Sunday, January 10, 2010

Paul on Real Talk DC

"I grew up in Southeast, Anacostia and Congress Heights, those two sides. Now, I am a youth advocate and peer educator. I represent the youth in Southeast and educate my peers, kids from 13 to 23, about HIV and AIDS. I talk to them about how it is contracted and how to avoid it. I am also an entertainer. I rap and sing. I can't really dance, but I try. 

"I got started with this because one of my friends told me that there was a campaign call Real Talk DC that does peer education, passes out condoms, and gets people tested. I figured I would get involved because I like doing things to help people. This is also important to me because I actually know people who are HIV positive and I wanted to learn exactly, you know, as much as I can about it to help them and help people that I don't know. 

"Before this, I ain't really know about this stuff. First time I had sex, I was 12 and the girl was 18. And nope, I did not use a condom. I learned all of my moves from watching Real Sex on HBO, but didn't know anything about HIV and AIDS. My way of staying clean was only messing with a girl if she looked like she was clean. To me, that was enough. I really didn't know. I mean, I graduated from Anacostia High School and we never talked about HIV at school. To be honest, there is a lot we didn't learn at that school. First time that I used a condom was when my older brother told me to. That's what got me using those. 

"Now, I live this. I talk to my family and friends about this all the time. I be messing up the mood when people be talking about something else and I just cut them off and talk about condoms. But, a lot of people be afraid to talk about sex. You talk about sex and people don't want to hear it. On top of that, when you try and get people tested, there is a stigma. You know, you must have something if you are being tested. But, that is not the case. People are getting tested because they want to make sure they don't have something. The other stigma is that parents don't want to acknowledge that their children are having sex. And then there are all of the rumors about sex. If you have black nails, you have AIDS. If you are real skinny, you have AIDS. The government is pocking holes in condoms. There is a cure for AIDS. You can just get AIDS without HIV. There are a thousand myths that I hear every day. I believed them, too, until I got educated." 

Learn more about Real Talk DC here. Hear Paul's music here

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