Monday, July 5, 2010

Discussion: Laying It Bare: Gay Men and Unprotected Sex in the Age of HIV/AIDS recently hosted a panel discussion - via teleconference - on unprotected sex among gay men.Absolutely fascinating, engaging and illuminating - a must for any and all interested in gay men's health.

Click here for the audio and a transcript.

The call was moderated by fogcityjohn and included Walt Odets, Rashad Burgess and Jeffrey Parsons.

- Select quotes -

Walt Odets: It's a natural behavior, and it's of emotional significance. And I think gay men naturally engage in it. We have liked to feel that it was somehow dispensable -- and it's really not, emotionally. So, again, we haven't helped men to think about what they are doing. It's a very narrow range in which HIV is transmitted. Anal sex has the emotional import for gay men that vaginal intercourse has for heterosexuals. And it can't be dismissed. And we can't expect that that's going to done all the time, under any circumstances, with a condom. It's compelling. It's emotionally compelling. 

Rashad Burgess: We, as Americans, [need to] recognize the value of gay men, in all of our lives, in the many facets of our lives -- whether it be the business owners, whether it be folks' uncles, or family members, other types of family members, the partners that gay men have. Because it is a community that, it's imperative, understands that their lives -- and as a gay man, that our lives, and my life -- is worth saving. 

Jeffrey Parsons: We do sometimes forget about the group of gay men who are out there -- and it's a large group -- who are very happy, very satisfied. They're not depressed. They're not lonely. They're not engaged in risk behaviors. They're not seroconverting. They're actually doing very well. And I think -- and I can certainly say this as a researcher -- that too often we don't get to focus on that group. We don't get to actually talk to them and research them and find out: What are they doing to stay safe, and to stay healthy, and to stay well adjusted?

Read, listen to the whole thing here.

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