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04 August 2011

Comments

Chitown Kev

I was wondering about this over at JMG.

"Black gay/bi men are 73% of all infections in among Black [men]."

Which means that 27% of those case are among "straight" black men.

I have to read all of this. But yes...the numbers are past alarming.

Chitown Kev

OK.

I wish that I had seen a similar breakout to Figure 4 in the report for all groups.

"Alarming" would be a useful description for young gay men regardless of race/ethnicity. But yeah, looking at the steady increase among young black gay men (as opposed to the "peaks and valleys" of whites and Hispanics) is stunning.

I haven't the slightest idea what to do about it.

You can make all of the services available that you want, you can make HIV education materials to be as (to put it crudely) "culturally compentent" as you want but that 59% don't even KNOW their damn status (71% if they're young)...

At what point do you have to beat the "personal responsibility" drum louder?

And, sadly, at what point (if any) do you "let go" on certain levels?

yes, of course a lot of this is tied into racism [access to health care, lack of facilities in the 'hood, not being wanted where there are the facilities (like Boystown), etc.]

But (and I may take a beatdown for this, I know) at some point, I just think that you have to stop screaming racism and you have to stop screaming homophobia (within or outside of the 'hood) and take care of your damn self.

Or we have to take care of ourselves. However you want to put
And I can't say that I've put on a condom 100% of the time but 80-90% of the time where anal sex is involved, yes I do (and I don't do anal sex very often).

and I do get tested on a regular basis (and that hasn't always been true but one scare when I was in my early 20's was enough).

That's my $.01 for now.

MW09

@Chitown Kev

Thanks for your input! It's ALWAYS appreciated.

I don't know what is wrong with my generation!?!?! The resources and information is readily available and it just breaks my heart.

Jim

“Dishearteningly, the incidence data comes despite evidence that shows young black gay men engage in less risk[y] behavior than their peers of other races, yet experience greater infection rates due to higher levels of sexually transmitted diseases, lower levels of HIV testing, and inadequate access to healthcare and treatment that can both improve individual health and reduce transmission of HIV.”

This touches on one of the main issues here: If everyone who is HIV-positive takes antiretrovirals, then transmission is reduced dramatically. Drugs may not always eliminate HIV from the semen, but, on average, it reduces it dramatically. (This is something that the AIDS organizations have not always emphasized for fear that men getting treated would then stop having safe sex.)

So, if black men are being diagnosed later and not being treated, that greatly increases transmission, even if black men are no less safe in their behavior than men of any other ethnic group.

Apart from any other issues, there is a simple and obvious main reason black men get tested and treated less often the men of other ethnic groups: lack of easy access to decent medical care. With a health care “system” that relies on employment-based health insurance (which is not even available with many poorly-paid service jobs) and with very high unemployment among black youth, you’re going to have a large number of men not being treated until they end up in an ER somewhere. And these men will have high viral loads and be transmitting HIV if they have not-so-safe sex.

So long as the people who run this country keep trying to make medical care the exclusive privilege of the wealthy, the problem of HIV will only get worse.

Former COGIC

Kev:

Actually, race and homophobia have a lot to do with African American health disparities. Blacks are far likely to be unemployed, have lower paying jobs, are under insured and many have no health care insurance. Those are among the biggest reasons why many black folks don't have access to medical care and testing.

Also, homophobia is a huge problem in the black community, many people are religious and the black church stood by while HIV ran rampant over our community. So we're talking about social structures that are institutional and long standing. There are also many myths and misinformation about HIV in our community, ie "DL men spread HIV" and "masculine men are less likely to have HIV".

And as Rod has pointed out many times and written elsewhere, the rise in infections corresponds with the recession. Many people are out of jobs or on unemployment. Many states are also cutting back on HIV funding.

I absolutely believe in personal responsibility. You are absolutely right. But not everyone is using a condom (obviously) and we have to try to reach them with a different message or solution. Okay, you used a condom. But you're not offering a solution. As usual, you're only criticizing black folks.

