Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Today's PSA: The Ultimate Accessory – don’t leave home without it

I so very, very much did not want to write this post. In fact, I've been sitting here in front of the computer for over an hour trying to write ANYTHING else. Like any good blogger, I keep a few posts tucked away for those days when I am hung over or singularly uninspired on vacation. I went through my list twice and even checked my random post-it notes musings to see if there was something else to say. Nope this is it. I feel somewhat like a public service blog this week but after watching today's Oprah, it had to be written.

Why the discomfort, OneChele? Well, sex is not something we discuss in the BougieFam household. Iz you iz or iz you ain't… we shan't be discussing it. Just the way it's always been, and I'm good with it. As you may have noticed from my postings, I will often allude to sexual acts but if you are waiting for me to break it on down… well, buy my book (I save the steamy stuff for the fiction). I watched Ms. Oprah's show with tear-brimmed eyes. I received no less than 10 tweets asking about my opinion and an equal number of emails. With a sigh, I recognized that the following must be said:

For those of you that may have missed it, Oprah had a show about a man here in the Dallas Area who had given the HIV virus to no less than 15 women that he was juggling at once. These were all women "of a certain age" positive they had discovered a true love. Some of them simply never thought to ask his HIV status, others asked and he point-blank lied. Yeah, we don't play that brand of bullshiggity here in Texas. Using a loophole in the Assault with a Deadly Weapon charge they were able to hit old boy with multiple felony counts. This bastard came to court and tried to say that one of the women had infected him. Hello? Welcome to the DNA of disease, they were able to do some CSI forensic magic and prove that the strain of HIV in all the women's blood originated from him. He's currently serving forty-five years with the possibility of parole in twenty-two when he will be seventy-two years of age. Someone warn the Golden Girls if this jerk gets out. Click back to Tuesday, October 20 show to see highlights.

As I watched the ladies answering questions, I noticed how utterly devastated they were and how angry and defensive they became when an audience member asked them why they didn't insure their own protection. "Do NOT blame the VICTIMS!" One woman snapped from the stage. While I understood what she was saying, I still couldn't help but think… in this age of sexual tomfoolery, really no condom? Another woman exclaimed tearfully, "This is a man that each of us thought we were in a long-term intimate trusting relationship with. He was clean and well-spoken and employed, you would never had thought he carried this deadly disease."

I had to press pause. I understand that these women were a bit older. My generation and the ones behind it came up in the post-Magic Johnson era. Condoms became something you could scoop up at the Student Union next to the campus newsletter. Getting that this was not their experience, I still goggled that someone still believed you could look at someone to see if they are carrying diseases. STDS and AIDS are not like meth-use, you can't eye someone up and say, "Umm, they on that stuff." And psycho-assholes like this dude go out of their way to appear as normal and healthy as possible. Even if I set aside unwanted pregnancies and STDs (a lot to set aside), I simply don't trust someone to care as much about my health as I do. It would never occur to me not to have the full-blown conversation or break out the foil packet, or both.

Today's PSA: The fast growing population of HIV/AIDS infected citizens are African-American females. Please peep these scary-ass facts from the CDC:

Of all racial and ethnic groups in the United States, HIV and AIDS have hit African Americans the hardest. The reasons are not directly related to race or ethnicity, but rather to some of the barriers faced by many African Americans. These barriers can include poverty (being poor), sexually transmitted diseases, and stigma (negative attitudes, beliefs, and actions directed at people living with HIV/AIDS or directed at people who do things that might put them at risk for HIV).

When we look at HIV/AIDS by race and ethnicity, we see that African Americans have:

  • More illness. Even though blacks (including African Americans) account for about 13% of the US population, they account for about half (49%) of the people who get HIV and AIDS.
  • Shorter survival times. Blacks with AIDS often don't live as long as people of other races and ethnic groups with AIDS. This is due to the barriers mentioned above.
  • More deaths. For African Americans and other blacks, HIV/AIDS is a leading cause of death.

