Come Out, Be Free And Fight The HIV And PrEP Stigma!

Disco Disclosure

The 70s saw a sexual revolution. Sex went from missionary to Kama Sutra on roller-skates.

The sexual liberation led to increased acceptance of sex outside the marriage and the normalisation of contraception, public nudity, pornography, premarital sex, homosexuality and alternative forms of sexuality.

Today we stand on the verge of another sexual revolution with the advent of PrEP and massive strides being made in the treatment and prevention of HIV. But sadly, it is our prejudice and judgement of others that stand in the way of our own sexual enlightenment.

The disco ball sheds light on all Gagas’ children, so it’s time for you leave your 50s tannie, kaalvoet oor die Drakensberge, kak by die agterdeur, and get rollin’ with the good times.

The 70s saw people exploring their bodies and unlocking a whole universe of sexual delights, but this feeling of liberation and breaking of new ground suddenly came to a halt with the arrival and subsequent fear of HIV.

Today, we have no need to fear HIV.  You have all the tools and information you need to boogie safely tonight. So It’s time we picked up where those pioneers left off, and stop suppressing our human, sexual nature and stop judging those who embrace theirs.

PrEP can be your ticket to funky town, but sadly, for some that ticket comes with a label – slut.

I find this very confusing. Why should someone who is taking responsibility for their own health be labelled a slut?

Stop this kak! Don’t be part of the shady bunch, we all end up on the shag carpet with a stranger every once in a while…

Wouldn’t it be a relief to know that the person you are with is on PrEP? Someone savvy enough to know we all fuck up sometimes? Someone who has taken responsibility and ownership for their own health?

Studies have found that most people screw up when it comes to safe sex every once in a while. We are only human.

We don’t slut-shame heterosexual couples who take the pill or use contraception? Then why is there such an overwhelmingly negative response to PrEP? What are we so ashamed of? We uphold this ideal of ‘sanitized,’ ‘clean’ sex when we all love to fuck and exchange bodily fluids just like everybody else does…

 PrEP does not promote promiscuity. If it’s an ‘afro-disiac’ you’re after, I suggest you try some Jimi Hendrix.

This is to all the foxy PrEP ‘sluts’ out there. Disclose! Disclose! Disclose! Rock the boat baby! Be as upfront and open about it as you can. It’s the only way we can get perceptions to change. You are the leaders of this revolution. Lead by example and don’t be ashamed. This is the single most important advancement in the LGBT+ community in recent years and definitely worth putting your voice to.

It could liberate our community and save countless lives.

No longer would we have to have the destructive duality of ‘clean’ and ‘unclean’, which speaks of our bodies as dirty, and stigmatises not only those who live with HIV but our entire community.

This is glamrock, not a lame all-white 90s party! Get with it Margaret Thatcher…

It is ultimately up to you whether you disclose or not. It is, after all, a deeply personal matter especially when it comes to individuals living with HIV.

Disclosing your HIV status is much harder, because of our ‘sterile’ notion of what sex should be and people with HIV are more likely to bear the brunt of that stigma…

A person with HIV  who is adherent to their meds to the point of being undetectable can have an absolutely normal sex life without any risk of infecting people. If there is one thing to take from this article, it is that.

HIV SHOULD’NT BE A BIG DEAL ANYMORE. IT IS AS SIMPLE AS POPPING A PILL A DAY. ATTITUDES MUST CHANGE!

To those who choose not to disclose taking PrEP or those on ARV’s who choose not to disclose, that’s perfectly fine. We’ll wait until you’re ready, and if you’re not, that’s also perfectly fine, because you have already done a great deal by taking responsibility for your health, as well as the health of others.

For those of you who are ready. Let’s get this party started! The music is bringing down the house and the dance floor is lit, but it’s looking pretty empty at the moment. The stage is set – come join us. Let’s eradicate stigma so that in years to come, all this will seem like a distant memory of a Fellini movie. Let the revolution begin. Let them eat ready-mix cake!

 

Eric Vetter is a contributing writer for Anova Health Institute.  These are his views, which may or may not be those of Anova and affiliates.