2018 NYC AIDS Walk: Central Park Ceremony, Walk/Run Routes This year's AIDS Walk New York is expected to bring at least 20,000 people to Central Park on Saturday, May 20. By Brendan Krisel, Patch National Staff | May 14, 2018 2:13 pm ET
CENTRAL PARK, NY â€” Tens of thousands of people are expected to descend on Central Park on Saturday, May 20, to raise millions for the Gay Men's Health Crisis and other tri-state AIDS service organizations for this year's AIDS Walk New York. Participants can register for the traditional 10-mile walk or a 5-mile run, organizers said. Participating in AIDS Walk New York is free and runners and walkers are encouraged to reach out to family, friends and co-workers to sponsor them. This year's opening ceremony in Central Park will feature a lineup of celebrities including "Queer Eye" stars Antoni Porowski and Tan France, Broadway' Michael Urie and Andrew Rannells and actors Matt Bomer, Rosie Perez and Zachary Quinto. The ceremony will begin at 9:15 a.m. before the walk and run. 6|Page
A post-walk show will also be held at Central Park's Rumsey Playfield featuring performances by the Pointer Sisters, Frenchie Davis and stars of "RuPaul's Drag Race." "Given our polarizing political climate, it's important that we come together to show that stigma, discrimination, and ignorance have no place in our society or in our response to HIV/AIDS," Gay Men's Health Crisis CEO Kelsey Louie said in a statement. "HIV/AIDS remains an urgent public health and social justice crisis. Over the past 30-plus years, the tens of thousands of people who have joined together for AIDS Walk New York have not only raised crucial funds we need to help end this epidemic but have demonstrated to the world the power of a united group of caring individuals." The traditional 10-mile walk takes participants through Central Park and the streets of the Upper West Side and the 5-mile run is held entirely within the park. This year's walk will begin within Central Park on Terrace Drive (72nd Street). The route takes walkers through the Park up to the West 110th Street exit. Walkers then head west until Riverside Drive, head south and then cut across West 74th Street to re-enter the park. The 5-mile run follows a similar route, but instead of exiting the park at West 110th Street runners will turn south and run alongside the west end of the park. AIDS Walk New York was founded in 1986 and has raised more than $150 million for Gay Men's Health Crisis and likeminded organizations. "As one of the city's largest and most diverse community events, AIDS Walk New York continues to help us celebrate how far we've come while we also shining a spotlight on the work we still need to doâ€” and what we must overcome," Craig R. Miller, founder and senior organizer of the walk, said in a statement.
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Content How does Childhood Sexual Abuse Affect HIV Prevention. University of California, San Francisco Pg. 20 What is Mental Health. Christian Nordquist Pg. 16 Male Survivors Living with HIV. Pg. 38 How to Help ODI Pg. 31 What I Know for Sure Pg. 45 Resources and Treatment for HIV Pg. 28 Sexual Abuse in Childhood Raises Risk for HIV and Other Sexual Infections Pg. 28
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Editor’s Note May 2018 I recall as a young man growing up, HIV/AIDS was considered a homosexual disease and one prone to drug users and those who were promiscuous. This year marks thirty-six (36) years since the start of the epidemic; the virus continues to plague society. Over several years of research being conducted, it has become a known fact that there is a direct correlation to childhood sexual abuse and HIV/AIDS. This month in support of NYC AIDS Walk we focus our attention on Male Sexual Abuse and HIV/AIDS. There are two research articles dealing with childhood sexual trauma that we added: “How Does Childhood Sexual Abuse Affect HIV Prevention” along with “Sexual Abuse in Childhood Raises Risk of HIV and Other Sexual Infections”. We hope that readers who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse take an ecological approach in looking into their past and how they deal with sex.
We were very fortunate to have two survivors who are living with the virus share their story publicly and candidly. It takes great courage and vulnerability in talking about living with HIV especially within the black community. Both stories are compelling as it offers you, the reader, a view into the lives of two men who are unashamed of standing in their truth about HIV. The message is that of survival and perseverance, giving the younger generation hope. We were very mindful in hand-picking resources for those living with HIV. There is an underlying perception that HIV infection rates are decreasing, and that PrEP is the SAVIOR and solution to addressing the virus. The fact is, unless mental health is addressed we will never get to the root of the problem, and hence create a plan to address the problem. Dealing with mental health and HIV takes a level of vulnerability and trusting the people around you. We have been very fortunate at ODI News to have survivors who are willing to stand up in their truth. I had a candid conversation with Raymond and Christopher about how, as survivors, they are dealing with living with HIV. It only goes to show that HIV isn’t a death sentence, and people can live healthy functional lives. The conversation with both men, forces you, the reader, to take a step and look into your own life. To be sexually abused or raped, or have someone you trust infect you with the HIV virus is a betrayal of your trust. Check out our self-help books section, along with the resources for HIV and “What I know For Sure”. We are always looking for your feedback and support. Send a message to the email below.
O’Brien Dennis Editor-in-Chief email@example.com
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ODI News A Publication Dedicated to Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse _____________________________________________________________________________________
Cover Design ___________________ Debbie Bailey Old Post Studios Editor-in-Chief ___________________________________ Dennis O Tyson Editor-at-Large ___________________________________ Courtney Graham Editorial Design __________________ Sheldon Brown Contributors ___________________________________ Oâ€™Brien Dennis University of California Christian Nordquist Center for AIDS Information and Advocacy For Suggestions/Feedback _____________________ ODINews@obdi.org
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What is mental health? By Christian Nordqvist Reviewed by Timothy J. Legg, PhD, CRNP
Mental health refers to our cognitive, behavioral, and emotional wellbeing - it is all about how we think, feel, and behave. The term 'mental health' is sometimes used to mean an absence of a mental disorder. Mental health can affect daily life, relationships, and even physical health. Mental health also includes a person's ability to enjoy life - to attain a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience. In this article, we will explain what is meant by the terms "mental health" and "mental illness." We will also describe the most common types of mental disorder and how they are treated. The article will also cover some early signs of mental health problems.
