For the second time Internet star Riccardo Simonetti is face of a Youth against AIDS campaign. Here he summarizes his best experiences from a year of working with us and tells us why condoms are scattered all over his apartment.
For many people in Germany AIDS is very far away. Is it true?
I fear that most people feel that this disease is no longer their concern because we in Germany have sufficient access to medicines. Nevertheless, every year still about 1 000 000 people die and as long as this is so, in my opinion it concerns each of us something. Above all because people in Germany are still infected with HIV without being aware of their status.
Sometimes you get the feeling that it’s still embarrassing to talk openly about sexual issues. Should you be afraid to talk openly about your sexuality?
I think sexuality is so integrated in society and in the media that you often can’t see the forest for the trees. As a result, although we are confronted with sex all day long, we do not talk about the responsibility it entails. One should be able to talk about it openly and honestly and not be afraid of the topic.
Who were your most important contacts when you had your first questions about sex?
I have actually talked a lot with my mother, but also sometimes used an anonymous question service on the Internet. That helped me a lot and was incredibly important to be able to ask questions that you don’t necessarily want to discuss with your parents.
Are condoms men’s or women’s?
Definitely the topic concerns both! Everyone involved in sex should be aware of the possible consequences.
Last year you had a very creative answer when we asked you for three names for a condom. How’s Tick, Trick and Track today?
All three of them have been kindly deployed! They’ve accomplished their mission.
Are your condoms still spread out in boxes?
If you’ve been active in HIV and AIDS education for years, you’ve scattered condoms all over your apartment. I even have my own condom machine in the bedroom.
You’ve been with us for a little over a year now. What was your coolest experience with us?
I was able to gather so many impressions, but above all I am grateful for the tireless efforts of the many volunteers who shape youth against AIDS. The Aids Conference in Amsterdam showed me how many people all over the world are involved in this topic, how many are committed to it and how well informed they are. It was incredibly inspiring to see so many young people pulling together in a pile, regardless of their origin, sexuality or religion.
Why do you support youth against AIDS?
Because I believe that young people who are encouraged to believe in themselves and their future and dreams will automatically pay attention to their health.