Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 28+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2014-08-27
Download Issue
  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime

Cafe Crème: French restaurant charms Wicker Park patrons Cafe Crème: French restaurant charms Wicker Park patrons
Less than two months ago, Bucktown/Wicker Park residents graciously welcomed another new ...

Browse Gay News Index   Browse Gay News Archives
  Windy City Times

AIDS 2012 And Lube
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Jim Pickett, Perspective on the News
2012-07-31

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


For seven, long, long days I dove into the deep end of the madness that was the International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) and various ancillary meetings held in Washington, D.C., last week. It was a mad, mad world of 20,000 plus people from every corner of the planet running to and from non-stop sessions, talks, organizing, networking, marches, protests and talking, talking, talking and noise, noise, noise.

Complete saturation of information, sensory, and emotional overload—by the end my brain felt like a wet sponge that couldn't take on one more drop. And that says nothing about the DC heat and humidity that made the rest of you soggy as well.

I contributed to that all that talking and organizing and noise, taking advantage of the world's largest AIDS gathering to help launch a new effort from the global network of more than 1,200 members I chair called IRMA (International Rectal Microbicide Advocates.) We've identified the critical need for advocacy around access to safe, condom-compatible lube in Africa as part of our new Project ARM—Africa for Rectal Microbicides initiative. Most Africans don't have access to safe, condom-compatible lube.

Condoms and no lube is a terrible great combination when it comes to anal sex. Vaginas have the ability to self-lubricate—our anuses and rectums need a little help from a friend to help ease entry and keep the condom intact. Because there is a paucity of appropriate lubricants in Africa, many people who have anal sex are using things like avocado oil, yogurt, Vaseline, even motor oil—or no lube at all.

The Project ARM effort seeks to ensure that Africa is fully engaged in rectal microbicide research and advocacy so that Africans who have anal sex are central to the development of safe, effective, and acceptable rectal microbicides (which may be produced as lubes with anti-HIV qualities.) Late last year, a group of African advocates and allies met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and strategized a set of priority actions to help pave the way for Africa to be on the rectal microbicide map. The highest priority action the group identified was far and away the issue of lube access. Rectal microbicides are about a decade away from being available—lube access needs to happen now … since it's already too late for yesterday.

So at AIDS 2012, as part of Project ARM, we launched the Global Lube Access Mobilization, or GLAM campaign, with the tagline "And Lube." The idea behind the tag is that when anyone says "condoms" we say "And Lube." It seems so simple, and yet is not the case in most of Africa. If we can't get proper lubricant to people, how in the world will we ever get rectal microbicides to them when they are available?

As it turns out, something we heard very clearly was that Africa is not alone in this problem. There is very little lube in India as well, and an advocate from Tennessee mentioned that in rural parts of his state, lube wasn't easily available either. Good thing the "G" in GLAM stands for "Global."

At the moment, GLAM efforts include an assessment of African national HIV plans, the documentation of the experiences of in-country non-governmental organizations who have tried, successfully or unsuccessfully, to implement lube distribution programs, and an awareness raising component. And because of feedback, we are expanding GLAM to reach beyond Africa in its advocacy.

To aid in raising awareness around the lack of lube, we created shocking pink and electric blue stickers highlighting the "And Lube" tag and pointing people to an URL for more info: tinyurl.com/AndLube. We debuted these beauties at AIDS 2012 and wore them, passed them out, stuck them to things, and said "And Lube" a LOT.

Then it came to my attention through some Kenyan friends and colleagues that despite there being literally close to a million condoms at the conference for free distribution, there was next to no lube. They were incredibly disappointed—as they had hoped to pack their luggage full of free lube sachets to take home and give to the men and women who so desperately want and need proper lube. I was incredulous—how could there be no lube at the International AIDS Conference? Adding to this absurdity—there were "lube-tasting stations" at the same spots where the hordes of condoms were being handed out. So, you could taste a variety of scrumptious lubricants, but sorry, couldn't take any of them with you.

In the tradition of taking lemons and making lemonade, we used the scarcity of lube at the conference to highlight the lack of lube in the real world. Members of our group talked this issue up—from the hallways to the podiums of plenaries we flashed our pretty stickers and yelled "Where's the lube?!"

It was Wednesday afternoon of the conference (July 25) and right before a big session the medical journal The Lancet sponsored on the dire state of the epidemic among gay men and other men who have sex with men all across the globe. I was complaining about the idiocy of a lube-free conference, and the ramifications it would have on the folks expecting their friends to bring some slippery goodness back home to Africa for them, when Jon Vincent of Fenway Health said, "Hey, I can get eight cases shipped here tomorrow. Should I do that?"

I said "yes," and immediately started texting, emailing and Facebooking African colleagues to be ready for an imminent lube shipment and to help with logistics.

Thursday morning world-renowned Ugandan AIDS advocate and LGBT-rights activist Dr. Paul Semugoma gave a rousing plenary talk, underscoring the absolute necessity of prioritizing gay men and other men who have sex with men who are, on average, 19 times more likely to be HIV-positive compared to the general global population. Programs including gay men are as rare as lube, despite that alarming statistic.

