Friday, 11 December 2009

.............Barebacking............. I Got Asked For My 2 Cents Worth.............

..................*insert HUGE sigh here*..

Okay................ So one of you people that visit my site - bless you for your patronage btw - decided to ask for my own view on barebacking.

Here it is......... and bear with me..............................................

Before I give anything away here, it is important to point out that I come from a position of having worked in health promotion - most notably in sexual health and HIV. I have worked with sex workers, I have worked with positive people, and, I have cared for and lost friends of mine to AIDS.

This is a very difficult question to answer without sounding like I am advocating for one side or the other. And it is important for me to say that I do not HAVE a side where this issue is concerned.

Here is what I do think...............

I do not believe that anyone should do ANYTHING without having the facts. This is called informed decision making and relates to everything we do in life, not just putting our pee-pee up someone's butt.

You would not buy a house without seeing it first inside and out.

You would not buy a car without making sure that the breaks worked or not.

Nor would you enter into a relationship without someone without dating them first and getting to know them and their status.

As an HIV educator - I believe it is most important to act as a resource and not act as judge nor jury. As someone who knows the current status of HIV therapies, the complex issues of viral load potential, and the many circumstantial issues surrounding transmission, I get a shiver down my spine when someone asks me what I think of barebacking.

And here is why...................

The issue is personal choice and the ability for an individual - any individual - to make their own decisions...... be they bad or good.

Even as someone who spent many years in gay men's health - I am not perfect - I did bareback occasionally and I did contradict my own professional view. There were many mitigating factors, but at the end of the day, *I* made a decision not to use protection. Implicitly, I did this knowing everything I knew, and yet, I still barebacked.

BUT YOU SHOULD KNOW BETTER !! - I hear you say.

Of course I should have. But there have also been times when I have not observed the speed limit; times when I have drunk too much; and times when I have put myself in situations where my personal safety was at risk (try walking through Fortitude Valley in Brisbane at 3am - you literally take your life into your hands).

Unfortunately, I find I can not give a clear and concise answer to the question.

At the end of the day, if you wish to avoid HIV you MUST use a condom, water based lube and common sense. Otherwise, you run the risk of contracting the virus.

And some issues to consider are;
  • There is no cure for HIV. If you get it, it will eventually progress into Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome and you will die from an opportunistic disease.
  • Honesty means different things to different people. Whilst many people are completely honest about their sero status - positive or negative - there are those who are honest to the situation ie. you are implicitly giving them permission for them NOT to tell you. Yes, some people do think this way.
  • If you bareback, top or bottom, the odds are that you will become infected - even if it takes 10 or 20 years............ it will happen. This is an epidemiological constant giving the mapping of the virus and the math associated with the recent increase in infections.
  • The current batch of HIV meds are excellent - but they are not a miracle.
  • Research is excellent and continues around the clock - but it is a slow, laborious process that takes decades.
  • My opinion of whether barebacking is good or not should play ZERO part in your own decision making process. You would not walk off a cliff if I told you to, so don't say "Damien said it was okay for me to take three loads up my butt over the weekend".
I am more than happy to expand upon this if requested.... but I think this is a good start to this issue and would very much enjoy making this something that ALL my readers can contribute to.

Email your opinion / views / thoughts to damientimmscarr@bigpond.com and I will do a megapost putting everyone's views out there (no names - I respect everyones confidentiality).

You asked the question and I answered.

This was my 2 Cents Worth and I just spent it.

Shalom

Damien
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4 comments:

SteveA said...

You are right - BB is a choice - sometimes you can become reckless - but BBing should only be with your partner and your partner alone.

Stud 4 Rent said...

you said it perfectly stud!

Wonder Man said...

I agree with Steve

Skinny Arbuckle said...

this was an especially great blog! thanks for it.