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June 28, 2007

SFAF Podcast #11 - Dr. Judith Auerbach and Dr. Steven Tierney on the Upcoming HIVision Forum on Gay Men's Health

Dr. Judith Auerbach, Deputy Executive Director for Science and Public Policy at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and Dr. Steven Tierney, the AIDS Foundation's Deputy Executive Director for Programs and Services, discuss our upcoming HIVision forum, Exploring What's Positive in Gay Men's Health. The forum on July 10th will be the first in a series of three HIVision forums the AIDS Foundation will convene this year to gather experts and the community together to explore ideas and options for fighting HIV.

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Dr. Judith Auerbach is responsible for developing, leading, and managing SFAF's local, state, national and international policy agenda.  Prior to joining SFAF, Dr. Auerbach served as Vice President, Public Policy and Program Development at amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research. 

Dr. Steven Tierney supervises programs in HIV prevention, care and treatment at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.  Dr. Tierney is a licensed mental health counselor and previously served as Director of HIV Prevention for the Department of Public Health in San Francisco.

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John Shaw

Thank you for the HIVISION event. It was fodder for my thinking on serosorting. I recently posted this on a blog, http://www.lifelube.blogspot.com/. Discussion on serosirting resulting from an article by Gus Carns:

The continual difficulty we as Gay Men or Men Who Have Sex with Men in using condoms on a continual consistent basis can be read into all our prevention efforts; whether the prevention is for ourselves personally or another as our sex/love partner. Condom fatigue is out there.

However, serosorting into seroguessing is especially relevant in HIV negative men. Serosorting should be seen as a method of protection primarily among HIV positive men who have sex with other HIV positive men, and who wish to reduce the risk of infection outside the HIV positive experience. It can be a sound, compassionate and effective method in public health practice to combat condom fatigue amongst a world wide effort where gay men have been more than responsive in the 25 year old epidemic. Of course, HIV positive men who are diagnosed have a 3 year window where it is better practice for personal and community health to continue using condoms or other fluid blocking/rerouting methods to prevent possible super infection.

There is something almost unnamable yet intrinsic in our intimate needs which create a desire to touch the actual flesh of our partner(s). There can be a joy and certain pleasure in accepting the fluids of our love partners into our bodies. The flesh to flesh experience cannot be underestimated in its power to drive us all to create a dialogue which helps us find this satisfaction. Serosorting among HIV negative men should especially recognize this often unspoken basic drive. We as gay and transgender gay human beings desire the real time touch of our brothers almost like a life necessity. After all, many of us have been denied this human experience for far too long.

Acknowledging this fundamental hunger, may help HIV negative men identify the self talk which leads to seroguessing. Also, understanding this fundamental hunger can lead to better understand the original power HIV positive men found in honestly addressing their desires whilst acting within the confines of their own health reality. We must remember the origins of this public health behavior originated by HIV positive men for sexual activity amongst HIV positive men. We as HIV positive men were shedding the great burden to not infect our HIV negative gay and transgender gay brothers. This is an ultimately compassionate act for all of us. Under this point of view, serosorting is an amazing and self instigating public health strategy.

Much Love,

Adam’s Apple/John Shaw

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