Definition Mental health problems can affect anyone at any age.
According to Medilexicon's medical dictionary, mental health is: "Emotional, behavioral, and social maturity or normality; the absence of a mental or behavioral disorder; a state of psychological well-being in which one has achieved a satisfactory integration of one's instinctual drives acceptable to both oneself and one's social milieu; an appropriate balance of love, work, and leisure pursuits."
According to the WHO (World Health Organization), mental health is: "... a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community." The WHO stresses that mental health "is not just the absence of mental disorder."
Risk factors Experts say we all have the potential to develop mental health problems, no matter how old we are, whether we are male or female, rich or poor, or which ethnic group we belong to. Almost 1 in 5 Americans experiences mental health problems each year (18.5 percent). In the United States, in 2015, an estimated 9.8 million adults (over 18) had a serious mental disorder. That equates to 4.8 percent of all American adults. 16 | P a g e
A large proportion of the people who have a mental disorder have more than one. In the U.S. and much of the developed world, mental disorders are one of the leading causes of disability. Common disorders The most common types of mental illness are anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and schizophrenia disorders; below we explain each in turn: Anxiety disorders Anxiety disorders are the most common types of mental illness. The individual has a severe fear or anxiety, which is linked to certain objects or situations. Most people with an anxiety disorder will try to avoid exposure to whatever triggers their anxiety. Examples of anxiety disorders include: Panic disorder - the person experiences sudden paralyzing terror or a sense of imminent disaster. Phobias - these may include simple phobias (a disproportionate fear of objects), social phobias (fear of being subject to the judgment of others), and agoraphobia (dread of situations where getting away or breaking free may be difficult). We really do not know how many phobias there are - there could be thousands of types. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) - the person has obsessions and compulsions. In other words, constant stressful thoughts (obsessions), and a powerful urge to perform repetitive acts, such as hand washing (compulsion). Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) - this can occur after somebody has been through a traumatic event something horrible or frightening that they experienced or witnessed. During this type of event, the person thinks that their life or other people's lives are in danger. They may feel afraid or feel that they have no control over what is happening. Mood disorders These are also known as affective disorders or depressive disorders. Patients with these conditions have significant changes in mood, generally involving either mania (elation) or depression. Examples of mood disorders include: Major depression - the individual is no longer interested in and does not enjoy activities and events that they previously liked. There are extreme or prolonged periods of sadness. Bipolar disorder - previously known as manic-depressive illness, or manic depression. The individual switches from episodes of euphoria (mania) to depression (despair). Persistent depressive disorder - previously known as dysthymia, this is mild chronic (long term) depression. The patient has similar symptoms to major depression but to a lesser extent. SAD (seasonal affective disorder) - a type of major depression that is triggered by lack of daylight. It is most common in countries far from the equator during late autumn, winter, and early spring. Schizophrenia disorders Whether or not schizophrenia is a single disorder or a group of related illnesses has yet to be fully determined. It is a highly complex condition. Schizophrenia normally begins between the ages of 15 and 25. The individual has thoughts that appear fragmented; they also find it hard to process information. 17 | P a g e
Schizophrenia has negative and positive symptoms. Positive symptoms include delusions, thought disorders, and hallucinations. Negative symptoms include withdrawal, lack of motivation, and a flat or inappropriate mood. (See the article "What is schizophrenia" for further detail). Early signs It is not possible to reliably tell whether someone is developing a mental health problem; however, if certain signs appear in a short space of time, it may offer clues: • • • • • • • • • • • •
Using drugs more than normal can be an early sign of a mental health issue. Withdrawing from people or activities they would normally enjoy. Sleeping or eating too much or too little. Feeling as if nothing matters. Consistently low energy. Using drugs more than normal (including alcohol and nicotine). Displaying uncharacteristic emotions. Confusion. Not being able to complete standard tasks, such as getting to work or cooking a meal. Persistent thoughts or memories that reappear regularly. Thinking of harming one's self or others. Hearing voices. Delusions. Treatment There are various ways people with mental health problems might receive treatment. It is important to know that what works for one person may not work for another; this is especially the case with mental health. Some strategies or treatments are more successful when combined with others. A patient with a chronic mental disorder may choose different options at different stages in their life. The majority of experts say that a wellinformed patient is probably the best judge of what treatment suits them best. Treatments can include: Psychotherapy (talking therapies) - this is a psychological approach to treating mental illness. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure therapy, and dialectical behavior therapy are examples. Medication - although it can not cure mental disorders, some medications can improve symptoms. Self-help - including lifestyle changes such as reducing alcohol intake, sleeping more, and eating well. Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/154543.php
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Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA) prevention should not be left up to the child. It takes a nurturing, caring, loving and understanding mother to protect their child. It is the responsibility of both parents to understand prevention and to help teach the child ways in which to speak up when the abuse occurs or when someone touches them inappropriately. A special shout out to all the mothers who have taken the time to show love to their children and talk with about appropriate and inappropriate touches. We say a special thanks to the mothers who have decided to get help for their child when they are victims of CSA.
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How does childhood sexual abuse affect HIV prevention?
What is childhood sexual abuse? Childhood sexual abuse may be defined in many ways, but this fact sheet refers to unwanted sexual body contact prior to age 18, the age of consent to engage in sex. CSA is a painful experience on many levels that can have a profound and devastating effect on later physiological, psychosocial and emotional development. CSA experiences can vary with respect to duration (multiple experiences with the same perpetrator), degree of force/coercion or degree of physical intrusion (from fondling to digital penetration to attempted or completed oral, anal or vaginal sex). The identity of the perpetrator--ranging from a stranger to a trusted figure or family member--may also impact the long-term consequences for individuals. To distinguish CSA from exploratory sexual experimentation, the contact should be unwanted/coerced or there should be a clear power difference between the victim and perpetrator, often defined as the perpetrator being at least 5 years older than the victim. Many more children are sexually abused than are reported to authorities.1 Estimates of the prevalence of CSA in the US are about 33% for females under the age of 18 and 10% in males under 18 years of age.2 Men are significantly less likely than women to report CSA when it occurs.3
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CSA is more likely to occur in families under duress. Children are at risk for CSA in families that experience stress, poverty, violence and substance abuse and whose parents and relatives have histories of CSA.
