07 April 2011

This is a Test

I have a ritual.

Growing up, I believed heavily in karma. In addition to being Catholic, I had the added guilt fearing anything bad - or good -  you did would come back to you ten-fold. So just imagine some twenty plus-years later the big mess that can create in a grown man - not pretty.

Shortly after I became sexually active, I advocated profusely for safe sex. "Wrap before you tap!" "No glove? NO LOVE!" and various other funny phrases were mantras I chanted to myself moments before a hook-up. I am a sexually safe and HIV-negative gay man. Truthfully, there were indiscretions and slip-ups in the past I will admit to. When in the heat of the deed, the last thing I would think of is awkwardly incorporating a foreign rubbery sheath into a very intimate moment:

DeeCue: Yeah, Fuck me.
Dick: Yeah? You want it all in you?
DeeCue: Yeah!
Dick: Fuck yeah!
DeeCue: Oh, wait one second; let's put this rubber thing on your cock before doing so as to prevent a multitude of sexually transmitted diseased from being spread. This PSA was brought to you by the letter Q and the number 3.

OK, I know it is an obvious, no brainer situation. But seriously, someone back me up here: slapping on a prophylactic which interrupts the mood calls for a conscious effort some choose not to make. But again, I admit to my errors and I feel much safer behind this computer screen knowing I will be judged and not even know it. In the heat of passion, I convince myself that playing "just the tip" won't hurt anyone, including myself. But when all is said and cum, panic sets in and I am a complete wreck. I think back to any other slips in better-judgement I've had; reason out my level of risk (no one came inside of me, but they were in me, ugh!); work myself up into a frenzy; make an appointment to get tested; and swear off even the slightest glance at a hook-up site until I'm free and cleared.

One of my friends is a therapist in NYC with a practice focusing on gay men and their concerns with "unfulfilling relationships, substance use, depression, anxiety and anger" (email me if you would like his contact info). We sometimes chat about how a growing number of men today see HIV and AIDS as a thing of the past, a chronic disease rather than the killer we grew up knowing it as (remember that commercial with the kid in an abandoned apartment with Paul Lekakis' dance hit "Boom Boom Boom" playing in the background? Creepy and scarring!). The existence of HIV in the community is on the rise and, to put it bluntly, more and more people just do not care. There are drugs out there that can help a person lead a seemingly normal and healthy life and live with the virus. What's the big deal?

WHAT? How about not getting it in the first place so you don't have to live a life seemingly normal and healthy, how about that? I know I am old school for still giving into the stigma, but I fear "it." I fear going back to my doctor who is holding all of my blood work results in hand and matter of factly reading off findings as if a list of things to buy from the grocery:

Cholesterol: awesome at 126,
HDL: 46,
Vitamin D: low like most of Americans; just take some supplements, and
HIV: negative.

In a sigh of relief, I leave the doctor's office, get home, and jump on-line.

Point of the conversation: When will I ever learn?

- DeeCue

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