So much prevention work is seen through clinical and political eyes. Yes, it matters that we arm youth and young adults with condoms and continue pushing for biomedical prevention tools: Pre-exposure prophylaxis, microbicides, vaccines, etc. None of this, however, matters to at-risk youth or adults who still believe that their homosexuality makes them ‘sick’ or ‘unworthy.’
The bullying, rejection and resulting low self-esteem and depression continues to fuel the epidemics of drug abuse and HIV in our community. There’s no point in giving HIV prevention tools to someone who doesn’t believe his or her life matters. Until HIV prevention efforts deal head on with the rampant issue of homophobia—both external and internal—we will continue to see waves of young gay men becoming infected.
Tim Horn, 41, HIV/AIDS educator,
President/Editor of AIDSmeds.com