Danny Pintauro owes me an apology.
Danny Pintauro is the type of person I cannot stand in the advocate/activist field. I have heard about other people who seem to speak without thought. “They mean well. They’re new to this work. They just need to be taught.” Fuck that. If someone chooses to be a representative for any cause, it would be in their best interest and the best interest of their cause for them to, maybe, I don’t know, do some research. Read a few articles or studies. Watch a documentary or interview.
Before I hear “He didn’t choose this. He disclosed and people started asking him those questions.” He accepted that chat with Oprah. He accepted that sit down with those morons on The View. He accepted that magazine interview. He is accepting each appearance he is making and without preparation.
Pintauro has set our community back. Science is science. Oral transmission of HIV has never been reported. Oral sex is referenced as a “safer” option when having condomless sex. Many of us who work in this industry are trained with this knowledge. Trained to offer oral sex over penetrative sex as an option to folks, who may not use condoms for whatever reason, to reduce the risk of HIV transmission. So when Danny, an HIV positive person (that gives him ALL the merit in the world), says that he was infected by oral sex and that “It’s that easy.” He kinda messes it up for a lot of us.
Like those of us who may be in a magnetic relationship with a partner whose mother is afraid of you ruining her child’s life. Or those of us who are beaten or murdered because we failed to disclose our undetectable status to someone we used a condom with. Or those of us who are jailed because we are diseased and dangerous to the public. Because, it’s that easy.
The logic for someone who only knows what they hear on television about HIV will probably be, “It’s as easy as a blowjob to get HIV. So any other sexual activity is probably way more dangerous.”
I have been asked time and time again if I know how I got it or who gave it to me. I don’t, nor do I care. I don’t care because it’s not conducive to my health. Because it won’t change my status. I don’t care because there’s no point in assigning blame to anyone for being HIV positive. I think the only reason I’d like to know would be to make sure that person did find out their status and is in good health. Which is allegedly what Pintauro wants. Except for the fact that he went on to say about the man he thinks infected him “The lifestyle he was leading was really irresponsible.” What? I understand that substance abuse is a bitch. Believe me. But if I was high off my ass and putting myself at risk at the same time with someone, I would not say “Dude was super reckless. Not me.”
This was an attempt to make the audience view Danny as an innocent victim who got “the AIDS” because of “the gay lifestyle”. I’m all for a good consensual, anonymous bareback session. Live your life be happy, but when you toss drugs into the mix there are some factors of risk that you may want to consider. Risks that you accept with or without inhibitions. I’ve taken some of those risks that could very well be the reason I sero-converted, however, I have never felt the need to defend how I was infected. I’m not sorry that I am positive. No one should be.
Danny owes an apology to everyone. I am personally pissed off because I’ve sat through terribly dehumanizing conversations trying to help people understand that I am not dangerous. We work so hard to improve not only the quality of health for those with HIV but the quality of life as well.
Danny Pintauro got bored of managing a PF Changs and now wants to be a poster boy. That’s fine and dandy, Danny. Just do the work and the research.
written by: Adrian Castellanos
Adrian Castellanos is a twenty-three year old HIV and AIDS advocate/activist. He was born and raised in the southern-most part of Texas known as the Rio Grande Valley. A border area of Texas to Mexico and South Padre Island.
Adrian studied art and fashion for a brief amount of time in Texas before he moved on to becoming a hair stylist in his home town.
At twenty one, Castellanos’ path was redirected as he was diagnosed with AIDS, while he spent two weeks in a hospital room, he decided to “make his mess his message”. Since being diagnosed on March 26, 2014 he has gone on to receive a Youth Initiative Scholarship to attend USCA in OCT. 2014, acquire a position with the Valley AIDS Council (the only HIV/AIDS Agency in his area) JAN. 2015, receive a separate scholarship to attend AIDSWatch in APR. 2015 and receive a Social Media Fellows Scholarship to USCA 2015. Adrian now spends his time doing free HIV screenings at two universities in his area and for the community with his agency. He also participates in outreach and education efforts to raise awareness within his community.
Castellanos utilizes social media to deconstruct stigma and engage with as many people as possible. He is just out of his first year of diagnoses but already has a strong outlook on what he plans to do for the fight to end the epidemic.
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