According to Downs, HIV/AIDS organizations are not trying to hide the fact that they request and receive donations. The majority of organizations Downs mentioned and SF Weekly contacted, however, did not respond to interview requests.

Most of the HIV/AIDS organizations given an opportunity to confront barebacking head-on have not done so, even when Folsom's Moshoyannis says he has intentionally placed bareback companies next to HIV/AIDS organizations to spark a dialogue. The money the event raises is awarded to several HIV/AIDS nonprofits of Folsom Street Events' choosing. Last year, the funds totaled $320,000. This year's recipients overwhelming said it's not their place to protest the presence of exhibitors whose messages conflict with their own, and stress that money from barebacking has not influenced their position. Regulating barebacking encroaches on privacy too much, they say; prevention education and incentives are the best tools.

HIV/AIDS activists in the city also say it is unclear how much bareback porn affects its viewers. Some argue that people are smart enough to keep fantasy and reality separate. But others contend that it has played a direct role in how people choose to have sex.


Claude Wynne has no problem with people going to sex clubs. He just wants them to wear condoms.
J.P. Dobrin
Claude Wynne has no problem with people going to sex clubs. He just wants them to wear condoms.
Gehno Sanchez doesn’t think 
monitoring for condom use will fly at his Cockpit parties.
J.P. Dobrin
Gehno Sanchez doesn’t think monitoring for condom use will fly at his Cockpit parties.

On a recent sunny day in the Castro, Billy Twee strolls into Superstar Satellite Video, past the new Hollywood releases and into a back room, where the bareback porn selection is vast: videos like Oliver Twink, G.I. JIZZ, and the occasional sequel, Double Fuck My Ass 2.

Twee is an avid porn reviewer and barebacker. Sparing no detail, he writes about it on his blog Bareback Pozboi: A Documentary ("Poz" is slang for HIV-positive). His first post says his name is William Harry. From there, as far as the blogosphere is concerned, he is Billy Twee. He is also vague about his age, only offering that he is "not 21, not 22, and older than 45" — a thinning head of hair covered by a faded baseball cap tips the scale toward 50 or so.

Even before sites like Mastrosimone's BarebackRT made it easier for him to find people nearby to hook up with, Twee always had a lot of sex partners. But he insists he practiced safe sex until after he tested positive in 1995. What followed was years of abstinence, attending bareback parties in Palm Springs hotels to watch but never participate. One day in 2000, it dawned on him that the men he was living vicariously through weren't getting any sicker. He went bareback and never looked back.

"I'm older than most of these guys now, so I'm trying to make every day count. When I resumed my sex life, it was fabulous. I haven't stopped," Twee says.

Nor has he stopped writing about it. His raunchy tales are not for the faint of heart, but in person, he speaks much more seriously about the realities he faces. "No one really knows how long the medication is going to be good for. I know most of us have our livers checked on a regular basis, because that's the greatest danger."

That is why he is taken aback by the amount of young people he sees entering the porn business and joining bareback sites.

"The amount of bareback porn has quadrupled in the last couple of years, and most of it is focused on really young guys, twinks, between 18 and 22," he says. "It blows my mind. These kids aren't even scared. They didn't live through the era of AIDS. You want to be on medication for 40, 50 years? Is that what you want?"

Twee surmises that the young men are looking to be part of a subculture within the gay community where they too can get invited to people's homes for barepacking parties, where methamphetamine use is "de rigueur."

Yet despite the surge of younger men, Twee says that when the action is moved offline, there isn't so much talk about one's status; it's assumed men at parties are HIV-positive, because common sense says no one is trying to get HIV, or is oblivious to the risks of unprotected sex. Studies show that a majority of barebackers identify as HIV-positive. At the same time, Twee says he has seen more young people at barebacking parties in the last year than ever before. But he says he can't worry during every encounter whether he is exposing someone to HIV. And sexually transmitted diseases "go with the territory."

Jim Illig, the previous director of the SF Health Commission and currently director of government relations for the nonprofit Project Open Hand, says he too worries that teenagers and twentysomethings aren't paying HIV enough heed. "It's shocking that people aren't taking this seriously. They grew up after the introduction of the antiretroviral [drugs]," he says. "But this is a serious disease. It's not something you want to catch. In the younger population, there are higher infection rates." Experts cite increasing HIV rates particularly among young black men who have sex with men.

Joseph Butler, 23, of Oakland, validates those concerns. He began barebacking at age 16 after he was inspired by a porn movie. He says he has considered intentionally getting HIV, a case of what researchers call the rare "bug-chaser." It would make him feel unique and "different." Something to set him apart, he says. When a friend and "secret lover" in his early 20s died from AIDS, Butler expressed regret that he couldn't share the experience. Currently, he is HIV-negative. He uses BarebackRT and hosts his own website to meet partners.

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