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Author Topic: The Noise of Us  (Read 3494 times)

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Offline Paolo Tucson

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  • Posts: 9
The Noise of Us
« on: October 01, 2008, 05:55:55 PM »
I know I will most likely get letters about this and I hope that I do.  What we need right now is some serious noise.

 For the last 5 or 6 years I have read the statistics that show consistently that the highest numbers, 53%, of those who are newly infected occur in MSM (men who have sex with men); really this means Gay and Bi-sexual men and not just those who on occasion have sex with another man for whatever reason. These are real people.  These numbers are now known to be significantly higher than believed. Those numbers are and have been horridly impacting us in the Gay community with our Gay youth ages 17-30 years old being hit hardest.  There has been over the years a lot of shouting about others being disproportionally affected and many communities are disproportionally affected by AIDS.  The Gay community is and has historically been affected more than any other by AIDS. To say that I am outraged would be an understatement.

As I look back and I recall how we Gay men mobilized, how we banded together and made noise, a lot of very loud noise about AIDS the killer among us.  This noise motivated the development of a system of services to address critical needs for those with AIDS.  This noise motivated government to promote development of medications to keep us from dying so quickly, so often.  And at one time it seemed like the world was listening. 

In more recent years the noise has disappeared and our history has been forgotten by this new generation.  As my generation slips away into the history books, I have fear for our current generation.  These Gay men who are now young are facing their generation with AIDS tearing through the fabric of friends and brothers. How many will pass away without the future knowing they were here.

Who listens now?  Our community has spent a good deal of time, money, work and energy struggling to be able to marry one another.  While I support our desire for this basic of human rights, I also wonder when we will be outraged that so many of us are still dying.  Last year, at the AIDS service organization where I work, over 100 people died of AIDS or AIDS related illness.  I knew many of them. While I concede that many live longer than ever before, many die still.  I also see young men sitting in my office bearing their fears to me when they have become positive and didnít get the support they needed to know or even to care to protect them selves.

Iíve given a lot of thought as to why so many young gay men are becoming positive.  While I hear a lot of mean, hurtful comments from in and outside our community about why this occurs, I take a different track.  My belief is two fold, first Gay men and women are marginalized still in our society. Gay men are especially vilified because a large part of our society still hates us. I recall some Christians saying ďHate the Sin, not the Sinner.Ē  It is hate none the less. Hate leads to the belief that we, our needs, feelings and value somehow just donít count. Second, we who know better have become complacent in our duty, our caring and our focus for our future generation.  Instead of supporting them in their struggle to be relevant we expect them to do it merely on their own because we did this.  We would be very wrong to leave our juniors to fight alone for their place in this society.  It would be a sin to leave them to the hate that is still out there, while we sit complacent with our wisdom, our history, and do not pass this to our future. I have adopted, in a way, a young gay man as if he was my son and I will do my best to pass my wisdom on to him. Who will you pass your wisdom too?

In the coming months I will be meeting with others in the Gay community to put together action plans to address this tragedy.  We cannot sit by and let our children die. So I challenge you to do something more than wearing a red ribbon to address this crisis. I urge you to make some noise. I urge you to pass your history and wisdom on. Our childrenís lives depend on it. 
Some die that we may have hope, some because they have none.

Offline RapidRod

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  • Posts: 15,288
Re: The Noise of Us
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2008, 06:21:25 PM »
Who listens now? No one. Education, advertisements, stories of people with HIV on TV nothing is working. Kids are head strong and no one is going to tell them anything. They have to learn the hardway. It's sad, but what else can be done?

Offline Paolo Tucson

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  • Posts: 9
Re: The Noise of Us
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2008, 07:31:21 PM »
Rapid, I wish it were so easy to just throw up my hands and say they will not listen.  I, we can't afford to be so dismissive.
Some die that we may have hope, some because they have none.

Offline RapidRod

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  • Posts: 15,288
Re: The Noise of Us
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2008, 03:24:46 AM »
What is your suggestion to fix it? I see no other alternatives. You can give them all the education you like but that doesn't seem to help.

