A reader writes:

You make the following observation about HIV:

But what we have to do is treat it like diabetes or any other serious disease - by removing and tackling the stigmas that prevent people from being aware of their HIV status, by addressing the core problem of homophobia in the African-American community, and by preventing rapid transmission in the prison system.

What concerns me about this summary of what needs to be done is not what is in it--I emphatically agree on all three points--but what is missing.  You fail to mention the need for those of us in the gay community to do anything about our sexual practices to minimize the chances of further transmission.

All of us know that safer sex is on the wane and that there is a shocking prevalence of irresponsible sexual practices within the gay community.  I am very concerned that the prevention message has become muddled because no one wants to ask whether or not gay men (white AND black) are engaging in risky and irresponsible behavior.

I agree and would be more specific: more condom use among the HIV-negative and HIV-positive when the partner's status is unknown; more sero-sorting among those with HIV; and, above all, civil marriage as a critical bulwark against the epidemic. But in DC, the deeper trouble is: how do you reach men who have sex with men who do not identify as gay?


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