I am 34 years old today and you know....this is the first time in my life I have never felt the need to want to help people as much as I feel today. This would have not been the case if it wasn't for a small 2 page report on "HIV Disease in Young African American Men Who Have Sex with Men, Mississippi 2008". If your not familiar with the report 'Don't Waste Your Time', it's a bunch a lies... I think. Growing up in Mississippi has been one of the toughest things I have done as a Gay Black African American Male. All my life I have had to deal with the fact that I was different and people could see it as well as me!
My parents shut it out of their minds and never stopped loving me as their different son. I have had the best of everything and really never wanted for nothing. Today at this crossroads in my life, I have found myself looking down the barrel of a gun... not a real gun, but the STD/HIV Prevention gun. How do you address something that is so far away from you and the general public.
Do you know that the Health Departments in Mississippi are really not promoting getting a HIV/AIDS test until you come in with you dick in your hand or your pussy scrubbing the ground from maybe.... let's see. Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, P&S Syphilis and last but not least " HIV Disease". This is a fact... I visited the Health Department with one of my friends and she wasn't sure if say maybe the " New Guy" had giving her one of the famous cocktail STD's so she ask me to ride with to the clinic. Well, this is what they told her once they made a basic observation on her. Ms. @@@@ it looks as thought you might have Chlamydia... but we really aren't sure until lab work confirms it. I sit there posed and waiting on the HIV test question.
It never came! I was stark raving mad, I had in part turn around and look at my girlfriend and ask her right in front of the Nurse Practitioner "Aren't You Gone Get A HIV Test " her dumb ass say it ain't that serious.....I died right there. The Nurse Practitioner then looks at me and then ask her if she wants the test. This dumb ass, I thought...after begging this dizzy frog to take the test of a lifetime! How do you address barriers such as this.
According to the CDC, Aids is the leading cause of death for African American Women between the ages of 25 and 34 yrs old. For African American women 35 to 44 years old, it is the third leading cause of death...and it's the forth leading cause of women between the ages of 45 to 54, and Hispanic women, ages 35 to 44. The CDC also states that between 80 percent of the women that diagnosed with HIV, contracted it through high-risk heterosexual contact. These are the women that are afraid to engage their partner about having protected sex or getting tested first before having unprotected sex.
The department also suggests that these women know their partners sexual practices as well. " I think when they say Sexual Practices their really saying... find out if they bisexual or possibly gay", this is just my opinion so don't quote me on that.
Getting a HIV/AIDS test in Mississippi may seem like it's as easy as going to the store with no money and just picking up whatever the hell you want... It's not. Just because you got a FREE Health Department doesn't mean that you have access to the test. In the clinic in Hazelhurst, Ms you have to pay $10 for the test and that could mean no meal for the day for many or no wine or dope and OH well, no HIV/AIDS test.
Rural area's are suffering the most, because all the attention are put on the cities that have the highest number of cases, often those positive cases from the cities travel to the rural area's to seek out new potential clients. Venues where men sleeping with men openly are scarce, so using the Internet to find a sex partner confidentially is a great way for men that are bisexual and openly gay to find a quick sex partner. Rural (MSM) are not able to identify with prevention measures because of clouded issues dealing with stigma and social relevance.
Many men such as I, a Gay man living in a Rural area that has been named the KKK town, have felt the end of the ax hammer when it comes to stigma behind a Gay man. Constantly defending who you are as well as what you are. Between the ages of 12 to 28, I was tormented by what people thought of me and how they felt about me. I have heard a many of them give thanks to their son not being Gay. These were the same young boy's.... the same age as me, that couldn't wait to get off the bus to slick me. I am sure if some of their fathers could read or stumble on this passage, I am sure it would bring back memories.
Slick me is a term that was used by the young men between the ages of 14 to 17 that would put their penis between your legs and think that they were have sex. Picture that... two young boys in the wood's having sex, or what they thought was sex! This was our only pass time back then and to be honest it remains the same today.
The young men today are mostly nothing more than early crackheads, because you can only smoke so much marijuana and continue to get a high. I am really thinking that is the reason behind the pill usage and crystal meth experiments. Black men are mostly introduced to meth through white men that are hooked. It's rare that your going to see a black man that got hooked on crystal meth hanging out with a total black social network "RARE".
