Role Model Stories

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 usuallythe 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 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.

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