Sexual Health & Well-Being

Designed for all segments of our community, these programs create space to discuss sexual health/prevention, living with HIV, sexuality and culture, and more with like-minded peers.
In response to COVID-19, programs will be offered online and as limited in-person groups. 

Sexual Health Programs
& Social Groups

For more information, fill out the form below or email PSH@MetroTampaBay.org.

Meet new people and talk about all the things important to you in a fun and safe environment including dating/relationships, stigma/discrimination, hotter safer sex, HIV/AIDS, and more. Some come to a meetup out of curiosity. For many, the group has become a meaningful band of friends. Give us a try and see how City Mix feels to you! 

 

A safe space for individuals living with HIV to get together and just be yourself without worrying about the stigma of status. Our meetups are casual and low key so that everyone can feel comfortable. Meet new people and join us for informal, optimistic, and fun discussions about challenges and accomplishments of living with HIV including sex, relationships, health updates, and more. Whether you’re newly diagnosed or have been living with HIV for years, all are welcome. 

 

Movement of Color: a Cultural Sexuality Series is a discussion group addressing hot topics and norms in the African American community. Register above, then join the Facebook event series. Contact PSH@MetroTampaBay.org for more information.

 

Connect is a FREE workshop designed to empower relationships (of two or more persons, with or without labels) where at least one person is living with HIV. This workshop provides you with techniques and skills to enhance the quality of your relationship, communication, intimacy, and shared commitments to keep each other safe. Call us today and see what the buzz is about! 

 

CAB serves Tampa Bay with programs that convene community members with opportunities to learn, have spirited dialogue, and contribute to the development and ongoing evaluation of METRO programs. We serve our community through outreach and networking with a focus on improving access to resources and services for those living with or are at risk of contracting HIV. CAB brings people together for collaboration towards promoting total health, wellness, and community. You care about that. Join CAB today! 

 

Explore and contribute recommendations for improving effective teaching, empowering, and inspiring practices among youth and young adults to guide the community forward. 

 

Young Minds educates, increases awareness, and prevents substance misuse and HIV/AIDS through interactive group sessions, 1-on-1 goal setting, and social activities. A program for young people between the ages of 13-24 that reside in Hillsborough or Pinellas Counties.

 

Are you between the ages of 13 and 19 and want to learn more about sexual health? Check out the Closing the Gap program. Clarify myths about HIV/AIDS, learn how to protect yourself, and converse with others about how you, your family, and friends may be affected. Contact us today to learn more. 

 

Now that you’re pregnant, seeing a doctor and taking care of yourself and your baby is more important than ever. If you live in Hillsborough County, join the TOPWA program! Our program specialists support you throughout all stages of your pregnancy and provide you with resources and information to ensure a healthy pregnancy.  

 

Taken daily, PrEP can reduce exposure to contracting HIV by up to 99%. Learn aboutPrEP 

nPEP is an HIV prevention strategy recommended by the CDC to prevent infection after a high-risk sexual exposure. Learn about nPEP

PUSH is a national, paid sexual health study. The goal of the study is to understand how best to identify and engage adolescents and young adults in sexual health care. See more info here.

Do you live in Tampa Bay? Looking to get involved in your community? Volunteer Peers are trained as ambassadors and role models who help build HIV awareness and education in the community. You can even take part in METRO’s community outreach efforts with our energetic street team. Contact PSH@MetroTampaBay.org to get involved!

Prevention Role Models

Our Role Models have shared their stories with using PrEP, navigating “magne+ic relationships,” and taking their sexual health into their own hands. Do you have a sexual health story that you would like to share? Questions about sexual health best practices? Contact PSH@MetroTampaBay.org or fill out the form below! 

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My name is Zayden and I’d like to share my experience with you. I’m a Black same-gender loving (SGL) man from Jacksonville. I’m also an entertainer and a content creator for OnlyFans. Yep, that’s right, I create explicit video and image content for my fans’ viewing pleasures. You can imagine the amount of judgment I get daily, on and off camera. 🤦🏽‍♂️

Before getting in front of the 🎥 camera though, I didn’t follow the best safe sex practices. I love raw sex. I know it’s not what people expect to hear, but it’s the truth. Knowing my truth helped when I was tested for HIV back in June. The guy testing me suggested PrEP as option. Taking a daily pill would help protect me from HIV.

I’d never heard of [PrEP] before. I wanted to be safe and set the right examples, but some folks felt it would be safer and easier to just wear condoms. I’ve tried and it doesn’t work for me. Besides, I know condoms can break but PrEP protects me up to 99%, when taken as directed. Needless to say, I went back and got a prescription for PrEP and my doctor reminded me that PrEP doesn’t protect me from STDs.

