July 20th, 2011

Rainbow flag

Writer's Block: AIDS Walk

Do you think there will be a cure for AIDS in your lifetime? Why or why not?

Yes, I do, but that's not what concerns me.

What concerns me is the treatments they have in the interim. A recent study in Uganda showed that HIV+ men there who receive treatment have just about the same lifespan as average HIV- men, and another showed wonderful results with a new anti-viral. Now, of course these are good things from a medical perspective, but not necessarily good things from a societal perspective, IMHO.

Alas, it hasn't taken this good news to show what the problem is - too many people (and from my own experience I will refer to gay men in this case) are of the mindset that "AIDS doesn't kill you anymore, you just take a pill every day and you're fine, so let's bareback!" This is horrifying to me. I have four HIV+ friends, 3 of whom are well under 30, and 3 of whom seroconverted after I met them. It appalls, frightens and revolts me.

Yes, I know, we could get into the whole "risk management" and "choice levels" and "sex negativity" discussions, and they're all well and good, but from a purely visceral level, it just makes me sick. I was SO lucky to come out when I did in the 80's that we finally understood the causes of the disease, and I watched so many people work so fucking hard to educate our community to keep them alive (not always successfully - several of those friends are dead now), to watch this new crop of queers decide safe sex is boring and barebacking is hot. Well, fuck you, it's not. It's disgusting, and you're killing yourself. I wish you could see that you're worth saving. I wish you thought enough of yourself to take five seconds to think about the rest of your life. I wish you understood that it's not about taking a pill every day, it's about living the rest of your life with a disease, and about how that's going to affect you and the people you love and who love you back.

And my words fall on deaf ears and people will still make deadly choices, but I continue to shout into the darkness. And if they come up with a cure or a vaccine, I will personally drag each and every one of my sexually active friends to get the shot, because I will not let them kill themselves. (And let's not even talk about what new and amazing STDs nature will come up with once there is a cure and people abandon safe sex altogether...)

Anyway. Argh. Feeling bitter and frustrated and angsty today.