Don’t Talk About; Be About It
In 1981 the U.S. discovered HIV/AIDS and since then it has claimed the life of millions of Americans. My introduction to HIV/AIDS came in 1987 at the tender age of 17. By then I had already been on my own for two years on the streets of NYC and had seen the changing atmosphere of the party circuit. There was a strange hush that came over the minority gay community. The ominous discussions revolved around a killer disease with the potential to take out its victims in a matter of months. I was basically told that the disease was spread through sexual contact and that I should practice safer sex. At this point, the disease wasn’t a concern for me, until I began to see the folks who ran in my circles begin to get ill and die. It was then that I not only became afraid, but recognized my own mortality. I felt betrayed – not only because I was given this information after I had begun being sexually active, but because I was at the peak of my sexual exploration and was now confronted with a silent killer I didn’t know much information about. I didn’t immediately take heed, but I believe that the Lord protects the innocent and the ignorant – well, I was at least ignorant. Now, 25 years later, if I’m nothing else, I’m grateful. I’m here, I’m healthy and rather than live trapped in a helpless fear of HIV/AIDS, I’ve chosen to take a stand and do what I can in the fight against the enemy that has stolen so many of my friends. Each year, I take to the streets of NYC and walk to raise funds for treatment, support and research to help save the lives of men, women and children infected with the disease. Information sharing is important, but without actively working toward combating HIV/AIDS we are simply wishing on a star. On Sunday, May 20, 2007 I am participating in the NY AIDS Walk. I’m asking that you join me in fighting the disease by sponsoring my walk. Simply go to my NY AIDS Walk 2007 donation page and in just a few clicks you will go from talking about it, to being about it. HIV/AIDS is not going away, so it’s up to all of us to fight.
The Return of Baby Daddy
Hailing from the boogie-down-Bronx, Baby Daddy is a red-bone, juicy-pink-lip, six-foot brotha I met over a year ago. His nickname stems from the admirable responsibility he has of raising his 8-year old son all alone. Yes, there are single parents all over America, but it isn’t often that you see a man who takes this task seriously. Back when we met, Baby Daddy was busy juggling two jobs and his youngin’. He was still committed to keeping his dates – even when there were the occasional sitter-foul-ups that left us both frustrated. Since then, we’ve always stayed in touch and shared our lives, the ups-and-downs, but never crossed completely from date-mentality to friendship-mode. I’m actually thankful that we haven’t because he’s so interesting and sexy. He gets the jokes, we laugh hard, but most of all he’s quite the package. Now before your mind starts racing, when I say package, I mean he has the qualities that make the butterflies stir in your stomach and he gets my sly smile going each time he opens his mouth. Last night, Baby Daddy and I finally got together for our first date in months. We’ve both been busy and struggling with making our schedules connect, but last night the stars all lined-up and we made it happen. I sooooooooo needed this man last night. The evening was very romantic and the intimacy was even better than I remembered. At one point, I looked into his baby browns and his look of sheer ecstasy took me to another place. Within three hours we were both spent and smiling. I pulled the down comforter over us and felt the heat of exertion that was now trapped between us. He pulled me on top of him and I rested my elbow on the side of the pillow to stare at his face. “What are you smirking at,” he asked pressing me to him. “Just you…you make me feel real good,” I said. He smiled a wide school boy smile and said, “We’ve got to be able to see each other more often… we can make this work.” I agreed and a few deep kisses later we were dressing and joking about the last few months. When I returned home I called him and we spoke for the next 30 minutes – mainly about how thankful we were for such a great night. Just before going to bed my phone rang and it was one of my running buddies. He asked how my date went and said, “Who was your date with anyway?” The country-ghetto lyrics rang in my head and I had to really laugh hard when I found myself saying, “Ain’t nobody…just my Baby Daddy.”
HIV/AIDS is deadly and, today, I think we are ALL aware that any of us can become infected. Safer sex is not safe sex and we all have “oops” moments when we are not as safe as we should be.
Tell of an instance when you feel you let down your guard or did not exercise the best judgment with regard to safer sex.
Keep passin’ the open windows…