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Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

Steven B. – “Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself”

St. Pete resident, freelance street photographer and aspiring pug owner, Steven B. has been a friendly face in the St. Pete gay community for a solid decade. First appearing at Georgie’s Alibi, you might recognize Steven as the little Latin guy with “that hair” and the camera, snapping photos of the night’s highlights (delights and frights depending on how close last call is). What you might not know about Steven is of his passion for activism of community and LGBT issues, as well as youth and young adult mentoring. We got a chance to catch up with Steven to talk about the Affordable Care Act, why it’s been a game changer for him and his advice to the new 20’s-something crowd.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a hot button topic right now. What has your experience been like, and what made you think you should enroll? When I was younger and living in Miami, taking care of myself, my health, my sexual wellbeing was the least of my worries. I made morally questionable choices and engaged in things that legit could’ve ended up badly. Because of my past choices there are some lasting imprints on my life and the only reasonable way to take care of myself was to get insurance. I’ve had ACA insurance for a little over a year now. It’s been pretty great.

 

Was there anything else that influenced your decision to enroll in the ACA? Hell yeah. I’ll be honest, I caught an STD once. Who hasn’t right? For me, that was the kick in the ass I needed to make me stop and think about what I was doing. I was living in NYC where you would think getting help or free services would be easy; wrong! There weren’t many options or the places would be far, and you’re guaranteed to wait a long ass time. I love Tampa Bay and St. Pete, but free services here are also limited. I figured that having insurance would broaden my options to get care, to get routine checkups and testing for STD’s, HIV etc.

Did you have any challenges trying to enroll in the ACA, or with keeping up your motivation to maintain routine health screenings and HIV/STD testing? If it’s your first time, understanding health insurance is like learning f*cking Greek lol Luckily I got help from my boyfriends Isaiah and Google, who are well versed and experienced with the ACA. I have a primary care doctor for my general health, but for my sexual health needs I wanted to find LGBT culturally competent care. Metro Wellness is the first place I ever got tested for HIV. They are on point with this, Hep C and STD screening.  I’ve been going there for well over a year, and I don’t go anywhere else for it.

It sounds like you have a good plan in place for taking care of your physical & sexual health. What would you like to tell guys your age who might be going through similar experiences? Perspective changes after you get your first STD lol Listen Linda, your 30’s, 40’s, 50’s are right around the corner. Value your physical and sexual health. For me, it’s made a positive impact on my mental and emotional wellbeing which is interconnected and equally important.  If you need help navigating health insurance, use your social support network and research online. If you’re mature enough to engage in things or sex that might put you at risk of HIV or STD’s, then be responsible enough to yourself and to others to get tested routinely. There are a lot of things that can be replaced in life but your body isn’t one of them. Lastly, when you see me out and about, “Pose for the camera, click, click, click”!



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