Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Are you black... in America? Having sex??

So my new favorite blogger went to the rally to protest the defunding of Planned Parenthood last Saturday...I meant to go. smh @ myself. I even emailed the info for friends to go -- but didn't attend myself. When it came down to the decision to go, I'm embarrassed to say that I chose to hang with my guy friend and probably, ironically, get my name on the list of folks that can be found somewhere on this page.... I am certainly not HIV positive (I have been tested recently) but my usual smugness was wiped from my face upon waiting for my results this year.

Normally my Russian nurse would say, "Would you like an HIV test in addition to your STD test?"
And I would casually look around the office with an "Aw shucks why not? My health insurance is going to pay for it right? Knock yourself out..."
Then I'd return to my office with my band-aid covered cotton ball in the crook of my arm and proudly show my students how responsible their counselor was being about her health [Black woman conquering stance].

Now I realized that the present test would be negative because I hadn't engaged in any risky behaviors prior to the end of last year buuuuuuut I can't say that any longer. I am desperately ashamed and disappointed in myself for not standing more firmly in what I believe in and for not standing up for my life and my health.

So everything came full circle when The Beautiful Struggler wrote:
I’m also highly concerned with figuring out ways to make Black people understand the gravity of our sexual health, as the abortion and STI-infection rates show that far too many of us are comfortable with having unprotected sex with no intention[sic] of having a child. As The Champ points out in the hilarious Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm At Night: The Very Smart Brothas Guide To Dating, Mating and Fighting Crime (look for a review of the book here this week), even many of those people who are speaking at HIV-awareness events and preaching the gospel of safe sex are going home and leaving the condoms in the drawer[bold added].


Sometimes I swear that the universe holds some people accountable for their contradictions and mistakes (me) and other get away scout free (wall street??).  So I now resign myself with the fact that I'm a statistic...

CDC states about African Americans:

African Americans continue to experience higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) than any other race/ethnicity in the US. The presence of certain STDs can significantly increase the chance of contracting HIV infection. A person who has both HIV infection and certain STDs has a greater chance of infecting others with HIV.
So now instead of having a random intellectual debate about people I know who aren't using protection I can and will talk about myself. Why didn't I use protection?  Here's why...


It won't happen to me. That's why. In that moment of decision making, with my hormones pumping and the relief and chance of connection and love and touching -- I KNEW that I was the protagonist in this story and nothing happens to the protagonist that the protagonist can't overcome. I don't get the STD, my sidekick does. I don't die from from HIV, my red shirted* sidekick does. Do you hear my conviction in those words? Slam your fist on your desk to punctuate the sentiments...

I must believe it - Why else would I put my life in danger?

This egomaniacal relationship to the world with regard to the sex is deeply personal... and I suspect that it is also widespread. Everyone believes they are Superman or Batman, aka the most important component of their own life story and as an essential component, it won't happen to them. That shaking of the head you're doing right now -- I take that, I own that, I deserve that.  The sadder point to deal with is that I know the stats, I know the techniques to persuade, I know everything you're going to say in your Prevention speech - I still did it.

Sounds hopeless. It's not. I don't know how to get through to folks me about the issue. So much of that decision, in my experience, take place as a couple - a joint decision - I was always supported in doing the positive thing and when it was on my shoulders alone I dropped the ball. I suppose we need to practice prevention with the understanding that the heat of the moment decision is a joint decision - We need to ask the question, how do we make two individuals invested in prevention - not the individual alone.

I will, however, pick myself up, dust myself off, get focused and as some folks have said - become Pro-life (mine).

*star trek reference for those of you who don't shirt die first and only...

No comments:

Post a Comment