If you want to make a difference and help others while learning about sexual health and keeping yourself safe, then you need to join SMART Youth! You can come to any of our events around the city or come to one of our movie nights or Open Mic events. Check out our schedule to learn what we are doing or e-mail

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Sex & Justice

SMART Youth and TeenSense had their World AIDS Day event, Sex & Justice on December 8th!

We started off the day with a review of HIV criminalization laws and facts throughout the United States.
This presentation was done by Adrian Guzman of HIV Law and Policy.

The information set the foundation for how the science behind HIV transmission has not been taken into consideration for the policies that have come into place against people living with HIV and AIDS.
(Saliva cannot transmit HIV, but has been used in court cases as "assault with a deadly weapon" if someone living with HIV has spit or bit someone during a scuffle.)

With this beginning information we could become better advocates to provide equal treatment to all people and change policies that are basically from the DARK AGES and not following the scientific advancements and facts.

Next, we moved into our advocacy component.
How can we advocate and what do we advocate about!
We compiled a large list of topics that affect us and the people around us and ways that we can tackle these subjects.

Some juicy questions that emerged were:

1. What happens AFTER disclosing?
2. What happens in a healthy relationship?
3. What makes Sexual Health Education SCARY to the people in power?

The consensus of the group was that whatever approach we took to advocate around a topic had to:

  • Build bridges with people from all walks of life, nations, religions, etc.
  • Remove barriers, stigma, and prejudices around the topic
  • Educate and Empower!
The best approaches so far have been enhancing our publicity via the internet (promoting fun and accurate information to all), and continuing to host events and provide safe spaces for education to happen!

Let's keep up the good work and continue to grow!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tony & Tina go to DC: Tina

I'm aware "Tony & Tina" use to be a make up line... but I believe they are no longer in existence so I'm not too worried about getting sued.

Tony (the boyfriend) and I went to Washington DC on Tuesday, December 4th.
We were attending:
"The United States National Dialogue on the Criminalization of HIV Transmission, Exposure & Non-disclosure: The Role of States & the Federal Government"
A very long title indeed... nothing like the event title's SMART Youth comes up with!
To sum it up this was dialogue amongst around 40ish people ranging from doctors, lawyers, youth, and politicians, around HIV Criminalization Laws and Legislation.

I thought I would have to speak in front of people, like at a podium sort of deal, but that wasn't the case.
When it did finally come to my time to speak, I was in the audience and just answering a question from the moderator.
What I had prepared was so articulate, poetic, moving, and touched on all the topics I wanted to present and cover to the people in the space. I wanted to blow their minds!
But... I got so nervous I barely even remembered the question and basically said,
"Disclosure is hard and scary and I was so nervous when I was going to disclose to my boyfriend now that I wanted the world to swallow me and I was sweating and..."
Yeah... not the route I wanted to take but I guess I touched on enough of how pushing disclosure is easier said than done.
And... averted more attention on me by throwing my boyfriend (who was sitting next to me) under the bus by  mentioning him.
When they directed a new question towards him about his feelings towards my situation, and his take on the topic of criminalization, he was slightly taken aback but he answered amazingly. (Probably since he loves to talk anyways)
But I was proud of him and maybe I can get him to write up a little something on his experience with our trip to DC and this discussion.
I might just send him to speak on my behalf for next time...

Overall, it wasn't what I expected, and I didn't cover everything I wanted to say, but I was there and gave a little insight into my background.
It was also Tony's first time to DC so it was a nice trip to take together. (Cue "AW")
What came out of this though is that the senators that were there admitted to just passing legislation without reviewing it throughly. Now they have to work even hard to change injustices that have been passed within the system.
It was nice to see people from all sides realizing that changes need to happen and they are willing to come together.
The best quote we heard that pretty much sums up the big picture of this topic is:
"We have not created an environment where it is a safe to disclose freely."
Until we have that, then we can push disclosure, but now we have other things to put into action before that step.

Monday, December 3, 2012

World AIDS Day Event: Sex & Justice

SMART Youth and Teen Sense will be hosting a World AIDS Day event titled:
Sex & Justice
We will be discussing topics like safe sex, HIV criminalization, and more!
Come check it out!

Saturday, December 8th, 2012
11:30- 3 PM 
West Side YMCA, George Washington Lounge
5 West 63rd Street (between Central Park West & Broadway)

For more information or to RSVP please contact:
Janet at SMART Youth
212-633-2500 OR

It's going to be a great event!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

It's World AIDS Day!

Our month long blogging campaign (SMART Youth Answers) was designed to bring information to all in honor of World AIDS Day has come to an end. BUT the information does not end here!

We will continue to keep you updated on weekly topics and issues that still should be addressed for youth (or even adults) everywhere! Knowledge is Power!

We would like to leave you with a history of World AIDS Day and how education and spreading the information is always key when working to change the world for the better.

How did it start?
The first World AIDS Day happened on December 1, 1988, and it was approved by the Global Programme on AIDS (now known as UNAIDS.)  Every year, the day has a theme that is chosen to highlight a goal or a group of people who may not receive attention on a regular basis. This year the theme is "Getting to zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS related deaths."  

Why is it important?
Although there has been a lot of progress in the treatment options and access to prevention methods across the globe, HIV/AIDS continues to be a pandemic. We have not found a cure, we have not created a vaccine, and people are still dying. It is important to bring the world's attention to the issues facing people living with HIV/AIDS even if it is only for 1 day. 

What can I do?
The most important thing you can do is get tested. Knowing your status is a powerful thing, and it is a place to start whether it is to learn more about prevention methods or to find medical care and a supportive community if you are living with HIV/AIDS.  And people are LIVING with HIV/AIDS today. Using condoms (male or female) for EVERY sex act is another way to commit to the theme of Zero new HIV infections.  Finally, get involved!  Learn the truth about HIV/AIDS, stop stigma against people living with HIV/AIDS, donate to a local organization, or join SMART Youth! Each action you take is a powerful step towards achieving the theme of this year's World AIDS Day. If you live in NYC, come join us on Saturday, December 8th for our event in honor of World AIDS Day: Sex & Justice -- Is Your Body a Dangerous Weapon? -- flyer to be posted here tomorrow.

Thanks for reading SMART Youth Answers this month -- let us know if you have any other questions you want us to answer. You can always e-mail us at, and stay tuned!