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Author Topic: Anger Surrounds My Youth Gruop Speech  (Read 5939 times)

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Offline Jeffreyj

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Anger Surrounds My Youth Gruop Speech
« on: June 21, 2006, 04:18:24 AM »
I am scheduled to talk to a group of about 200 Gay youths in August. Before I talk to them I asked the director about what the theme should be. We basically agreed that prevention would be appropriate. After talking to her for a while, she felt really bad about a recent incident. There is this teenaged boy, age 16, who told the group about 4 weeks ago that he found out he was HIV+. Well, he was so angry and so upset with his situation(duh) that for the next four weeks he "took over" the group and evidently it became so disruptive that they through him out of the group! I was shocked. So she explained to me that the kids there just are not "getting it" when in comes to HIV/Aids.
1) I feel totally bad for the kid and offered my assistance, which she did not yet accept
2)I'm so freaking angry at the group in general I'm thinking I should just make my speech so scary to them that they all have nightmares the night after my little talk with them.
What would you all do??? Thanks in advance for your help!
Positive since 1985

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Anger Surrounds My Youth Gruop Speech
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2006, 05:06:37 AM »
Jeff I appreciate your feelings here, but I'm not sure how well teenagers react to angry adults. I never responded well to them cranky grown ups when I was a teen and I wonder if your purpose in this is to "teach them a lesson" or to learn what makes them behave in such a way?

Once you've worked that out, you may well be in a better position to resolve this positively for all concerned.


Offline kcmetroman

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Re: Anger Surrounds My Youth Gruop Speech
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2006, 07:25:01 AM »
Jeff, I agree with Matty here.  You aint gonna scare them if they don't hear you.  I would try to delve into their issues rather than inflame them.

Offline Lovinglife

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Re: Anger Surrounds My Youth Gruop Speech
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2006, 08:39:47 AM »
Jeff, I feel your anger.  I have have the opportunity to speak to many teens regarding my HIV status.  Not 200 at one time but classrooms full.   You may only be speaking to 200 but you may reach thousands; teens love to talk about sex.  Just be honest and talk from the heart.  Scaring them doesn't work.  One of the biggest things that shocked the teens when I spoke was that they can get HIV and other STD's from oral sex.  They believed they were save.  They also thought Magic Johnson was cured so it was okay to mess around.  Explaining to them the basics of the disease, how it is transmitted, explaining the cost of health care, both financial and emotional, and the difference between non detectable and "there is no cure"  may benefit them more.  You have a great opportunity to honestly share the pain, and horrors of HIV/AIDS.  Good luck and I am sure you will do a great job.
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away.

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Anger Surrounds My Youth Gruop Speech
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2006, 08:45:35 AM »
Hi Jeffrey,

You need to think about what your goal is in talking with these kids.

Talking about prevention with them is a real service on your part and a much needed one among gay teens.

Here are a few specific suggestions:

1. Speak simply and directly from both the head and the heart.

2. Speak clearly and quietly so that you can be heard and understood without having to shout. (The idea here is to be talking WITH them rather than AT them). 

3. Make a few notes about some statistics in terms of the current rising number of infected teens, etc. You can give the overall infection numbers but of course emphasize how this is a virus that is relevant to them.

4. Give a few details about what it's like to live with HIV.  

5. Last and absolutely not least, tell them if they are having sex, the most important way to protect themselves is by using latex condoms everytime they have intercourse, no matter who it's with. Emphasize no exceptions no matter what they think they know about their partners. A condom is a must everytime.

6. If you are comfortable with this, tell them that as gay teenagers they have to deal with prejudices and challenges that are different from the experiences of many straight teens. It's very important that they not allow those difficulties to get them into unsafe sexual situations, because HIV isn't like a cold. If you get it, you get it for the rest of your life. This may also allow you to get into saying something about HIV/AIDS phobia and the prejudices that those living with the virus have to deal with- And the importance of being supportive to each other.

7. If you know how much time you have to speak make sure you leave sometime for them to ask questions. If it's ok with the director, give the address of this website and tell them should they have questions in the future or want to know more they can get answers here.

8. These are suggestions. Just use what's helpful to you and to the teens you're talking to.

Good luck with this and let us know how it goes.