Does CSA affect HIV risk? Yes. Because childhood and early adolescence are critical times in a person’s sexual, social and personal development, CSA can distort survivors’ physical, mental and sexual images of themselves. These distortions, combined with coping mechanisms adopted to offset the trauma of CSA, can lead CSA survivors into high-risk sexual and drug-using behaviors that increase the likelihood of HIV infection.4 Persons who experience CSA may feel powerless over their sexuality and sexual communication and decisionmaking as adults because they were not given the opportunity to make their own decisions about their sexuality as children or adolescents. As a result, they may engage in more high-risk sexual behavior, be unable to refuse sexually aggressive partners and have less sexual satisfaction in relationships. CSA survivors may have difficulties forming attachments and long term relationships and may dissociate from their feelings, resulting in having multiple sexual partners, “one night stands” and short-term sexual relationships. Adults who perceive positive aspects of their own CSA (such as gaining attention) may also use sex as a soothing or comforting strategy, which can lead to promiscuity and compulsive sexual patterns.5 The effects of CSA may be different for adult men and women. Female survivors of CSA may have lower condom self-efficacy with partners, use condoms less frequently, exhibit more sexual passivity and attract or be attracted to overly controlling partners.6 Male survivors of CSA may experience higher levels of eroticism, exhibit aggressive, hostile behavior and victimize others.7 Adults with CSA histories may use dissociation and other coping efforts to avoid negative thoughts, emotions and memories associated with the abuse. One of the most common dissociation methods is alcohol and drug abuse. A study of men and women with a history of substance abuse found that 34% had experienced CSA. CSA survivors with substance abuse problems were more likely than substance abusers who had not experienced CSA to exchange sex for money or drugs, have an HIV+ or high-risk partner and not use condoms.8 Sexual revictimization can also influence high-risk sexual behavior. One study of African American and white women found that CSA survivors who experience revictimization as adults had more unintended pregnancies, abortions, STDs and high-risk sexual behaviors than those who experienced only CSA.9
What’s being done? There are many resources for CSA survivors, but few programs exist to reduce HIV-related sexual and drugusing risk behaviors and increase psychological well being. Most of these programs focus on women; there are even fewer programs for male CSA survivors. Good-Touch/Bad-Touch is a comprehensive child abuse prevention intervention designed for pre-school and kindergarten through sixth grade students. The program uses a variety of materials to teach children prevention skills including personal body safety rules, what abuse is and what action to take if threatened.10 The Children's Medical Center in Dallas, TX, provides HIV/STD prevention for young female sexual abuse victims at a child abuse clinic. Adolescent females between 12 and 16 years old receive one-on-one evaluation 21 | P a g e
and personalized education from an adolescent-focused HIV/STD counselor. Providing sensitive counseling close to the time of recognition of abuse can be a good method for prevention education.11 At Stanford University, CA, a trauma-focused group therapy intervention seeks to reduce HIV risk behavior and revictimization among adult women survivors of CSA. The groups focus on survivorsâ€™ memories of CSA to see if this helps increase safer behaviors and reduce stress. The women also receive case management.12 The Visiting Nurse Service of New York offers comprehensive in-home services to HIV-infected families. The children in these families are at high risk for repeating the histories and behaviors of their parents, including HIV infection, substance abuse, sexual abuse and mental illness. The program provides home-based interventions that include play therapy, health and safe sex education, family and individual counseling, relapse prevention for the parent and drug awareness and prevention for the children. Helping the child deal with anger and resentment towards the parent lessens the likelihood that their anger will be displaced on themselves, thus repeating the behavior of the parent. Supporting each family member is key to breaking the cycle of HIV and abuse in these families.13 At the University of California, Los Angeles, and King-Drew University, CA, a psychoeducational intervention aims to increase healthy behavior and decrease HIV risk behaviors in HIV+ women with histories of CSA. Women are taught communication and problem-solving tools and link CSA experiences to past and current areas of risk.14
What needs to be done? Although dealing with CSA may seem like a daunting task for many HIV prevention programs, there are a variety of usable approaches to address CSA in adults. Programs can: include questions on abuse during routine client screening, reassess clients over time, provide basic education on the effects of CSA and offer referrals for substance abuse and mental health services. Program staff need basic training and support to help cope with the effects of CSA counseling and the relative high prevalence in certain populations.15 Persons who are likely to interact with CSA survivors such as medical and other health professionals, religious and peer counselors, including alcohol, substance abuse and rape counselors, and probation officers need to be educated on the effects of CSA on sexual and drug risk behaviors. They also need training on how to recognize symptoms of CSA and how to address these issues or provide appropriate referrals for treatment. Professionals should look beyond CSA symptoms and inquire about other childhood experiences that may have been problematic. CSA survivors often are forced to contend with other types of abuse and a dysfunctional family environment. A poor family environment may set the tone for abuse to occur and leave the survivor with little support to cope with the experience.
