homos.

Places like Poney sets up an environment where this shit is allowed to happen.

Posted by ecce homo | September 12, 2008 3:58 PM

ecce homo @ 27,

Are you still around? Holy shit, Slog has the most loyal spammers on the planet.

And excuse me, but I'm trying to have a muy importante dialogue about assfucking.

Posted by Original Andrew | September 12, 2008 4:53 PM

@13, Thanks, Poe. I'm sure that ageist bullshit gives you quite a chortle. The same bullshit that drove my best friend, a very talented individual, to suicide. He was barely 50.

Posted by Andy Niable | September 12, 2008 5:43 PM

I thought it was just due to my slutty ex being truly single again!

AND- someone I know who used to work HIV prevention swore by needle exchange admitting it was the only HIV Prevention program that showed true success. When I pointed out 85+% of IV drug users in King Co have Hep C even though only 2% or so have HIV he agreed. When I pointed out needle exchange might keep them from a 2nd life sentence with HIV but that's hardly worth the millions when the vast majority are already on death row he was not happy with me. He kept arguing that needle exchanges should continue because it was keeping the HIV rate down. Ask a paramedic or ER nurse, they'd rather have HIV than Hep C!

Posted by snotty | September 12, 2008 10:30 PM

@7: Mr. Poe, eventually (with some luck), you will turn 50 much sooner than you think. I hope some young hot stud tells you reek of old, nasty, used-up fag stank. 50 is perfectly fuckable.
And Dan, you neglected to recognize that black, straight, female are amoung the top of this unfortunate list as well.
Nice to see ecce homo, that rat bastard, is back. Missed your comments.

Posted by STLJoy | September 13, 2008 2:40 PM

Besides being the Rottweiller's of the human race, blacks are now propogating HIV at astounding rates...

Dat why I don't do black!

Dey wil FUUUUUUCK you uuuup!

Posted by LOLA_FALANA | September 13, 2008 3:37 PM

I don't see any evidence presented from the so-called African American Church indicating they have policies that are any more homophobic than any other churches with conservative or evangelical ideologies. Did Dan bother to call a representative of the church to ascertain whether that is, in fact, a fact? Or is he just guessing based on certain preconcieved ideas of his or things he was told? What a hack!!

Posted by You're all hacks, too | September 13, 2008 3:37 PM

May I add "Dan Savage is also a Stupid Fucking Credulous Hack of the Day" for the possible benefit of future internet searches? Thank you very much.
And yes, I am in a bad mood today.

Posted by You're all hacks, too | September 13, 2008 3:42 PM

African American churches insanely homephobic? That statement is insanely racist and stupid!

Learn a bit more about African American churches before you paint them all with same brush.

White churches routinely slam gays and blames homosexuality not only for decline of America but for violent weather conditions.

Gay marriage? Gays raising kids? Damn-now we are gonna have another hurricane.

Posted by Dan Savage is to blame for the weather... | September 15, 2008 2:03 AM

@8- There is Liberation Ministries here in Seattle. Gay black people preaching and worshiping the Lord every Sunday. They even bring the kids. They have heterosexuals who worship there also.

The choir is off the hook!!

It is sillly of you to try and present racist generalizations as facts.

Posted by Ren | September 15, 2008 2:17 AM

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