By Brandon Jamil
It’s no secret that there’s a stigma pertaining std’s when discussing the gay community. Let’s face it, most openly gay men can recall the moment when we’ve visited the doctor for a sore throat—and the doctor believed it was gonorrhea of the throat. Or If we have a fever, doctors begin to panic and believe that we’re infected with HIV. For those of us whose educated ourselves and choose to fight negative stigma by protecting ourselves—at all costs. We’re the gay men that refuse to perform oral sex without a condom, and most likely we won’t kiss you; unless we’re in a relationship that is. Subconsciously, we understand what it means to be a statistic, and we flee from being one. Perhaps there’s an underlying fear with keeping our health in tip top shape.
Partaking in sexual activities can be a daunting; especially when some individuals on dating apps refuse to engage in a sexual encounter if mention of using protection, such as condoms. With dating apps such as Grindr, Jackd, Adam4Adam, etc—there’s thousands of gay men that get to play out their sexual fantasies with NO accountability pertaining to their sexual health. In my experience, many gay men that are prescribed the drug “Prep” prevention against HIV—abuse the drug by making excuses as to why they’re not protecting themselves or their partners.
Anyone who has used prep understands that prep doesn’t protect you against sexual diseases such as HPV, GONORRHEA, CHLAMYDIA, HEP A, B, C. Some of my friends don’t engage with such dating apps, because they’d prefer to keep their health out of harms way.
What’s more devastating—in some cases; there are predators online that’ll feed us dog shit. You know, the whole romantic drama, “I just want love.” In some scenarios these men play on emotional vulnerability with hopes that you’ll be naïve and foolish enough to sleep with them with no protection. This has to do with the idea that once we become committed condoms come off, and all is well.
Recently, an acquaintance and I had brunch. We always discuss our romantic affairs, sexual escapades, and relationship drama. During our conversation, he mentioned that he met a handsome man that fed him the most beautiful and flirtatious pick up lines: “He could sing my boy panties off.” Allegedly, the dashing knight manipulated my acquaintance by suggesting he was HIV negative and clean. Keep in mind, my acquaintance is adamant about dating without engaging sexually until a solid commitment has been reached . After about a month or so, without any sex, the dashing knight made mention that he takes medication for HEP B.
Before we continue, lets get honest here. Everyone has a sexual history. It’s not a foreign concept to contract STD’s. It’s something that we choose to not mention. If you get gonorrhea, you take your ass to the doctor, and you walk out knowing you’ll be back on the scene within 7 days. It becomes problematic, when someone blatantly lies to you about their sexual health and puts your health and livelihood at risk. Now, I don’t believe we should EVER put our health in anyone hands.
My acquaintance decided to sever ties, because the trust was broken. This was after his dashing knight, attempted to sugar coat the severity of having HEP B. He stated that he couldn’t pass it to him, and that my acquaintance has nothing to worry about. If he has nothing to worry about…why did he wait to inform my acquaintance with this information. According to my acquaintance—they never slept together. However, my acquaintance conducted some research on this dash knight, and he was known in the community to spread disease.
The men that he’d reached out to, happen to share similar stories of how charming, and loving he was at first, then…three months later some of them had syphilis and HPV. We can’t prove this gossip, because we don’t have anything other than hearsay. But how broken is this man to spread disease without any repercussions?
In situations where someone isn’t being honest with us about their sexual health, and history—I believe that it’s time to throw the towel in. There’s no point in building a castle on sand (faulty foundations), who knows what other hidden factors lie in the closet.
Due to the stigma, I feel that many gay men are inclined to be deceptive about their sexual health. They reap no true benefits of being honest. As I’ve mentioned earlier, there’s no accountability with honestly sharing sexual history and health. It’s become a casual acceptance that plagues our community. It’s heartbreaking chatting with someone online, that tells you their clean and they have no intentions on using protection, and if you don’t want to engage, no worries—they have thousands of other men that’ll gladly engage, enjoy causal sex without the need of protection.
I find myself living on the outside of this chaos. For any gay man whom wants to enlighten, transform and bring healing to community, it becomes dreadful having to be honest about the current -state-of affairs. In every major city within the United States, we have free clinics for STD’S that service the LGBT community, and we’re facing health declines amongst the LGBT community.
Have gay men become a statistic when it comes to sexual health, or do we live in a society that enables a hook up culture that chooses to promote unhealthy, and self-destructive behaviors? And at what cost do we collectively pay the price?