I caught up with Ron Dyer to talk about his memories and experiences with HIV.
When were you diagnosed as having contracted HIV?
It was 1994. I’d come home to Indiana after all of the the friends I knew had died — I thought it best to come home and face what future I had left in a familiar place.
I met my lover, and we started an upholstery business. It did well, and we finished raising his two children and my nephew.
My lover became ill in 1994. We were both diagnosed as being positive, and both given a year to live. He died in 1996.
What are some of your memories of those early days of the pandemic?
I was living in Dallas. I was was young, and doing the party life. I’d moved there in 1975. In 1981 I started hearing rumours of gay men becoming ill . It was no one I knew, so didn’t pay much attention. But later that year my roommate became ill, was hospitalised, and died overnight. It became very confusing.
After my roommate’s passing, many friends started passing and the gay community became frightened and targeted by the straight community. There’s something about that combination that has always put the backbone in the gay community — it was clear that we weren’t going to get help from the general public. Medical staff looked like they had just stepped out of a space ship, in some areas it was a problem to even have funeral services.
It took time, but with the support of some wonderful nurses and doctors, the gay community eventually had the time and space to fight for better medications, and better health care and disability.
What was the political climate at that time?
Many were fighting for their lives, and living very short lives, and taking their own lives in what they thought to be a dignified way — it was heart breaking. As far as I know, Ronald Reagan or his administration never once mentioned the pandemic that ravaged the world during his time in office.
The treatment landscape for HIV has evolved over the years. Do you think it’s important that young gay guys understand our community’s past experience with this virus?
It’s very important — not just that young people know the history of this disease, but how they’re able to live with the freedoms they have.
You can go on any hook-up site and put in your profile that you’ve been tested or that you’re on PrEP and no one questions you, they’re ready to hook-up . You put on your profile that you’re positive, and it’s no thanks. Honesty is not welcome.
The stigma of this virus is still hurting us.
We want to hear your opinion
Butt sex for beginners
I caught up with Chris Davis from TAKE TWO to discuss how a dietary supplement can play an important role in anal sex.
What led you to create the TAKE TWO dietary supplement?
We saw an opportunity to deliver the absolute highest quality of dietary fibre blends to a demanding market, while offering a premium alternative with high-end, discreet packaging that really sets us apart from other brands.
My understanding is that there are similar types of fibre supplement products on the market, but I haven’t seen anyone else market them specifically to men as an aid to anal sex. Why did you decide to focus on that market?
Pure for Men is the clear market leader and actually does speak to clean anal sex, however, we’ve found what is considered to be a more effective formula that delivers even better results.
We decided to make a splash in the market after early customer reviews raved about just how much of a difference TAKE TWO made to their digestive health and confidence in the bedroom. We also found that a lot of customers prefer discreet packaging and bottle labels, which matches the high-end look and feel of TAKE TWO.
Is TAKE TWO an alternative to douching or just an additional option to help guys be clean and confident?
We like the idea of have additional tools in the shed for every occasion! TAKE TWO is not meant to completely eliminate the need for general maintenance and hygiene, but we have found that many of our customers spend 70 percent less time ‘getting ready’ while some users have forgone traditional preparation steps, altogether. We’re such strong believers in the above claims that we stand by these promised results with a money-back guarantee.
The edition that you’ve created in partnership with the Tom of Finland Foundation looks great — why was the imagery of Tom of Finland a good fit for TAKE TWO?
It’s no secret that here in the office, we love the rich, leather-bound imagery rooted in Tom of Finland’s unique catalogue of art. It was an obvious match to the leather-like look and feel of our standard TAKE TWO bottle design, and not at all hard to imagine how amazing the Tom of Finland art would look if properly featured on the TAKE TWO product.
We worked closely with the Tom of Finland Foundation to identify some of the most iconic pieces, and coupled them with the jaw-dropping metallic backing on each panel to give that one-of-a-kind finish. After the first bottle was completed, we knew it was a winning bet.
Customers have fallen in love with the result, and we’re already getting daily requests for new favourite pieces of Tom of Finland artwork to be featured next.
How do you market your product?
We rely heavily on word-of-mouth, but have run a few very successful campaigns on social networks and dating apps like Scruff and Hornet. We’ve also partnered with doctors serving the LGBTQ community around the US who see the immense value in supporting fibre-rich diets via TAKE TWO’s premium blend of soluble and insoluble fibres. You’ll likely see TAKE TWO popping up in various radio, television and social media campaigns featuring respected online personalities that have made the switch to better fibre.
I was interested to see in your Q&As that you specifically talk about the product’s capability with PrEP — was that a question that you were receiving from customers or did you just want to proactively address any potential concerns that might be out there?
Although risks are determined to be relatively low when it comes to dietary fibre supplements and medications like PrEP, we wanted to be 100 percent certain that best-practices are being followed to eliminate any doubts.
If I was a young guy, just starting to explore my sexuality, what hints or tips would you give to make anal sex as enjoyable as possible?
- Get to know yourself and your body inside and out. This includes everything from exploring tools like lubricant and practising with safe objects and toys to get a feel for what works for you.
- Be sure you are comfortable with and trust your sexual partners before diving in.
- Remain sex-positive and remember that sex is a long journey — an experience that is meant to be enjoyable.
- Take your time and communicate freely before, during, and after playtime.
- Play safe!
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