Now I’m able to create content with the reassurance that I’m promoting safer practices than before. Though some are still not in favor of what I do, at least l have one layer of protection from HIV. I use every opportunity to educate my following about PrEP and how standing in my truth helped me get here.

My name is Chris. I’m 48, was born and raised in Philadelphia, and now live in St. Petersburg, FL. I began going out at age 16, at the height of the AIDS epidemic, and was always aware of safe sex practices, but didn’t always protect myself even into early adulthood. In my younger days in Philly, my friends and I would go out on the town and have a lot of fun, and a LOT of sex! Hell, we even used to have contests to see how many guys we could sleep with in one night—I wasn’t usually the winner of this contest! We weren’t particularly afraid of getting sick ourselves because, at that time, it seemed that only the older guys from the 70’s party scene were getting sick, so I continued to go out and have my fun as I became a young adult and moved to Tampa. One day, my roommate got me involved with Tampa AIDS connection, and I saw up close what HIV could really do to people. It made me realize that this illness is not a joke and that I could very well become a statistic. My roommate reaching out and my exposure to what HIV was doing to my community made me shape up and start telling guys, “You’re not f***ing me without a condom!” I experienced some good-natured chiding about it from my close friends—in fact, whenever I would turn down a guy because he didn’t want to be safe, my friends would always say, “But he’s HOT,” and I’d reply, “Yeah, he is…but he’s not!” Reminding myself of the terminally ill people I met—what they went through, and how they became my friends—helped to keep me focused on the risk to myself and the fact that condomless sex just isn’t worth it. Over 20 years later, I’m still here, still kicking, still HIV negative, still consistently using condoms, and happy to share my story.

Ça va! I’m Dreaux, originally from Louisiana and in love with St. Pete. Since moving here two years ago, I’ve had some awesome things happen to me. I was really excited about all the new opportunities I had, including meeting new guys. Fun times for a 26 year old! So I met a guy that I clicked physically with (a lot), who is HIV positive and undetectable. By this point I had already done my research and understood that it’s virtually impossible to transmit the virus when someone is “undetectable.” I had also done extensive research on PrEP and the effectiveness of it when you take it daily like they tell you to. Before I met this guy I didn’t feel like I really needed PrEP, but when I thought about the basically zero chance of HIV transmission between PrEP and undetectable, it was a no brainer. I had never been on daily meds before so remembering to take it every day was hard and I missed doses like once or twice a week. It took me a good two months before I got into the groove of things, but I knew that the only way I would get the most protection was to take it every day. I finally figured out that if I put the pill bottle next to the moisturizer I use daily that it would be in my face, so to speak. I’ve been on PrEP for about a year and now I rarely miss a dose. Ok so maybe I might miss like once a month, but since I’ve been on it I’m happy to say that I’ve been able to maintain a healthy sex[ual] relationship with the guy because of the confidence I have in PrEP, and I’ve never felt better about my sexual wellness and security. I really recommend you try it.

Hola, mi nombre es Johnny. Soy un varón Latino de 23 años. Vivo en Tampa, FL, y estoy saliendo con un hombre que es VIH positivo, pero indetectable. Muchos me dicen que estoy loco, pero en el momento en que lo vi, supe que él era el único para mi.  A el que yo me entregaría completamente; en todos los aspectos, ya sea emocional, mental o físicamente. Cuando se trataba del sexo sabía de la posibilidad de contraer el VIH, así que necesitaba asegurarme que yo estaría bien. Quería seguir siendo negativo, so la primera solución que me vino a la mente fueron los condones. Esto es un dolor de cabeza para mí porque amo la sensación del sexo sin condón. El sexo con condón simplemente no es lo mismo. Una noche mi novio y yo estábamos viendo la tele y salió un comercial que promovía el nuevo condón de HEX. Me encantaba cómo se veia el condón; era fuerte y me permitia sentir todas las sensaciones. Decidimos darle una oportunidad y fue increíble, incluso me olvidé que el tenia puesto un condón. Ahora que sé que existen muchas variedades de condones, amo tener sexo con protección. La mejor parte es que puedo mantener  una relación saludable con mi enamorado  y mantener mi estatus negativo. Si nosotros pudimos hacerlo usted también lo puede hacer.

