Saturday, March 26, 2016

Get your freak on.......but do it safely!!!

* Image from the site GetDownPSA

Now 2 weeks into my dual roles of chemistry professor and data analyst/PhD student, and it still feels surreal to be in the place I've prayed about for so very long! And at the top of that list is working with genuinely kind people which hadn't happened to the extent I'm experiencing now since I left the NIH in 2005. And 11 years a LONG time to mostly "swim with sharks" but with God's grace, I SURVIVED!!!! :)

I also realized this week that because of the nature of the patients my group works with (people living with HIV (PLWHIV) I won't be able to be as forth coming about my experiences as I would like thanks in large part to the stigmas that still exist for people who are HIV positive. But I will be able to talk about all the interesting things I'm learning about the disease and the measures many large cities are taking to decrease incidence in our communities.

By being back in the HIV clinical research game, I recall alot about the nuances of human sexual behavior from my time as a volunteer AIDS educator at a large urban center and at the University of Florida in the early 90's, and also as an administrator at the state level for an HIV/STD/TB program. But though I lived in a known "swingers" neighborhood in the metro DC area for almost 11 years in the 00's and 10's, I'd forgotten until recently just how much people like to get their freak on. Now let me state on the onset I'm NOT making judgements about people's sexual behaviors. But the idea that HIV prevention organizations send folks out to "sex houses" to distribute condoms and provide on the spot HIV testing, blows my mind!! One "establishment" even requires everyone there be completely naked not long after entering, so that one was taken off the list of possibles places to provide services! But what would REALLY blow people's minds (or perhaps not) is the fact that the people who also frequent these places are NOT your run of the mill crack hos and IV drug abusers. The patrons of these establishments are also MARRIED CEOs of major companies and board members of national organizations. In other words, don't believe the hype of who's at risk for HIV infection!!! IMHO, if you're having sex married or not, you're at risk the only question is how big (or small) your risk is!!

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