Offline ubotts

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  • Posts: 347
Re: The Noise of Us
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2008, 08:06:48 AM »
We had commecials give out comdoms and still aids is on the rise.

I guess the younger generation, see someone like Magic Johnson, and think,
well he is doing fine, and theres medicines that help you out so I think
that I will be fine :-\

I would like to know myself, what more can we do?
Live Love Laugh and dance like no ones watching.
Laughter is the best medicine, so try to have a laugh everyday..Even if your not feeling your best, think about something that was funny at one time in your life and work with it..   :o)

Offline Peter Staley

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  • Posts: 1,338
  • Founder & Advisory Editor, AIDSmeds.com
    • AIDSmeds.com
Re: The Noise of Us
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2008, 09:20:51 AM »

Offline Paolo Tucson

  • Member
  • Posts: 9
Re: The Noise of Us
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2008, 10:57:02 AM »
Peter, here, here. Thank you for your blog piece. I am glad to see that I am not the only one bother, pissed even by how we are viewed at the CDC.  It is as if we do not exist at all.
Some die that we may have hope, some because they have none.

Offline HopeandCope

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  • Posts: 55
    • Hope and Cope
Re: The Noise of Us
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2008, 02:05:13 PM »
Do you know what I heard EVERYWHERE when my son was diagnosed???   Oh...  he will be fine. HIV is not as BAD as it used to be.   
Today's young people as well as my son are desensitized to the struggles in the early days as well as getting into their heads by TV, articles and general assumptions that this is not "as bad" as it used to be.  They are taking extreme risks based on yet another populice belief that HIV/AIDs is someone else's problem, that it only is happening in Africa now, or that it is considered a chronic illness etc.....

I read in the "Am I Infected" the insane risks that kids are taking.  I read about women re-entering the dating pool, thinking like they are pre-eighties dancing queens and not using protection.  And I don't know what avenue to take to get the seriousness of HIV/AIDS back out into the public eye!!!!. And I am a Mom that put condoms in their stockings knowing then and now that it is still bad.

You are so right to take a young man under your wing.  Its starts with one doesn't it?

Hope and Cope Support Site
A Safe Place for Families & Friends of HIV+ People

Offline Moffie65

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,755
  • Living POZ since 1983
Re: The Noise of Us
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2008, 06:28:23 PM »
Hi Paolo,

How are things at SAAF? 

I personally have had real success doing what we call in Cochise County "Teen Mazes".  The kids are shuffled from booth to booth, dealing with life issues like dating, pregnancy, STD, HIV, Police and so on.  Last thursday, we did one  at Douglas High School, and gave HIV education to about 500 kids.  We distributed about 1700 condoms and the day was overall, exhausting, but totally gratifying. 

I really think that people living with HIV are one of the best ways to get their attention.  When they see me at the age of 61, and living with it for 25 years, it sometimes takes a bit of explanation to help them understand that it is not necessarily going to kill you right off.  I always take my meds, and place them in a small dish, covered with plastic wrap, and when they see the 21 pills I take daily, and let them know they cost the same as one Corvette a year, they listen very carefully.  When I put a condom over my head, to let the women know that there are biologically no men on the planet that are too large for a condom; they listen.

There are ways, some unconventional, but ways that do work for the early teens.  Now I also point at some of them and let them know I don't give a damn if they are having sex with a woman or a man, the dangers are the same either way.  Some of the kids from past Fairs/Mazes inevitably stop by and thank me for awakening them last time, and they now are very carefull. 

As for the specific gay community; you would have far greater need in Tucson than we do down here in Cochise, but generally it is the kids that can really get the kids attention, and not us older farts, but I wouldn't be able to advise toward focus on the Gay teens.  I know from past experience in the early days, there was a far more urgent feeling and need amongst the Gay community, and it was far easier to get participation then than it is now.  These young people haven't had one care in their entire lives, and have been protected very much by parents that have provided them everything; leading to a feeling of ambivilance towards the dangers of HIV. 

Just my experience.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2008, 06:48:49 PM by Moffie65 »
The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals,
and 362 to heterosexuals.
This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
Lynn Lavne


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