Saturday, June 03, 2006

Until my friends start dying of bird-flu...

The reason I write about AIDS (and my 13 years living HIV+) is because I want every one who reads this blog to know someone with HIV. The more I can personalize the disease , the more folks seem to become emotionally engaged in the fight against AIDS.

With the 25th anniversary of the first AIDS diagnosis being commerated this weekend, there is a lot of reflection going on. The whole how far we've come/how far we have to go kinda thing.

I just heard something on NPR which moved me to tears about one of the doctors who figured prominently in the early days of the AIDS crisis. As a young doc out of med school, he went to work for the Centers for Disease Control and went on to become a pioneer of AIDS research. Listening to him describe how his faith enables him to continute to fight the good fight was very moving indeed. Like I said it got me a little misty.

Sentimentality quickly gives way to rage when I contemplate just how short-sighted President Bush's AIDS policy has been. His whole abstinence-till-marriage routing is so seeped in judgemental religious ideology that it is doomed to fail as a policy, which means of course that more people will die of AIDS in the meantime. The fact that the Bush is exporting these "values" abroad makes it all the more contemptable.

Bush is also staunchly against needle exchange suggesting that providing clean needles "sends the wrong message." I dubunk that myth here. Anyway, the message Bush is really sending is that he doesn't care about faggots and niggers and junkies. Sorry for the harsh language, but this is what the President's behavior says to me personally. And since gays, black and drug users are the ones getting the disease in highest numbers, AIDS (unlike the bird flu) will lag far beyone Bush's real priorities.

Anyway, if you're reading this, then you know at least one person with HIV. I don't wanna die of AIDS. I 'm tired of my friends dying of AIDS. So many are dead that I am an elderstatesman (of 34) and archivist of the fight, which is a miracle in itself. You can imagine when first diagnosed, the last thing I was thinking was I'd ever be the long-term archivist of anything. For this much I remain grateful. Which is a perfect note to end on.


Truthspew said...

Believe me you aren't the first person I know that's HIV+. Unfortunately most of those I knew with HIV are long since dead.

It truly is a shame how the U.S. government, under the direction of neo-fundamentalists, has totally botched the fight against AIDS.

Slate just did a picture of the day essay on AIDS in Africa. For a non-existent god sake, even young kids in Africa are suffering fromt his epidemic, while we have people here in the United States that can't afford the treatments necessary to sustain life.

It's awful. I'm 41, friend of mine is 56. Both of us were major sluts when we were younger and neither of us are HIV positive to this day.

Survivor guilt is an awful thing, but not nearly as awful to losing ones life to a disease that is preventable.

And the anti-condom abstinence only model is insanity. Is it any wonder that bareback porn is making a comeback?

Granny said...

We don't have to agree on everything but we agree the government position and their kowtowing to the extremists of the religious right is criminal.

An Ohio court has decided that people living without benefit of clergy are not entitled to the same domestic violence protection as those who are "married" A side effect of their anti-gay marriage law.

The religious right, led by Tony Perkins, is fighting the cervical cancer vaccine.

Their position on AIDS affects the most people but it's all part of the same thing.

As I said earlier on is america burning, may the all rot in hell.


Granny said...

Thanks for your comment just now. I agree about Perkins but unless I can document it, I'm being careful.

The pendulum has to swing back and people may be finally paying attention.

Worried does a great job with the war. I'm going to keep seeking out examples of how the crackpots (who make me almost ashamed to be a Christian) are destroying not only this country but millions around the world.

The Phoenix said...

I know a couple people that are new the war against HIV and AIDS. They became doctors specifically to help research a cure and treatments.

It's a noble cause, and they keep working their asses off...hoping to win the battle soon.

Sharon GR said...

You're not the first person I've known with HIV. However, you are the most outspoken- and I think that directness is important. To many people, they feel the HIV issue is removed from them personally so they feel safe to ignore it. "They" have it, not "us."

Until, of course, someone they know turns out to be infected. Then they wonder how so many people ignored the illness for so long.

Jill said...

How sad is it, and what does it say about this damn country that what you're writing about these days can still be considered "brave"?

AIDS and the fight against the cervical cancer vaccine are part of the same disease: the notion, ever-increasingly codified in law in this country, that the wages of sin (sin = sex, unless you're a Republican) should be death.

It's time these people were exposed as the deathmongers they are.

Stay healthy, my friend. We need you.

konagod said...

My best friend in the 1980s is HIV+. I was devastated when he told me -- we were all pretty ignorant about it then. But he's still alive and doing OK.

And Jay, I posted a very late birthday greeting yesterday, I'm positive I did it in your birthday post but it's not there, so I wanted to say it again.

Happy 34 and enjoy it. For me, 30 wasn't so bad, because I still looked very young, felt very young, and acted VERY VERY young. It's turning 40 that blew me away.

50 won't be any better I'm thinking. So enjoy those 30s! I kinda miss 'em.

E. Normus Johnson said...

What Jill said. Take care of yourself. And there's a special wing being constructed in Hell even as we speak for these "social conservative" bastards and their Taliban think-alikes.

Kathy O'Leary said...

It is really sad for us as Americans when the Catholic Church which usually takes decades if not centuries to change direction can begin to revise its position on the use of condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS before the Bush administration can do the same. At least it is a good day for American Catholics.

jay lassiter said...

a lot of catholics are way more compassionate that the vaticanon this one!

Anonymous said...

One can tell the religious far right about the need of compassion by narrating the story of Camillus de Lellis (see:

Of course this story will only challenge catholics because evangelicals don't care about saints canonised by Rome.

I think the story of Camillus is very relevant because like many soldiers today, this fellow found himself caught up in an ideological war decided by the powerful of his day. The Turks were advancing into Eastern Europe and Venice being an economic superpower wanted to protect its capitalistic interests (like the US today?!?).

Initially Camillus was in favour of war & followed the footsteps of his dad. But eventually he got fed up with war & wanted to dedicate his life to the plague striken & incurables (like today's Aids victims?!?). He was the precusor of today's Red Cross Society & most probably this symbol originated from Camillus' society. Is not this amazing?!? Moreover, he was very sick himself because of an incurable wound in his Achilles heel which made him suffer so much during his whole life!!

Jody Kuchar said...

Thank you for posting this and including it in the Carnival. I might not have seen it had it not been there.
Bravery is a funny thing; we as a society label soldiers with the word, as well as peace keepers. Writers are often called brave - as they should be. And you too should be given that label.
May you continue to have health and well being and may your words reach those who need to hear them.