Here I go again, sermonizing about arguably the most controversial subject facing us as gay men, and I already predict this blog will generate a lot of “how can you be so heartless, you son of a bitch” responses. But ask me if I give a fuck, go ahead and ask me.
My sudden compulsion to write this was driven by two events coming up: the AIDS Walk being held this weekend in South Florida where I live and which has the highest HIV infection rate in the country; and a new Logo documentary scheduled for tomorrow, May 19, called “Positive Youth” which looks at the world of young people with HIV/AIDS.
Listen, I came from the generation AIDS almost decimated in genocide proportions, but while we, the children of the Gay Liberation Movement, may have lived decadently and on the edge, no one then could foresee what was around the corner. I knew lot of buddies, handsome men with everything to live for, who are now six feet under because of it. But what, please, I ask you, what is a 38 year old or 23 year old or 18 year old gay man doing being positive?
By 1985, we all knew you didn’t catch it from a toilet seat or a bad bottle of poppers. Like polio, AIDS, at least here in the U.S., should have relegated to a footnote in some dusty medical history book, not a lingering menace brought on by nothing less than personal irresponsibility. I’m tired of guys with AIDS, who got it because they freely practiced unsafe sex, describing themselves as victims – they’ re victims self-inflicted – and the pharm industry for running those upbeat ads featuring young, handsome, seemingly healthy guys taking their latest magic potion, ads usually followed by four pages of disclaimers and contra-indications in six point type.
I know a number of guys here in Fort Lauderdale, guys in their 40’s and 50’s, on the cocktail, with early onset dementia, blown out joints, haggard faces that need fillers to look pretty, even cirrhosis of the liver , due to the drugs not four-for-one drink specials, and ineligible for a liver transplant because of their status. The young among us who view AIDS as an old faggots disease think the pharms will save them, so what’s all the fuss about? But these pills are not an answer, only a postponement.
The producer of the doc, “Positive Youth,” said he made the film “to shed light on the rise of HIV infection among today’s youth and give hope to people living with HIV and let them know that they are not alone.” Peachy keen, but what the fuck are they doing being infected to begin with?
Unless you got a tainted organ or blood transfusion – very rare today – or got gang raped against your will, who’s fault is it except your own? And when are we as a community going to stop with the bullshit, tell the health departments with all their doublespeak to shove it, and get serious in cracking down on the rise of unsafe sex among us? Check out your local bath house or sex club or the BB web profiles and hook-up sites if you don’t know what I’m talking about. Remember, too, it’s your tax dollars that ultimately are spent on Medicaid, Ryan White, SS disability, food stamps, subsidized rent, and pharms, caring for guys who didn’t give a shit. And at least part of your contributions to AIDS causes that only help to continue to enable the wrong behavior.
Otherwise, as one poz buddy I know put it, “there are only two kinds of gay men – those who already have AIDS, and those who are waiting.”