January 20, 2007 will mark the one year anniversary of PROJECT: MALE being incorporated! If you have ever started your own nonprofit business, you can relate to the hell and strain it has been to get this puppy started let alone keeping it going. But the sad truth of the matter is that since my work involves HIV/AIDS, it has made my task that much harder. Most of the men that I have asked to be on my board had refused to get involved in this issue because they felt it "doesn't concern them".
Even trying to get guys to volunteer with the organization has been a sorry effort with that same sort of indifferent attitude. But yet I find amazing that with males making up 85% of the AIDS cases in Fresno County that there would be more support and effort to help clean up a mess that involves them. Typical when you think about it, men dirty the dishes and the women come clean up after them. I guess it becomes crystal clear as to why men make up the majority of AIDS cases because they refuse to accept truth; to be involved or to support an organization such as PROJECT: MALE would actually mean that men in Fresno County would have to accept the fact that AIDS is an issue in this community. It would mean that men would have to question their sex practices and their drug use; that married men could no longer lie to their wives about the affairs that they are having on the side or maybe that they might actually be Gay. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that all AIDS cases were the result of some negative conscience act but in some cases, these things do hold true. For some, the sheer ignorance of AIDS has been their undoing (even though after 25 years of its existence I seriously doubt that). But hey, that's why PROJECT: MALE exists so that men will be aware of the existence of AIDS and protect themselves and their love ones from it. With that being said, starting January 2007, PROJECT: MALE will be starting a monthly men's discussion group called, HIV THINK TANK. The whole idea is to get men to start discussing the issues around HIV/AIDS; creating a comfortable and welcoming environment where men can talk about these things, as well as to develop friendships and brotherhood. I do want to make one thing clear, this is not a support group for men with HIV/AIDS but an opportunity for men to gather around the table sort to speak and really get some of this stuff out in the open. Whether it is questions about how it spreads, where it comes from, or what's the latest news on this disease; that's what this HIV THINK TANK is for. These meeting will be held the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of every month from 4pm to 6pm here at the PROJECT: MALE office on 1584 N. Van Ness Avenue Fresno, CA 93728. If you would like more information, please call PROJECT: MALE at (559) 268-1969.