National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day!

Today is THE day!

African-Americans constitute almost 13% of the population in the USA yet they represent almost 50% of all categories in HIV/AIDS related statistics reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 1999, alarmed over the effects of HIV/AIDS on the Black American community, the CDC, U.S. Public Health Service, representatives of organizations serving African-Americans and persons of faith met to address concerns over rising infection rates. One of the results of these meetings was the decision to observe February 7, annually, as National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD). The first NBHAAD was conducted on February 7, 2000.

Working together to preserve our future!

NBHAAD mandates four (4) key components present for a successful awareness campaign. Each component is designed to build individual and community strengths in combatting HIV/AIDS. The four elements are as follows:

Get educated: know the facts about transmission and prevention of HIV/AIDS.

Get involved: learn about opportunities available in community prevention efforts.

Get tested: know your status and encourage/empower others to do the same.

Get treatment: to receive proper healthcare and support needed to successfully live with HIV.

KNOWLEDGE = POWER!

Get tested in order to know your status.

Get active! `~ Get involved! ~ Take control!

Testing!

Basic Facts: HIV/AIDS:

HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.

AIDS is a result of HIV infection.

HIV is not spread by everyday, casual contact. HIV is transmitted through blood, semen, vaginal fluid and breast milk.

Only a doctor can diagnose AIDS.

Remember: It is not who we are but rather what we do that puts us at risk for HIV infection!

Analysis proves that people learn and retain knowledge most effectively from people they perceive as most like themselves. NBHAAD is an African-American based organization to provide direction, guidance and implementation to the Black American population specifically. It represents a resource that is accessible, authentic and dependable.

Kory Mitchell: The “Magic Johnson” of the Gay Porn Industry!

Legendary openly gay film star, Kory Mitchell, (sometimes known as “Kory Kong”) born in Germany of African-American and German parents, became an HIV+ gay porn industry advocate and educator of HIV/AIDS prevention skills. He was quickly identified as the “Magic Johnson of Gay Pornography!” On the very first NBHAAD, Kory and Magic appeared together throughout the day to encourage involvement with NBHAAD and the options available to living and thriving as HIV+.

Kory Mitchell: tattoos!

No matter his career in gay pornography, after Kory became established professionally, he had “blessed” tattooed on his back shoulder and a cross tattooed onto his abdomen. The purpose was to remind his fans of his Christian faith. Shortly after his diagnosis as HIV+, he had the word “hope” tattooed onto his neck. Instead of the letter “o,” he had a red AIDS awareness ribbon used.

U = U!

Naked hugs!

Roger Poladopoulos/ReNude Pride

Author’s Note: The next post entry here is planned for Friday, February 10, 2023, and the proposed topic is: “S’Naked!”

Prevention Routines!

Wearing a facial mask!

The wearing of a facial mask reduces the transmission of germs both to and from the person wearing the protection.

All Northern Hemisphere residents are aware that the influenza season is now underway. Not only are questions now posed as to the effectiveness of the current flu immunizations; serious doubts are constantly expressed. Additionally, concerns and fears are arising due to the unknown numbers of variants to the recent coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. A report of the global precautions implemented almost three years ago are critical to a disaster of a repeat outbreak on the economic, social, political and countless other sustaining systems worldwide.

China, our world’s mega-entity continues to remain vulnerable to the initial coronavirus COVID-19 . Another major eruption could prove catastrophic for us all, no matter where we live. Continued diligence and monitoring is essential for the well-being of humanity (and this means us all)!

There are some facts we should all know about disease transmission (spread) that can help us prevent extra discomfort and misery, or worse, in our daily lives. First, there are four criteria that need to be met in order for diseases to be transferred.

Germs

No difference whether bacterial or viral, a pathogen (germ) must be present.

Susceptible

The person needs to be vulnerable (receptive) to the infection. A strong immune system and/or vaccination reduces the reception to a disease. Sometimes, a recent bout with the disease creates antibodies that immediately fight off any new infection.

Quantity

In order to become sick, the pathogens need to be in enough amount (quantity) for the infection to occur.

Entry

There needs to be an opening or point of entry for the germs to infect the body. These can be minor skin abrasions, an open sore, an oral cavity, etc.

If any of these four conditions are not present or met, disease transmission (spread) does not happen!

There are some often overlooked possibilities that all of us encounter in our everyday lives that expose us to all types of nasty microbes that can make us sick. Below are some cesspools of germs just waiting to enter our bodies.

