Happy Belated HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

September 28, 2010
Category: Health
gay men's hiv awareness day

If being a part of a community where 1 in 5 gay men are HIV positive wasn't alarming enough, how about the fact that nearly 50% don't know it? It may be a day late, but recognizing yesterday's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is still post-worthy, especially when you hear stats like those from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

As gay men we're reminded all the time about the importance of knowing your status, getting tested, and to always be safe and use condoms, but with most messages repeated over and over again, it's easy to let them fade into the background. That's why it's imperative that we take the time a few times a year to push the message through and make it a priority. Even though some may consider a day of awareness less potent than other HIV/AIDS-related messaging, just having the reminder there can do wonders and get people to make an appointment to get their testing on.

Mine's this week, when's yours?

Tags: HIV/AIDS, awareness, gay men, get tested
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Post written by RobHeartsDH (View Author Profile)
About this author: Rob lives in Manhattan with his black pug Riley. When he’s not thinking about daddies, he enjoys writing, eating burritos, watching copious amounts of television, and thinking about his next meal.
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Thanks for trying to get the facts out about HIV. I volunteer every week at one of the bars in Boston to discuss testing with guys. When I ask, "when was the last time you were tested," there are a good number that have been tested within the last 6 months. However, there is a large number of guys that tell me it's been 2 or 3 years, even 6 years since their last test. Knowing your status is a moral issue if a guy is having sex with other guys, even if it's protected sex. Unfortunately, it's not seen that way. Keep getting the word out there. The plague is not over and if we don't take care of each other, no one else will.

right on ! i learned of hiv in 1981 and have been playing safe ever after that. i had to wait years for the test, then was overjoyed to be neg.

as an old doood, pls play safe. my last fwb had a giant dingdong, and he used magnums, and it felt even bigger with the condom on! not that size matters:)

life holds many things, and im glad i choose to play safe, and be around for it!

play hard, play safe:) dad

Dot Guy, I hate to bicker with you over the usage of the word plague. It is not a plague but more than that the homophobes out there once characterized HIV as a plague to stigmatize gay people. But really lets not bicker about this.

More important to me is the fact that 50% of the 20% of gays with HIV do not know they have it. What is troubling is that these guys are also some of the Manhunt users that say in their profile that they are HIV negative and you should be too. This is wrong on so many levels. We should always assume that the other guy is HIV+ and accept NO risk. Looking for negative partners only is like you are saying you are not taking responsibility for your own health. NEVER TAKE A CHANCE.

Tested last week - I'm pretty anal about getting tested, even if I didn't have sex in the last three months (just speaking theoretically of course, cough, cough). Next test - December (of this year).

I'm a bit confused. You say 1 in 5 have HIV/AIDS, yet 1/2 don't know it. Does that mean that 1/2 of the 1 in 5 don't know it or that half the population that has it doesn't know it, so the 1 in 5 is actually a higher number?

Lately I have been fairly monogamous (like 99% of the time) with a medical professional who is tested every six months by the rules. So I test every year, even though there is zero chance I have anything. I'm also on meds that suppress the immune system so not only a good reaspn for testing, but if I DID have anything at all it would certainly show up. I learned after fooling around with a guy who was positive and didn't tell me until after (no fluids were exchanged on my part) to ask several questions first , and test later.

Thanks for the post!

Congrats libr045, you've totally confused me. Seems like you are saying the same thing either way. Sounds to me like 1/2 of 20 percent is still the same not matter how you say it. But like I said I am confused by your question.

My point was that if 1/2 don't know they have HIV/AIDS then how can you come up with a definite figure on how many have HIV/AIDS? THEY don't know so YOU don't know.

Libr045: What the study tested was this: They identified their sample group, and asked each person if he was HIV positive, negative or "don't know". Then they tested every person in the sample. The results showed that one in five of the group was positive, and of those, one-half of them had not known that they were (i.e. they either thought they were negative, or didn't know).

