Here’s a public service announcement that will get your attention. Two hotties; one HIV positive, one not, flirt; get it on at the office; and make a budding relationship. You may not want to watch this at your own office or in front of the kiddos if your screen is easily visible.
Knowing your HIV status is important. Communicating about it is even more important. Most important though is understanding your risk.
We in the gay community talk a lot about safe-sex and always using condoms; even if you are in a relationship. What we don’t talk a lot about is knowing your risk for those times where you don’t.
We’ve all done it; are doing it, and having the safe-sex conversation sans barebacking as a component is leaving out an important part of that education. We become much like the sex education opponents who fear if we talk about it, we will approve it, and then people will do it. But not talking about it; not making it part of the safe-sex conversation isn’t preventing people from doing it. It is only preventing them from making educated decisions about should they do it.
Anytime you bareback there is a risk. There is a risk because your are putting trust in your partner. You are trusting they are being honest about their sexual health status. You are trusting that your partner, whether your relationship be monogamous, monogamish or open, is really only having sex with just you or if they are not, that they are taking steps to minimize their own risk.
We need to be talking about how you decide to take that risk; the responsibility of taking that risk, and talk about it in a way that doesn’t make people feel embarrassed, stupid or shamed. Because when we approach barebacking with that attitude–and that is our approach–people are afraid to ask questions and get education about how to best minimize their risk and maximize their pleasure if they are not using a condom every single time they have sex.
Getting back to the video; a condom is prominently featured during the sex scene to let you know that these guys played safe. But really, who has condoms lying around next to your Post-its and dry erase markers. Had there not been a condom, what decision could these guys have made? What kind of pleasure could they have give each other while being safe? Since the positive guy is undetectable and the bottom in this scenario, could our top have had penetrative sex with him? Should he have? These these are the types of questions and discussion that we should be having; that we should be creating PSA’s about as well. We need to do it because these types of situations are a reality in the community. And not talking about it; not educating people and helping them make the best decision about taking risks or not isn’t helping to prevent new infections.
PSA from The Huffington Post article ‘”Knowing”, Video From Impulse Group, Seeks To Combat HIV Stigma (NSFW)’