This writer wanted to take a moment to say “Thank you, Chuck Renslow.” Sunday evening Chuck took to the stage to speak to those who were in attendance as well as those who were not in attendance at the International Mr. Leather 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. As a community we have come to eagerly await the guidance and wisdom that we receive from Chuck Renslow, Creator and Producer of International Mr. Leather. During the past year advocates, including myself, have helped to raise awareness of a new HIV prevention strategy called PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) as early adopters. When taken as prescribed, PrEP has been shown to be up to 99% effective in preventing HIV infection in those who are negative. Also the prevention community was thrilled when the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) announced guidelines for the use of PrEP.
We all know that our community is a community that loves to have hot, kinky fun. There now are tools that can allow us to have that fun while also protecting ourselves and others. Condoms, while they offer protection, only do so when they are used consistently. PrEP now offers another option to be considered other than simply using condoms. For the first time, a person can take HIV prevention into their own hands. There are also programs to assist with providing the drug at no cost to those who are interested and qualify.
As a leather man, I am proud to have leaders from within my community raising the PrEP flag and helping to increase awareness while reducing stigma. Without doubt the leather community has disproportionally been impacted by HIV/AIDS over the last thirty years. Through the course of those years, many people have found it extremely hard to get excited about new and innovative technologies that have promised to end the AIDS epidemic… until now.
Now for the first time, we truly have something that is being called a game-changer; it can decrease new infections and help us turn the tide of this horrible epidemic which has taken too many of our brothers and sisters.
Thank you Chuck! Thank you for the willingness to lend your voice and platform to raising awareness of PrEP. I am proud to have a leader who cares enough about his community to use his platform for education and awareness.
To View Chuck’s Comments on PreP click here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.phpv=10152028800640356&set=vb.603190355&type=2&theater
For More Info on PrEP:
Aaron Laxton is an HIV activist and “Mama’s Kinky Educator.” Follow him on Twitter at @aaronlaxton. He serves on the Community Advisory Board for the AIDS Clinical Trials Group as well as the Community Scientific Sub-Committee. He lives in St. Louis and his column runs monthly.