Tag Archives: HIV

Dance Off Against AIDS, Part 1

In 68 days (about 10 weeks), I am about to embark on a journey I had undergone only once before. On that journey, I ended up suffering with a cramp on my right calf muscle near the end.  I won’t be trekking off through the mountains of the Himalayas, or go bicycling from coast-to-coast, or even running a marathon. I don’t think I have the stamina or endurance to do all those things yet, nor the mind-set. But what I will be doing, in my opinion, is something equally important. I will be on my feet dancing for 26 hours in UCLA’s Dance Marathon, a philanthropic event benefiting kids with or have been affected by AIDS.  And there is only one rule: no sitting! In addition to this one rule, I need to raise a minimum of $208. As of today, with the help of my friends and people as compassionate as you, I have raised $135. If I meet the minimum, I would like to raise more.

My "Wild Wild West" themed costume last year. I dig the moustache

How will the money I help raise affect the fight against AIDS? Every $8 raised buys a shot of a drug called Nevirapine. When given to mother and child (as well as with a c-section), the drug helps reduce the risk of HIV transmission to 2%. That’s a huge reduction! And every $1000 raised is donated to Camp Kindle or Camp Heartland to allow a child to come to camp during the summer. These camps allow a child to feel a sense of normalcy around his or her peers, as the ampers are infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.

So please join me on this journey! As dancing is a physical activity, I will be training for this event–you know, the standard routine: running, lifting, etc. God knows I need the training–an old guy like me (I’m 23y.o. by the way) needs to bring back my healthy body. And yes, I’m going to “discover” new dance moves along the way to show off by watching various music videos. Who knows, I may be posting my own videos of it. Of course, there’s also a mental and spiritual component to a physical activity. I’ll be writing down my thoughts and any doubts I have an being unable to complete this journey. So visit my blog once in a while and check back to see the latest thing I’m doing–it’ll be your job to keep me accountable. It’s currently raining today in Los Angeles, so the only physical thing I’ve done is doing push-ups via the Perfect Pushup and ab work via the Ab Slide. Oh, and one of the fun parts of Dance Marathon is all the costume changes every 3 hours: so I’ll be needing your help with that.

If you can, please donate to the cause–any amount can help. Click on the link. And pray for a cure and definitely pray for me.

And if you are interesting in being a part of Dance Marathon, it’s not too late to be a dancer, a moraler, or volunteer. Register before January 29, 2010.

Click Here to Donate

Below is a song I’m currently dancing too: “Warp 1.9” by the Bloody Beetroots ft. Steve Aoki.

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Filed under Issues/Causes, Life

The Dangerous Porn Venture

The San Fernando Valley is the capital of the multi-million dollar porn industry. In 2004, porn actor Darren Jams contracted HIV from working in Brazil and spread the virus to three other actresses, one being an eighteen-year-old who had just gotten into porn. Just last month Los Angeles County health officials and The Los Angeles Times reported that a porn actress recently tested positive for HIV. What they later learned was that there have been 16 previously unpublicized cases of HIV since 2004, pushing the number to 22 porn stars. The tragic part is that no one in the industry has learned from the dangers and lack of oversight. Since the 2004 outbreak, efforts were created to protect the porn stars. The recent event sparked debate about the legality of the porn industry. In California it is certainly legal and definitely unregulated.

I find a strange contradiction of sorts. Currently, prostitution is illegal in most states, except Nevada. And in California, prostitution and solicitation for prostitution is prohibited, whereas making money from filming sex scenes and selling these films is an altogether legitimate business. I don’t get it. Are porn stars merely prostitutes that have sex with each other and you are just the paying spectator? Is playing the passive-participant role (watching) instead of the active role (participating) the dividing line?

And what about the porn industry itself? Have they been doing anything to protect their employees? Are their employees merely exploited for their services? The Adult Industry Medical (AIM) Healthcare Foundation has a specific protocol for HIV testing. They recommend porn stars to get tested for HIV every 30 days. One month? Really? Is the porn industry kidding themselves? It takes a nine to eleven day window where a person can be infected, yet still be able to test negative. But because the nature of the work, porn stars don’t just sleep with other porn stars. They are people. They go home and sleep with their significant others. To get tested after a lot of sexual activity with many partners once a month—it’s ridiculous!

trojan

Photo Credit: Minimus

But that’s not the only thing ridiculous. Porn producers often discourage the actors and actresses from wearing condoms, believing that the public favors seeing them performing unprotected sex. The producers are willing to risk their performers’ health to make more money. If we require construction workers to wear hardhats for protection and doctors to wear masks to prevent infection, then why aren’t these porn starts required to wear condoms. The gay porn industry has been using condoms. The straight porn industry could learn a thing or two. But with this lack of regulation, not much is being done.

Maybe people think porn stars aren’t just worth the time, that it’s their fault. Maybe if it was someone else at a more “respectable” job things would change. For now, there is an effort to renew the “Condoms in Porn” legislation in California. The organizers of the law say that it is similar to the Labor Code that requires hard hats as safety precautions in work cites in California. The U.S. Labor Law protects legal workers, thus the real issue now is whether the porn industry is a legal industry. And the debate continues while their employees have health issues that can affect others. What does this reveal about our identities?

Photo Credit: Minimus

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Filed under Entertainment, Life, Movies/TV