HIV & The Generation Gap
There seems to be a disconnect between Generation X and Y vs. The Baby Boomer Generation. In the1980’s and 1990’s a lot people remember their friends dying each day from this disease. People recall going to funerals everyday because each day that went by at least one of their friends’ had died of AIDS. As time went by medicine got stronger and smarter when dealing with HIV/AIDS. People began to live longer and receive better treatment.
Today it’s 2009 the life expectancy of someone who is 20 years of age living with HIV and on medications can be 69 years old. I’m unsure but I think the life expectancy of an adult male in the United States is 75 years of age. You would think with all the advances in medicine we a winning the fight on HIV/AIDS. Think Again?
There are a growing number of young people contracting HIV. I’m am 29 and I’m a little older than the demographic I’m talking about. I had to say that because of the postings and e-mails I’m getting from my youtube site, my e-mail address, and other mailings.
I was on my facebook page today and I was speaking to my friends, when I noticed I received an e-mail on another website. It was from a 20 year old named Tony, who was so scared I felt like I wanted to hold him. His e-mail stated, “My boyfriend and I just had sex 2 weeks ago, and he just told me yesterday that he is HIV positive. What should I do? Am I going to die?” I get e-mails like this a lot of the time and I feel I must listen, read and respond. Now most of you know that I’m very busy so I try to get to as much and to as many people as I can. I e-mailed him back and ask for his number. He gave it to me and I called him. He said, “Hello” in a very soft tone. I said, “Hello this is Justin B Smith from Justin’s HIV Journal”. He said, “Thank you so much for calling me”. He then went on about what he was scared about what he should do if he is positive.
He was very scared.
I just wanted to hold him and tell him everything will be alright even if you’re positive. I got off the phone with the young man and then got back on facebook and had changed my status to “I counseled a 20 year old about HIV/AIDS”. I had gotten some replies but one of my friends said she had something like that happen to her. She said she was talking a 19 year old, that opening said he engaged in unprotected sex, because………………………………….………………………..he knows one day that he will be infected with HIV, that why he doesn’t use condoms.
It broke my heart to hear that. This is a self esteem issue with a lot of young people that contract HIV. Why are these young people not getting it that if you don’t use a condom you will get HIV or some other STD. We need to help them understand. We need to help them take pride in themselves. We need to help them to not be victims of this plague. Life is precious and some people don't think that it is. I think being in a certain demographic (especially being a minority or a minority) has a lot to do with it. I really wish I could save them just by touching them. I want to save them from having to go through this disease and if they do contract it. WE need to let them no they are not alone. There are people and services that we need to direct them to for help. WE NEED TO BAND TOGETHER AND HELP THEM. They are our children. They are our future and right now in DC the Black Gay men's future looks bleak and I WANT TO HELP STOP IT