Episode 75: Safe Spaces to Get Involved - St. Louis Effort for AIDS
The ideation of Something (sex) Positive for (sex) Positive People had multiple catalysts and this experience was one of them. Adding to the goals, I choose to uplift organizations such as this Nonprofit, St. Louis Effort for AIDS that provide services to people who are positive with HIV and AIDS, as well as offer sex education resources, free condoms, free STD testing and affordable treatment!
My experience led me to believe the destigmatization of herpes, the shame around contracting an STI, and unwillingness to know your status stems from the belief that you'll be judged for engaging in sexual activities with partners. When I was tested, while I identify as cis-gendered, heterosexual male, he/him prounouns, I was asked that. I was asked if I was or engaged in sexual acts with sex-workers, trans-people, other cis-men, and I felt the intention was genuinely to be able to inform me according to my sexual preferences and how my health could be affected based on any health risks associated with the kind of sex I have.
Uplifting these shame free environments and making it normal to seek regular STI treatment, use these free condoms and get treated soon will help create space for people to be more understanding and aware of the risks that come with having partnered sex so that we're better prepared for how to deal with and manage an STI if we are exposed to one or if someone discloses to us that they have one. This allows for a partner to make a more educated/informed decision while creating shame-free space where the person disclosing is empowered to continue disclosing and giving partners that choice again and again if relevant.
The compassion and empathy I was met with was beyond anything I received at an organization whose services I paid for. This nonprofit is just one of many all over the world that offers these services and I encourage everyone to utilize them. I challenge you listeners of this podcast to find, use, and share these resources so that it's more taboo NOT to know your status than it is to be positive so that we can begin to get treatment early and give sexual partners all the info they need to make a fully consensual decision to move forward sexually with us.
Enjoy this episode.
This organization is www.stlefa.org and their Instagram is @STLEFA. I'm on Instagram @HOnMyChest