New Monthly Injection To Treat HIV
For anyone over the age of 35, to see something like this is mind blowing. Back in the 90s when HIV drugs were just starting to surface, and HIV as an infectious disease was transitioning from being considered a death sentence to a chronic illness, I never dreamed that one day there would be a monthly injection.
The news came at an HIV research conference in Seattle in early March. ViiV Healthcare announced that an extended release injection works just as well as a once-a-day pill in neutralizing the virus. The study also found that the participants preferred a once a month injection to the routine of taking a pill every day.
One of the things we hear almost constantly from doctors who treat people with HIV is that some people taking HIV meds don’t take the pills regularly. They forget…or whatever. This injection sounds a lot more promising.
Here’s the link.
FREE Gay Fiction Excerpt: The Rescuer by Ryan Field
I’m finishing up a new book that should be released by the end of this month titled, The Rescuer. It’s a little self-indulgent because I love animals and I’m a huge supporter of rescue, but I tried to balance the story with other aspects of gay life, too. In other words, it’s not just a story about a young gay man who rescues animals. It’s about a young gay man who needs rescuing himself sometimes, too. In any event, here’s a blurb, and there’s an excerpt below that.
After Keith’s boyfriend, Chet, turns down Keith’s ultra-romantic marriage proposal on the beach in Provincetown, MA, Keith is left devastated and confused about what to do next. He begins to question everything, including his career as the director of a unique animal rescue foundation that’s partly SPCA and partly pet hotel.
Keith loves working at the SPCA more than life itself, and he loves the animals as much as the people in his life, but he knows his job just isn’t good enough to convince Chet to marry him. It might be time for him to join the prosperous family business, become an executive like his brother, and give up on his simple dream of re-homing and rescuing animals.
He winds up finding love and strength in some of the most unlikely places, one of which is with a shy, quirky 3-legged dog named Misty who teaches him the importance of trust and tenacity. Even though he’s surrounded by all the things he loves most, from a mischievous pet monkey to a skunk who thinks she’s a cat, Keith knows he’ll never win Chet back unless he tries working at the family business. There’s only one thing he’s overlooked, and when he finally figures this out he realizes what’s most important to him in this world.
The café where Dick took him was only a few miles away from the adult sex shop and movie theater. It was one of those tiny places tucked away in a more industrial section of town that Keith rarely frequented. The neighborhood was considered, “up and coming,” which meant a mix of older residential row homes that had been built after World War II for factory workers, and old brick buildings that once housed factories that had produced everything from paper bags to underwear. Keith was familiar with the neighborhood because his family’s company had bought, renovated, and sold a few of the old buildings as professional office complexes. He knew Richardson Homes was in the middle of a deal right now to acquire a large red brick structure that had been a sock factory at one time so they could turn it into trendy open concept lofts, with exposed brick walls, for wealthy baby boomers who were scaling back and looking for lifestyle changes.
They parked in front of the café on the street, almost directly next to the café’s entrance, and they both unfolded from the car at the same time. When they reached the entrance Dick opened the door for him and waited for him to enter first without even thinking twice about it. Keith suspected he did this because he’d been trained to always take control and open doors for women. Even though Keith didn’t expect this treatment from a man, he found it both amusing and endearing. In other words, Dick didn’t have to open doors for him that way. He wasn’t a woman and he didn’t expect men to do things like that. And yet, a small part of him couldn’t deny that he liked the fact that Dick had good old fashioned manners.
The café was smaller than most fast food restaurants and they crossed to a table in the back next to an exposed brick wall. The tables and chairs were a combination of aged wood and gun metal gray steel, and they had that French industrial look. He took a deep breath and the entire place smelled of coffee and bread. The floor was that highly polished stained concrete Keith had always admired, and prints on the walls were simple affairs with clean white mats and black frames. It was the kind of place where nothing was actually seen, and it all worked together to create a simple, tasteful setting. When Dick pulled a chair out for him, he sat down and said, “I love this place. I can’t believe I’ve never been here before.”
Dick sat down across from him and said, “Thank you. I’m glad you like it. I own it.”
“You own it?” There didn’t seem to be an end to his surprises.
He shrugged. “It started out as a little investment and hobby for my ex-wife, but she wound up getting bored and I didn’t want to shut it down. It actually makes money, and I have the employees to think about. I didn’t want to take jobs away from them, and they get health insurance, so I decided to keep it open and hire a manager. This entire neighborhood is up and coming and I think there’s a lot of potential.”
“I agree,” Keith said. “I think it’s wonderful. My brother is in negotiations right now to buy a building not far from here and turn it into lofts. I might buy one of the lofts myself. I like it here. And I really love this café.”
