HIV and male homosexuality: mobilising the community
The history of the Aids epidemic was clearly marked by its rapid spread among male homosexuals who accounted for 30% of the people catered for at AIDES. That is why one of the great fights of our organisation is to keep this community informed and on the alert.
Cruising venues, saunas and private clubs, are for many homosexuals, a way to experience a sexuality which is, more often than not, rejected by society. By refusing judgment and being present in these sex venues, AIDES fights to try to control the spread of this epidemic.
Our organisation meets with and informs young people as well as those who are not so young and who are weary of years of safe sex and often find themselves in situations where they could take more risks.
One of the great fights of our organisation is to keep the gay community informed and on the alert
Half of all HIV positive homosexuals were infected in the six months preceding their diagnosis. They get tested for HIV much more frequently than other vulnerable groups.
Studies show that there is an increase in unsafe sex; 35% of respondents declare having had unprotected anal intercourse at least once in the last twelve months with a casual partner.
AIDES volunteers survey gay beaches, intervene in cruising areas and in bars to do prevention and give out condoms and literature.
Aiming to give the most adapted information to the people they meet, to inform them on their choices, AIDES volunteers endeavour to understand and support the strategies gay people have developed to limit the risk of infection. Advertising campaigns, posters and films which emphasise the necessity to protect oneself have been broadcast or distributed.
Last but not least, we continue to run support programmes specifically aimed at HIV positive homosexuals. The focus groups which are organised in our local offices are very popular and well attended. “Battery charging” weekends are offered to homosexuals in order to improve their self esteem which is essential in fighting against this virus.