Some strange discussions is the only way I can describe it have emerged on various media platforms with reference to two previously popular episodes as well in St James and Kingston, the latter unfolded at a party after the individual doing the blaming arrived with tests results with as we say ‘blood in his eyes’ it also shows that maybe the post test counselling in that matter was not effective enough or may not have been done if any. There is a deficiency in the support group meeting department as they are not continuous and are sometimes haphazard and in response a soon to be concluded pilot called ‘Brothers’ Positive on Positive’ tried to address and better unpack with a small group of persons. It sought to fill in some of the gaps that the only hour long sessions elsewhere do not address some of the situations adequately.
Revenge via HIV blaming ought to be a thing of the past given the strides in terms of the high knowledge of safer sex and indeed post positive treatment adherence and diet alongside the support systems now available in the national program. They still need to get the medication collection part straightened out as long waits at dispensaries outside of the social workers collecting for really ill patients or disabled persons is ridiculous. An announcement via Jamaica Information Service, JIS recently though suggests that more pharmacies will be added to the mix to offer ARVs, CART and HAART prescription filling at a discounted price, the clip never mentioned the other supportive drugs for opportunistic infections such as Co-Trimoxazole to control basic infections and skin maintenance or vitamins and so on. Probably the emphasis has been too much on condom use and or prevention and not equally on sustained quality of life. Condom pinching came up as well in an online discourse which was a bit surprising to me as we thought we had gotten over that problem but apparently not.
As persons await the judgement of the pending case many have condemned the accused men; be it the partner and his roommate who he forced to assist him in dumping the body under pain of violence as well which came out in the trial and his unsworn statement. Mistakes can happen, condoms can break, less vigilance in the heat of the moment, using oil based materials as lube or when persons realise flaw but continue through to the climax while hoping for the best can be some of the avenues for facilitating transmission; outside of assaults and non consent. Overseas cases of deliberate infections have been addressed by some countries passing legislation to deal with it but this is after the fact. A recent case with an African American man just showed the madness that can flow from such matters.
An infamous incident on the outskirts of Emancipation Park in New Kingston some years ago where a man and his supposed partner ended up in an awful clash that led to security interventions and subsequently the police in 2013; yet more evidence how sensitive matters can spill out into the streets with unneeded attention or results. Accepting the positive test results as not a death sentence and that suspected infidelity or cheating needs to be and can be dealt with more effectively via conflict resolution measures and third party possible professional interventions. Fighting or violence is not the way out, if lovers really love each other even said cheating and sometimes surprise HIV positive results they should find a way out, if not they were not lovers to begin with, in the true sense but merely in a ‘spirit tek’ farce or tolerated relationship for matters of convenience and or co-dependency.
Then with talk of transgender persons now factoring supposedly more in HIV infection rates when really they always did as far as I am concerned, given transwomen (male to female) often have integrated themselves in the men who have sex with men umbrella group as invisibility of the trans population in HIV prevention prior was almost normative. The previous results there in HIV infection rate surveys are not brought into serious doubt if not disrepute as if the lumping was so pronounced as we are now beginning to find out then a whole new rethink will have to go into the design of the HIV response to marginalised groups. The violence that may attend to that may also have to be researched properly in the ever tendentious quest for ‘evidenced based advocacy’ but if the data and collection is already flawed how does the relevant agencies solve those concerns and arrive at the true situation or as close to it?
The conflation of drag queens with gay men only when feminization forced or unforced leads to the feminine aesthetic has been an issue leading to advocates, NGOs and even funders themselves misreading the landscape. More needs to be done in conflict resolution as stated above. Legislation may have to be considered for some of this but the gay/bi male populations may get left out seeing we are already marginalised by way of an archaic 485 year old piece of theocracy in a buggery law. If we do not have legitimacy in everyday life then why focus of issues affecting us via formal governmental structures.
Then there is the matter of assault driven willful infections in the MSM/transgender mismatch as the latter is seen as gay without any reassignment surgery to boot; so many stories often unconfirmed of said abuse and assault with HIV positive alleged perpetrators and yet the reporting to police is virtually nonexistent as the gross indecency or buggery charges may attend if one tries to. This is why the amendment of buggery in as far as rape is concerned between men as rape already in law covers women as a case I often referred to in former dancehall artist Zebra who has been serving a thirty year sentence after he raped and sodomised a young lady so the jury gave him 20 years for the rape and the full 10 years for buggery.
Peace & tolerance