“I thought you would like it,” Dick said. “That’s why I brought you here.”
“I’m curious about a few things,” Keith said. “Is this like a date?”
He laughed. “I hadn’t thought about that. But I guess you could call it a date.”
“But you told me you identify as straight. Straight guys don’t date other guys.”
“I do identify as straight,” Dick said. “I’m dating several different women right now. I just like you, is all. Do I have to actually identify as gay just to take you out for something to eat?”
“No, I guess not. I never really thought about that either. I like you, too.” He didn’t say this aloud, but he had to admit that he liked the thought of dating a straight guy, and he wasn’t even sure why.
One of the waiters walked up to the table and handed them menus. Dick knew exactly what he wanted and he obviously didn’t have to read the menu, and Keith ordered a large salad with grilled chicken. He’d never been a big eater and he usually ate just enough to survive. Ever since he’d broken up with Chet and he started working out at the gym, he enjoyed his extra-lean body, he felt better than ever, and he wanted to remain that way.
After they ordered two coffees, the waiter left and Keith looked at Dick and said, “I’m curious about something else. What happened back at the theater? I thought we were having fun, and then you became so serious and aggressive. Did you see the look on that poor guy’s face when you told him to leave? I thought he was going to cry. And he really was cute in a dad sort of way.”
He thought for a moment, as if he was trying to gather his thoughts so he’d say the right thing. “With all due respect, I had this feeling you were getting a little carried away and I started to worry. I thought it was my duty to get you out of there before you did something you might regret. You have to know when to leave in places like that.”
Keith laughed. “Well that’s no secret. I wasgetting carried away. Hell, I felt like a little gay piggy, and I liked it. I never explored that side of me before. But in total honesty, I only felt that way because I knew you were there. I never would have done anything like that alone. I felt safe with you. And if you hadn’t been there, I would have gone home alone.”
“I know that,” Dick said. “And that’s the reason I got you out of there. That guy I told to leave is a creep. I’ve seen him there before. I’m a lot more familiar with places like that than you are and I felt obligated to make sure nothing happened to you. I know you’re on the PrEP regimen, but HIV isn’t the only thing you can catch in places like that. And I wasn’t going to let anything happen to you. Frankly, I don’t care if you’re mad at me and I’m not going to apologize for doing what I still think was the right thing to do. Sometimes you just have to trust people.”
“I don’t want you to apologize,” Keith said. “I’m glad we left. I’m enjoying this café a lot more.”
“You are? I thought you were mad at me.”
“Give me some credit. That wasn’t the real me back there. I don’t know who that was. I would rather be here right now with you than anywhere else.”
This time Keith thought for a moment before he spoke. He wanted to say the right thing without offending him. “First, thank you for taking control that way. I’m glad we left. As I’ve gotten older I’ve started to realize that I like being directed sometimes. I know that might sound odd to most people, but not to me. That doesn’t make me less capable of doing things on my own, and it doesn’t interfere with my own identity. It only means that sometimes I need a man like you to take control so I don’t have to do it. I prefer that, so don’t stop doing it. Whenever you’re with me, you have the control.”
“Does this mean we can be regular fuck buddies?”
The waiter arrived with their coffee and Keith sent Dick a wink. “That sounds like a good plan to me. In fact, I think it might be just what we both need right now.”
The waiter said, “Your food will be out in a few minutes.”
Keith smiled and said, “Thank you.”
As the waiter turned to leave, Dick smiled at Keith and said, “I totally agree with you.”
At that moment, they both knew the future was uncertain, and that they might never see each other again. It didn’t seem to bother Dick, and Keith had to deal with issues in his own life anyway. When their food arrived Dick started telling Keith about his businesses. Keith didn’t ask him any questions and he wasn’t fishing for any information that night. Dick simply volunteered all this information, as if he hadn’t talked to anyone intimately in a long time. He said he didn’t own just one party rental company. He owned six rental companies that were located all over the state. Besides owning the café, he was heavily invested in a used luxury car dealership that focused on selling high end imports online all over the US. He also owned a summer home in a popular resort town, a condo in a well-known ski resort, and a small plane he knew how to operate himself so he could avoid the hassle of airports and commercial flights for business trips. Both vacation homes were mostly rental properties that he rarely used himself. And even though his ex-wife and kids lived in a huge home in the best neighborhood in town, he rented a small apartment for himself not far from where the café was located.