Kitchen sponges and dishrags: According to some, these contain more germs than those found in a toilet bowl. Worse, strains of the drug-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) – also known as “flesh eating bacteria” – have been found in not only commercial eateries but in household kitchens as well. Sanitize (wash) the sponge every time you use your dishwasher or microwave it after dampening it. Throw the dishrag into the washing machine.

Kitchen sinks, toothbrush holders and countertops: Clean these regularly. For sinks and countertops, a tablespoon of bleach in a quart (liter) of water once or twice a week is sufficient. Clean the toothbrush holder weekly in the dishwasher or wash with soapy dishwashing detergent.

Public electronic “touch spots”: Keep personal size hand sanitizer available and use immediately after contact. Wash hands with hot water and soap as soon as possible after contact (in addition to hand sanitizer).

Bathroom faucets, TV remotes, refrigerator handles, doorknobs, etc.: Cold and influenza viruses can live up to 24 hours on these surfaces, perhaps even longer. Regularly clean with a disinfectant disposable wipe or bleach and water.

Shared items: writing utensils, tools, grooming items, etc.: Avoid multiple person use as much as possible. Use disposable gloves, a new pair for each item shared. Throw away immediately after use.

Spatial reserve/social distances: Avoid congestion and keep a safe space all around you when out in public. Maintain a respectful distance from others when waiting in lines to enter or to exit.

Fortify your immune system: One of the most effective ways is diet. Also, orange juice (Vitamin C) helps to keep the immune system operating efficiently.

Frequent handwashing: Wash with hot water and soap as often as possible every day and throughout the year.

It is vital for every one of us to recall the recent practices and routines concerning health to ensure our immune system’s optimal efficiency. We all need to keep our local health services aware of any deviations or inconsistencies in our own health as well as that of those we hold dear and love.

Naked hugs!

Roger Poladopoulos/ReNude Pride

Author’s Note: The next post entry here is planned for Friday, January 20, 2023, and the proposed topic is: “Hot!”

World AIDS Day, 2022!

The Red Ribbon symbolizes World AIDS Day and HIV/AIDS awareness!

Proudly show that you are aware and that you care. Wear your red ribbon!

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Basic Facts About HIV/AIDS:

HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.

AIDS is a result of being infected with HIV.

HIV is not spread through everyday, casual contact.

A physician is needed to diagnose AIDS.

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Red ribbon = HIV/AIDS awareness and concern!

“It’s not who we are, but rather what we do that determines the risk factor of HIV infection.” ~ Red Cross HIV/AIDS prevention education ~

Follow protocols for reducing HIV infections:

Do not share needles, syringes or drug use tools.

Avoid contact with body fluids.

Treat everyone with care and respect.

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Since the first World AIDS Day observance on December 1, 1988. The date was first conceived in August, 1987, by James Bunn and Thomas Netter, two public information officers for the Global Programme on AIDS at the World Health Organisation in Geneva, Switzerland.

Each year, Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis have released messages for both patients and health care providers on World AIDS Day. They have also publicly offered prayers for a world living with HIV.

In the USA, the White House (presidential home) began observing World AIDS Day under the administration of President Clinton and the iconic display of a 28-foot massive Red AIDS Awareness Ribbon on the North Portico of the building. It was the first banner to prominently hang from the White House since the presidency of Abraham Lincoln.

Get tested! Know your HIV status!
Remember: a latex condom every time!

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A Red Ribbon on World AIDS Day!

Public Testimonial

by Rohan, the Nubian-Ikigai

It was in the late autumn of 1978 that I came into this world. My mom would always tell me that I was an overdue birth; as it I didn’t want to leave the womb. I see it like being cuddled up in bed. Who’d want to leave such a comfy spot? To this very day, that has still remained my all-time favourite activity.

So being born in 1978 meant that I grew up in the 80’s. Wow! What a decade! Madonna, Punk fashions, Hurricane Gilbert and skyrocketing food prices – if you’re Jamaican – and…AIDS!

Being an island didn’t mean that we were isolated from world issues, especially when your island is renowned for its culture, its beaches, its sunshine and sex. I saw all the AIDS prevention ads on TV: “AIDS kills,” “stick to one steady partner,” “use a condom,” and “you can’t tell by looking.” I grew up scared! I grew up being scared of actually growing up!

Throughout high school, we teens would laugh about stuff pertaining to sex and sexuality, there was little or no sex education in school and what we learned came from porn, the dancehall music or the local pastor. The radio broadcast the death of Freddie Mercury. I remember that so well because I was wearing a Queen t-shirt at that very moment! I heard of Arthur Ashe; in school we talked and laughed about the death of Rock Hudson – I didn’t know who he was at that time. But the dearest tragedy for me was when I learned that Olympic diver Greg Louganis was diagnosed HIV+. I was personally touched because I knew who he was. He was my hero, a gay Olympic champion! And, of course, during the 80’s and 90’s, they constantly reminded us of the growing numbers of new cases.

