Bored? Looking for a little fun? Think oh I’ll just go bang some guy off Tinder and post it on my Snapchat. Might want to think again.
Right now, the Valley is in what experts are calling an HIV epidemic.
60 men will become HIV positive this year. So you might want to think twice before banging some random that you meet online.
Don’t be a statistic and don’t bang random guys you meet online for your Snapchat viewers. Get tested and stay clean!
This year alone, five men every month have been diagnosed with the virus, up from four a month last year.
This number is something that you as parents need to be aware of — and educate your children.
“I was just scared. What’s going on with me?” said Leo, a Valley native who says he was diagnosed with HIV when he was 17.
A young age, but one that is not shocking to the experts.
Oscar Lopez with the Valley Aids Council in Harlingen says this is in part because teens are experimenting sexually earlier, some as young as 12 years old.
“This is a disease that could gravely affect our community,” said Lopez. “We know this is happening because of teen pregnancy. So HIV is just one step away for most of them. It’s not just a disease that affects young gay men. Because young gay men have sex with other men, they have sex with women, especially when they’re young and experimenting, so this can cross pollinate over all sorts of lines.”
And because of this, the number of those being diagnosed is growing as well.
Dr. Dora Martinez, Chief Medical Officer for the Valley Aids Council says 60 men will become HIV positive this year.
“One in four men who have sex with men who are Latino will be HIV positive. In the Valley, it looks like that’s what’s going to happen,” Dr. Martinez explained. “If you wait and you wait and you wait until it finds you collapsed and you’re so sick you’re in the hospital and that’s how you find out you’re positive, instead of coming in the get routine testing.”
Dr. Martinez says parents need to teach their kids how to protect themselves.
“You gotta check your discomfort at the door. This is not a comfortable thing to talk about but you gotta do it. Because ignorance is not bliss. This is why I’m telling you to protect yourself. Because I love you, because I care about you, and you are worthy. And that is why you need to know.”
Leo is now an advocate for HIV prevention, finding comfort in helping others with their health.
“I meet a lot of genuine people I know are not lying to me because I know they love me for who I genuinely am. It helped me as a person.”
The experts want to remind everyone to get tested even if you don’t think you’re at risk. You can reach out to the Valley Aids Council at (956) 428-2653.
Source: Valley Central 4