How Is HIV Awareness Different for Younger Generations?

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The push towards safe sex and even abstinence was there because the people were dying. Now 30 years later, it's not this eminently fatal disease, and your messaging has to change. Now, in the 80s and 90s, we didn't interact socially like we do now. There was no Facebook, there was no Internet access like we have, so people are not meeting in the way they did in the 80s and 90s as they do now.

So you have apps, you have Facebook, you have dating sites, and there is more or less this trend towards meeting people online that you don't know. So if you are a young person, teenager or 20 year old, and you don't remember AIDS epidemic of the 80s, and movies like, The Normal Heart or Longtime Companion, seem like when your father talks about Vietnam or World War 2.

It seems like, oh that was then, it's not now. So doctors, like myself, have to adapt to how you educate. So if you're meeting people on social apps, I find, I never had this experience myself cuz I was already married by then, but I find that a lot of men are being asked to have unsafe sex.

And I think that its come down to the fact that if you are on antiretrovirals, there's a lot of studies that show that if you're undetectable then its very hard for you to transmit the virus to other people. So, if you are the insertive person during anal sex then your risk is low.

If you're the insertive person during anal sex, having sex with somebody who is on antiretrovirals, your chances of contracting HIV are even lower. So there is this idea which I call this, false sense of security, that worries me the most. Yes it's not high as it was back then, but there's still always a risk.

And I try to pose it that way, why would you wanna take that risk? There's still no cure, and you'd have to go on medication for your unforeseeable future. So, if you're gonna live out the reminder of your life on antiretroviral medication, and you are 25 when you become HIV positive, you're looking at what? Another 50 years? And we still don't know what 50 years on antiretroviral medication is going to be like for you, in the long term, because of side effects.

So I try to talk to them as if they are 25 years old now, and what we don't know about what it's gonna be like when you're your father's age.