Small Dating Pool A Reason Behind Black HIV Rates

  • SuntoryTime

    Posts: 656

    May 11, 2014 6:20 AM GMT
    What's Really Behind the High HIV Rates for Black Gay Men?
    Forget about all the stereotypes and misconceptions. One possible reason for the escalating rates might just surprise you.
    BY LUCAS GRINDLEY FEBRUARY 07 2014 8:06 PM ET


    If nothing changes, the federal government estimates that in 30 years, 70 percent of 20-year-old black gay men will have HIV. That jarring statistic was presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the 2013 National Gay and Lesbian Task Force conference.

    But what is driving that rate of infection — the highest of any demographic group — has so far puzzled researchers.

    Studies find that black gay men aren’t any more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior than their white peers. So simply ignoring condoms doesn’t explain it. The same goes for other risk factors. Black gay men are actually less likely to use drugs before or during sex, for example.

    The White House’s top researcher on this topic, Greg Millett, senior policy adviser in the Office of National AIDS Policy, analyzed seven studies from Canada, 13 from the U.K., and 174 from the U.S., and found that black men who have sex with men (MSM) were no more likely than other gay or bisexual men to have unprotected sex. And despite societal problems, such as the fact that black men face higher rates of unemployment than other races or are less likely to graduate from high school, the analysis points out that black gay men are actually 40 percent more likely to do simple protective things like wear a condom during sex. The results of the analysis were published in The Lancet in 2012 and presented at that year’s International AIDS Conference.

    Then in 2013, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis of four studies noted that black MSM had fewer unprotected sexual encounters than white MSM—an average of three for receptive sex and six for insertive over six months for black men, compared with 11 and 12, respectively, for whites.

    None of the usual reasons for high infection rates seem to apply to black men’s high HIV rates. So a recent study from researchers at Northwestern University looked carefully at a theory that might explain what’s happening.

    The Northwestern research team asked 143 gay and bisexual men, all single or non-monogamous, to keep a diary of all their sexual activity for 12 weeks. The men tracked what they had done and whether it was with someone of the same race. Like previous research, it indicated black gay and bisexual men were no more likely to have unprotected sex than others. But they were 11 times more likely to have sex with black men.

    Researchers have long wondered whether black gay men are dating within a smaller social network. This study seems to confirm that idea. Among black MSM, 45 percent of sexual encounters were with other black men. By comparison, Latino MSM had their largest percentage of encounters with white men.

    Although white men were the most likely to have sex with those of the same race, accounting for 56.7 percent of encounters, the study points out the obvious—that the pool of black gay men is much smaller than that of white gay men. A 2012 study by the Williams Institute and pollster Gallup found that African-Americans and other minority groups were more likely to identify as LGBT than white people, but it’s still a smaller pool.

    The Northwestern researchers published their findings, “Racial Differences in Same-Race Partnering and the Effects of Sexual Partnership Characteristics on HIV Risk in MSM: A Prospective Sexual Diary Study,” in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes in 2013.

    Still, if black gay men are no more likely than others to engage in risky sexual behavior, it shouldn’t much matter who they are having sex with. The study’s principal investigator, Michael Newcomb, an assistant professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, considers condom use crucial.

    “That’s still the best way to protect oneself,” he says, but when your network of sex partners is small and at higher risk to begin with, “your risk of acquiring HIV would be higher.” Eventually the risk rate would “overwhelm” protection, Newcomb adds, because everyone in the network isn’t perfect about condom use and other forms of protection.
    The researchers concluded that a single case of HIV in a small social network “would allow HIV to penetrate the networks of black MSM,” and it would travel through the network, infecting these men “more efficiently” than it would white men, for example.

    Although their study didn’t address this possible explanation, the researchers wondered if young black men who got into monogamous relationships were abandoning condoms. Young black men, for example, are more likely to have unprotected sex with older partners, which is statistically more risky than unprotected sex with younger partners.

    “It may be that black MSM are aware that they are at increased risk for acquiring HIV,” they wrote. “Subsequently, they may be using certain sexual partnership characteristics, including familiarity with partners, as indicators of HIV risk.” That would be “a poor indicator when making decisions about condom use,” researchers warned, because “the majority of new HIV infections occur in the context of these types of main, serious, or repeated partners.”