Says who? 1. Green AH. Overview of child sexual abuse. In SJ Kaplan (ed.), Family violence: A clinical and legal guide. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press. 1996;73-104. 2. Finkelhor D. The international epidemiology of child sexual abuse. Child Abuse & Neglect. 1994;18:409417. 22 | P a g e
3. Roesler TA, McKenzie N. Effects of childhood trauma on psychological functioning in adults sexually abused as children. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. 1994;182:145-150. 4. Prillo KM, Freeman RC, Collier C, et al. Association between early sexual abuse and adult HIV-risky behaviors among community-recruited women. Child Abuse & Neglect. 2001;25:335-346. 5. Paul, J. Understanding childhood sexual abuse as a predictor of sexual risk-taking among men who have sex with men: The Urban Men’s Health Study. Child Abuse & Neglect. 2001;125:557-584. 6. Watkins B, Bentovim A. The sexual abuse of male children and adolescents: a review of current research. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry & Allied Disciplines. 1992;33:197–248. 7. Wyatt GE, Guthrie D, Notgrass CM. Differential effects of women’s child sexual abuse and subsequent revictimization. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 1992;60:167-173. 8. Morrill AC, Kasten L, Urato M, et al. Abuse, addiction and depression as pathways to sexual risk in women and men with a history of substance use. Journal of Substance Abuse. 2001;13:169-184. 9. Wyatt GE, Myers HF, Williams JK, et al. Does a history of trauma contribute to HIV risk for women of color? Implications for prevention and policy. American Journal of Public Health. 2002;92:1-7. 10. Harvey P, Forehand R, Brown C, et al. The prevention of sexual abuse: Examination of the effectiveness of a program with kindergarten-age children. Behavior Therapy. 1988;19:429-435. 11. Squires J, Persaud DI, Graper JK. HIV and STD prevention counseling for adolescent girls seen in a child abuse clinic. Presented at the 14th International AIDS Conference, Barcelona, Spain. 2002. Abst # TuPeF5249. 12. Group Interventions to Prevent HIV in High Risk Women. www.med.stanford.edu/school/ Psychiatry/PSTreatLab/TraumaStudy.php 13. Mills R, Samuels KD, Bob-Semple N, et al. Breakin the cycle: multigenerational dysfunction in families affected with HIV/AIDS. Presented at the 14th International AIDS Conference, Barcelona, Spain. 2002. Abst #. ThPeE7828. 14. Wyatt GE, Myers H, Longshore D, et al. Examining the effects of trauma on HIV risk reduction: the women’s health intervention. Presented at the International Conference on AIDS, Barcelona, Spain. 2002. Abst# WePeF6853. 15. Paul JP. Coerced childhood sexual episodes and adult HIV prevention. FOCUS. 2003;18:1-4
Prepared by Gail Wyatt PhD, Tamra Loeb PhD, Inna Rivkin PhD, Jennifer Carmona PhD, Dorothy Chin PhD, John Williams MD, Hector Myers PhD, Douglas Longshore PhD and Charlotte Sykora PhD UCLA Women’s Health Project September 2003. Fact Sheet #52E Special thanks to the following reviewers of this Fact Sheet: Ruth Kelley, Jay Paul, Elizabeth Radhert.
Reproduction of this text is encouraged; however, copies may not be sold, and the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies at the University of California San Franciso should be cited as the source of this information. For additional copies of this and other HIV Prevention Fact Sheets, please call the National Prevention Information Network at 800/458-5231. Comments and questions about this Fact Sheet may be e-mailed to CAPS.firstname.lastname@example.org. © September 2003, University of California
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The Conversation is an unconventional support group for men led by men. The group allows men to network with each other in a safe space. A clinician or counselor is always present to give support as needed. It is imperative that men share their stories amongst themselves and gather strength and support from each other. We have decided to take more of an ecological approach by realizing that we must accept everyone at the level where they are currently in their respective lives. The Conversation will resume at the end of Spring 2018. The Conversation Addresses: ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪
Childhood Sexual Abuse Male Rape Prison Rape Intimate Partner Violence Workplace Sexual Harassment
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HIV PREVENTION The first step in preventing HIV, hepatitis C, and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is to understand what you’re up against. Thankfully, in most cases, people living with HIV, Hep C, or other STIs live long, healthy lives. Getting any STI isn’t something that you should be ashamed, but it also doesn’t have to be inevitable.
HOW TO PREVENT HIV There are a number of ways to prevent HIV transmission and you need to make informed choices about which options are right for you. It’s important to remember regardless of your HIV status, you have a role to play in preventing HIV transmission.
Condoms Condoms are one of the most effective ways to prevent HIV transmission. When used correctly and consistently (that means every time), they are nearly 100% effective. Condoms also prevent other STIs and they are very effective at preventing pregnancy too. Free condoms are available at every Harlem United location. Stop by and pick some up for yourself. While you’re there, we’d love to talk with you to see if there are other ways that we can support you, but if you want to grab condoms and go, that’s OK too.
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If you’re HIV+, you can help make sure that you don’t pass on the virus to others by staying connected with a doctor, keeping up with the treatment plan that you decide on with your doctor, and having an undetectable viral load. In the PARTNERS Study, couples where one partner was HIV- and the other was HIV+ with an undetectable viral load were followed for over two years. Not one HIV+ partner transmitted HIV to their negative partner. If you think that you’re HIV-, it’s important to get tested regularly so that if you do become HIV+, you can see a doctor quickly and make a plan for your treatment. When you get connected to a doctor, you not only decrease your chance of passing on HIV, you set yourself up for better health over the long-term.
Post-Exposure Prophylaxis // PEP Post-exposure prophylaxis, which is also called PEP, helps keep you from getting HIV if you do something that exposes you to HIV. A doctor or medical professional can you help you to determine if PEP is right for you, but here are activities which may put you at high risk • • •
Having sex without a condom with an HIV+ person Sharing needles and works with others while using drugs If you’re a man, having sex without a condom with another man of unknown HIV status Here’s the important thing about PEP: it must be taken with 72 hours of exposure to be effective, ideally with 24 hours. To get a prescription for PEP, talk to your doctor or got a clinic or emergency room right away.
Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis // PrEP Pre-exposure prophylaxis, which is also called PrEP, can also help you prevent HIV. PrEP works by taking one pill of Truvada every day and we recommend you go on PrEP if you are at risk for HIV. It’s best to talk with a health care professional about whether PrEP is right for you and we can help you decide if PrEP is right for you and—if it is—get you started on it to help keep you negative!
