This ad, published by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and based on stats from the federal Centers for Disease Control, ran nationally in all the major gay rags. Despite talking about the issue for over thirty years, the HIV infection rate is still going up. South Florida’s (where I live) is the highest in the nation.
Because young gay guys think it’s an old faggots disease. Know how many twenty somethings and thirty somethings I’ve encountered who are HIV positive?
Because the pharmaceutical industry with its massive advertising budgets make it sound that just popping a pill once a day will solve all your problems. (“So let’s fuck till it’s 1999!”) Wanna know how many guys I’ve encountered in their forties and fifties who have been on the pill for twenty years since life-saving meds have been on the market, still look like train wrecks? Yea, the pill may save your life but it doesn’t stop the ravages of HIV on your body or the side effects of these powerful meds on your liver.
Because the gay media speak with forked tongue, wailing about the high infection rate yet accepting millions of dollars in advertising from the pharms whose ads portray young smiling athletic – HIV poz- guys
Because the powers-to-be – the feds, state and local health agencies – are putting too much emphasis on condom use and safe sex (the use of condoms hasn’t changed much since the AIDS crisis of the eighties), testing (by that time the horse may be already out of the barn and half way to California), the new preventative or PrEP meds (where compliance can be spotty and non-verifiable and expense high), and gentle persuasion. (Give me a fucken break!)
What they should be doing is scaring the shit out of us with scare tactic ads that show guys who have been on the pill long-term and look twenty years older than they are, with blown-out joints, shot livers, early dementia, swollen bellies and pipe cleaner legs despite all the steroids and human growth hormone. What they also should be doing is shutting down websites that promote barebacking, and patrolling – yes patrolling – the bath houses and sex clubs for evidence of unsafe sex, all in the name of a true health epidemic. After all, San Francisco closed its bath houses in the eighties and never reopened them.
We all have a stake in this because your tax dollars and mine are being used to underwrite unsafe, irresponsible sexual behavior. Ever talk to a HIV poz guy about all the “perks” that come with contracting a preventable disease? And if they test positive for meth use, get them in rehab or cut off their aid. Period.
But enough said. Let’s start doing, really doing something about the issue. Otherwise it will be a self-perpetuating disaster.