I read a blog post that really bothered me. It had a lot to do with gay and bisexual men and their sex lives, and HIV transmission.
I spend most of my time working for a Community Health Center in Manhattan's Chinatown. The organization I work for, was founded to provide resources for HIV/AIDS awareness, education, services and research for the Asian and Pacific Islander community. This organization was founded during the HIV epidemic when treatment was still on the horizon.
I'm biased, because as a Filipino-American gay man, this issue is something that we face almost every day in some form or fashion- either professionally or for some folks living with the virus, or even as a back burner thought on our minds.
I'm not going to get into the details of the particular blog post because I don't want to get too graphic with the reality of the subject matter, but I will say that there seems to be a dissent in the paradigm of safer sex, and even HIV transmission.
I think as Filipino-Americans, many of us live in the luxury to have the resources, education and outlets to discuss this matter, which is so closely linked to an intimate part of our lives that matter to us.
What bothered me about the article was the probably the dissent of the subject matter, and the fact attempts to redefine words, and suggest a very concerning paradigm shift.
What also bothers me is that despite the fact that we've seen this past week of a baby being functionally cured of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus there still is a fight that needs our support.
You may a hetereosexual male or female, single and mingling, in a committed relationship, living your wonderful life here in America. That's great. I didn't come to judge people's personal lives or actions.
I want to ask you to judge your own views on this issue: The Philippines is one of the nations in the world where the rate of new HIV infections are rising.
So what is being done about it?
Well, the Philippines is following the approach of the U.S. in the early days of the epidemic. Fighting HIV with Activism. And of course, campaigns such as Take the Test. Activists and artist like Niccolo Cosme travel across the glob with special projects to raise the awareness, garner support and encourage people to care about HIV/AIDS in the Philippines and in their local communities.
And what are we, as Filipino-Americans doing about it?
It bothers me to speak to so many Filipino-Americans and after the usual chit-chat about work, boyfriends and city life that they have no idea of what is happening to our kababayan back home.
So while there are blog posts that are focused on the gay and bisexual male community- that are presenting a paradigm shift that makes me very uncomfortable, I'm asking you, the bakitwhy community and your circles to indulge me and start a paradigm shift that makes me comfortable.
The rates of HIV infection are high in the Phiilippines. Let's start talking about it. Have the conversation- because it's our cousins, our cousin's friends, our friends, and our people that are suffering.
Let's keep an eye on it. Let's talk about it. Let's support the efforts if we can with time or financial means. Let's call on our friends in the Philippines to stop stigmatizing, stop shaming, and start being smart. Let us respect the different walks of life that Filipinos live and deal with the reality that we are faced with.
I know this may seem distant to some as Filipino-Americans, but we could never be Filipino-Americans without the Philippines.
And the Philippines needs our support.
hashtag end rant, hashtag off my soapbox.