Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Bareback Mountin'

I've dated two very cool Germans, and I've always wanted to visit Berlin, but this discussion on a British blog gives me pause.

I just came back from the Hustler Ball in Berlin, I must say the liberal approach to bareback[ing] is frightening. I assume that this is because the drugs are so good to fight HIV infection that nobody gives a shit anymore.
OK, it's not totally surprising that unsafe sex is common at something called the Hustler Ball (whatever that is), but then check out this reply to that post.

Yes, in Berlin bareback is the rule, not the exception, and not just at the big events, but every day, in the bars, clubs, etc. If you use a condom, people assume you are a tourist. Many accept it, however, though some insist on bareback.
That's disturbing, but it's consistent with my impression of younger guys who have sex with guys even in New York.

I am committed to avoiding sexual moralism, but when this behavior becomes the rule among young queer guys, there needs to be a public health response. New, non-stigmatizing safer sex messages need to get out there.

A young friend of mine just found out that he seroconverted within the past six months, and he already has AIDS (i.e., his T-cell count immediately became so low that he technically has AIDS). Who knows how the drug cocktails will work on his virus. I am crossing my fingers they'll beat it, but to be honest he seems to have caught a really bad strain of HIV. And he practiced safe sex except with one guy who he was dating.

The virus is mutating and that message is not being communicated to young men who have sex with men.

Sorry, I can't think of a fun, Left Behinds-ey spin on this.

8 Comments:

  • At 9:32 PM, Blogger Stroll said…

    I think the phenomena/comeback of barebacking (which is indeed widespread in the U.S. too) is more of a psycho-sociological puzzle than being due to a lack of safe-sex information, non-stigmatizing or otherwise. People know how HIV is transmitted. People who are barebacking know how HIV is transmitted. Condoms are not a perfect tool for prevention but they are pretty damn good and definatly reduce the risk of HIV. I'm sooo mystified by the barebacking thing because I just don't understand it, and I feel like it has to do with more than thinking HIV is "no big deal" these days. Also, it has to be more than just outright hatred for condoms. I can't figure it out at all.

     
  • At 10:34 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    I don't know how old you are, but I think you're in grad school or thereabouts, i.e., my generation. We grew up with a pretty strong message hammered into us that HIV/AIDS is really, really serious. I just don't think that's the case with kids born after, say, 1983. By the time they came of age sexually ('98 or thereabouts), the drug cocktails had "ended the epidemic."

    That's the only way I can get my head around it, that the younger people just drastically, drastically underestimate how much it sucks to get HIV. Not that I'm stigmatizing people living with HIV/AIDS.

    Anyhow, thanks for the thoughtful comment and glad to see you're still stopping by LB.

     
  • At 10:36 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Btw, I agree with you about people who are a little older. They really do know better and must have some other issues going on if they're barebacking. But with younger guys, it seems like maybe they've been tragically failed by our public health authorities.

     
  • At 12:24 AM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    Solomon is definitely on to something. For the last 5+ years we've had an environment in this country hostile to the open discussion of safe sex, including the defunding of school safe-sex programs. That's five years' worth of 13- to 17-year-olds becoming sexually active without the relentless safe-sex messages we grew up with.


    Sort of OT: When I was in my teens, Larry Kramer was the politically active gay man I knew of. I feel, though I can't say it in any coherent way, that he was supplanted by Andrew Sullivan. What was considered hopelessly conservative of Sullivan in the early 1990s--the marriage agenda--is now the hottest thing. I think that's mainly a bad thing.

     
  • At 12:58 AM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Yeah, good point to explicitly tie it to the Republican war against sex ed (and, basically, against honesty about sex). We usually hear about it in the context of teen pregnancy, but this is probably another symptom.

     
  • At 6:46 PM, Blogger Brian said…

    I think there are two key issues at play in the motivations of those who engage in sex without condoms (i.e. barebacking): (1) it feels better; for them, having great sex is worth the risk, and (2) many of them walk around of the mind that tragedies and calamities happen to "other people", and since many of these young men do not know anyone who has suffered with AIDS/ARC or even died of complications due to AIDS, they continue to engage in unsafe sexual practices thinking that it won't happen to them.

     
  • At 7:14 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Yeah, I agree. But I think it's important to acknowledge that barebacking among young people has increased a lot in recent years and that it probably has a lot to do with a lack of good sex ed. Thanks, Bush regime!

     
  • At 6:27 AM, Anonymous buy ambien cr said…

    That's five years' worth of 13- to 17-year-olds becoming sexually active without the relentless safe-sex messages we grew up with.

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