Greg Louganis, Olympic gold medal winner!

So as I fast forward a bit to young adult, HIV/AIDS was less and less stranger. It was now a reality. It had faces! And faces that I knew!

I made friends with people working in the local AIDS support association and the church I attended did volunteering and outreach. Being scared didn’t shield me from the harsh realities of my life. I wasn’t going to be spared. AIDS was not going to have pity. Not on this little island boy. No sir!… Familiar faces kept vanishing, boys I fell in love with kept getting sick: Julian, Everton, Fred, Frank. A church member was dying. I saw their faces. I saw their bodies lying on the hospital beds. I saw them agonizing. I saw them dying…I loved them. I loved them as hard as I could. I held them in my heart; it’s all I could have done.

There was only love, that’s what they needed, not pity or shame, but Love. I understood that. I had that gift.

Allisson was my elder. She and I were friends, we weren’t that close. She was the first child my dad got from his first relationship, so, we were as close as two half-siblings who were ten years apart could be. She had her life and her family: boyfriend, son and daughter. I checked in with her as often as I could. I still thank God for that last moment I spent with her. It was in the local store where she worked. Allisson was standing there behind the counter. She looked so thin, so pale, so not all together there. Nothing could have prepared me for that grim phone call I’d received a few years later…AIDS took my beloved sister.

Princess Diana: first person of prominence to casually greet a person living with AIDS.

To be honest I did my best to play it safe, but I also took my fair share of risks. I even slept with the enemy. Why I didn’t remember all those faces, all those bodies I saw, covered in sores, laying on those hospital beds? Why didn’t I remember the agony? I should have ran! But I didn’t…I wanted cuddles instead. It only takes one encounter. I slept with this guy twice in the Summer of 2005 I was diagnosed in the Fall of that very same year. Painful urine and a creamy white substance leaking from my penis made me go to the doctor real quick.

I was alone when I went to the doctor’s, I was alone when the doctor broke the news, I was alone when I went to the hospital to have his diagnosis confirmed. I was alone to face the stark reality that I was not going to be living a normal life. Oddly though, the news that I was HIV positive wasn’t as earth shattering. It didn’t have that devastating effect as I had imagined. I didn’t scream, or cry, or ask God why? Maybe it’s my way of dealing with trauma: in silence.

My explanation is that, growing up gay prepared me for days like these. If I could handle growing up gay in a homophobic society such as mine, anything else would be a piece of cake. I kind of figured that, somehow it’s kind of logical, sad way to think. I agree it’s a bit fatalistic: being gay isn’t a death sentence! But for me it was. So I imagine I was accepting my fate. My mom was right. A gay life is one of damnation and hellfire. And this was exactly what I deserved.

Since then, I’ve celebrated seventeen birthdays, visited six countries and changed two jobs. I have met my beautiful niece who is also living with the disease as she was contaminated at birth and I am currently in a stable long-term relationship. I am disciplined regarding my meds and my combat still rages more than ever. I can’t say that I have had to face discrimination regarding AIDS as not that many people know. I do my best to stay healthy, “Sound Mind, Sound Body.” I workout regularly and I combat negativity. I have grown to love myself, understand and own who I am and cultivate self-worth. I was young but now I am mature, I have seen my friends fallen by the wayside but I am still here. I had to learn gratitude.

Living with HIV is a daily reminder that I need to turn fear and trauma into triumph. I have had a new beginning, renewed hope. A fighting chance. I have to believe, not only in myself but in whatever higher power there may be. I need to believe that somewhere out there and also within, there is a greater power…love! Doesn’t love conquer all?

Rohan, the Nubian-Ikigai, our guest author!

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I am very appreciative of Rohan, the Nubian-Ikigai for sharing his personal testimonial with all of us here on ReNude Pride on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 2022. His courage and honesty is a remarkable and significant accomplishment that indeed reflects his dedication to dispelling myths and misinformation about being same gender loving (gay) as well as about living with HIV. He is a commendable guest author and I sincerely invite him to contribute whenever possible!

Naked hugs!

Roger Poladopoulos/ReNude Pride

Author’s Note: The next post entry for here is planned for tomorrow, Friday, December 2, 2022, and the proposed topic is: “Seasonal Signs!”