Tag Archives: pride

Is There Still Room for HIV Prevention and Education at Pride?

HIV Testing Truck at Chicago Pride (Credit: W. Imara Canady)

It seems as if many great things are sparked by conflict. The civil rights movement was birthed from years of racism, violence, and subjugation. The women’s movement followed the same path and pursuit of equality. And LGBTQ pride is no exception. In 1969, people tired of being marginalized, assaulted, and arrested decided to take a stand. Hence, the Stonewall riots ushered in a new phase of LGBTQ liberation. A year later, on June 28,1970, Christopher Street Liberation Day took place in New York. Chicago actually one-upped the Big Apple by having a Gay Pride parade the day before that same year.

Article via TheBody.com , the complete HIV/AIDS Resource.

The reasons to go to a pride festival are as wide and vast as the number of prides themselves. Some attend for the parties. Others love having access to arts and culture scenes. Many prides debut new films with LGBT themes as part of their programming. Today, pride celebrations take place in almost every major city in the U.S. and many across the world. But one of the mainstays of pride might be changing: HIV prevention and awareness.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of new HIV diagnosis in 2016 reached 39,782. Although this is a decline from previous years, it shows large vulnerabilities among certain groups. African Americans were hit hard, accounting for 17,528 of those diagnoses. The number of transmissions also leans heavily on the LGBTQ population, with 26,570 transmissions occurring among men who have sex with men (MSM). The CDC has also reported that 2,351 transgender people were diagnosed with HIV between 2009 and 2014. According to its estimates, about 22%-28% of trans women are HIV positive and over half of black trans women are HIV positive.

For many, prides have been a place for education and information on HIV — and testing.

“It’s interesting in the case of black prides in particular,” Earl D. Fowlkes Jr., president and CEO of the Center for Black Equity, said in a phone interview. “The purpose of pride was to disseminate AIDS information for MSM. That was one of the major goals.”

Fowlkes reflected back on 28 years ago when D.C. Black Pride was just getting started. He continued, “We knew about New York and LA. We wanted to get information into the hands of people dying with the disease in D.C.”

Over the years, Fowlkes, who works with several pride organizations around the world, has noticed a shift in attitude about the inclusion of HIV messages in the celebrations.

“It’s not in the forefront anymore,” Fowlkes said. “There’s a little AIDS fatigue.”

Les Pappas, president of Better World Advertising (a company that has created HIV-prevention marketing campaigns for more than 20 years), has had a similar experience with perceptions about HIV prevention and campaigns to engage audiences.

“To me, it’s more about the community, how the messages have shifted,” Pappas said. “I can remember, going back to 1984-85, prides were very sad affairs, and people were also frightened. There was so much memorializing. There hadn’t been a lot of advances in the early days.”

Pappas said that HIV outreach has mostly shifted to virtual spaces. “In past years, half the booths at pride would be HIV focused. Now, a lot of our efforts around HIV have moved online.”

In addition to targeting the web and apps, education campaigns’ focus has itself changed.

“There is more focus around clinics and treatments,” Pappas said. “We have gotten to the point where the biggest focus is providing people with medicine either providing [treatment or for] prevention. It’s done year round.”

“We did a float in San Francisco — a PrEP [pre-exposure prophylaxis] pill,” Pappas said. “That is where things are, and the medicalization of [HIV] has changed the dynamic.”

W. Imara Canady, regional director of communications and community engagement with AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and Southern Bureau chair, Black Leadership AIDS Crisis Coalition, said that testing is one part of HIV prevention and education that has remained during prides.

“We are actually seeing that being involved with prides is still a great way to connect,” Canady said in a phone interview. “At L.A. Pride just last week, we tested 1,000 individuals.”

Canady continued: “[A] lot of it is the placement of where the testing spaces are. We are also marketing in a very non-traditional ways. We are using mobile testing units that don’t feel like you’re going to the hospital van. We make it a hip space to get tested. Really, what we’re working to do is make testing a part of the culture,” Canady said, “to normalize testing in these communities and creative spaces.”

Due to changes in HIV prevention and treatment, Pappas sees a shift in the services offered at pride, not necessarily the relevance of prides themselves as tools to reach people.

“As a dinosaur in this, I remember when there was no test,” Pappas said. “After that, there was no effective treatment. After treatments came online, PrEP was a game changer. We’re at a stage in our communities where it’s becoming about access. The bigger issue for the larger portion of the community, by and large, is being able to take advantage of these new developments.”

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Gallery

Photographs from Leicester Pride 2017

This gallery contains 77 photos.

