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0 comments | Tuesday, September 23, 2008

from loldarian.com affiliate Ramone Johnson via gaylife. about.com

You no longer have to take a guy's word for it when asking about his status. The proof could be in his pocket. For only $19.99, Manhattan-based STFree Certifications offers a wallet-sized safe sex license that certifies that your date is STD and HIV free.

Here's how it works: With a member's consent, STFree verifies and stores an individuals STD information. Members then receive a confidential identification card or what STFree calls the Safe Sex License. With the license, members have 24/7 access to their STD/HIV information online. Members can also give their pin number to potential sex partners to verify their latest STD and HIV test results. A lifetime membership only costs $19.99 and members must get tested for HIV every six months. At first it may seem like foreplay been replaced by a safe sex check, but it's no more difficult to look up a partner's safe sex information than it is to unlock your private profile pics.

Bedford Stuyvesant native Eli Dancy founded STFree Certifications in 2003 in response to the failure of programs and general apathy concerning STD's and HIV in his Brooklyn community. According to The Daily News, nearly one-third of New Yorkers with multiple sex partners regularly have sex without condoms and more than 100,000 New Yorkers have HIV or AIDS.

"In places like where I grew up and where I worked, there are incredibly high HIV and STD rates," Dancy told The Daily News. "This card opens up the conversation for people to talk about it."

More than 15,000 people nationwide have signed up for the STFree service since the 2004 introduction. And with latest alarming HIV statistics and poor federal HIV/AIDS funding, there is no better time to protect ourselves and increase awareness.

Too often do gay men engage in unsafe sex because their partner "looked clean" or because "he said he was negative." Other comments surface about how HIV is just a gay disease or an illness that only affects urban-dwellers, like New Yorkers, or communities of color. Over 25 years later and nearly 60,000 new HIV cases (2006) reported, HIV has made it loud and clear that it can affect any of us at any moment. The Safe Sex License is one way you can protect yourself by not leaving your sexual safety up to chance.

So does this sound like a good idea? Would you sign up for your license and encourage others to do the same?


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