When he finished talking about himself, Keith mentioned a few things about his own life so that Dick wouldn’t think he was keeping anything from him. There wasn’t much to tell. A lot of this information was already out there and Dick knew about it anyway. He already knew Keith was the director of an SPCA that his family owned a large company that designed and built custom homes, and that Keith was openly gay. But there was one part of Keith’s life he never discussed with anyone, and he didn’t talk about it with Dick that night either. It was something so personal to him, and to vital to his existence he rarely revealed it to anyone. And in this case it didn’t seem to matter anyway because Dick wasn’t gay and they had no future together as a couple.
Keith was still curious about something and he figured while they were talking he might as well ask. “I’m still not totally sure I understand. Do you consider yourself bisexual?”
“No,” Dick said. “I’ve thought about that a lot over the years and I don’t identify as a bisexual. I identify as straight. It’s not like I want to have sex with all men. It’s only certain men. I guess you could say I’m sexually fluid sometimes, but when I see my life in general I’m straight, and I’m happy being straight. I love women.”
“Does your ex-wife know this? Do other people know you sleep with men sometimes?” Keith had known he was gay from the age of three years old. He’d never been attracted to women, and he’d never had sex with a woman.
“No,” he said. “It’s not something I talk about openly because I don’t think it’s anyone’s business. My wife and I aren’t divorced because I wanted to have sex with men on occasion. I never cheated once the entire time we were married, not with men or women. She’s the one who wanted the divorce, not me. I fought it all the way until I finally realized she would never change her mind. I keep my sex life private just like any straight person or gay person. People know you’regay but you don’t go around talking about the people you have sex with in detail. It’s the same with me. People know I’m straight, but they don’t know everything I do in bed. And if I meet a really great guy every once in a while, or if I take him out on a date to a café, it’s no one’s business but mine, and of course yours.”
“I actually understand that,” Keith said. “It must have been hard on you, the divorce. I’m sorry you had to go through that.”
He shrugged and looked up at the ceiling. “Nothing in my life has ever been harder. It’s worse than a death. But I don’t want to talk about that. It’s getting late and I should drive you back to your car.”
Keith smiled and said, “It is getting late. But I had a great time tonight.”
A few minutes later when they were in the car and heading back to where Keith had left his Jeep, he asked, “Why me? I’m just curious. You’re a hot guy and you could be with any gay guy you want.”
Dick reached across the seat and squeezed his leg. “I knew the minute I saw you I wanted you. I said to myself, ‘you have to get some of that.’ I know that sounds terrible but that’s what I thought. And let’s face it you didn’t put up much of a fight. I thought I’d have to work a lot harder to get into your pants. Hell, all I had to do was wink and you were naked.”
He knew he was joking and he laughed. “If I’d known that I would have made you beg.”
“No you wouldn’t. That’s not your style. You’re too honest, too classy, and you’re much too good for that kind of cheesy behavior. You’re too real.”
“I guess I can’t argue with that.” It was a nice compliment.
When they pulled up to Keith’s Jeep a few minutes later and Keith opened the door to get out, Dick asked, “Can I follow you home?”
“You want to spend the night, don’t you?”
“If it’s okay with you? I hate going home alone.”
He reached for Dick’s hand and brought his palm to his lips. He kissed his palm and said, “It’s okay with me. Even if we are just friends, and even if we never go to bed again after this, I’d like waking up with you one more time. You make me feel safe, and I haven’t felt that way for a long time. I just want one promise from you. We both know this will never go anywhere, but I want to remain friends no matter what.”
“It’s a deal. You’ll never get rid of me. I’ll follow you home.”
Amazon Reader Reviews: “Duty or Love? That is the hard choice that Gus’s surviving dad, Henry, is trying to decide. This story revolves around a beautiful family that’s hit some hard times. You hope beyond hope alongside with Gus that Henry will choose love, no matter what.”
When Gus Baldwin realizes that his gay dad is serious about marrying a much older man for safety and security instead of love, he concocts a plot that he hopes will change his dad’s mind. Even though his other dad has been dead for over a year, Gus wants his surviving dad to find love and happiness someday with a new husband.
However, their financial situation is about as bad as it gets and they’re on the brink of losing their grand old Victorian home, and everything about their perfect lives is threatened. So Gus winds up putting his own marriage on hold with the guy he’s been in love with since high school. It’s so bad he’s even thinking of quitting college to help support his dad and his younger brother just so his dad won’t have to marry the older man.
After Gus convinces his dad to take a road trip in their vintage 1950s station wagon to their getaway cabin in the mountains, along with his younger brother, his future husband, and their nineteen year old dog named Special, their lives change in ways none of them ever anticipated. And even though the future is still uncertain in some respects, they discover a few things about themselves on this trip they never could have predicted.