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Resources and Treatment for HIV
Most survivors of sexual trauma struggle in navigating sexual encounters. Too often survivors revictimize themselves and do not negotiate healthy sexual practices. The shame coupled with the stigma of coping with sexual trauma, often leave survivors to not address their sexual health and seek testing or the use of protection. For those who live in NYC, there are several organizations that offer resources and treatment to those living with the HIV virus. It is important to get tested and get the needed help if you are infected with the virus. HIV is no longer a death sentence and so many individuals have been living for years with the virus.
The Alliance for Positive Change Headquarters 64 West 35th Street, 3rd Floor New York, NY 10001 212-645-0875 Stop by any day between 10:00 am â€“ 4:00 pm
GMHC The David Geffen Center for HIV Testing and Health Education GMHC offers free, confidential HIV testing and counseling. 224 West 29th Street, Ground Floor, New York, NY 10001 (between 7th & 8th Avenues) By appointment: Call (212) 367-1100 on Thursday, 9:30 amâ€“5 pm
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Latino Commission on AIDS 24 West, 25th Street, 9th Floor New York, NY 10010 T: (212) 675-3288
Contact African Services Committee 429 West 127th Street New York NY 10027 United States of America (212) 222-3882
Bailey House, Inc. The Rand Harlan Center for Housing, Wellness and Community 1751 Park Avenue New York, NY 10035 212.633.2500 phone Manhattan
Hispanic Aids Forum Inc (HAF) - Manhattan 1767 Park Avenue, 4th Floor New York, NY 10035 (212) 563-4500
Apicha Community Health Center 400 Broadway New York, NY 10013 (Entrance is on 70 Walker Street â€“ one block south from Canal Street in lower Manhattan.)
Harlem United 306 Lenox Avenue, New York, NY 10027 // 212.803.2850 // Betances Health Center 280 Henry St # A, New York, NY 10002 Phone: (212) 227-8401
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How to Help ODI
If you are interested in helping the O’Brien Dennis Initiative, here is a list of some of the things that you can do: ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪
Go to www.obdi.org and share with your contacts Follow us on Instagram - obdisurvivors Follow us on Facebook – O’Brien Dennis Initiative Donate at www.obdi.org Join our board – send email to email@example.com If you are a survivor, join our support group – send email to firstname.lastname@example.org Attend any of our informative events Read our monthly newsletter – ODI News Join ODI News planning team – send email to email@example.com Volunteer – send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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ODI Book Club The book club will select books that are motivational and be an inspirational guide to our readers. Not all the books will be focused on sexual violence survivors. Our aim is to allow readers to find a deep spiritual awakening on the larger journey to understand the purpose of living. Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown Social scientist Brené Brown has ignited a global conversation on courage, vulnerability, shame, and worthiness. Her pioneering work uncovered a profound truth: Vulnerability—the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome—is the only path to more love, belonging, creativity, and joy. But living a brave life is not always easy: We are, inevitably, going to stumble and fall.
A Path to Wisdom - How to Live a Balanced, Healthy and Peaceful Life by Tony Jeton Selimi No matter who you are, step forward and get ready to start living your best life –it is what you came here for. Use your built-in ALARM to awaken you to your true calling, your greatness, your wisdom. Use the method, do the simple exercises in each chapter, take action and learn to truly: acknowledge and own your power; learn to listen to your body's wisdom and experience life through the infinite wisdom of love; accept your authentic self and achieve higher vibrational states of awareness and intelligence; reconnect you to your life's purpose by focusing and having greater clarity on the results you wish to create; motivate, meditate and create a meaningful and mindful life. Love your life, live your dreams.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts—from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.
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Sexual Abuse in Childhood Raises Risk of HIV and Other Sexual Infections From The Center for AIDS Information & Advocacy August 2012
A large study of adult women and men in the United States found that 15% of women and 5% of men had been sexually abused as children.1 Among both women and men, sexual abuse was more common among bisexuals, lesbians and gays, and heterosexuals who had samesex partners than among heterosexuals without same-sex partners. Adults who had been sexually abused as children had higher rates of infection with HIV or other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Several previous studies found higher rates of childhood sexual abuse among lesbians, gays, and bisexuals than among heterosexual women and men. But many of these studies were too small to analyze differences between bisexuals and lesbians or gays, and most previous studies focused only on women or only on men. These studies had another disadvantage when trying to figure out the impact of childhood sexual abuse: they lacked a comparison group of heterosexuals. Being sexually abused as a child is not rare in the United States. People who are sexually abused as children often grow to adolescence and adulthood facing several problems (including alcohol and drug use) and adopting sexual behavior that puts them at risk of STIs including HIV infection. Yet many people -- especially men -- are reluctant to talk about being sexually abused as a child or even to admit that it happened. As a result, it can be difficult to determine how many adults were abused as children and what impact this experience had on their behavior and infection risk as they grew up. 33 | P a g e
To learn more about the impact of childhood sexual abuse in lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and heterosexuals, researchers took advantage of a large U.S. survey involving more than 34,000 people across the United States. Because of this survey's large size, the researchers were able to make comparisons and analyze data in ways that were not possible in smaller studies. How the Study Worked The National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) is a large, ongoing study that has had two waves, the first in 2001-2002 and the second in 2004-2005. NESARC participants complete a face-to-face computer-assisted interview in their homes. This childhood-abuse study included people who participated in wave 2. Researchers focused on men and women who answered questions about childhood sexual abuse and their current sexual orientation, attractions, and behaviors. The researchers defined childhood sexual abuse as a sexual experience with any other person when the individual did not want to have the sexual experience or was too young to know what was happening. The sexual experience could include (1) being touched or fondled in a sexual way, (2) being forced to touch another in a sexual way, (3) sexual intercourse, or (4) attempted sexual intercourse. The research team rated the frequency of childhood sexual abuse as (1) never, (2) almost never, or (3) sometimes/frequent. They divided people who completed the survey into five sexual-orientation groups: (1) gay or lesbian, (2) bisexual, (3) heterosexual with at least some same-sex partners, (4) heterosexual with some same-sex attraction but no same-sex partners, or (5) heterosexual with no same-sex partners or attraction. The researchers used standard statistical methods to calculate (1) the association between sexual orientation and childhood sexual abuse and (2) the impact of childhood sexual abuse on risk of HIV and other STIs. What the Study Found Of the nearly 20,000 women who completed the survey, 142 (0.6%) called themselves lesbians, 159 (0.8%) bisexual, 311 (1.5%) heterosexual with some same-sex partners, 946 (4.6%) heterosexual with some same-sex attraction, and 18,407 (92.5%) heterosexual with no samesex partners or attraction. Among all the women studied, 14.9% reported some childhood sexual abuse, including 7.2% who reported abuse sometimes or frequently and 7.7% who reported abuse almost never. Childhood sexual abuse was more frequent among bisexual women (43.5%), lesbians (38.1%), and heterosexuals with same-sex partners (28%) than among heterosexual women with no samesex partners (14.2%).
