Thursday, December 01, 2005

World AIDS Day

on a serious note...

So today is World AIDS Day....

For awhile now, I've been contemplating writing an all out personal history for this day. But after I wrote the LONG and detailed posted, I realized it was more of an exorcism of demons than anything that was a required reading for the general public. All that said, for any of those so inclined to know my sad sappy past, you can read that here.

Anyway, no my AIDS day post is going to be a bit on the controversial side I think. In fact I unfortunately feel borderline Republican when I think about these things (and being borderline Republican on ANYTHING gives me an uneasy feeling), but honestly let's get it all out on the table.

To clarify:

I am not writing about HIV infections worldwide

I am not writing about HIV infections from the 80s

I am not writing about HIV infections on the poor & uneducated

I'm not writing about HIV infections from people whose partners cheated on them

No, I am writing about my peers, my community - the single educated gay men whose entire sexual development was framed in a world where HIV was a reality yet continue to engage in unprotected sex.

Why the fuck are we continuing to infect ourselves???

As much as I want to feel nothing but utter compassion for those who fit the above mold and test positive, I've lately been finding myself at a bit of a lack of sympathy. I mean come on, we grew up in an era that by the time our dicks first got hard we knew what HIV was, we knew how to protect ourselves. In this day in age this is NO REASON we should be continuing to become positive...

I don't feel that anyone deserves to get this disease - it's not an issue of morality or karma. HIV is an awful thing, but unfortunately it is an evil reality that exists in the world. This is a fact. Just because a condom is a bitch to use and a monogamous relationship isn't always easy to come by (or wanted) doesn't mean we should trade in our health for a mind blowing orgasm. Come on people!

I compare it to a hard thunderstorm in a wide open field. It's not very wise for a guy to be out there flying his kite in the middle of it. So if he gets struck by lighting I'll feel bad for him, but bottom line - didn't he know better? Why is it so wrong to say, what the fuck were you thinking???

When are we going to take responsibility for our actions???

Maybe I feel so strongly about this because it's been far too personal for me. Maybe it's because someone I was in love with made all the wrong decisions and got bit hard in the ass as a result. Maybe I've seen too many friends fall upon the same fate. Maybe my heart can't take another person I know and care about becoming infected. As hard as I try not to judge these people - my friends and loved ones - I find it so hard to not be angry with them. It bothers me that some of the people that I love wouldn't care enough about themselves to protect themselves.

It bothers me that it seems like more money gets spent on HIV treatment than does HIV prevention. I scoff at such events as Cherry that attempts to raise money for HIV organizations meanwhile promoting a circuit party that probably creates more drug induced HIV infections than it'll ever be able to treat with the money it raises.

In some ways I feel bad for feeling the way I do. I honestly wish nothing more than for a cure to be found and for us to be able to move on. Sex is not the evil at play here. People who engage in sex aren't the evil. HIV is the evil, not people with HIV. But knowing this evil exists in the world I beg of you all to not allow it into your lives. Be safe, wear a condom, have an open relationship if you want but save that most intimate of moments of bareback sex for your partner only, for god sakes protect yourself.

We have already had far, far too many World AIDS Day.....

(serious post over, please join us tomorrow when we return to such topics as skid marks and bad tippers)


At 9:12 AM, Blogger Dale said...

Amen sistah soul.

At 10:43 AM, Blogger j. brotherlove said...

Maybe I should've followed your lead instead of posting my own, long story. Very passinate post here. Thank you for sharing.

At 10:56 AM, Blogger aklsdjhfa said...

Woohoo skid marks!

At 12:24 PM, Blogger VP of Dior said...

You make some very good points. I think they same can be said of people in the *gulp* hetero world. It's all about in the heat of the moment can you stop and make an intelligent decision to use a condom, or are you going to selfish and risk your health?

Honestly everyday should be a worldwide compassion day. (Hmm that was a total beauty pageant answer...but I mean it.)

At 12:30 PM, Anonymous copperred said...

Personal responsibility has nothing to do with being Republican.

At 2:02 PM, Blogger Dale said...

