This campaign isn’t being wound up yet by any means, but nevertheless some of us are in contemplative mood, trying to summarize for ourselves and others what major themes have emerged. In fact I have to talk about some of these at a Gay Mens’ Health Promotion summit coming up next month in Toronto. The intent is to share with prevention workers from across Ontario some of the things we’ve learned. Some of that material will be derived from the discussion that’s happened on this blog, and on those of the other seven facilitators.
Here’s my attempt to summarize one of the major discussion areas:
Pox and neg guys tend to think differently, particularly on disclosure issues. Many report encountering disclosure very infrequently; it just doesn’t happen a lot in many venues, it seems. But neg guys expect poz guys to disclose. Poz guys don’t have a single approach, but a significant number seem to follow the practice of not disclosing when risk of exposure is not significantly present. Neg guys also aren’t so committed to maintaining the confidentiality that poz guys require about their status, and this bugs poz guys. And poz and neg guys alike are all over the map when it comes to whether not being uncomfortable dating a poz guy constitutes stigma or understandable apprehension. There is a general consensus that more dialogue is required on all of this.
I think there are other things that have emerged - the mainstreaming of the view that poz guys are less responsible for new transmissions than untested “neg.” guys, and that if you’re going to sero-sort, you’re perhaps safer with poz guys than so called “neg” guys. There’s been interesting discussion on the joys of condom-less sex too, and how we deal with those. And on whether rejection is a big deal. But I’d like to hear from others. What do you think has happened here, if anything, that has advanced our knowledge of how we think and relate to each other?
And on an entirely different note . . .
Obama, the president that’s vowed to take on HIV Stigma (see my previous post), is taking early action on the AIDS front. Now he’s asked PEPFAR pres Mark Dybul to resign.. That may cause a yawn here in Canada, but for anyone who follows AIDS politics this is big!
Read about it here: http://www.kaisernetwork.org/daily_reports/rep_index.cfm?DR_ID=56599
The significance is not only that Obama is putting his money where his mouth is on AIDS policy but that this likely marks the end to all that abstinence-based crap we’ve seen emanating from our neighbours to the south for way too long.
Can tackling HIV stigma be far behind?