Russian Roulette.
December 1, 2001 5:45 PM   Subscribe

Russian Roulette. AIDS educators and activists justifiably decry this phenomenon as irresponsible and self-destructive, and while "extreme sex" is very much a subculture, habitual unsafe sex is probably much more common than most people would care to admit. Is unsafe sex the dirty little secret of the first post-AIDS generation, some kind of backlash against coming of age in a world where sex can kill? Or is it merely the "It can't happen to me" hubris of those who never saw the initial devistation?
posted by hipstertrash (4 comments total)
thanks, hipstertrash, for getting to the core of the problem.

I, unfortunately, know plenty of people who use condoms either haphazardly or not at all. These same people are also among the most sexually active I know.

Even if its only a small subculture, thats all it takes to create a significant vector. In epidemiology, its like the Kevin Bacon game - what are the chance you have slept with someone who has slept with someone who has unsafe sex. Alarmingly high.

Sometimes I think the AIDS virus has a brain, insidiously infecting us at just those moments in our lives where we are least likely to exercise judgement and reason, when the hot fever of casual sex heightens our drive and dims our vision.

The AIDS epidemic needs to be attacked by psychology perhaps even more than by medicine.
posted by vacapinta at 6:20 PM on December 1, 2001

Having known almost 20 people (one was my cousin) who have died from AIDS over the last 10 years, all I can say is that Phil (from the Players section of the CBC link) is a totally loon.
posted by MAYORBOB at 6:50 PM on December 1, 2001

vacapinta: Well said. Say it again and again to the people around you. Hell, shout it from the rooftops!
posted by sillygit at 8:59 PM on December 1, 2001

vacapinta - I've known some of those people as well. Hell, truth be told, I've made lapses. I think that most people have, and how to deal with that reality is a tough call. HIV, AIDS, and the need for safe sex are all very cut and dry realities. If you get AIDS, it will eventually kill you. We are still years from a cure. It only takes one time to get it. Unfortunately, human nature is not always as simple as "just the facts."

Its a rock and a hard place, because you don't want to pat people on the head and say "it was ok, just this once," but you don't want to create a backlash against the perceived "scare tactics" surrounding safe sex. At some point the world has to acknowledge that the pervading reality is difficult and unfair. Young people in the West are trapped between a plague and the cultural legacy of the Sexual Revolution. I'm pissed off, I feel cheated, and I know that I'm not alone. Where in the hell is our sexual adventure, our free love? The inheritance was promised and then jerked away before we ever had a chance to touch it.

Maybe I'm in the minority, but I can completely understand the urge to say "Screw it. I'm sick of living in fear every time I go to bed with someone." Unsafe sex isn't the answer. I don't have an answer. I just know that I'm sick of feeling like its fifty years ago and eeryone is waiting for the H-bomb to drop.
posted by hipstertrash at 9:57 PM on December 1, 2001

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