And I really could care less about what you're saying about this to your white online buddies at JMG, where you never say a word when the guys start bashing blacks. Oh that's right, you just "know" that "someone else" will say something. I guess "someone else" will say something critical and important to the young black gay men about HIV, too.

Sage

I just wrote a blog piece on this which was inspired by reading this article. If posting this does not automatically give you a way to find my blog, the name of it is moyo aflame

Amir

I really want to highlight something that Chitwn said

“I haven't the slightest idea what to do about it.”

This is how I feel and I know this is how so many activist who are fighting in the movement feel. It is important that we come together around our brothers. Yes education, lack of resources and health care, homophobia plays a part among other things but we have to understand that it takes a village to raise a child and it takes us telling these young men that “we” matter and we are beautiful. And we have to understand our value and our worth. But hey that’s just my opinion…
Amir

Chitown Kev

@Former COGIC

I'm not denying that race and homophobia aren't problems. I even cited several examples and areas where race and homophobia are, indeed, a big part of the problem (I guess that you can't read in between the brackets otherwise you would realize that your comments about access to health care were already covered).

So back the fu*k up and stop flaming.

I mean, WTF are you gonna do Former COGIC, go to the bathhouses and cruising areas and bars and into folks bedrooms and put the condom on them (usually, condoms are in the bathhouses, I've seen and done outreach where myself and others went to cruise spots passing out condoms, etc.).

How many different ways can you say, "Look, honey, that d*ck don't pay no bills and it might kill your black ass."? How "culturally compentent" does it have to be.

Personal responsibility goes along with address ALL of the other institutional problems.

And obviously you don't read JMG and what I say there because what you are saying about what I write there and when I write is a filthy-ass lie (and I can prove that, as well, even on this very topic).

I may not say what you want me to say or the way you would have me say, but then again who the f*ck are you?

It's too early for this...

Chitown Kev

"address" s/be "addressing"

And yes, I do think that older black queens like myself are a part of the problem for not being varying degrees of a "mentor" to young black gay men

(Then again, who wants to listen to an old queen. When was a young queen, I sure didn't...and that's a thing with young folks, it has nothing to do with race).

Now I can write about what I came here for prior to bein so (ahem!) rudely interrupted.

I know that back in high school, we were required to take a one semester health course. Maybe AIDS education needs to be a mandatory part of those health courses (I went to HS in Detroit, I am unsure as to the requirements in CPS).

Then again, I can just imagine some of the churchified folks screaming about AIDS education in the classroom (if it doen't happen already). I would also think that someone thought about and considered that idea.

Dalton

Chitown Kev: Absolutely no one here said anything about "racism", "cultural competency" or such. You started off on that trend by discussing what you heard at another (overwhelming majority white) blog. And if you're going to open the door, you're inviting the discussion.

There is a disconnect between younger black/Latino men and women and condom health. You see it in pregnancy rates and in HIV rates. We have to think of new ways to engage these groups.

Another issue specific to blacks and Latinos is lack of testing and partner selection. The data show that black and Latino gay/bi men (and straight women) more than often choose to have sex within their racial groups and in their neighborhoods and social circles. The circles are closed, fewer people are getting tested for STDs etc. So when one partner is infected, many others become infected.

I'm agreeing with Amir. It takes a village to raise a child. Unfortunately the larger black community has not responded to the HIV crisis and the black gay community has also done a poor job.

And black gay elders are not mentoring or passing on knowledge. There is often a very negative or combative tone. Its expressed in this thread and often in this blog. It seems that many older black gay men have no use for younger brothas unless its sexual. Or they are bitter older queens. Or, they're frustrated with their own lives and project that onto all black gay men.

There is a lot more to sexual health than simply using a condom. Many of these young men are already lacking self esteem, social skills, professional development or such. They need to be lifted up and encouraged, not shouted out and berated. If they aren't using condoms (and many black and Latina women do not, either) we have to find solutions.


Kev, it really is too early. We're talking about a global epidemic and a major problem in our community. We're not talking about you personally.