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Compared with heterosexual women with no samesex partners or attractions, bisexual women were more than 5 times as likely to report childhood sexual abuse, while lesbians and heterosexual women with same-sex partners were about 3 times as likely to report childhood sexual abuse (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Among women surveyed in a large U.S. study, bisexuals, lesbians, and heterosexuals with same-sex partners or attractions were more likely to be sexually abused as children than heterosexuals (HTX) without same-sex partners or attractions.
Of the 14,297 men surveyed, 188 (1.1%) identified themselves as gay, 80 (0.4%) as bisexual, 363 (2.4%) as heterosexual with some same-sex partners, 293 (1.8%) as heterosexual with some same-sex attraction, and 13,373 (94.3%) as heterosexual with no same-sex partners or attraction. Among all men, 5.2% reported some childhood sexual abuse, including 1.8% abused sometimes or frequently and 3.5% abused almost never. Any childhood sexual abuse was reported by similar proportions of bisexual men (19%), gay men (18.6%), and heterosexual men with same-sex partners (19.4%), while 4.6% of heterosexual men without same-sex partners or attractions reported any childhood sexual abuse. Compared with heterosexual men without same-sex partners or attractions, bisexuals were almost 13 times as likely to report childhood sexual abuse, while gays were 9.5 times as likely, and heterosexuals with samesex partners were 7.9 times as likely (Figure 2).
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Figure 2. Among men surveyed in a large U.S. study, bisexuals, gays, and heterosexuals with same-sex partners were more likely to be sexually abused as children than heterosexuals (HTX) without same-sex partners or attractions.
Women and men who experienced childhood sexual abuse were more likely to have HIV infection or another sexually transmitted infection as an adult: Compared with women not sexually abused as a child, (1) heterosexual women almost never abused were 1.6 times as likely to become infected with HIV or another STI and (2) heterosexual women sometimes or frequently abused were 2.8 times as likely to get HIV or another STI. Compared with women not sexually abused as a child, (1) lesbians, bisexuals, and heterosexuals with same-sex partners who were almost never sexually abused were 7 times as likely to get HIV or an STI and (2) lesbians, bisexuals, and heterosexuals with same-sex partners who were sometimes or frequently abused were 3.8 times as likely to get HIV or an STI. Compared with men not sexually abused as a child, (1) heterosexual men sometimes or frequently abused were 1.5 times as likely to get infected with HIV or another STI, and (2) gay, bisexual, or heterosexual men with same-sex partners who were sometimes or frequently abused were 4.2 times as likely to become infected with HIV or another STI. What the Results Mean for You Adults who are bisexual, lesbian or gay, or heterosexual with some same-sex partners, were more likely to be sexually abused as children than heterosexuals with no same-sex partners. But this does not mean childhood sexual abuse caused these people to become bisexual, lesbian, or gay. Because of the large size of this study of childhood sexual abuse, the results probably apply to everyone in the United States. One big advantage of this study is that is compares (1) bisexuals, lesbians, gays, and heterosexuals with same sex partners or attractions with (2) heterosexuals 36 | P a g e
who don't have same-sex partners or feel same-sex attractions. The groups with same-sex partners had much higher rates of childhood sexual abuse than heterosexuals without samesame partners. This overall finding does not mean that childhood sexual abuse causes people to become lesbian, gay, or bisexual. A more likely explanation for this link is that children who showed lesbian, gay, or bisexual behaviors early in life are more vulnerable and more likely to become targets of sexual abuse. In previous studies, lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults remember feeling sexually different as children and -- as a result -- being sexually or physically abused by adults or other youngsters. Children and teenagers who feel attracted to youngsters of the same sex do not have to put up with this kind of abuse -- from other youngsters or from any family members or other adults. Youngsters who are sexually or physically abused should tell an adult they trust right away, starting with a parent or a school counselor or teacher you trust. Lesbian and gay support groups for youngsters are available in many areas. If you need a support group and can't find one on your own, talk to a school counselor, a teacher you trust, your healthcare provider, or another adult you trust. To find these groups online, see the box "Finding Gay and Lesbian Support Groups for Youngsters and Adults." This study found that adults who were sexually abused as children were much more likely to become infected with HIV or another sexually transmitted infection (STI). The reasons for this link are complicated. Sexual abuse during childhood often has a lifelong impact. Because abused children sometimes feel that they caused the abuse, they may feel sad and guilty, and they may be more likely to do other risky things (like drink alcohol, use drugs, or have sex without a condom). It's difficult even for adults to talk about childhood sexual abuse. But talking about such abuse with a healthcare professional can help you understand what happened. And that understanding can be a first step to overcoming behavior problems that may have begun with childhood sexual abuse. Your primary healthcare provider can recommend a counselor or therapist who will make it easier for you to talk about childhood sexual abuse and the impact it has on your life. Many studies, including this one, find that men report childhood sexual abuse less often than women. Girls may be victims of sexual abuse more than boys. But it also seems clear that men are more uncomfortable talking about childhood sexual abuse than women. As this study shows, men who were sexually abused as boys continue to suffer consequences of that abuse as adults. Men should not feel ashamed of being abused during childhood. They should make an effort to talk about it with a healthcare professional. Reference: Sweet T, Welles SL. Associations of sexual identity or same-sex behaviors with history of childhood sexual abuse and HIV/STI risk in the United States. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2012;59:400-408.
