Male Birth Control that may also kill HIV?



Male Birth Control that can also kill HIV?

More often than not, the responsibility of preventing pregnancy falls on female-bodied individuals – birth control pills, the patch, IUDs, insertive condoms, etc. But what about guys who want to take responsibility too? Or women for whom a lot of the standard options don’t work?

Enter a new option: for years, researchers in India have been looking at a technique called RISUGTM (reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance). Basically, a doctor injects a gel into the vas deferens, which are the tubes that the sperm flows through on the way to ejaculation. The gel hardens as it coats the walls of the tubes, and tears apart the sperm as they pass by so that they can’t cause pregnancy. It’s a non-surgical procedure that can last for twenty or more years, and is easily reversible by injecting a solution that dissolves the gel. Within a few months of reversal, fertility should return to normal.

But it doesn’t stop there – now researchers are talking about ways to make the gel also prevent transmission of HIV. There are different

Penis Anatomy

Penis Anatomy

ideas about how it would work – like inactivating HIV in sperm or having the gel release drugs that would kill the HIV downstream (because some components of semen don’t pass through the vas deferens – they come from the seminal vesicles, prostate and bulbourethral glands).

Of course, it’s still in trials so we won’t be seeing it on the market any time soon, but if it works this could be huge! Not only would it be another option for preventing pregnancy, but it would also provide a new way for serodiscordant couples to prevent transmission of HIV to the negative partner.

What do you think? Would you try it? Would you trust your partner if they said they’d had it done?




What does the Asian Pacific Islander National HIV/AIDS Awareness Day mean to me?

What does the Asian Pacific Islander National HIV/AIDS Awareness Day mean to me?

I have never heard of the Banyan Tree Project nor National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, which falls next month on May 19. Each year A&PI Awareness day is sponsored by Banyan Tree Project. National Asian Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day goal is too highlight the negative stigma, lack of communication and general awareness of HIV/AIDS in the API community. The theme for 2012 is “Saving face can’t make you safe. Talk about HIV–for me, for you, for everyone.” An idea that is very important to highlight in our community.
Growing up as a Queer Chinese Asian American; I have seen the hush, hush of just talking about the queer community. It’s something you don’t acknowledge nor talk about subject. Heck, I didn’t even know that there are community groups out there dedicating themselves to informing and educating the Asian Pacific Islander Queer community. Over the years, I have to learn to embrace myself, my community and all those that are a part of it. It was recently that I became even deeper part of the queer community and making myself part of the local API group, Asian Pacific Islander Pride, which had made me aware locally of the Asian Pacific Islander community and events. This is step one of many steps in my life to make myself a more engaging part of the API community. I’m proud for simply reaching out and help to increase awareness, decrease negative stereotypes and providing information that helps keep people informed.
Just like the other National HIV/AIDS Awareness Days, it is very important to embrace awareness into the ethnic groups of all backgrounds as those are the ones who generally are looked over and forgotten. I am glad that we, the Queer Asian community, are standing up and putting a voice to bring education and awareness to help make HIV/AIDS less of an impact while ending the stigma of being Queer in API community. The motto this year is for you to make our issue, your issue. Go and simply Speak Up! Get yourself involved in an organization, like Asian Pacific Pride, that you feel strongly with. It’s all starts with YOU.
What does A&PI HIV/AIDS Awareness Day mean to you?

Masturbation Doesn’t Break Hearts!

“90% of people admit to masturbating, the other 10 percent are liars.”

May 1st marked the first day of National Masturbation Month. Yes I said it, Masturbation. If you didn’t know about this, well, you’re not alone. I’ll even admit that I didn’t know this national day existed or that it has been around for 25 years. For some reason it isn’t surprising that National Masturbation Month isn’t as high-profile as Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, or Easter, but then again these holidays have cute animals or make belief characters attached to them.

I remember the first time I heard about masturbation on TV was when the cast of Jerry Seinfeld made a bet to see who could keep themselves from doing it the longest. I remember being really curious about this subject, but was afraid someone would catch me watching a TV show about this kind of bet. This really points out how ridiculous the stigma and lack of knowledge that youth (or anyone really) have about masturbation. Up until this point all I had heard about masturbation were all the horrible myths about the effects of masturbation on little bunnies and kittens.

While writing this blog I checked a couple of websites for other masturbation myths and this is what I found:

Only youth masturbate,Cascade AIDS Project Button
Only adults masturbate,
Women don’t masturbate,
People in relationships don’t masturbate,
If you live with your parents you don’t masturbate,
If people sleep in the same room as you, you don’t masturbate,
Masturbation will make you blind,
Masturbation will make hair grow on your palms,
Masturbation will give you acne,
Masturbation causes sexually transmitted diseases,
Masturbation will make you sterile,
Masturbation can give your penis a bend,
Masturbation will make you run out of fluids,
Masturbation will make a male’s penis shrink/stop growing,
Masturbation will make you crazy or cause epilepsy.