From the study:

Finally, these findings are limited to men who frequented MSM-identified venues (most of which were bars [45%] and dance clubs [22%]) during the survey period in 21 MSAs with high AIDS prevalence; the results are not representative of all MSM.

The title and tone of the article is misleading, and not wholly representative of gay men as a whole, but rather, 67% of the population who frequent bars and dance clubs or "MSM-identified venues" that were already identified as having "high AIDS prevalence."

there was a great discussion about this on reddit, here: http://tinyurl.com/24h4gca

get tested, be smart. but read a little deeper and be sure you know the whole story.

and give someone you know and love a hug today.

It's not hard to be aware of HIV due to the widespread nature of the virus. Many sites make it all too easy to hookup and spread the love just a tad too fast sometimes so it is good to go slow with a new friend as well as getting checked regularly. The alarming thing is that some guys want to get it as a sort of "rite of passage" which is a definite booboo for sure.

I have real difficulty with this sort of statistic. NOBODY knows they have HIV before they're told so how on earth can they say that 50% of people don't know they have it? You don't know, they don't know and until tested, nobody knows so it's just health statisticians assuming and trying to promote a 'Get Tested' habit - nothing wrong with that of course but please don't use nonsense statistics. Where do they get their information from? Do they ask every positively tested guy if he knew and then count up the guys who said, "I didn't know!". Come on people, you see these headlines all over the world but until someone can tell me how they KNOW the 50% don't know, then I don't buy it - it's just scaremongering in the wrong way and for the wrong reasons.

What is shocking to me is not the news that one out of five gay men have HIV, but that ANY gay men are still getting infected. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of self loathing in the gay community and this can frequently manifest itself in making very poor and risky decisions. Any intelligent person of a certain age had known about safe sex for years, yet there is still a certain sub-set that celebrates and embraces the cult of barebacking, which while fine in a monogamous relationship is tantamount to playing Russian roulette for the rest of the population. One can only have so much sympathy towards people hell bent on their own self destruction.

Research results can not be challenged when the numbers are rounded off so nicely (50 percent, 1 in 5) and printed on high quality legal paper with an embossed seal.

There is also another phenomenom going on in our culture with younger guys. There is a large number of young guys trying to become positive. The attitude is coming from two places: 1. They will probably become positive by the time they hit 40, so why not have fun now, get it over with, become infected and not when they're older. 2. Also, it is not viewed as a life threatening disease anymore. Younger guys look at HIV infection as controllable with medication. These two factors have made it difficult for working with this segment of our population. I know I'll get some comments about what I've written, but this is the reality. I'm not saying every young guy thinks this way, but there are enough of these guys who don't understand all the issues about infection.

Social networking systems are the future of such things spreading faster than the ole fashioned way of walking the streets. Watching out for the players in boy-magnet cars is as important as being tested for sure.

Other than the figure 20% is only about double the actual percentage, the comments here are fairly accurate.

The 20% figure reported in the press is the straight, conservative, scare-tactic to help support their repression of the gay community. If they have to lie about where the President was born, make up stories about drug murders in Arizona, or miss-represent their own sexuality. Its all about power and what they are willing to do to scare small town voters into electing them into office.

Is HIV out there? Yes Is it a bad disease? Yes!. Do some people have it with out knowing it? Yes again. But NOT near as many as they try to make you believe. Once you get infected, your body puts up a mighty defense against the virus. Very, very heavy night sweats, major weight loss, bad flu symptoms and pneumonia are very common with-in 6 months. Most people realize something isn’t quite right. Untreated, the vast majority of people will die in less than 1 year.

People don’t survive unless they take the drugs. So there isn’t this huge population of un-diagnosed HIV persons out there. And the person who is infected but with out symptoms is also quite rare. It’s the guy who knows but doesn’t tell you, or lies if you ask, that is the real problem.

Really is important for frisky critters to get tested frequently and not run around with the "what the heck" attitude or imagining that acquiring HIV is a "rite of passage" because of all the pills these days.