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Male Survivors: Living with HIV ▪ Christopher “Wishes” Holmes ▪ Raymond Sosa By O’Brien Dennis May 2018 In all my years of working with male survivors of sexual abuse, I have met countless survivors who have contracted the HIV virus. They suffer and struggle in silence as they are still trying to cope with the abuse and the homosexual myth; revealing their HIV status is just too much of a cross to carry. I had reached out to a few men whom I felt could tell a compelling story of survival and inspire young men, however they weren’t brave enough, even with being anonymous, to tell their stories. I decided to reach out to two of my brothers, men whom I have the utmost respect for. Two brothers who have inspired me, given me the hope and the drive to continue the work that I am doing. I have known Raymond Sosa for over ten years now. Raymond has been the face of several projects that ODI has embarked on. Raymond introduced me to Christopher “Wishes” Holmes. Christopher, while he has no filter, has taught me what true vulnerability looks like and how important it is to find inner peace. Both men have decided to share their stories and talk about living with HIV as survivors of male sexual abuse. Disclaimer: Both men are gay, however, the abuse did not make them gay and HIV is not a gay disease. Please take the time to review the section in this issue that talks about HIV and resources of how to get help.
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Christopher “Wishes” Holmes Christopher is age 36 and was born in Atlanta, Georgia. In giving back to his community, Christopher currently works as a recreational assistant for a NonProfit Organization. I honestly don’t have a very vivid memory of my abuse. Over the years, I was told by family members that I was sexually abused at the age of three years old, but I only remember the experiences from ages eight to thirteen from my cousin. To the best of my ability, I would say the abuse lasted for a period of about 10 years from 3 years old to 13 years old. It was done by a family member and like most black families, it was one of our best kept secrets. For years I have lived in a bar-less prison, throughout my life I have felt rejected and undesired, literally from the moment that my mother gave birth to me. I wasn’t as fortunate as most kids as I was given up for adoption the moment my mother gave birth to me. Obviously as a child I had no idea what adoption meant, however for years I grew up believing that the family who loved me and cared for me were my blood relatives. Just the fact of knowing that the woman who gave birth to me, my mother, rejected me, gave me up, it forced me to question love and what it means to be a family. That abandonment issue had literally “FUCK” with me for years even now. It's been a lot, but I cope with life because dwelling on the past doesn't get anyone anywhere. I move to the beat of my own drum in life and look at each morning as a new day with a smile and go to sleep peacefully. My abuse has scarred my life, it has changed how I view myself, it has impacted my life in all ways, like not being about to trust and love others. One of my biggest struggles is learning how to love myself or giving myself permission to love myself. I've never had the option of being in an intimate relationship with someone. I have only encountered shortlived sexual relationships; sexually I aim to please and move on to the next. It's a learning process for me and hopefully one day I will find that one to love. I have used sex over the years as a coping mechanism. I grew up for years not knowing the difference between sex and love. I felt that they were both the same. I struggled with my sexuality and the abuse, as I questioned if the abuse made me gay. I also questioned if my body had betrayed me, as there were moments I asked myself why my body was reacting. Sex was my best choice of drug as it was the one thing that made me feel accepted as though I belonged. 39 | P a g e
I found out June 2004 I was HIV Positive. My first boyfriend was positive, and he didn't tell me until he went home for Christmas; he told me on the phone on Christmas Day. He also confessed that he cheated on me with two of my allegedly best friends at the time. I didn't believe him because I knew for a fact that we always wore condoms. He confessed that he purposefully bored holes in the condom to make sure that he passed on the virus to as many people as he could. His rationale for doing all that was because he was raped and he hated the world for the abuse he had to endure. His mission was to ensure that as many people got the HIV virus by the time he died. I went to the doctors and two weeks later I found out that I was HIV Positive, and the first person I called was my so-called best friend who laughed because she knew that would happen. She stated that she never agreed with my lifestyle and all gays will die from AIDS and go to hell. With anger in my voice, I told her that I would see her there because she kills off her babies if she can't get a man to marry her. I then told my adoptive mom that raised me, and she treated me like the last plague. She never kissed me or hugged me anymore, I had my own plastic plates and silverware to eat out of. It was crazy, feeling rejected all over again. I was forced to learn to live with myself and tried my best to cope with the situation I must live with for the rest of my life. I didn't want to tell my birth mom because when I think of her, even to this day, all I remember is her saying, she loves me as her son, “but as a homosexual she wished all gay men die and go to hell.” That's including me! I let it go for years because the first meds I was on made me so sick and skinny and my lovely skin turned spotty and now I look like a sick skinny cheetah. One day I was at work and fainted and when I woke up in the hospital the doctors said they ran several tests and my HIV was at death level. I'm like “doctor I'm fine.” He said “NO, you have over 5p million copies of HIV” and I was at the point of taking my last few breaths. It was in that moment that I realized this shit was real. I took the risk to start taking meds and amazingly when I started taking the medication consistently I felt like my old self again. But life’s challenges took so many tolls on me that I became resistant to 3 classes of meds. Thankfully, at the time newer meds were being developed and I went to some clinical trials and finally found a medication that works for me and I am now taking one pill a day. I still haven't found a committed fulfilling relationship as my first love betrayed me so much, it has made it very difficult to trust. Over the years I have made a pledge of being honest and telling guys I'm Positive. I no longer fear rejection. I'm happy with my life now, living in NYC as a Recreation Assistant for a Non-Profit organization called Brightpoint Health. I was a peer educator for another Non-Profit Organization, but it didn't work out for me working with others that lived the same lifestyle as me. Yes, I was very successful and loved learning, teaching and telling my story to others on HIV and the importance of taking your meds and living a better life. But I wasn't happy with the environment I was working in. But now I love the job I have and enjoy the clients 40 | P a g e
