Monday, June 07, 2010

On Mass. HIV Rates And Young People

For eight years, new infections have been stuck in the mid-300s in the state’s gay community. That’s one every day.

Why? It’s partly lousy sex education, and public health policy that’s still unaccountably squeamish about condoms.

It’s partly that younger gay men didn’t see the most horrific stage of the epidemic, when legions died awful, visible deaths that scared others into better protecting themselves. And treatments over the last 15 years have made HIV seem more like a chronic disease than a deadly one. It’s also harder to reach gay men with prevention messages now that many socialize online rather than in the bars where condoms and counseling were plentiful.

But (he) says none of that mattered to him. The only thing that did came into his life outside a theater district dance club two Octobers ago: Crystal meth
-via The Boston Globe

I don't know that it's is self esteem. I think it's psylogical fatigue. Most young gay men have known about this disease for their entire lives. They have never lived in a time where HIV wasn't a possibility. It seems logical that some, albeit not terribly bright, people would say "fuck it" to the condom after hearing the same message and feeling so scared for so long.

Of course the whole "HIV doesn't look so bad anymore" issue plays into it too.
I guess my point is that Its a myriad of issues not just one and will take more than just scare tactics (not that scare tactics can't be useful, they just are not the only answer).

The fact of the matter is it's not the 80s anymore and we are not dealing with the same instant death sentence we were, nor are we dealing with the same people. We are going to have to deal with this generation in the now, not with what is in the past and not with what might happen in the future, but with the reality of the aituation today. -Brandon H.

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