    The study doesn’t address why black gay men have a smaller network of sexual partners in the first place. Likely there are many reasons. But there is one preventative measure researchers agree upon.

    “I think what this and other studies indicate, on an individual level, [is that] the safest way to protect oneself is to use condoms constantly during anal sex. But we know that approach alone isn’t solving the problem,” says Newcomb. “So there are more structural and societal things that need to happen.”

    Working to reduce poverty and the infrastructure problems that come with it for neighborhoods, reducing racism, and specifically fighting racism among LGBT people would likely expand the sexual network of young black gay men, Newcomb says.

    The Northwestern study considered the tightly knit network as just one of a series of factors at play. And the analysis presented by the White House’s Millett leaned toward the likelihood that society’s structural inequities could account for the disparity in infection rates. HIV-positive black gay men are three and a half times more likely to make less than $20,000 in annual income, are 50 percent less likely to have access to health insurance, and are less likely to visit health care providers than are white gay men.

    The Lancet’s analysis points out that young black gay men also have a 65 percent greater chance of becoming sexually active early in life than their white peers, and they have an 82 percent greater risk of childhood sexual abuse. It’s a long list of hurdles for black gay and bi men to overcome.
    “There are all of these issues that unfortunately come together in a perfect storm,” Millett says.

    http://www.hivplusmag.com/research/2014/02/07/whats-really-behind-high-hiv-rates-black-gay-men?page=full
  • metta

    Posts: 39134

    May 12, 2014 4:38 PM GMT
    Interesting. I would like to know what the rates of getting tested are for black gay men versus other gay men. The more people don't know their status, the more it increases the risk because people that are unknowingly positive are not being treated.




    I really wonder how they came up with this number:

    "the federal government estimates that in 30 years, 70 percent of 20-year-old black gay men will have HIV. "

    With the advances of medicine, I doubt and hope that never happens.




    1 in 6 people that are hiv+ are unaware that they are hiv+
    http://aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/hiv-aids-101/statistics/
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    May 12, 2014 9:18 PM GMT
    Hmmmm. I can't say I agree with this post entirely. As MuchMore pointed out, I'd go with the latter as I know too many brothers who are not as open with their sexuality as they should be and play the DL card way too often.
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    May 12, 2014 10:29 PM GMT
    I'd also be curious about the proportion of individuals contracting HIV (through sex) that (at least admit to) acquiring it while incarcerated. And whether cutting down on ridiculously high incarceration rates brings the HIV rates back down toward that of the rest of the income-stratified population.
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    May 13, 2014 1:02 AM GMT
    Another thing I find disappointing about black guys being on the DL and having a girl friend is how so many black gays aren't upset about the idea of guys being on the DL; it seems it's largely acceptable behavior.
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    May 13, 2014 1:21 AM GMT
    Lumpyoatmeal saidAnother thing I find disappointing about black guys being on the DL and having a girl friend is how so many black gays aren't upset about the idea of guys being on the DL; it seems it's largely acceptable behavior.


    Because of homophobia. Seriously.
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    May 13, 2014 1:24 AM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle saidNo disrespect intended but it seems like that study is just a bunch of hoopla. Basically all we ascertain from it is that the reason why people are succumbing to HIV is lack of condom use; after reading roughly a dozen short paragraphs on statistics.

    Admittedly, I am no expert on the matter but from a lot of research that I have done on my own it seems like this is an issue regarding significant reduction in sexual education, tied in with poverty and also cultural influences. These are factors that are also mentioned in the OP.

    The study also contradicts itself by asserting that black gay and bisexual men who have sex within a tightly knit circle are somehow being more exposed to HIV. Well, either someone already within that tightly knit circle is already HIV positive and spreading the virus or someone in that tightly knit circle of sexual partners is not staying within the circle and being exposed by someone new; thus, bringing it into the circle. I believe the latter option is more likely.