The rate of AIDS diagnoses for black women was 22 times the rate for white women. Some reasons might be:

  • Sexual risk factors include high-risk sexual contact such as unprotected sex with multiple partners or unprotected sex with persons known to have or be at a high risk for HIV infection. People may be unaware of their partner's sexual risk factors or have incorrectly assessed them.
  • Stigma, a "negative social label that identifies people as deviant", also puts too many African American communities at a high risk of infection. Many at risk for HIV infection fear stigma more than knowing their status, choosing instead to hide their high-risk behavior rather than seek counseling and testing. Therefore they continue to be at risk and may infect others .

WTF ladies? As women (and black women) we have a hard-enough path to walk without adding this to the journey. Why in all that is holy would you not buy, carry and use condoms unless you are in a long-term committed relationship with some whose test results you have privy to? And by long-term I don't mean six months. They continue to research incubation periods and probabilities between exposure and infection. So someone your boo slept with x number of years ago can come back to haunt you in more ways than one. That kind of risk is a game of Russian roulette I have no desire to play.

They are coming out with a male birth control pill, great – it doesn't cure AIDS. They have a preventative shot for HPV, excellent – it doesn't cure AIDS. Get a condom, keep a condom. NO excuses:

  • "I hate how condoms feel." Everyone does, lookie here – Trojan came out with some new stuff that's supposed to be the bomb-diggity. Can someone who has tried the new Ecstasy joints write in and let us know if it's as advertised (in PG-13 language, please).
  • "It was only once." Yes and just like with pregnancy, once is all it takes. I don't care what freak-nasty stuff old boy pulled out of his bag of tricks, is it worth your life?
  • "He swore he was clean." He probably swore he was single/straight/employed too, right? You would check his resume but not his test results? Come on now.
  • "It was only oral sex." Hmm, sounds familiar – 'there was only one bullet in the gun' – still a lethal weapon, people.
  • "AIDS is a survivable diagnosis." And a car crash is a survivable accident but I'm not deliberately trying to have one, now am I?

Rest assured that these poor Texas women are not the first (remember that high school cluster in Georgia with 21 infected teens) or the last to get tragically burned by bad choices. Just be smart, be part of the solution and don't become a statistic. GET TESTED and know your partner's status! One in FIVE people infected with HIV doesn't know it!

You can look up a free clinic for testing here. If you don't want to bust up in a store and buy some condoms (please grow up), here's a link for some freebies and here's a Trojan coupon. Okay, I'm off the soapbox, here's Barack to talk to ya'll.

I can vividly recall one gent who came at me with the "just this once will be fine" bullshiggity. I bounced him outta there so quick no doubt both of his heads were spinning. I gave a damn. Can anyone give me a reason for sexually active people not to carry around and use condoms? Seriously, one good reason? Probably not so comment as you will…

p.s. tomorrow I write about something trivial and fun if it kills me J

38 comments:

AppleBerryMIA said...

There is no reason to take the risk! I feel bad for these women but it's definitely a case where naivete cost them.

I don't walk in the rain without an umbrella either!

ASmith said...

"i tell my kids if you too ashamed to go in the store and buy condoms, you too young to be having sex."

Amen.

Kiki said...

Love it. Love the fact that you can write the fun and fluffy as well as the serious and should be said... again and again.

AppleBerryMIA said...

From your FB?: No hat, no cat. No glove, no love. No coat, no stroke. No cover, no lover. No sleeve, you leave! I think that covers them all! LOL

uglyblackjohn said...

At the age of 13, I take all of my male cousins to the local AIDS clinic to help them develop a comfort level with the services.
After a few bags of condoms and KY, they have no shame in asking questions and being prepared.

Any HIV/AIDS clinic gives away bags of condoms to anyone who comes in.
There is no excuse.

Lady Loves Hats said...

There are some things that women just need to own - one is that ultimately, they are the only ones who can protect themselves from pregnancy, stds and aids. Stop worrying about what the man is going to do and handle it yourself.

