April/May #187 : Safe Sex 3.0 - by Trenton Straube

POZ - Health, Life and HIV
Subscribe to:
POZ magazine
Join POZ: Facebook MySpace Twitter Pinterest
Tumblr Google+ Flickr MySpace
POZ Personals
Sign In / Join

Back to home » Archives » POZ Magazine issues

Table of Contents


Recovering Your Life

Navigating Treatment as Prevention

From the Editor

High Hopes


Letters-April/May 2013


Positive Support

POZ Planet

Return to Sender

Old-School Kicks

My Bloody Valentine

Talk of the Town

Safe Sex 3.0

Bar None

Coming Attractions


What Would You Do?

Care and Treatment

The Heart of Cardiovascular Risks

E-Reminders Help Patient Outcomes

HIV Docs Slow on Early Treatment

TasP in the Real World

An Almost Normal Life Expectancy?

Research Notes

Prevention: Spinning Beyond Latex and Gels

Treatment: Fulyzaq Approved for Diarrhea Relief

Cure: Embryo Survival Gene to Control HIV

Concerns: HIV-Positive Smokers Lose More Years

POZ Survey Says

Facing Discrimination

POZ Heroes

Not Lost in Translation

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

email print

April / May 2013

Safe Sex 3.0

by Trenton Straube

In May 1983, a groundbreaking booklet introduced a controversial idea to gay men: condoms.

Thirty years ago, no one knew for certain what caused AIDS, let alone how to prevent it. Yet three forward-thinking men—Joseph A. Sonnabend, MD, and activists Michael Callen (who died in 1993) and Richard Berkowitz—typed up a 40-page manifesto titled How to Have Sex in an Epidemic that introduced the concept of safe sex. We spoke with Berkowitz about their historic booklet, which you can read in its entirety on RichardBerkowitz.com.

What was so revolutionary about your concept of safe sex?

One of the pleasures of gay sex was that we didn’t have to worry about preventing pregnancy, so what was revolutionary was the idea of gay men using condoms. We also [felt it was important that] safe sex advice must go hand in hand with celebrating…gay sex, and anal sex in particular, which we did.

How did people react to the booklet?

For fans, it offered clarity amid the confusing and contradictory advice that was out there. For those who hated our booklet….our writings had emphasized the role, in driving the epidemic, of greatly expanded opportunities for sex with many different partners. This was helped by an urban explosion of commercial sex establishments after Stonewall. Apparently, the gay leadership didn’t want any attention drawn to this. As Larry Kramer said in Sex Positive [a documentary about Berkowitz], we couldn’t talk about that “if we were going to get people’s sympathy.”

Today, we’re in the midst of redefining safe sex. What are your thoughts on biomedical prevention such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)?

I’m inspired by gay men who have found ways to have safer sex without condoms, such as serosorting. Some ways are less risky than others, but that’s for informed consenting individuals to decide for themselves. But as Sonnabend said to me recently, “Condoms have a track record, and nothing else has.”

Search: Joseph A. Sonnabend, Michael Callen, Richard Berkowitz, safe sex, condoms

Scroll down to comment on this story.


(will display; 2-50 characters)


(will NOT display)


(will display; optional)

Comment (500 characters left):

(Note: The POZ team reviews all comments before they are posted. Please do not include either ":" or "@" in your comment. The opinions expressed by people providing comments are theirs alone. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Smart + Strong, which is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by people providing comments.)

Comments require captcha.
Please enter this number for verification:

| Posting Rules

Show comments (0 total)

[Go to top]

Facebook Twitter Google+ MySpace YouTube Tumblr Flickr Instagram
Quick Links
Current Issue

HIV Testing
Safer Sex
Find a Date
Newly Diagnosed
HIV 101
Disclosing Your Status
Starting Treatment
Help Paying for Meds
Search for the Cure
POZ Stories
POZ Opinion
POZ Exclusives
Read the Blogs
Visit the Forums
Job Listings
Events Calendar
POZ on Twitter

Ask POZ Pharmacist

Talk to Us
Did you participate in an event for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2016?


more surveys
Contact Us
We welcome your comments!
[ about Smart + Strong | about POZ | POZ advisory board | partner links | advertising policy | advertise/contact us | site map]
© 2016 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved. Terms of use and Your privacy.
Smart + Strong® is a registered trademark of CDM Publishing, LLC.