    By the way, have any of you been on adam4adam? I am no longer on that site but when I lived in Chicago and tried it out the majority of those users were predominately African American. That's not something I would consider being in alignment with this article stating that African American gays and bisexuals are having sex within a small knit circle. Quite the contrary.

    More research needs to be done but anecdotal evidence and scenes from fictitious films are not stand ins for scientific evidence.

    No, I'm not arguing that these things never happen but it's important that we don't allow the idea that something happening some of the time to mean that it is the cause of something else the majority of the time.

    The words "tightly knit" are not from the study itself but from the writer. In this instance the words are not being used to describe a group of close friends but rather that group of participants is small. As was pointed out, if white men and black men are primarily sleeping with other men of the same race black men have a smaller pool of people to choose from thus increasing the risk of contacting HIV.

    Obviously you would find an increased number of minorities on certain sites or apps depending on the demographic of that area. You're also going to find that while some areas may be predominately black (leading to higher numbers of black men on a site/app) that overall black men would still be in the minority nationwide. This study is not about one specific city and Chicago is not representative of an entire nation.

    You're correct when you said that there are other reasons for the increased infection rate. Those can indeed contribute to the increased infection rate. What this study is looking at another element. It is not claiming that this element is the sole factor in new cases.
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    May 13, 2014 3:57 PM GMT
    Huh. That was interesting and it's important to think about and discuss. I myself am out and open with my friends, etc and don't date girls. I do find this study disturbing though because I'm afraid it could potential feed to people's misconceptions and stigma against black gay and bi guys. Luckily, I have not had the issue of dating in a small pool, but I still always use protection no matter who I end up with.
  • TroyAthlete

    Posts: 4269

    May 13, 2014 4:06 PM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle saidI didn't let a scene from a fictitious movie like "For Colored Girls" educate me on the matter. I have done extensive research on the matter in order to create term papers when wrapping up my undergraduate degree a few years ago.


    Did you flunk? The media-hyped "black men on DL spreading HIV to women" urban myth has long since been debunked. It got so out of the hand that the director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention at the CDC was compelled to go on a media tour slamming those who insist on perpetuating this disinformation:

    http://www.cdcnpin.org/scripts/display/NewsDisplay.asp?NewsNbr=54078

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=114237523

    http://library.medicine.iu.edu/shine/index.php/blog/hiv-in-black-women-its-not-about-men-on-the-down-low/

    The CDC has confirmed that heterosexual behavior is responsible for heterosexual HIV rates, not gays -- DL or otherwise.

    The stereotyped, false portrayal of gay men as dangerous predators is outdated and unhelpful, and not something that gay men themselves should be buying into. The racial undertones associated with white gays fearmongering about mythical predatory black gays is particularly troubling.

    HIV, race, and sexuality are sensitive topics. For that reason, is *is* important to get things right when talking about them. It is true though that comments that proudly get it wrong should not be piggybacked: they should be exposed as the bullshit they are.

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    May 13, 2014 6:48 PM GMT
    The welfare of gay black men is not important to many members of the mainstream gay community so why even post this.

    Of course having access to a smaller set of people who all have the same race is going to make HIV explode in that group. It's basic statistics, not news.

    It may be news to some people, but to those people it will ALWAYS be news......
  • TroyAthlete

    Posts: 4269

    May 13, 2014 7:37 PM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle said
    TroyAthlete said
    MuchMoreThanMuscle saidI didn't let a scene from a fictitious movie like "For Colored Girls" educate me on the matter. I have done extensive research on the matter in order to create term papers when wrapping up my undergraduate degree a few years ago.


    Did you flunk? The media-hyped "black men on DL spreading HIV to women" urban myth has long since been debunked. It got so out of the hand that the director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention at the CDC was compelled to go on a media tour slamming those who insist on perpetuating this disinformation:

    http://www.cdcnpin.org/scripts/display/NewsDisplay.asp?NewsNbr=54078

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=114237523

    http://library.medicine.iu.edu/shine/index.php/blog/hiv-in-black-women-its-not-about-men-on-the-down-low/

    The CDC has confirmed that heterosexual behavior is responsible for heterosexual HIV rates. The false portrayal of gay men as dangerous predators is not helpful, and not something that gay men themselves should be buying into. The racial undertones associated with white gays fearmongering about mythical predatory black gays is particularly troubling.

