“Now that’s Spanish chick, French chick, Indian and black That’s fried chicken, curry chicken, damn I’m gettin fat Arroz con pollo, french fries and crepe
An appetitite for destruction but I scrape the plate I love…
Girls, girls, girls, girls
Girls I adore.”
Jay-Z – Girls, Girls, Girls
So you look wealthy; you drive a car straight out of the showroom, and you get lots of sex from only the hottest women. What else can a man really ask for?
No condoms? No condoms are the ultimate sign of commitment. It generally refers to sexual relationship that’s oozing of a mature position of exclusive sex with one person only. The only problem is that you’re the man, and the man that seems to be popular is the infidel who enjoys not using condoms. Now that’s the risky sex that can get you a brand new sexual transmitted infection STI.
Risky sex is a hell of thing. This sex can be defined as any sexual activity that can put you at risk of contracting any STI. It means that least of all, you didn’t use a condom when you had anal, oral or vaginal sexual intercourse. I say least of all because while you may be a consistent user of a condom you may also put yourself at risk because you have multisexual partners; whether they are paying customers or a list in your black book of girls, girls, girls. Risky sex further implies high levels of social, economic and gender imbalances.
I took the liberty at a workshop I co-facilitated recently for a religious organisation on the topic of ‘HIV Awareness’ to change our focus from examining risky behaviour to examining what makes us vulnerable to engaging in risky behaviour.
We take risk because it feels good, or because we think we can trust our partners. Condom usage has to become popular at an early age. Early comprehensive sex, sexuality and gender education can help young people abstain from sex, but it also increases the chances of young people using a condom the first time they do. These courses must be steeped in fact, while allowing room for unravelling the deep emotional feelings most of us experience when we have sex.
What is paramount, and what the group of adult born-again Christians began to embrace is that preventing HIV is more about how we manage and enjoy our sexual relationships.
It reminded the group that ultimately we all need to feel good when we have sex, and we must embrace the fact that every human on the planet is entitled to having any kind of sexual relationship that is based on consent and respect for all involved.
Some take sexual risk as an approach to stress management, which can often-times be brought on by the social and cultural stigma associated with their sexual orientation or interests. The fact that gay men are more popularly known by the disturbing term anti-men, says a lot about how harshly sexually diverse groups are treated in Antigua & Barbuda.
We ask people to be honest about their relationships, but the fear of persecution discouraged these men from doing so. This creates further risk by driving the local sexual health reality six feet under. The social exclusion that can be caused from the discrimination can make any of us do things we would not normally do.
The front page of last week Monday’s paper read “Risky Sex Still A Problem”, and the response to the article seemed to stimulate less interest than a headline stating “Today most Antiguans would wake up from their sleep.” It should have been a concern for all, but apparently most Antiguans read between the lines, and the space between those lines said that this story isn’t about them.
The data suggest that HIV is heterosexually transmitted, and that 900 individuals have been tested positive since the first case was discovered in 1985. That’s 900 of a population of 80-90,000 citizens who are practising risky sex. That is almost two thirds to a half of the population of Barbuda.
Something is really strange when a society sleeps even when eyes appear open. But the comfortable numbness is sign of our apathy, and of a political environment that’s afraid to address the problems staring them in the face.
I can’t say that I have seen a whole lot of social marketing out there to contradict the myths about condom use, or promoting the fact that HIV treatment and care has ruled out the old ‘80s brainwashing that HIV is a killer.
Much like persons living with herpes, people can, and have been living long healthy lives with HIV. People living with HIV are starting families, having safer sex with HIV positive or negative partners, starting businesses, and studying to become professionals.
Politicians have to take responsibility for their lack of leadership and clueless plans for generating more investment in the sexual and reproductive health of this country.