Chitown Kev

@Dalton

I agree with all of your points, actually, however Former COGIC's attack was personal and I answered it accordingly.

I had read this report prior to Rod posting it, I said some things about it at that place and I detailed some (though not all) of my questions here.

And, yes, to deny that institutionalized racism and homophobia doesn't account for much of the disparities is to put one's head in the sand and that has to be addressed as well.

You did bring up the Latino issue though, Dalton. My other thought was that many of the same issues with racism and community-based homophobia exists among Latinos (although simply knowing that they are "Latinos" may not be enough, are there disparities between say, Puerto Ricans and Mexicans). As well as the macho attitudes among the men.

Yet you don't see the steadily and rapidly increasing rate that you see among young black men.

In short, I do wonder if the Latino communities are doing something that black communities are not.

There was something else in the report that I didn't quite...get, I suppose:

"Young, black gay and bisexual men are also more likely to have
older sexual partners (among whom HIV prevalence is high),
compared to MSM of other racial/ethnic groups, and may
underestimate their personal risk for HIV."

I don't know what to make of that statement from the report other than...it just sounds fishy (it may be true for all I know)

Robert

I get all of the statements above, I do. Those factors hugely impact behavior, outcomes and context, but...then I go to the public library downtown and I see a dozen young black boys on gay chat/hook ups sites at 2 in the afternoon trying to get their rocks off and do lord knows what with the devil knows whom.

As some point, each person must take ownership of the self. It's like the fat person (abused as a teen, seeking comfort in food) who finally puts down the cheeseburger and turns it around. The person must decide "I am worth more" and put on that condom or just stay at home and jack off!

Rico

"Almost one in three Black MSM are HIV positive, compared to only 16 percent of white gay/ and bisexual men. The numbers were even higher in some cities. Black poz MSM were least likely to be aware of their status—59 percent unaware vs. 26 percent for white MSM."

@ Robert: The HIV numbers for older Black gay men are not much better. There really isn't much to be proud of or sanctimonious about.

And iirc didn't Rod post an article last year re CDC reporting almost half of black gay men in Milwaukee? Minneapolis? were estimated to be positive?

FWIW, being on a hookup site doesn't mean you're going to have unsafe sex. But as Dalton pointed out above, sometime long ago the black and black gay communities forget about "it takes a vilage to raise a child." Kids are only mimicking what their elders do, say and practice. The HIV rates of black gay men outside of the 13-29 group are also OUTRAGEOUS and TRAGIC. Let's not pretend otherwise.

Chitown Kev

"then I go to the public library downtown and I see a dozen young black boys on gay chat/hook ups sites at 2 in the afternoon trying to get their rocks off and do lord knows what with the devil knows whom."

LOL, it's the summertime; school is still out and many young white boys are doing the EXACT same thing.

Greg G

Robert: I've disagreed w/ Chitown before but he is absolutely correct on that point. What does being online at 2PM have to do with HIV? Aren't white boys (or older black gay men) on hook up sites, too?

Going on a hookup site doesn't guarantee HIV. You can catch it from your first experience with a BF. It's about using protection.

Also co-signing Rico. It seems like a few older brothers are trying to act holier than thou. You all must have not read Rod's many other posts or articles about HIV in black gay community. The HIV rates are sky high across our community. The largest INCREASE was among 13-29yo but the RATES for 29yo + are still very very high and much higher than any other demographic.

Chitown Kev

"The HIV numbers for older Black gay men are not much better. There really isn't much to be proud of or sanctimonious about."

Who's proud or sanctimonious about it?

It's still quite out of whack proportionally in all age groups (and it has been since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, FWIW), I am well aware of that.

In fact, I wanted to see a similar breakout to Figure 4 for all the age groups (which may well exist but I'm lazy at the moment)

D.C.

what happened to my post?? Are they being edited?

Black Pegasus

Goodness knows I've disagreed with ChiTown Kev before on another failed blog, but on this issue I have to co-sign his sentiments. Personal responsibility is FREE and can be easilly accessed! USE it!

Chitown Kev

sometime long ago the black and black gay communities forget about "it takes a vilage to raise a child."