    HIV, race, and sexuality are sensitive topics. For that reason, is *is* important to get this right when talking about them. It is true though that comments that proudly get it wrong should not be piggybacked: they should be exposed as the bullshit they are.



    Thanks for asking. I got an A+ in the class.

    I wrote these term papers years ago in 2008 and have since moved over 1700 miles away. I can go through the trouble of procuring the actual links that I provided as sources for my papers but what's the point? If you go to any of the sites you will see that the predominantly affected demographic within the black community is men having sex with men and contracting HIV in this manner. If that's the case then how are black women getting HIV.

    Think that over one more time. If all (or at least many of the ones I am finding) the sources are claiming that the most significantly affected demographic within the black community is (black) men having sex with (black) men then how are black women becoming infected with HIV? Seems pretty logical to conclude since these same articles are also claiming that that HIV is spreading within the black community due to promiscuity limited to sex within the black community.

    Don't go putting words into my mouth about me trying to perpetuate some fear mongering racial stereotyping. It's not about me making or supporting racism in any way or form. If I'm wrong then so be it. But what difference does it really make if men are having sex on the down low with other men and contracting HIV or having multiple (female) partners and cheating on one another? It still comes down to promiscuity and lack of using protection like condoms.

    http://aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/hiv-aids-101/statistics/



    It may be news, but sex with a gay man is not the only way to contract HIV. And not only gays are promiscuous.

    The groups most predominantly affected by and susceptible to the flu are the elderly and babies. But no, it would not be logical for me to leap to the false conclusion that adults who contract HIV are getting it mostly from babies and the elderly. Shock of shocks, they can get it from each other. And they do.

    I don't know why it is so difficult to accept that heterosexuals can and do spread HIV to among other. And I will repeat that the Centers for Disease Control's research has confirmed that this includes black heterosexuals and dispelled the myth that gays are responsible for hetereosexual HIV rates.

    Painting black gays as infectious predators does make a difference. Because it's not the truth, and the truth matters.
  • TroyAthlete

    Posts: 4269

    May 13, 2014 9:22 PM GMT
    ^^ You don't have to use the word predatory to perpetuate a myth that is predatory. The media hyped myth that black hetero HIV "infections" are primarilyy the result of DL gay sex had by black men -- which is false -- paints a predatory picture of black gay men. Just because you didn't use the word predatory does not make the implications less so, and I will continue to call it so every time I encounter this myth.

    The only people who appear less than credible are those who still operate on anecdote and discredited hysteria and who disregard facts and clinical research even after learning about them. I'm assuming that doesn't include anybody here, certainly not myself.

    The intense homophobia within the black community that helps create a relatively difficult situation for black men who don't identify as straight is a problem. Stigma against healthy, antiretroviral compliant, undetectable individuals is also a problem.

    However, correcting the record about racialized myths which make a difficult environment for black gays even more difficult is not playing any card, to me, any more than is combating stigma with factual information. If others see it that way *shrug*. I can't say that I really care (because I don't) as long as the facts get out there and the myths retreat.
  • TroyAthlete

    Posts: 4269

    May 14, 2014 2:45 AM GMT
    ^^
    It doesn't appear to be up for dispute that HIV rates among black gays are relatively high. The dispute was over the false implication that rising HIV rates among black women is due to DL black men. That extrapolation is not in the data to which you linked, and it's not there because it's not true.

    People can label blacks any way they want, that's not my business. The only thing that bends me out of shape is incorrect information passed off as accurate, and I will always challenge that. My comments do not address your intention. They address the myth itself, which paints a predatory picture regardless of the intention behind its spread. This is like saying that if someone accidentally kills someone, no one should say the dead guy was killed. The outcome is the same regardless of the intention.

    Neither did I assume any racism on your part, since I prefer to preserve the term racist for actual racists. What I said was that they myth has racial undertones, because it does.

