Clay Cane is a New York City-based writer who is recognized for his contributions in journalism. Clay is a regular contributor for various print and online publications such as The Advocate and BET.com. He is the author of the highly anticipated novel Ball-Shaped World, which is a fictionalized account of the black and Latino ballroom scene. Also, he is the Entertainment Editor at BET.com and a member of New York Film Critics Online. He can be reached at claycane@gmail.com.


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    Tuesday, September 25, 2007

    According to PrideCityGuide.com there is new event in December called “HIV – UB2” —love that acronym, which was obviously inspired from Adam4Adam.com and Men4Now.com! The New York City social gathering calls for HIV-negative people only to attend and it’s being coined a “first of its kind". The listing on PrideCityGuide.com reads (I didn’t change any of the grammatical errors):

    “The nations FIRST HIV- monthly social ‘happy hour’ event! For HIV- GLBT or straight people to meet other HIV- people in a social (bar / nightclub) enviornment."

    The listing continues:

    “In response to the recent upward trend of new HIV infections in our city, the time has come to support HIV- people who wish to meet other HIV- people. To offer support, empowerment, awareness and understanding so HIV- people can create the same support network that HIV+ people have. For us to win the war against HIV, we must understand that HIV- people are the future. If you are HIV- and wish to meet other HIV- people, join us. It's time to move forward and to reach our goal - the END OF HIV.”

    The verbiage of the listing is frightening, especially the last line, “We must understand that HIV- people are the future.” The language is the equivalent to Eugenics and the "master race" dogma. As if to "win this war” on those dirty, contaminated HIV-positive people, they should all be sent to a compound in a land far, far away while we wait for them and all of their HIV-positive children to die off. Whenever the “future” is claimed and excludes a particular group of people (think Native Americans who were considered to be disease-ridden cockroaches), regardless of their circumstance, is ridiculous on a practical, social and human level.

    Sure, we all want to live in a world without HIV and encourage prevention, but how is that achieved through an event like “HIV – UB2” or even the ideology? The idea actually reinforces stigma, which will make more people feel unsure (and unsafe) about being honest with their status. “HIV – UB2” is as useful as bombing Iraq for “peace in the Middle East”.

    Yes, I do understand where this idea is coming from, which is fear. Maybe the person, or the people, who thought of the group met too many people who lied about their status. Still, this gathering is not going to "protect" negative people from positive people. Also, how will the participants know the people they are talking to are definitely HIV-negative? Will they have a notarized, lamented HIV-negative card that's updated daily?

    On their message board it states, “Heck, if HIV+ people can do this, so can HIV- people.” HIV-positive people having a support group, or a dating night, is the equivalent? This argument is as asinine as “reverse racism” or “heterophobia”. HIV-negative people are not taking several pills a day, suffering extreme side effects, battles with their health insurance companies, enduring stigma and so much more.

    We, especially LGBT people, are not going to live in a world free of HIV anytime soon. HIV/AIDS is part of gay and American history. The disease helped to solidified LGBT people as a political force, snatched away privilege from many closeted men in the ‘80’s who looked down on openly gay men, united many sectors of the lesbian and gay male communities—it let LGBT people, Haitians (recorded cases of HIV simultaneously hit Haiti along with gay men in New York and San Francisco) and many others across the globe know that your lives are not valuable.

    I completely understand if someone does not want, or cannot handle, dating someone who is HIV positive—that is their choice. But, in every way imaginable this "social gathering" is counterproductive to the epidemic of HIV. We are in a crisis and to see "HIV - UB2” sprout by other gay people is a deplorable state of mind.


    Sadly, I think many people would actually attend.

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    Posted by Clay :: 12:00 AM :: 20 comments

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