Men4Men a Hit at Pride – At Stallions & Altland’s Ranch Next

Men4Men a Hit at Pride
At Stallions & Altland’s Ranch Next
By David Payne

I wanted to thank everyone who visited the Men4Men booth during Harrisburg Pride. We distributed lots of information about our services and upcoming events.

Men4MenlogoWe also received good feedback for our mobile rapid testing events, as well as the testing that was going on that day. When we let people know that testing was being offered, close to two dozen signed up that day, and many others asked us about testing events in the future.
This tells us that our public is responsive to these types of activities, which is a good reason to schedule several similar events in the future.

This month we’ll be attending “Tuxedo Night at Stallions” Aug. 21.

Next month you’ll see us Sept. 12 Altland’s Ranch, 8505 Orchard Road, Spring Grove from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

On Sept. 21, we’ll be at MCC of the Spirit, 2973 Jefferson St, Harrisburg from noon to 5 p.m. We’re also working with Vision of Hope MCC, Main Street, Mountville, Lancaster County, for a testing event.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to make the rounds of the bars and clubs in Dauphin, Lancaster, and York counties, hand out safer sex kits and answer any questions or address concerns.

I also wanted to mention something about younger men.

According to the CDC men between the ages of 13 and 24 accounted for 54-percent of new HIV infections in the US between 2003 and 2006. It’s more important than ever for younger men to know their status and we continue to develop and provide effective messages to explain the importance of knowing one’s HIV status.

Look for us on Facebook and MySpace, join our group and become fans of the Men4Men page. Let us know what’s on your mind when it comes to staying healthy and maintaining good sexual relationships. Tell us how you think we can get through to people.

Some of the materials we’re distributing are designed to catch your eye and surprise you, but it’s also designed to get people thinking, and, more importantly, talking. We want to know if it’s working and most importantly what it will take for people to decrease their risk of HIV by moving towards more healthy sexual behavior.

I recently received a call from the leadership at Common Roads, the Harrisburg area’s GLBTQ youth group and affiliated with The LGBT Community Center Coalition. They have offered their assistance in putting together safer sex kits which we use as part of our outreach to the community. My thanks to Louie Marven and all the youth at Common Roads.

Recent advances in HIV medications may be sending a mixed message. While it’s always encouraging to read stories of people once near death now thriving thanks to the meds, many younger men are under the impression that AIDS is over, or that if they get infected, they’re only a pill away from continued good health, hot having to worry about getting sick. We need to continue emphasizing the message HIV/AIDS is still an incurable disease; that medications, while effective are expensive and carry side effects, and HIV/AIDS is still 100-percent preventable.

Our mission is an ongoing – to reach our target population (men who have sex with men) wherever they are and in as many effective ways we can.

Contact: David Payne @ david@aca-pa.com; 717-233-7190. M4M is a component of AIDS Community Alliance.

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