    You see me as talking about you, when I'm addressing the myth. That indicates that you're the one being overly sensitive here. You yourself shit all over the truth by tripling-down on an inaccurate assertion about HIV infection rates in black women, then overreacted with thin-skinned defensive snark about "anal retentive professors" when provided new information, as if you are completely above integrating new data into your set of opinions. So you will excuse me if I don't take seriously your sudden paeans to charm.

    The fact remains that heterosexuals, not gays, are primarily responsible for HIV rates among heterosexuals. This is not particularly controversial.
  • tj85016

    Posts: 4123

    May 14, 2014 3:04 AM GMT
    I would love to see the raw data for these so called "risky sex studies" they must be a real hoot
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    May 14, 2014 3:07 AM GMT
    Oh, the data's "raw", all right! icon_twisted.gif
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    May 14, 2014 5:18 AM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle saidOkay, Tightwad.

    I didn't let a scene from a fictitious movie like "For Colored Girls" educate me on the matter. I have done extensive research on the matter in order to create term papers when wrapping up my undergraduate degree a few years ago. I simply mentioned the movie because it's easier to relate to a thread column than to go into the details about my prior educational exploits.

    The movie is not necessarily "fictitious" as you so much like to dismiss but rather a "real" representation of what black American women experience. For a time being, HIV infection rates for African American women were on the rise and there was/is a reason for it. The movie provides a good compendium on the sensitive matter.

    And fine, "smaller social network" may not be the same as "tightly knit circle" although I personally find them to be analogous. You have taken it upon yourself to correct me but you're fine accepting similar terms written in the study. Since you have a penchant for pointing out what you think is inaccurate maybe we should call it out for what it really is; "harem ho bros" you have sex with and when you get tired of one you screw someone else within the "smaller social network."

    Lastly, I suggest you learn to provide your own contribution instead of piggybacking off of mine. It's fine if you don't agree with all that I say but you are not the arbiter on this topic to pompously assert when I am correct or when I am not. I'm not here trying to please some anal retentive professor with what I provide in the threads with the hopes of getting it "right".


    Dude, you need to relax.

    You seemed to disagree with this study because it didn't conform to views that you already hold, views that are based on things that you've experienced, which is fine but unscientific. I was only stating that the results of a study are not inaccurate because they don't line up with your personal life experiences.

    As an example, take a statement like "I can't believe how many kids are getting pregnant these days, it's ridiculous! When I was a kid this would never have happened! I've seen so many pregnant kids lately! This is why pregnancy rates are on the rise!"

    How many people do you know that feel this way? How many times have you heard something similar to this before? While those people may indeed have lived in an area with increased teen pregnancy rates or they may have perceived this to be so; the truth is that teen pregnancy has fallen in the US. That's a fact whether the accept it or not.

    Now, you can be more open minded to the idea that everything is not as you thought it was based on what you once or where you lived or you can bury your head in the sand and ignore new information that comes to light. What we once learned or thought we knew is not always the truth.

    Either way, I wasn't attacking your character or implying that you're racist. There's way too much anger in your post over a simple online discussion.
  • TroyAthlete

    Posts: 4269

    May 14, 2014 11:44 AM GMT
    bolero_of_fire said
    Dude, you need to relax...

    Either way, I wasn't attacking your character or implying that you're racist. There's way too much anger in your post over a simple online discussion.


    Par the course, and you might as well be asking a fish to breathe when you start asking some angry individuals to relax.

    What is the point, really, of providing new data to those will only start screaming about you putting words in their mouth for providing that data before hypocritically insisting you've called them racist when they're the only ones talking about racism.

    It's almost Freudian. If nobody has said anything about you being racist (?) but yet that's where you think the discussion is, you're probably just revealing yourself on your own accord.
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    May 14, 2014 4:16 PM GMT
    I don't know why certain groups are more susceptible to infections over other groups. But in regards to African-Americans, infection rates for MSM are coming down as are intravenous drug users for both male and female. However transmissions through heterosexual is increasing. How the infected person was initially exposed we may never know factual numbers because some people are not honest even to themselves.