All of these myths have been proven wrong by science (although some of them didn’t need to be). It is a reality that BOTH women and men masturbate.. It actually is very healthy for someone to masturbate as it can help relieve headaches, stress, pain and help to aid sleep, to get clearer ideas or focus on an issue and helps reduce risk of prostate cancer in men. In 1995 the US surgeon general was quoted as saying “I think it [Masturbation] is part of human sexuality and a part of something that perhaps should be taught.” Even the UK government advocates for “an orgasm a day” and is advocating for youth to masturbate and experiment with their bodies.

The social stigma of masturbation only serves to perpetuate the harmful education that youth are getting from the internet or their peers. Even while writing this I felt uncomfortable and hid my research because of how people might see what I was writing about. I think the fact that as a sex/sexuality educator I should be comfortable with masturbation, but the social stigma I face makes it not so.  I believe in age-relevant sex information, and advocate for youth having as much knowledge about their sexual and reproductive health as they need. Masturbation can be a quite positive (and dare I say pleasant) experience for many people young and old and is only one more way for youth to have safe sexual lives. Maybe if people were more open about their masturbation and did it a little more often, then maybe STD/HIV rates might drop and we would have a safer and healthier (possibly even happier) society.

What do you think? What myths have you heard?

-Ernesto Dominguez

We have a cure for HIV!

“By far the most dangerous foe we have to fight is apathy – indifference from whatever cause, not from a lack of knowledge, but from carelessness, from absorption in other pursuits, from a contempt bred of self satisfaction” 

– William Osler

I think William got it right.  Now I know he was probably not talking in specific about any topic, but I think his words directly get to my next few points. HIV in essence is completely preventable. Every infection, every transmission completely avertable. What is more insidious then the virus is the stigma we have in society. Stigma feeds the myths and actions of folks that continue to isolate and hurt folks and ultimately continue the spread of HIV.  The more fear we have of talking about HIV the more fear we create in others not getting tested or learning about keeping themselves HIV-.

Take for example all the MYTHS that we hear about how someone gets HIV.

  • Dirty toilets can give you HIV
  • Sharing a drinking glass can give you HIV
  • Kissing, getting spit on, sharing gum or candy can give you HIV
  • Holding hands can give you HIV
  • Sitting in the same room with someone who has HIV for a prolonged period of time will give you HIV

The truth is NONE of these things are true, and this is only a small amount of the untrue things I have heard people say. I think the misconceptions we have about transmission come from our fear of actually talking about sex and STDs. Similarly We tend to demoralize whole segments of our population by assuming HIV+ folks are all “slutty” or engage in “dirty” behaviors. This prejudice only helps to perpetuate this idea that getting HIV is someone’s fault. We create such a large fear of someone who is HIV positive when in all reality, folks with HIV are forced to take better care of themselves then the rest of us. I for instance haven’t seen a doctor in years and I can’t remember the last time I took even a vitamin in the morning. Furthermore society tends to consider folks with HIV as “dirty”. I’ve heard many folks (youth and adults) say things like “I don’t have HIV, I’m clean” or “I don’t need a [HIV] test I don’t sleep around” or even “I shower before sex and would never sleep with someone dirty.”

We may not understand the impact of our words, but it is clear that these words push folks away and directly affect folks not show up to get tested or use condoms. In this day and age it is horrible to still hear someone say “people with HIV walk around with syringes of their blood just waiting to stab me to infect me” or “I’m afraid that I’ll wake up to find (I gave you HIV) written on my bathroom mirror in lipstick”

By really ending this stigma we have towards each other, we can make HIV a part of health and not about being “slutty” or “dirty.” I ask everyone reading this to change how we talk about HIV and make testing a normal part of life. It should be routine like dental checkups or  physicals.

Let’s end the stigma, the shame, the guilt, the discrimination and create a HIV positive society (no pun intended).  Let’s take the cure we already have and end all new HIV infections.

Do you agree? How else can we cure HIV without an actual vaccine?

 -Ernesto Dominguez

What is CHATpdx?

Curbing HIV/AIDS Transmission (CHAT) is a collaboration between organizations and individuals working to curb HIV and AIDS transmission among young people through peer education and outreach, HIV testing, youth services and social media.

Funded through the Department of Health and Human Service – Office of Minority Health (OMH). Our work is carried out by a number of organizaitons including Cascade AIDS Project, Outside In, and the African American AIDS Action Awareness Alliance (A6).

What we do and what YOU can do:

  • CHATpdx (room) – These HIV testing/youth nights at Pivot (209 SW 4th Ave) occur every 2nd and 4th Mondays from 3 – 7pm (check the calendar).  Open for all youth 24 and under.  These nights include games, peer education, wii, snacks, and more.  Do you want your peer educators to “sponsor” a testing night? Contact Annika.
  • Print out a coupon and flyer
  • CHATpdx Facebook fan page – “Like” our page and get the latest CHATpdx news and events.  If you have an event relevant for youth 24 and under, send us the information, and we will post it. Contact Ernesto.
  • CHATpdx is on Twitter as well!
  • CHATpdx has a blog on WordPress to engage and empower young people. Make sure to come back often to get the latest news and information.
  • Outreach testing events – do you have an event that will reach youth 24 and under?  Do you want HIV testing there?  Let CHATpdx know if you do, and we will see if we can make it work! Contact Annika.
  • For more information please email: Ernesto @ or call us at 503.278.3871