"Back to the basics," Semugoma said. "Let's promote condoms and let's remember that amongst MSM, condoms go with lube, let's remember, And Lube… There has to be condom compatible lubricant, which means water-based lubricant or silicone-based lubricant, but we should not let these people use oil-based lubricants which destroy the condoms and make the condoms useless." This was one of several applause lines. Another was when he told his partner, who was in the audience, that he loved him.

The eight cases of lube came in later than expected, arriving Friday afternoon, after the conference was officially over. But IRMA members like Paul and Brian Kanyemba (Paul's partner, and a research assistant at the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation in Cape Town) jumped into "Operation Lube" action and were able to accept the delivery after Jon had already gone back to Boston and I was back in Chicago.

By Saturday morning, they had distributed lube to community leaders from Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Cameroon, and Zimbabwe before they all hopped on their respective planes home.

"I am so excited the initiative that you guys took was met with high regards and praises. If you could imagine the excitement the guys had on their faces when they got those boxes you would have got into tears," Brian said. "Thank you, thank you so much for this."

Sending cases of lube home with a handful of wily advocates does not begin to answer the huge structural issues that make lube so scarce in Africa. It is not a solution that is for sure. Nonetheless, the love, dedication, and commitment to making lives better for others exemplified by this little story is exactly how communities have tackled AIDS from the beginning—with pragmatism and a "no time to wait, let's just do this thing" attitude.

Too often we get stuck in "we can't." And there are so, so many reasons "we can't"—aren't there? But clearly, there are just as many ways "we can." We just need to get on with it. Jon, Paul, Brian and all the others who executed "Operation Lube" got on with.

"It always seems impossible until it's done," Nelson Mandela has said.

And Lube!


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily
agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here.
Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you
stay on this page, the more you help us.

HBHC responds to AHF anti-PrEP ads 2014-08-30
NCLR representing conversion survivor alleging abuse 2014-08-27
Lambda launches Know Your Rights At Work for LGBT, HIV+ 2014-08-27
Attendees board 'Soul Train' at ALCC event 2014-08-27
New Lurie clinic marks $2.5-million gift 2014-08-26
World AIDS Museum opens in Fort Lauderdale 2014-08-26
Study: LGBT Americans report less access to health care 2014-08-26
New study sees financial struggles among LGBT Americans 2014-08-25
A Day with HIV, Chicago Cultural Center, Sept. 5 2014-08-24
NLGJA 2014: Health writers discuss HIV/AIDS reporting 2014-08-24
Red Pump Project talks HIV/AIDS awareness 2014-08-20
DANCE Francisco Aviña's one-man show is about 'A.r.T.' 2014-08-19
Pot luck: Canna-business confab coming to Chicago 2014-08-19
AFC in report to UN about HIV and minorities 2014-08-13
Condoms' Aug. 13 at Little Black Pearl 2014-08-13
Chenoweth's health; James Franco's change; Sam Smith 2014-08-13
Federal officials discuss HIV/AIDS progress 2014-08-10
National groups offer support to LGBT cancer survivors 2014-08-06
HIV/AIDS, stigma fight brings lesbian couple together 2014-08-06
Mother of Ryan White to Congress: Maintain commitment 2014-07-30
Ryan White's mom's campaign; HIV removed from human cells 2014-07-30
AIDS policy listening session Aug. 5 2014-07-30
Claudia Mosier receives honor 2014-07-30
SAID tags +$500M toward creating AIDS-free generation 2014-07-27
Lambda: Stop HIV-based prosecutions due to DOJ guidance 2014-07-27
CDPH launches Project CHAT 2014 survey to inform HIV plans 2014-07-27
PrEP effective with few doses a week; no new dosing strategies 2014-07-23
Journalist Vargas detained; Lambda Legal's call 2014-07-22
Clinical counselor Matthew Dempsey on gay men, body image 2014-07-22
LGBT youth more likely than heterosexual youth to try suicide 2014-07-22
Six of airliner fatalities confirmed as AIDS researchers/activists 2014-07-21
Hundreds gather for Chicago Disability Pride 2014-07-20
Obama praises work of AIDS researchers killed in plane crash 2014-07-18
AIDS researchers, activists reportedly among crash fatalities 2014-07-17
CDC educates on dangers of smoking for HIV+ 2014-07-16
Conflict Center to mediate for Ryan White grievances 2014-07-16
HIV cure: One step back, many paths forward 2014-07-16
Black LGBT trailblazers; Maddow talks Perry; ENDA debate 2014-07-16
ASK LAMBDA LEGAL Sex-reassignment surgery and Medicare 2014-07-15
Program to look at fertility options for lesbians 2014-07-15





Copyright © 2014 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 



 

Attendees board 'Soul Train' at ALCC event
 
DINING Freshii's Alex Blair on expanding empire
 
Michael Jackson tribute Aug. 28-30 in Gary, Indiana
 
Way-out Wizard World: costumes, characters, artists
 
Before we go moving the Pride Parade...
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now



  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video      News Videos      Nightspots Videos      Entertainment Videos      Queercast Videos      Comedy Videos     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.