I am Beau Blair, a 25 year old black guy new to the Tampa area. I have always been the type of person to believe in goals, both in my personal and professional life. Dating new guys, I wanted to make a goal of asking about my partner’s status. Being HIV negative, open dialogue about status has always been high on my list of priorities. The more I began to date, the harder the conversations about status became. Most guys focused on the act of jumping into sex right away. Personally, I only used condoms when a guy shared that he could be high-risk or I had an uneasy feeling. Protecting myself by using condoms 100% of the time then became my personal goal. But, with my partners, one mention of status or our last testing dates and all communication came to a halt instantly. To me, knowing goal behavior can shape your future. I began to focus on the places I would frequent and people I was dating and hooking up with. Once I stepped outside the box and started going to new places, I meet this great guy. This time, rather than focus on sex, he was interested in more dialogue. We both have previously been in long term relationships and found it extremely comfortable to communicate with each other. The focus on upfront communication came from his adherence to PrEP medication. When the time came for us to talk about our status, it was so easy. We both shared that we were negative, and through open conversation, we both have agreed to set personal goals. My partner’s goal is to remain steadfast with PrEP. Now, we have been in a relationship for over a year and our sex life couldn’t be more safe and sexy. 

Heeeyyy! I’m Jackson, I use he/him pronouns, I’m twenty-eight, and I’m all about positive energy, hair and makeup! Tampa is where you can find me if you need a stylist. A little more about me… I started taking PrEP about a year ago. But to be honest, I didn’t quite see the full benefit of it to me when I started so I wasn’t taking the pill every day like I knew I was supposed to. You see, I was in a relationship at the time and even though we occasionally slept with other guys, we both routinely tested for HIV every 3 months and knowing my man’s status, I felt like my risk was slim to none. You know, so moving forward in life things happen and we ended up parting ways. As fate would have it, in walks my Mr. Right about six months ago. I’ve always been open about getting tested and knowing my status, so it was easy to get to know each other and for him to disclose he is HIV positive. Meeting this guy and the physical attraction that we have, I knew right away that I would definitely need to step up adherence to my PrEP medication.  I knew it was going to be hard remembering to take my PrEP with my rotating schedule of salon and makeup clients, so I created a location reminder on my phone that tells me to take my pill every day when I get to my shop. As of today, I’m totally rocking it out. The automatic reminder was the best tool I could’ve implemented, and I’ve only missed maybe two doses in the last six months. Being on PrEP and taking it every day makes me feel so confident in the protection I have, and it’s been so good for my sex life! 

Hi, my name is Tré. I am 22 years old, gay, and Latina living in Clearwater. I’m having fun and taking care of my sexual health, but that wasn’t something I always did. A couple of years ago, when I would meet guys from apps I wasn’t always safe. When it came down to using condoms, I wanted to, but sometimes it just didn’t happen. When I would ask partners to use a condom, they just wouldn’t, and I would just go with it. I wanted to be with people more than I wanted to protect myself. The more this happened the more afraid I was of HIV. About two years ago I took a class about HIV/AIDS and it changed my perspective on being safe. I needed to use protection, not only for myself, but also for others. Now, I have a new strategy, if I meet people from apps, I make sure to talk about condoms before we meet up. Sometimes people still want to have sex without condoms, but I speak up for myself and refuse. I know that it’s not worth risking the health and safety of my loved ones and myself. Being able to establish that I use condoms every time beforehand helps me feel less stressed.  Now, I feel more in control and aware of how my sexual health impacts the community.

Hey, what’s up? I’m Jerome, a 36-year-old college-educated black man. I was raised by my grandmother in a non-traditional Southern Missionary Baptist home, so yea, we were very religious. For that reason, I don’t identify as gay. In my community, we prefer “same-gender loving men.”

I moved to St. Pete to start a new career after graduating college, and prior to relocating I was in a monogamous relationship with an HIV positive partner. I have a degree in social work as well as social science, so I was well-versed in HIV and knew how to protect myself from it. However, because I was on PrEP and he was virally suppressed, we didn’t use condoms. We’d known each other for so many years and I really trusted him, so we practiced having open and honest conversations about adherence to our regimens.

Between my career and network of close friends, I was regularly reminded of the disproportionate impact HIV had on black and brown communities. I currently live in one of the 5 zip codes (33712, 33701, 33711, 33705, and 33713) that account for 44% of new HIV infections in Pinellas County for the past 5 years. In my new role, I’ve found that my decisions to have unprotected sex with an HIV positive partner while on PrEP perpetuated the stigma.

Now that I am single and at lower risk, I can set a better example for my community. I now accessorize my PrEP with condom use in every sexual encounter, regardless of viral suppression or relationship status. I can take pride in knowing I am safe, setting the right example for my community, and enjoying the single life’s hook-up culture.

Contact Prevention and Sexual Health by filling out the form below or calling 727-321-3854 for more information.