Putting barebacking into context

Published 06, Jun, 2013
Author // John McCullagh - Publisher emeritus

Who barebacks and why? The AIDS Committee of Toronto’s bathhouse counsellor Rahim Thawer provides some answers.

Putting barebacking into context

What are we really taking about when it comes to barebacking? This was the question PositiveLite.com, in a video interview, posed to social worker and ACT TowelTalk bathhouse counsellor Rahim Thawer, following his presentation on this topic at the 9th annual Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance of Ontario  summit, held in Toronto in May 2013. 

Putting barebacking into context is important now that we’ve begun to have more open discussions about the reality that gay guys aren’t always using condoms, despite the inherent risks. Yet, often, we still seek simple explanations for matters that are complex and varied, from “guys are using too many drugs and drinking too much” to “guys are depressed” and that these are the reasons that lead some of us to take risks. Although there may some truth in these explanations, they alone do not explain why guys sometimes dispense with condoms when they have anal sex.  

As Rahim pointed out during our discussion, we need to have a different, less stigmatizing kind of conversation among ourselves about the kind of sex we’re having and the risks we take. Watch and hear him talk about these issues in the video interview below.

About the Author

John McCullagh - Publisher emeritus

John McCullagh - Publisher emeritus

John McCullagh is the publisher of PositiveLite.com. He's an HIV-positive gay man who’s been active in Toronto's LGBTQ community since immigrating to Canada from his native Britain in 1975. A social worker by profession, he's worked in government and the not-for-profit sector in both front-line and management positions. His experience includes research, policy analysis, strategic planning, program development, project management, and communications.  

In the early years of the AIDS epidemic, John was a counsellor at the Toronto Counselling Centre for Lesbians and Gays (now known as David Kelley Services), an organization he co-founded and which was one of the first agencies in Toronto to offer professional counselling to those infected with and affected by HIV. 

Now retired, John volunteers with the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT) and is a board member of CATIE, Canada’s national HIV and Hepatitis C knowledge broker.  

John regularly contributes articles to PositiveLite.com about his personal experiences of living with HIV and about issues relevant to Canada's HIV and LGBTQ communities.