Originally posted on tjrfoto:
Leicester Pride is attended by more 10,000 people each year with more than 2,000 taking part in the parade through the city, starting at The Curve and ending at Victoria Park.  Leicester Pride celebrates equality and diversity…

Casual Sex Encounters? Tips for staying safe online & at #LeicesterPride

ChemSex

Image © 2014 TJRFoto

Protect yourself while having sex, it’s our number one message and it’s primarily directed around having safer sex in terms of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

This time, we’re talking about your physical safety.  When you’re meeting someone new while you’re at Leicester Pride or using an app then going home afterwards.  With Leicester Pride coming up on Saturday it’s a good opportunity to meet new people, maybe even ‘The One’ and update yourself on some common sense advice for meeting people for the first time, maybe even share this with a friend if you think they’ll benefit from this.

This isn’t the normal yada yada, it’s an unfortunate fact that gay people are attacked, mugged or worse, sometimes on the promise of meeting someone for sex.  I’m lucky, it’s never happened to me before but last year, a friend of mine was beaten up and was robbed in his own house, just for meeting someone online!  There are people who exploit online dating apps and I’m sorry but in 2016, homophobia still exists.  Here are just a few UK headlines from this month alone..

A lot of people use apps to look for sex and many find it.  We know it’s exciting to meet strangers too for those evenings of passion which you remember for days on end but you must ensure you are safe with new people you have only just met. It would be irrational to say don’t do it at all so here’s a pointers on how to stay safe while hooking up online..

LET A FRIEND KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON

If you’re one the lucky ones (the type of person who can hook-up within a few minutes of logging on), the chances are that you’ve probably got a friend that is equally as friendly as you are. So, put that friendship to use!  Take a screenshot of your next meet’s face pic then text it along with the address to your pal with a note that you’ll text them as soon as you’re done so they know you’re safe. The bonus is that you’ll have a record of all your online meets, someone to talk to them about and a printable face pic to put on a dartboard in case they end up being a time waster. It’s a win-win situation.

TRUST YOUR GUT

You know that feeling when something isn’t right, when you know that everything isn’t as it should be and you’re second guessing yourself, trust it! Most of us have experienced the sense of knowing things before we know them, even if we can’t explain how. Theories suggest you can “feel” approaching events specifically because of your dopamine neurons. “The jitters of dopamine help keep track of reality, alerting us to those subtle patterns that we can’t consciously detect,” explains Jonah Lehrer, author of the book: How We Decide.

So when chatting to someone, at Pride, on apps or otherwise for the first time, your instincts can tell you whether or not there’s a “creep factor” that you can’t shake off. If you get even a hint that there is something not right about the situation, don’t go, find someone else, the internet is an ocean with plenty of fish, stay away from the sharks!

KNOW HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF

Everyone should know how to escape danger and how to protect themselves.  If you’re a small frame, and into the big muscle type then you’ve got to be aware that you’re at a physical disadvantage going into the situation. At the very least you should know how to escape a bad situation. A few self-defence lessons from a martial arts centre could make all the difference if you’re ever confronted in the future or worse, attacked by someone in your own home who you’ve just met online.

If you’re not interested in signing up to a centre, use YouTube instead.  Search for ‘how to protect yourself in a fight’ or ‘self-defence techniques’ and explore what’s there.

If you’re more serious about this, here’s a link to explore some Martial Art‘s centres in Leicester: http://dojos.co.uk/Leicester/ It’s another way to meet new people, have more social interaction and all while keeping fit and helping to protect yourself! Another Win Win!

AVOID ANONYMOUS ENCOUNTERS

It needs to be said, some people are very into the anonymity and fantasy of a total stranger coming in to their home and having sex with no prior discussion and we have to say that this is probably one of the most dangerous things that you can do after looking for sex online. If you think it’s a good idea to have your head buried in the pillow and leave your door unlocked while waiting for a complete stranger to enter your home then get over it. Now.

Engaging in this particular type of fantasy leaves you more open to robbery and sexual assault, and leaves you in the most vulnerable position you could be in. If this is really your thing, don’t do it on the first time you arrange something but if you do, you should tell someone what you’re up to as a safety net.  Remember, it’s safer and eaiser to arrange this kind meet with someone you already know so make it a part of a fantasy so you can have the good sex with only the idea of the danger.

HAVE A REGULAR ONLINE BUDDY

OK, so if you’re doing the Grindr & Tindr thing. Obviously there is always going to be the awkwardness of meeting someone for the first time. If the sex is really good and you’re both into making it a regular thing, then why not use the app to reconnect with them? You’ve obviously both passed the chemistry test so now you have someone who can be trusted on some level that you have really good sex with.

(And here’s the dirty little secret about finding people for sex, most people actually want a regular partner to meet up with, even if they’re not looking for a boyfriend/girlfriend).

So have fun “auditioning” people, and when you find one or two (or ten) that you click with, go ahead and put them in your phonebook. Properly vetted online friends with benefits can nullify the need for all of this advice so keep your eyes open for someone good to add to your black book – It’ll save you a lot of stress in the long run.

Are you going to Pride? What tips do you have for staying safe?  Would you add anything to this list? – Let us know in the comments.

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