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  • Writer's pictureJoe Hardgrave

STI Awareness Week at RAPPS

I’m happy to be back home at Arkansas RAPPS. I found my way to RAPPS’ doorstep

after acquiring HIV years ago. The journey I had acquiring HIV had many bumps along the

way and I mean that in a literal and allegorical way. I have a personal history with STIs or

as we like to say in our business, lived experience. I acquired Herpes, which in my opinion

is worse than HIV. Herpes requires a daily pill to keep from having outbreaks, but when an

outbreak does occur, it hurts. In addition to Herpes and HIV, I’ve also had gonorrhea

(twice) and chlamydia. Saying it sucked would be an understatement.

At one point, I endured an MRI at UAMS for doctors to figure out what was wrong

with me. It was scary and I had to wear adult diapers for a couple of months. Don’t ask.

The other reason our passionate boss, Cornelius Mabin, Jr., wanted me to author this

particular blog post is because I’m white and straight (well to be more exact, I’m finsexual).

The point being anyone and everyone who has sex is at risk. So, what can people do about


The short answer, call us. This is what we do and by that, I mean we help people

protect themselves and have safe sex, not rack up STIs in the manner I did. Just pop into

our office in Southwest Little Rock and after screening you for HIV, we’ll hook you up with

PrEP and not to mention we’re working on gaining the ability to provide folks with Doxy

Pep. On your way out, we’ll give you a handful of condoms (we have female condoms as


We look forward to hearing from you and remember, the season is starting to heat

up with Pride Month just around the bend and it’s kicking off with the Diamond State

Rodeo Association hootenanny in a couple of weeks. Of course we’ll be there with some

colorful must-have cowboy hats. Yeehaw!

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