Pat Robertson, Christian Broadcast Network founder and regular asshole, is spreading his hate-filled rhetoric again—this time professing that gay men in San Francisco have AIDS-giving jewellery. Actually.
On a past taping of 700 Club, Robertson answered a letter from ‘Mary’ which asked if there is a moral obligation to disclose status if you are driving a car with someone who is positive. Yes, Mary, you idiot, because we expect people with the flu to just trot around saying, “Hey guys! Got that flu, y’all. Drive at your own discretion, friend!” Yes, Mary, real or fictitious, is absolutely dumb, but Robertson proves to be more ignorant, and more hurtful.
He says, “The homosexual community has put Draconian laws on the books that prevent people from discussing this affliction.” Out of curiosity, I’d love to see a copy of these gay books, because discussion of AIDS prevention, awareness and living with the illness is arguably as rampant as ever.
Except Robertson believes that, “in San Francisco, they want to get people, if they got the stuff, they have this ring where it cuts your finger. It’s that kind of vicious stuff that should be the equivalent of murder.”
The original scene has been wiped from the broadcast, but the full clip is now back on YouTube after team Robertson tirelessly spent the last two weeks trying to erase it from memory.
There’s a stigma attached to bareback gay sex.
For those learning about bareback gay sex for the first time, it means condom-less sex. With or without the intention of depositing cum in a person’s ass.
The practice used to be fairly normalized in gay porn and life until the people doing it understood the risks of HIV/AIDS and a host of other nasty STIs. I in no way want this post to suggest that bareback sex is the only way people contract HIV/AIDS, but it is one of the ways.
An education and adjustment period didn’t happen overnight, and it appears that some people didn’t get the severity of the issue(s). Introducing: the Bareback Brotherhood, a #bbbh hashtag-fueled community on Twitter and Tumblr that documents “loads given” and “loads received.” Recently, a man named Mark Bentson boasted about giving “load 17 and 18” to a “bottom’s 40-load quest for his 40th birthday.” How sweet.
Bareback sex is still, without a doubt, incredibly dangerous. Everyone has the right to assess risk on their own terms, but the brotherhood doesn’t focus on the risk in its online forum, it concentrates on the reward, offering words of encouragement like “more power to him and you, my friend!” And the “reward,” for some people, is to become positive. Take WannabePoz, for example, who reaches out to his Twitter followers when “in need to get bred.” BBMeatMan offers his support: “
WannabePoz topozbottom Best of luck lads. More poz seed needed in my guts too.” The network even extends to Toronto, where I live, where TOPozBottom wishes WannabePoz good luck from behind a computer screen. It paints a picture that there are people actively seeking out a disease that still doesn’t have a cure. It’s the “bugchasing” stories of yesterday all over again.
You’ll hear the arguments, “but [HIV/AIDS] is livable now” and “I’m positive, but undectable,” and yet multiple strains of these viruses exist and, well, define ‘livable.’
I personally don’t want to live the rest of my life taking antiretrovirals, and before you think there is any sound logic behind the “I might as well get it now, ’cause I’m gonna get it anyway” arguments, think again, because I don’t know who your friends are, but that is a ridiculous thing to think. Being gay is not an AIDS sentence. I know people who are negative who have had relationships with positive people and remain negative, so I’m not urging you to cover yourself in Saran wrap and live a life of solitude. There are safe sex measures anyone can take to ensure that they remain safe while having a very active sex life. Using a condom is a good place to start. Don’t brush your teeth before or after engaging in oral sex. Don’t ingest semen. Wear a condom. I mean, these all seem like very clinical rules, but not following them is stupid, especially if you’re in a relationship with someone who is positive. And the positive party would say the same thing, if they aren’t part of the Brotherhood of the Traveling HIV.
And if that isn’t for you, then you are under no obligation to sleep with someone, positive or negative. If you meet someone who is positive, and you are uncomfortable with that, then you are allowed to make the decision to step away. No one can ever guilt you into being uncomfortable. And it is not your place either to make the other person uncomfortable for suggesting you might have sex one day. A person who discloses should never be shamed.
And I’ll be realistic. Given the increased popularity of bareback porn, many people are just dying to do it. And I’ll be completely honest, I have done it. I was in a very long-term relationship with someone I loved, we were monogamous (you can ask me to prove it all you want, we were monogamous), and we were tested (negative) at the same time. We made sure we took the safest steps for each other, which I think is a very good way to deal with a desire to try something taboo. We assessed the risks, we made sure we were ready and we tried something with each other. We made an unsafe action in the safest of terms. I know it sounds like I’m your mom talking about something you don’t want your mom to talk about, but if you can’t feel that level of comfort going into something as potentially life changing as bareback sex, then I stress that you should not do it. Do not seek out a deadly illness, no matter how livable you think it is. While it can be managed, it isn’t something that is going to make you happier or healthier. And that is just a fact.
Here’s a cribbed version of what a person who has been infected with HIV/AIDS takes throughout his or her lifespan. Costs vary depending on where you live (monthly drug-related costs can range from $2,000 to $5,000, and even in the United States, those eligible for aid via the AIDS Drug Assistance Program cap at $22,000):
Antiretroviral (ARV) drugs are broadly classified by the phase of the retrovirus life-cycle that the drug inhibits.
- Entry inhibitors (or fusion inhibitors) interfere with binding, fusion and entry of HIV-1 to the host cell by blocking one of several targets. Maraviroc and enfuvirtide are the two currently available agents in this class.
- CCR5 receptor antagonists are the first antiretroviral drugs which do not target the virus directly. Instead, they bind to the CCR5 receptor on the surface of the T-Cell and block viral attachment to the cell. Most strains of HIV attach to T-Cells using the CCR5 receptor. If HIV cannot attach to the cell, it cannot gain entry to replicate.
- Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTI) and nucleotide reverse transciptase inhibitors (NtRTI) are nucleoside and nucleotide analogues which inhibit reverse transcription by being incorporated into the newly synthesized viral DNA strand as faulty nucleotides; they both act as competitive substrate inhibitors.
- Non-Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTI) inhibit reverse transcriptase by binding to an allosteric site of the enzyme; NNRTIs act as non-competitive inhibitors ofreverse transcriptase.
- Protease inhibitors (PIs) target viral assembly by inhibiting the activity of protease, an enzyme used by HIV to cleave nascent proteins for the final assembly of new virions.
Maturation inhibitors inhibit the last step in gag processing in which the viral capsid polyprotein is cleaved, thereby blocking the conversion of the polyprotein into the mature capsid protein (p24). Because these viral particles have a defective core, the virions released consist mainly of non-infectious particles. Alpha interferon is a currently available agent in this class. Two additional inhibitors under investigation are bevirimat  and Vivecon.