    For me the most important thing we can do is not let this virus/disease get lost in the mix. For 22 consecutive years it was the leading cause of death for black men between the ages of 25 to 44 and the leading cause of death for black women of the same age range. It is now 4th and 2nd, respectively. This may lead people to think that it is no longer an issue and that kind of thinking will reverse the current trends.

    We must remain vigilant and we must keep educating. There is so much misinformation out there in all demographics. This is a personal fight with which I am full-heartedly involved. Continual outreach in every community is a must.

    Some of this bickering that goes on is completely counter-productive and in the end really doesn't mean shit in helping with the ultimate fight against HIV/AIDS.

    http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/aids/surveillance/_documents/fact-sheet/2013-black-fact-sheet.pdf

  • Apparition

    Posts: 3529

    May 15, 2014 12:58 AM GMT
    did the study even bother to look into the "immigrant" effect
    among the black communities? It is probably large enough to be the culprit. In my particular city, there was an locally huge outbreak among white teenaged girls. They were trying desparately to figure out the network, and traced it to Jamaica. They lobbied hard to a particular community to get tested and they stopped it. Since hiv is highest because it started where people just happen to be black, it is most prevalent there, and those countries just happen to be countries with heavy immigration to Ontario at least, and I am sure other places. If you suddenly put a high rate untested positive population, into a small pool, it is logical that it would overwhelm other factors like condoms and IV use.
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    May 15, 2014 2:51 AM GMT
    I think the answer to this question is much simpler and straightforward.

    Education and access to affordable healthcare for diagnosis and treatment is what essentially makes some more suseptible to contract and spread an illness.

    Sadly, income is what ultimately dictates the quality of education and services one can obtain. And even though segregation ended in 1964 with the passing of The Civil Rights Act, majority of African Americans have been stuck in poverty, a living situation that is incredibly difficult to change.
  • Warnick

    Posts: 17

    May 15, 2014 3:13 PM GMT
    This is bullshit, those racists guys won't stop spreading their hates on black people.
  • TDSmoove

    Posts: 131

    May 15, 2014 6:26 PM GMT
    Saying that there's a simple reason as to the infection rates is like saying that there's a simple reason why there's still poor people in America. There are several factors in both situations and every little bit helps to reduce infection rates.

    Everyone in the US knows about condoms. It should be that simple but when you factor in things like education, religion, economic status, mental well-being, fear, work environment, family situations, there's more going on than just lack of condom use or the DL mentality. Plus we all know of more than a few white men in media, religion and politics that have been caught in the DL lifestyle as well. However the rates are different so it's not that simple either.

    As others have stated on here it's very easy to say there's inherently something wrong with Blacks in either the way we think, behave, or what have you. The article clearly states that that train of thought is overly simplified and ignores many other factors including racism in the LGBT community. But that doesn't explain or justify the infection rates either.

    One question that was asked that I can speak to was why aren't condoms used in various countries that have a predominantly Black population. All of those countries are heavily religious. Gays are rejected there more than we in this country could even realize. Islamic countries will ban, stone, imprison and kill gays. Previous Popes have gone to these countries and knowing that there has been outbreaks for decades they will still tell their followers that condoms are forbidden.

    There's a lot of grey on this issue. Acknowledging, understanding, and candidly discussing the facts of the issue is always a good thing.
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    May 15, 2014 9:54 PM GMT
    Can we clone TDSmoove? icon_biggrin.gif
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    May 16, 2014 3:10 PM GMT
    SeismicMuscle said
    Lumpyoatmeal saidAnother thing I find disappointing about black guys being on the DL and having a girl friend is how so many black gays aren't upset about the idea of guys being on the DL; it seems it's largely acceptable behavior.


    Because of homophobia. Seriously.


    Exactly, and here is a perfect example:

    Coalition Of Black Pastors Speaks Out Against Gay Marriage

    [url]http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/15/black-pastors-gay-marriage-michigan_n_5332496.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices&ir=Gay%20Voices[/url]
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    May 16, 2014 7:09 PM GMT
    Let's focus on raising more awareness of HIV and a need of inclusion in the LGBTQ+ community first. With these two active goals in mind, it doesn't matter what people think or who/what is to blame; everyone just wins.