EC Thompson, MD said...

Well, I for one am looking forward to tomorrow's post. Something superficial and frivolous -- let me give you a few suggestions. Hollywood is all abuzz about Hilary Swank's performance as Emelia Erhardt. Do we care? Should we care? Roman Polanski's lawyers are trying to fight extradition from Sweden. why? Didn't he do the crime and admit to it? Jon Gosselin, of Jon left Kate with 6 kids, is asking for huge amounts of monies for personal appearances. Why is anyone paying him to do anything more than sweep out the garbage? From a football standpoint, why is Roy Williams of the Dallas Cowboys still employed? Was he Jerry Jones's worst trade ever? My 2 cents.

courtney aka glamah said...

We were having a similar discussion today , but more about pregancy than AIDS. I cant fathom how anyone would be so careless in this day and age. Even in a commited relationship today, there is always a risk .Why does the responsibilit and burden always fall on the woman birth control wise. But if he doesnt like wearing condems, we are supposed to OK with that?

BB Waite said...

The fact that it is 2010 and we are STILL having this discussion means people either aren't paying attention, are deluded or stubborn as hell. Either way, far as we know - you only get ONE life. Too precious to throw away. You KILLED it with: 'there was only one bullet in the gun' – still a lethal weapon, people.

Sasha Stiletto said...

You GOING IN this week! Okay - no jim hat no va-jay-jay. No glove, no love. No bareback, no raw dawg - none of that! Ain't happening.

JaymeC said...

Ah, poor Chele look at you for the greater good- if ya'll only knew how much she HATES for people to discuss their sex lives and gives people this icy glare when they try and probe into hers. Her glare is legend!

I counsel engage and married couples to get tested together, consider it a date. And go back again each year. Annual check up, annual test. And no harm in being extra cautious about keeping it wrapped up for a while

Foxy Brown said...

one of the great things about my job is that as a minister i get to talk about sex in a place where the idea of sex is very much taboo, the church. i love doing hiv/aids ministry/education. the people trust me cause i'm a minister. the kids listen cause i'm young. they are receptive cause i'm open. i co-sign with brendakay. i've heard some straight up foolishness when it comes to sti prevention.

the hardest ones to talk to are the 40 ish to 50 ish crowd. i don't know what it is but they know it all. i didn't see the oprah episode, but i'm willing to bet most of them fell in that range. people need to take control of their sexuality. i tell my kids if you too ashamed to go in the store and buy condoms, you too young to be having sex. maybe i should tell the adults too. no glove, no love dammit! lol.

ASmith said...

Folks are gonna get off that "he looked ok" bullshit. Yeah, I said it... this is too basic to even be considered bullshiggity.

It's the back side of 2009, there is NO excuse to catch an STI from someone. I don't care what he said, looked like, did or didn't do. The reality is that there's only one Magic Johnson so the rest of us gotta watch our backs because HIV/AIDS kills and a host of other STIs can potentially ruin your life. Be for real, people... be for freaking real.

I didn't see the whole show (I had it up on my computer screen -- amen for computer tv -- but then had to leave my desk) but I caught the tail-end and while I'm glad these women came forward and shared their story, it's a shame that we still have to have those "shock-value" stories to get people to wake up and say "Hmm... if I intend to have sex with someone whose sexual history I do not know fully (so everybody you may sleep with) and whose test results I've not seen, I oughta use some protection..."

It also amazes me that pregnancy is the one thing people are scared of. I mean, an unwanted pregnancy is nothing to scoff at, but STIs KILL! Sweet Lord... my patience for the ridiculousness is too low. People w0uld line up down the STREET for some free birth control, but you try to give 'em free condoms and they act simple and basic. I can't with that. I CANNOT.

bougiesis said...

@ecthompson Hmmm - on the bouge, it has been declared that we need not discuss any of this craziness. Amelia, Roman and whatnot are not bougie - at all. xxxooo -Bougiesis

Hidi said...

