Sixty percent of gay and bisexual men are unaware of the anti-HIV pill they could be taking once a day, thereby giving them almost nil chance of ever catching the AIDS virus. So suggests recent research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
The news isn’t surprising to anyone who looks at a glance at the plethora of digital data in online gay dating profiles. Call it further proof that most gay men are clueless when it comes to HIV/AIDS and protecting themselves from sexually transmitted infections and diseases in general.
My own antidotal experience tells me: many men don’t talk about having safe sex in their profile (and presumably, offline). Instead, they talk of having unsafe sex with someone who claims to be certifiably “clean” and/or “disease-free,” terms not in common use, if around at all, before the AIDS epidemic.
Still others boast about the results of their latest HIV test and post their test date. As if others should take their word for it. Some will proudly claim to be on PrEP, the one-pill-a-day regimen that makes one, well, practically immune to getting HIV. As if others should take their word for it. (The 40% who know what PrEP is, anyway.)
The general gist:
Many gay men are having unsafe sex based on the claims of strangers, as long as that stranger doesn’t claim to have HIV/AIDS.
Experience also dictates: this kind of twisted ignorance is especially common among younger gay men, many of whom may have come of age during the abstinence-only sexual “miseducation” mandates handed down by the George W. Bush administration.
Fact: men can remain abstinent from sex the way men can remain abstinent from pissing and shitting, which is to say, sex is going to happen, for better and worse.
In the gay community, the worst is on display in gay men’s ignorance, as depicted in online profiles, and statistics, such as 60% of gay and bi men don’t know about the one-pill-a-day regimen that makes one, well, practically immune to getting HIV.
One would think that in this age of endless sources of gay news and entertainment—and porno—there would be more mentions about safer sex and HIV/AIDS prevention. Not to mention the other STIs that can fuck up one’s life.
Because a 60% ignorance rate means we are failing to best serves ourselves as members of this so-called gay community.