We started doing outreach on Soi Twilight, in the Silom neighborhood in the very beginning of December._ Our first night we knew no one, and the bright lights and loud music on this street where about 1000 men worked were dreadfully intimidating._ By the end of the month, we knew dozens of men by name, and were beginning to hear their stories one by one. One night during outreach I found myself standing quietly in the midst of all the noise, while all the members of my group were engaged in conversations with guys._ I was standing in the middle of the little street (just used for walking – no cars) towards the end and looking down the street at all the bars and touts and lights and action. Suddenly all at once the numbers hit me like a punch in the stomach._ For almost three years we have been quoting the statistics we found that between 17% in 2003 and 28% percent in 2005 of men who have sex with men in Thailand are HIV positive._ I have read and repeated that statistic dozens of times._ But not until that moment did I realize what it really meant – statistically speaking, 1 out of every 4 men on that street right now is likely to be infected with HIV._ Even though none of them have told us so, statistically, some of the men that we know and care about on the Loop are probably HIV positive._ More will become so. It is pretty much entirely overwhelming to think about._ We can do what we can to help these guys know about the health risks their work affords them, and to connect them with the affordable health services that may be available to them here in Bangkok, but there is no getting around the reality that our journey here in Bangkok, in loving these guys, will eventually have HIV and AIDS as part of the story.
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