As of November 2013, I took on a position at Chicago House and Social Services as the Youth Prevention Program Coordinator. I have had a passion for preventing the spread of HIV since 2007, when I became infected. This is my dream job and I am doing something I absolutely love, and doing it with an agency that the community loves. I work primarily with young African-American and Latino men between 16-29 years of age.
My main goal is to provide HIV testing and sexual health information that is individualized for each youth that I converse with. With HIV and other STI’s on the rise in certain communities, the scared tactic is not effective. I love talking to youth about what sex really is and how to protect themselves. I do not encourage sex; instead I have frank conversations about what sex really is. My definition of sex is the “unselfish and agreed upon exploration of pleasure in a way that promotes safe, sane and consensual communication”.
By having these conversations, we are not putting shame on sex, but instead encouraging youth to explore their own bodies and understanding what brings them pleasure before allowing others to take that right away from them. Once we understand what pleasure is, we can set clear boundaries with others and feel more comfortable with communicating our own needs.