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Editorial: It's official - NZ's gay men don't care about HIV

Tue 14 Mar 2006 In: HIV

It's official... we don't care about HIV. And by "we" we mean primarily Aucklanders. The latest round of statistics shows yet another blowout in new HIV infections amongst men who have sex with men, with three out of four of those new, acquired in NZ, infections showing up in Auckland. Yes, another blowout! A few years ago it was easy to get blasé about the continuing low infection figures, now we're in danger of getting blasé about hefty yearly increases in the numbers of NZ guys getting, and coping with, this life-shattering disease. Another blowout? Oh dear. Ho hum. I suppose someone's working on sorting it out. Pass the Chardonnay. More cake? Here's the gist of it. Out there, particularly between the Bombays and Warkworth but the rest of the country is not much better, is a group of gay men with HIV who are callously giving their HIV to another group of gay men who just don't care. Neither group cares. Firstly, let's consider those HIV infected men amongst us who are passing on the virus. Either they know they have HIV and they are having unprotected sex anyway which is so evil a concept as to have been unimaginable only a few years ago; or they are sexually active and can't be bothered or are too scared to have an HIV test and find out how they might have to change their lives and sexual habits. Either way they continue putting others' lives at risk and that is perhaps worse than not caring, it's callous. Cruel. Sickening. Now let's consider those amongst us who let someone squirt a load of HIV up their bums. Because, let's not be squeamish, that's how 99% of HIV infected men got infected. These until then healthy guys spread their legs and invited a hot guy with an uncondomed dick of death to unload his HIV infected cum inside them. Why? Maybe because they don't think they will be one of the unlucky NZ guys to be infected? If that's your thinking then wake up! There are more and more hot men with HIV out there every day. At least one more every four days adding to the thousands of hot, desirable (for now) HIV infected men who have sex with men in New Zealand. What are the odds that your next sex partner, or your last one for that matter, is one of them? Do you care enough to realistically weigh up the odds? Judging by the new statistics, obviously not. And, sad to say, there is inevitably a group who just don't care whether they get the still deadly, incurable HIV virus. Guys with low self esteem or a Pollyanna-like belief that pills will fix that 'little' problem. Pills for partying. Pills for headaches. Pills for healthy skin. Pills for HIV. Memo to Pollyanna: Read our Pill Diary right now - it's linked below. Memo to those who don't care about themselves: Stop listening to the soul-destroying and corrosive voices that tell you you're scum and start building up a full, varied, balanced and rewarding life. If you can't do it by yourself, seek the help of friends or even a counselor. But there's a further group of gay men who don't care... the rest of the gay community who do nothing, turn a blind eye, look away, who don't want their nice, fun lives shadowed by the spectre of HIV. Memo to the fun crowd: If you think the spectre of HIV is depressing now, just consider a few years into the future when the HIV epidemic is surging out of control through your friends, acquaintances, and probably yourself. The time to act is now. It's time to actively, with energy and concern for ourselves and our fellow gay men, do anything and everything we can as gay individuals to stop HIV ravaging our community. It's time to start caring enough to change attitude, to re-prioritise, to contribute to efforts to stem the flood of new HIV infections. Right now. Let's start by acknowledging the nasty, dirty, sleazy little secret lurking in our gay community... that most of the gay men we know, and maybe ourselves if we're honest, simply don't care enough about this return of the virus that killed so many of the generation before us. And if you don't believe that, take a look at the numbers. Because three years of steadily increasing HIV infection rates is not an indicator of a gay community or gay individuals that care. Jay Bennie - 14th March 2006    

Credit: Jay Bennie

First published: Tuesday, 14th March 2006 - 12:00pm

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