In conclusion of all that I know now about STD's, it gives me great pleasure to reach out to such lost souls and share what I learned thus far. The road ahead will be very hard for me still as a Gay Black Man Living in the south, but the faith that I never lost even threw it all has never let me down. I am a firm believer that when you take God out of things that are good, he will walk tall and show the evil doers who is King. There is no denying that I am a Gay Man, but HIV/AIDS has no preference. HIV/AIDS has a strict non discrimination policy and it's always hiring, but to all my fellow American's that is one job you should never want to get hired on.....
P.S. I look at my certificate from the MSDH and I can't help but to laugh. It arrived to me in a envelope that was mangled and crumpled and it reads " Mississippi State Department of Health" This is to certify that Sinatra Perryman has participated in a two-day training course "STD/HIV Instructor Course" In recognition thereof, this certificate is awarded this the 20th day of October 2009. I would have been proud if it would have said CERTIFIED!
The people that attended the training was very nice and really showed a genuine interest in what was been taught. Although, many were not from the target populations such as MSM, Hispanic, and PLWHA it was very interesting. Previously I had the pleasure of attending the Mississippi Community Planning Groups for HIV Prevention meeting on October 9, 2009. It really wasn't a true meeting because not even half of it's nominated members were there. This I was told by a source is nothing new.
I had a opportunity to sit face to face with the CBO's that were in attendance because the Request for Proposal that they were looking for wasn't posted accordingly. I care not to go in to details about the reasoning behind it not being posted, but the dingo was on the rabbits trail. It isn't my goal to cause any stress to anyone or ill-will for my abrupt questions and demeaning attitude, but I must do this for my people.
Today I live in a world of full awareness as to what is going on and what is going wrong. Funding for some of these programs should have never been if their methods only included what I have witnessed. I will not call names, but after viewing there progress reports and being asked to sit on the Community Planning Group by Ms. Juanita Davis Co-Chair I welcome the challenge.
Rural area's are not being served and people the numbers are climbing. We not only face the epidemic of HIV/AIDS, but in 2007 Mississippi was ranked Number 1 among 50 states in Chlamydia infections and Gonorrheal infections view stats here http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/resources/3404.pdf .
Viewing all this new information has made me change the overall focus of the situation that is at hand. Everyday I manage to trust my instincts and venture out into the world to find what is it that is making us Black African Americans toy with our lives so recklessly. My problem was not having parents that understood this killer and it's mass destruction capabilities, and thought to talk about sex was to tell me to go and have sex at a early age. Some may say that is a common problem and I would have to agree. Abstinence is what Mississippi policy is and it's killing us. Everyday I continue to see many 14-17 year old young ladies pregnant.
When this happens the parents want to scream" What Happen" and it's their fault. To understand something and a major problem one must take a look at themselves an acknowledge what is needed and what's not.
- Abstinence works only if you refrain from unprotected sex.
- Yes HIV/AIDS is a major problem among African American Men and Women
- No you can't contract HIV/AIDS from direct contact with someone that is HIV positve
- TB is not a STD "Thanks Juanita For Clarifying This"
I would also like to thank Mr Craig Thompson the director STD/HIV Bureau in Jackson, MS for taking the time out his busy schedule to speak with me on October 9, 2009. He was my first contact source for sparking this great interest. This guy is really down to earth and really understanding what is wrong, but can only do so much with such limited laws to help the residents of Mississippi. My source has told me that he's not what you think, but I am not quick to judge and it's not what anyone else thinks, it's what I think!
He has been very attentive to my many needs and I can't say thank you enough to the help he has giving and the respect he has shown. However, the day that his nonconforming side introduces itself to me I will most certainly relay it to you.
This Month in HIV
Guide To Prevention And Care Services For People Living With HIV/AIDS In Mississippi
Dealers United Inc... email us at firstname.lastname@example.orgAdvocacy Agency For People Living With HIV/AIDS...
Our Mission: Provide resources to those that are not informed or misinformed on the dangers of unprotected sex and other health issues concerning Mississippi. We pride ourselves in helping all citizens of the United States of America.
Dealers United Inc. does not discriminate and provides Advocacy services to those suffering from health disparities mainly HIV/AIDS.For a current list of places available in the State of Mississippi for help Click Here