Well...

Most black communities did pretty much adhere to the "it takes a village..." philosophy prior to the 1950's and the 1960's.

I've often thought that, yes, the black civil rights movement of the 50's and 60's was a great and wonderful and fantastic event that has done a incalculable amount of good for black people.


But it did come with a price.

Part of that is the continued and even accelerated fracturing of black communities.

I mean, it's not just the black community, the (white) gay community goes through that, immigrant communities go through that by becoming white, etc...it's part of the process of assimiliation. IMHO.

Bubbalicious

Rod, my post was deleted I guess. I'm sorry if I offended you.
Sigh. Your very long comment was NEVER posted. Comments that are excessively long or use graphic language are automatically held as spam. FWIW: You have left previous comments disputing CDC's HIV rates. We don't dispute HIV/AIDS facts at R20. -RM

soulbrotha

I think Dalton summed it up beautifully with this statement:

"There is a lot more to sexual health than simply using a condom. Many of these young men are already lacking self esteem, social skills, professional development or such. They need to be lifted up and encouraged, not shouted out and berated. If they aren't using condoms (and many black and Latina women do not, either) we have to find solutions."

I think one solution would be if Black churches stopped with the homophobic and anti-gay teachings, judgments and condemnations and started focusing on saving our black youth instead of "SAVING" them. Most Black kids are raised in Christian homes, where they are taught that gay is wrong and nasty. They are saddled with guilt and self-hatred and feel rejected by God and society. Ostracized by their own community (and ignored by the gay white one), they feel like "why should I bother with condoms if I'm going to Hell anyway?" If there's no self-worth, there's no fear. When are the churches gonna put down their bibles and pick up their children?

Osiris

People are surprised? What did you think would happen when one glorifies a lifestyle of circuit parties, club hopping, and idolizing porn actors(they are definitely not stars).

I am young and I will definitely say that most of those in my generation have nothing going for themselves other than sex. That's all they know how to do and that's all that they are good for. Personality? Non-existent. Brains? Lacking. Don't believe me? Take someone in their late teens or twenties out on a date and see if you can last the entire night without cutting the date short and heading to the bedroom or just blowing your own brains out.

It's sad but it's true. My generation HAS to understand that there is more to life than getting high and getting laid.

Chitown Kev

@Osiris

That may or may not be true, but when I was in your age bracket, the old queens used to say pretty much the same stuff about us.

If someone is young, have all the fun and good times and...hell, be as big of a slut as you want to be.

Just understand the elements what is out there and protect yourself. No need to be all prudish.

Hmmm ...

I am sorry ... and I know this is not a popular view ... But all of these theories about self-esteem, racism, etc. are a small part of the issue. I know plenty of reckless young men who have never dealt with racism, are well paid and well educated, know the risks and STILL engage in unsafe sexual practices. Why? Because it feels good to them. Period. It's the same reason some people smoke or do drugs. In 2011 this boils down to personal responsibility more than anything. The one slip up I had at 19 back in the day - thank goodness nothing bad came of it - I had because I wanted to see what it felt like to penetrate someone with no condom. I don't have low self-esteem, I have access to health care and have never dealt with racism. Being a kid of the eighties and nineties I was well aware of the risk of HIV and other STDs. I simply wanted to try it, I owned the risk then, did it and that was that. Had something bad happened there is no way I could have blamed anyone but ME and ME alone. So at what point are black gay men going to own their sexual health and stop trying to find 101 other factors and factions of people fall back on as being at fault? I have always felt that the discussion about this is not entirely honest. Yes there are institutional factors that fuel this but a lot of it is simply the nature of people. Unfortunately this is the kind of thing that has dire consequences. I just don't buy that any young man out there having unsafe sex does not know better in this day and time.

Chitown Kev

@Hmmmm....

Are you black or white?

Just because you have access to health care doesn't mean that the physicians treating you aren't going to be biased (e.g.: Rod's report sometime ago about the racism and homophobia encountered by HIV+ black gay men at Cook County Hospital)

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