I'm sorry, can we all direct our attention to the fact that my counterpart and one of my besties said..... wooo....hooo.... skidmarks????

At 2:27 PM, Anonymous A Poz Guy said...

And now a comment from a HIV positive person: Mr. Bartender, get off your moral high horse. You have NO IDEA what I have gone through to deal with the reality of my momentary lapse in judgment. Sure, you may have friends/loved ones who have tested positive. And I have no doubt that you were a beacon of support. But until you experience getting that news first hand, well then don’t lecture me. Yeah, I fucked up, I fucked up BIG TIME. I have to deal with the reality and the consequences of that fuck up for the rest of my life. I’m reminded of what a big screw up I was every morning when I get up, eat breakfast and take my little anti-viral pills.

We all have our moments of making poor choices in any number of areas: sex, love, money, etc. Moments when we knew what the right thing to do was, but for one reason or another, we chose not to follow it. If we all made the right choice at the right time we’d have TONS of worldly problems solved – no war, no homelessness, no starvation, you get the idea.

We’ve learned something from all of our bad choices. You, Mr. Bartender, learned a huge lesson from your experience with SC, which I believe you could characterize as ultimately a bad decision to fall in love with him, yes? Those times crying into your friend’s shoulder while he comforted you could all have been avoided if your character judgment had been on point at the right time, perhaps? It’s obvious from your post that you went through hell and back with SC. It’s clear that this horrible ordeal of yours deeply affected you and will continue to shape you in future relationships. I’m sorry you had to go through that, I truly am.

Like you, I have learned an extremely valuable lesson from my times of bad judgment: Life is TOO FUCKING SHORT to play the coulda-shoulda-woulda-finger pointing-chastisement game. I can’t count the hours I spent running the “what if’s” through my head after I was given the news. I agree, we all know better and should be wrapping it up every time and thus HIV infection amongst gay men SHOULD NOT be happening. But sadly, it does. I am personally attesting to that. What I and my fellow poz people would like is a little support and not to be torn down for having a moment of utter stupidity – a moment that we’ve ALL had, gay AND straight. Some people have just been luckier than others.

At 3:51 PM, Blogger Mr. Bartender said...

Poz Guy - first of all let me say I'm truly sorry for everything you have had to go through. I may not know everything that you are dealing with but I have seen a good share of it. I know it sucks and it’s not fair at all... As I said in the post – no one deserves to get this disease.

But I wonder why is it so wrong to talk open and honestly about this disease, especially as it continues to infect more and more people? Knowing everything you know now, and after experiencing everything you’ve experienced doesn’t it bother you to continue to see your peers engaging in dangerous behavior? Doesn’t it break your heart to see other people having to endure the same pain that you’ve gone through?

Why is that concern a moral high horse? Yes we’ve all made mistakes, and sadly some people have had to pay a higher price for those mistakes than others, but what do we have to gain by trying to label that mistake as something other than what it is? What do we have to gain by dismissing the risks associated with those mistakes?

If a friend of mine tells me he barebacked the other night it’s a bit of a cop out to simply shrug my shoulders and say “oh well we all make mistakes” and leave it at’s that attitude that allows this disease to thrive. Isn’t it better to say “you know what I love you too much to see you get hurt. I don’t want you to become positive - Please for god’s sake in the future use a condom.”

That may seem like judging to you, but in my book that’s what a good friend does...

At 4:21 PM, Anonymous A Poz Guy said...

Mr. Bartender: Perhaps I somewhat misunderstood. Perhaps it's because this is all too new to me and it's just so fucking real I'm having a hard time processing it. I took your post as somewhat of an affront. I guess your post just seemed angry and preachy, and I took offense.

That said, I feel that in your reply you have (to me) better clarified your point and I see more of where you're coming from. And you're right, a true friend confronts as well as consoles.

At 10:19 PM, Blogger Asian Mistress said...

Serious posts are needed for such subjects.

On a fun note I had a great time with you guys last night!

At 10:36 PM, Blogger Stef said...

Really great post. Thank you for addressing such a tough issue.


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