In regards to the women on Oprah who were infected with HIV, Did they ever stop to think....my HEALTH is more important than some man and I NEED to protect myself??? I do not understand. These women are GROWN. They know better. Also, I did not know diseases had a face to it (Im being sacrastic). He seems clean and is employed so that equals disease free??

Foxy Brown said...

"People w0uld line up down the STREET for some free birth control, but you try to give 'em free condoms and they act simple and basic."

So, true!

thinklikeRiley said...

Yes sir, those new Ecstasy trojans are on point. What Drake say? "Best I ever Had"

Violet Rose said...

Yes C!!! This is it right here. "if I have to educate a man in this day and age" - onto the next please!

Suzie S said...

I'm so paranoid I carry them everywhere.. wait- that sounds bad, I'm not laying down all over town but I will not be caught without. I got some girls who "hate to buy them" - I say, really? You don't hate to use em!

Rob said...

definitely an issue among the black and the bougie. It never occurs to us that anyone in our "circle" would have diseases. I'm always so focused on the "no baby" issue that I'm wrapping up anyway.

Rob said...

Riley - why did I KNOW you would be the one to answer this?

Violet Rose said...

Girl you are doing the most this week! Public Outreach week on BnB? Love it!

BrendaKay said...

OneChele,

When people think of AIDS or HIV, they don't think or see a picture of a 40 or 50 year old white woman. They think and see the faces of gay men or people of African descent. This should be a HUGE wake up call and reminder to everyone, that AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases don't segregate themselves to a particular race or sexual orientation.

And when I read the comment from one of the women, that the accused was "clean and well-spoken and employed." I thought that's the same thing everyone said about Ted Bundy. And come to find out he was a serial killer!

OneChele said...

C - I just had the funniest flashback. I'll call you. Great comment!

Sasha Stiletto said...

I'm not one for the casual hit and run either so definitely before it gets to that point, we're having the talk or he's walking the walk.

OneChele said...

Shut it Jayme. I have no such glare.

OneChele said...

I KNEW Riley would be that guy. Thanks Riley!

OneChele said...

Amen AND Amen.

OneChele said...

You are correct about the demographic.

daisy said...

Great Barack video! All I can say is co-sign! "Your Girl C" is on point - can't think the last time anyone asked me my status and had the nerve to get insulted when I asked them. Oh well, if you want some of this, you'll want to get over the anger and cover it up.

BB Waite said...

Um, yeah you do (don't send it my way!).

Troy said...

The warm sensation joints are nice as well. Good looking out on the freebies and the coupon, I ain't proud.

Andrea M said...

I don't even talk about it. Ya down, put it on otherwise I'm out.

yourgirlC said...

Here's the thing, I have never, never had a man ask me about my sexual history (except maybe "the number"). No questions to determine whether or not I might be a "high risk" person or have been intimate with one. I believe the assumption is that I'm clean, upper middle-class, educated, classy and smart. In other words, a safe bet. Noone's ever asked my HIV status (for the record, it's negative). Now, I have a healthy ego but not so healthy that I think I'm the only one he was willing to bet on when attempting to get intimate without a condom. If a man is willing to play russian roulette with his own health, that makes me even more adament about condoms and safe sex. To be honest, if I have to educate a man in this day and age, it's a major turn off to me and I'm out of there.

Andrea M said...

Social responsibility is supposedly one of the lessons of being mature. If he can't ask, won't answer and doesn't want to wear one - I'm ghost.

diamond life said...

Let's be real, there's no comfortable way to have this conversation but as everyone said below, if you are old enough to do it, you're old enough to speak it. Sleeve it or leave it.

Jason P said...

So tomorrow will be Just Say No day? Just teasing, we know we love your blog girl.

Jason P said...

Preach girl, how dumb you gotta be to worry about a baby over disease and death? Given a choice - I'll take the baby! But since a simple piece of material can prevent both... what is the problem?

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