and co-workers I work with. Raymond Sosa Raymond is age 36 and was born on the beautiful island of Jamaica. Raymond has dedicated his life to working in HIV prevention and this is his way of giving back to his community. As a child, I spent my formative years growing up in Cherry Gardens, a wealthy suburban neighborhood in Jamaica. To be frank, there is little that I can tell you about Jamaica when I was younger, except that the waters are beautiful and my recollection of me going to Dunn’s River Falls. At the age of 7 years old my brother and I migrated to the United States to live with our mother who I barely remembered, because she came to America 4 years before I came to America. I remember the car pulling up to the house and having no idea where I was, which I later found out was New Rochelle, NY where I grew up for most of my childhood life starting way back in 1990. I had no idea what my future would be like or even a clue of what I wanted to be, but the following story is what led me into the field of prevention where I currently help others by doing testing and counseling. Years later in 2008, October to be exact I went on a date with a guy I had met. I had no clue where this was going to lead, however we both agreed to hang out, he took a liking to me, so I didn’t mind the attention. Later that night, the unimaginable happened; he forced me to have sex with him and he raped me. I was 25 at the time it happened and I remember just having a bad feeling after it occurred. The type of abuse I experienced did not last for long, it was all but 15 minutes maybe, but those 15 minutes caused a revolutionary rift in my entire life and I didn’t know it yet. I kept that secret to myself, literally convincing myself that it was my fault like most victims. Four months after, February 2009 to be exact, I went in for my routine check-up at my doctor’s office where I found out I tested positive for H.I.V. I knew the root cause happened because of the rape and nothing else. I had never tested positive before until that point. The impact that those two events had on my life was nothing but catastrophic. I literally changed, I became more angry, combative, I hated people, didn’t trust anyone, and by the time I started going to therapy I had already disassociated myself from who I was but didn’t quite realize it, however with years of therapy I started to heal. The hardest part for me is knowing that I got raped at such a late stage in life; it’s not like I had gone through years of abuse as a child. I don’t fit in that statistical box of using sex as a coping mechanism because of childhood sexual trauma. I had already come to terms with being a black gay man. Getting raped at an older age still put men at a disadvantage as so much emphasis is placed on childhood survivors of sexual abuse. 41 | P a g e
I was always determined to get well, to be myself again, and with the coping skills that I’ve learned throughout the years I’ve become smarter, wiser, and way more vigilant about who to trust and who not to trust. Taking up mixed martial arts also has been a great coping skill because I made a promise to myself a few years back that I would never be a VICTIM ever again in my life, one time was bad enough. I sought help through Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) and offered to volunteer, to get a better understanding of the life I would be living. I wanted so much to give back to others, knowing that I didn’t fit in the traditional box of how the virus is transmitted. I eventually got a job at GMHC and later moved on to another agency working in HIV prevention and counseling. While I had endured a tragic and traumatic experience, I decided to give back to my community. I speak so freely about the rape and my HIV status to help other men realize that they are not alone. Today I can truly look at organizations like ODI as platforms of inspiration because organizations such as those bring hope and CHANGE to so many individuals that have been victimized. Silence sometimes kills but I didn’t die and I’m still not dead yet. I no longer live with shame or guilt, it is what it is. I am doing what I have to do for me right now. HIV isn’t a death sentence. It is important to get tested regularly, even when using condoms consistently.
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The Ripple Effects: The Untold Stories Of Sexual Violence Photo Exhibition By : Michael Letterlough Jr
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What I Know for Sure About three years ago, I was trying to figure how to leave my job and start my own business, focusing on working with male survivors of sexual abuse. My then supervisor at the time was going through a transition and told me about “The Greatest Secret of All”. I went on vacation hoping to find something new, this BIG secret, just to find out that I knew the secret all this time. The greatest secret of all, is Love, Gratitude and Service. I walked away feeling disappointed as I had such a huge expectation that I was going to find some magical or mystical secret that our ancestors had written down in a cave. I am finally going through a midlife crisis and didn’t even know that I was going through one. Recently I had the opportunity of meeting author and internationally renowned life coach Tony Jeton Selimi. It was by divine intervention that I met up with Tony. I was captivated by Tony’s calm demure and how he was able to allow people to open up to him. I so wanted to be like him, to be that still. I realized while being interviewed by Tony that I have already started the work to be still. There is a verse in the Bible that says, “Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find” – Matthew 7:7. It is that simple, and who knew that I would have found some of the simplest answers to a good life at my age. I grew up looking at midlife crisis in a negative way, however Tony explained to me that it’s a period of our life that we should always embrace, knowing fully well that it’s a part of a growth process. It is coming to terms that we are changing and taking a different approach to the life that we are living. What I know for sure is that, most of what we were taught as kids growing up is a lie. Our belief system is based on religious ideology and social norms and institutions have been created to ensure that these value systems are continued and protected. I now realize that I must figure this out all on my own and come up with my own identity and what makes me happy. I didn’t fully embrace this midlife crisis; it came out of nowhere by an act of betrayal by someone I cared about. All I knew was that I needed to make a change for myself, so I refocused my anger and started a new gym routine, lost some weight, changed my diet, started reading more inspirational books and focused on loving me more. I shocked myself by getting a tattoo and doing things that I had erased off my bucket list. Looking back at my decision, I am happier with myself and I’m embracing this new change. I had also decided to take a break from social media to allow me to share less of myself with the world. I am thankful for this new growth process knowing fully well that everything in this life happens for a reason, and the lessons that I am learning now are only preparing me to be my best self. I am now filled with more gratitude and a willingness to give back. “To whom much is given much is required”. Dennis O. Tyson MPA Founder, President & CEO O’Brien Dennis Initiative email@example.com
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ODI News was created for, and is geared toward male survivors of sexual abuse, their supporters/loved ones, and those who would like to know...