« Last Edit: June 21, 2006, 09:37:00 AM by Andy Velez »
Andy Velez

Offline aztecan

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Re: Anger Surrounds My Youth Gruop Speech
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2006, 09:15:01 AM »
I would agree with the lot here. Don't let your anger taint an opportunity to open windows for these kids. As the others have said, speak directly, simply and from the heart.

Obviously, the kid who tested positive isn't getting much support. This could be an opportunity for you to show how much the support of others can mean to someone who is positive.

Young people of this age still believe themselves invincible. Nothing can touch them. The world is their's for the taking and for the changing. I remember those idealistic, completely unrealistic days.

Perhaps, through your story, which is a very potent and clear picture of life with HIV, you may prod them to think about this disease, take precautions, or at least be more supportive and caring for those they come across who are living with HIV.

Touch one kid, you have touched dozens. Don't let anger dictate your direction.


"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)

Offline DCGuy511

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Re: Anger Surrounds My Youth Gruop Speech
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2006, 11:56:45 AM »
I understand that the recently-diagnosed boy needs support, but do you know why he was thrown out?  You mention that he was angry and disruptive.  I was in a support group for the newly diagnosed through an ASO here in Washington.  We had ground rules that every member had to follow.  If someone couldn't follow the ground rules, then they'd have to leave.  I have no idea what the rules are for the group in question or what the disruption was. I'm not defending the group, just offering another view. Maybe this individual could benefit from some individual counseling.

« Last Edit: June 21, 2006, 12:11:23 PM by DCGuy511 »
Infected/Diagnosed Fall 2003
"No Man Is An Island" - J Donne

Offline Ann

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    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Anger Surrounds My Youth Gruop Speech
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2006, 12:00:46 PM »

I want to thank you for posting this today because it served as a much needed catalyst for a bit of change in my own life. I was writing a reply earlier today but accidentally deleted it.

I was pretty much saying what the others are saying but with the addition of suggesting that the organisers of a group who would throw a kid out because of his issues over being hiv positive also need some hiv education. Perhaps you are the person to do that. ???

I blogged the insight that you caused for me today, so check it out.

(And please, no comments in Jeff's thread about my blog. Use the blog comment forum if you wish to say anything about it. I don't want to hijack Jeff's thread!)

Good luck with your talk. Let us know how it goes, ok?

Condoms are a girl's best friend

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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline water duck

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Re: Anger Surrounds My Youth Gruop Speech
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2006, 04:08:58 PM »
After reading all the wisdom being shared and trying hard to digest them i have the following to share.
Anger is often a mask for hurt, fear or feelings of abandonment which maybe u like to consider.
Why not try to take Anger's powerful energy and treat it as an ally so that healling can begin ; and change come about.

It is not enough to say that we attract what we think;
We become what we think,
And what we become we will attract.        Ernest S. Holmes

Good luck  !! Jeff


Offline Jeffreyj

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Re: Anger Surrounds My Youth Gruop Speech
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2006, 07:42:15 AM »
Matty, Kcmetro,thanks for pointing out that anger is not the way to go. I posted this moments after I spoke with the manager at the youth center. I was really upset. I'm not sure why I was so angry, but I'm human. My heart went out to that 16y.o. kid who got thrown out of the group. Sometimes I care too much I suppose. Lately I have been really upset with the new cases of HIV/AIDS. We are failing as a country and I guess I feel partly responsible. When I hear that there were 300,000 new cases in the USA well that's just not acceptable.
As so many of you have pointed out, I need to take my anger and turn it into something good. Thanks to you all for your thoughts. Loving Life, that was a great suggestion on Oral. Rest assured that will be on my top ten list!
Andy... WOW. I loved all your ideas. #5 though(condoms) I have to find out if I can even metion that. I think i have heard that if a group takes federal money you can only talk about abstinence.(total joke) I'm going to talk to the director soon to find out what I can and can't say to these kids.
Aztecan: Thanks again for your insight. You support is so very much appreciated....Ann... I look forward to reading your blog. I am so happy I have found this group. I thought I knew so much about HIV/aids having had it for 22 years and all. But I learn something new every day in here. Thanks to you all from the bottom of my heart. Allot of you have deeply touched my heart, for which I am totally grateful. The support is giving me the strength to move forward and to keep learning so I can make a difference. A less angry difference too!
Positive since 1985


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