The block that I be at, they got girls on the corner, makin’ their money - open 24/7. That’s their job, you know, they have sex for drugs, money - to survive out here. I been in this neighborhood for a few years now, I’m in my 30s and just tryna get by. We got a lot of people shootin’ up over here and having sex to get their fix. I used to pay for a li’l something, but this one time I started to like this girl. We started hangin’ out, you know, and went back to the room. We was plannin’ on having sex, but I was like damn, I don’t have a condom. I been there before, bein’ in a situation and ain’t havin no protection, ya heard me. But when you want that person you want that, even if you don’t have a condom. You want that person just that bad. Especially if it’s someone you never had before, and if you really like them you be like let’s just go with it. I was like, I’ma take this chance cuz I want it. Well, we had sex unprotected and I got burnt. I woke up leaking two days later and went to the doctor. When I told the girl that she needed to go get checked she swore up and down it wasn’t from her, but that’s the only girl I had sex with unprotected! I ain’t had sex for a while after that experience, but now I sure do carry some condoms on me just in case I get in a situation like that again. It’s too risky. It’s a small community - people foolin’ with each other run in the same circles, and everyone know each other.
Javan’s story is one of our HIV Testing & Prevention program’s "Role Model Stories” in which real people describe how they made a change to reduce their risk and improve their health as it relates to HIV and AIDS. Names have been changed and the images are staged with actors.