Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Devil and his Temptations Wrapped Up With a Pretty Bow

Anyone condoning unsafe sex is a fuckin asshole, plain and simple.

I came across some quotes from the gay guru and HIV+ poster boy, Andrew Sullivan last week.

Old Andy writes that he has never felt better. "HIV transformed my life, made me a better and braver writer, prompted me to write the first big book pushing marriage rights, got me to take better care of my health, improved my sex life and deepened my spirituality."

Well, a ringing endorsement for unsafe sex unlike anything I have read before. Doesn't it just want to make you walk around with a sign, saying, "Bareback me, please".

While he glamorizes HIV, old Andy mocks HIV prevention efforts for using fear to promote safe sex. The guy just wants to have fun.

He quoted as writing, "Young negative men need to see more of us keeling over in the streets, or they won't be scared enough to avoid the disease that may, in the very distant future, kill them off."

He further states, "They, (young negative gay men) may even stop believing that this is a huge, escalating crisis, threatening to wipe out gay life on this planet. But the bottom line is that HIV is fast becoming another diabetes."

So soothing Andy. Thanks for sharing. True, that HIV is no longer the immediate death sentence for wealthy gay men, but hell, it can and does kill with horrible side effects and a constant dependence on drug therapy.

So Andy is the Good Humor guy, spreading the news that HIV and AIDS are no big deals. He takes "only" five pills a day and gives the feeling as if "AIDS meds were nothing more than taking Flinstones' vitamins."

But thank goodness there are others who don't buy this candy coated bullshit. The safer sex message is even more important today because of the "I don't care" mentality of many younger gay men.

The last thing younger gay men need to hear and read today that it is OK to ignore warnings about the dangers of contracting HIV and to find sexy alternatives to unprotected sex.

As we have discussed here numerous times, safer sex is a pleasurable alternative to barebacking. This reckless attitude fostered by Sullivan and others will no doubt lead to more HIV infected gay men.

The cycle continues because there are not enough of us to prove Sullivan and the others wrong.
Sullivan has this platform and it is too bad that he couldn't use it to promote something good, like safer sex.

That message is clear. Safer sex is the only sexual option, period. I guess it just has to be repeated and repeated over and over again.


anthony wong said...

hi, i understand why u r so emphatic that safer sex is the only option.
however, i can see why others dont agree.
just two eg comes to mind. 1)two guys who are allready HIV+ve. Okay others might caution them that their HIV strains might not be the same, but they are perfectly correct to reply that it is a minor point. The fact is both are now HIV+.
2)The other eg, is guys who are both HIV-ve. No need for safer sex at all.
of course, there are caveats, like how do u know he is faithful only to u, etc etc. But i hope u can see that ur emphatic statement, no alternative to safer sex is allready not true.
As for Sullivan, the point he is making is that having found out he is HIV+ has enriched his life, and has not proved to be the death knell that he was led to believe. That made him sceptical of the message of the educators. If they can get that wrong, what else have they got wrong?
The other point he is making is that u cannot influence people for long if u only want to frighten them to change their behaviour.
He is saying give them the facts as we know it now, about HIV and let them decide, and not condemn them for their decision.
don't u think that is the sensible thing to do?
dont be like the parent who beat the child up and say 'i am doing this for ur own good'

cola boy said...

Truly disgusting remarks. Yes, there's seems to be some positive that this guy is changing his life for the better, but to say taking your meds is like taking Flinstones vitamins just turns my stomach. There is no reason for the spread of HIV; ignorance and intraveneous drug use do not absolve you of your stupidity. As a younger man I've had two scares where I thought I might be positive, and after that I vowed to never again. I get tested yearly as well as NOT engaging in barebacking or drug use (even non-intraveneous, seems the thing today is Tina and men's common sense goes outt he window with that).

As for Mr. Wong's comment: wake up! HIV and Aids is ravaging 3rd world countries; it's found in the wealthiest of nations; it's everywhere. If people aren't scared of this disease, then they are idiots. Yes, there is hope that a cure might be found someday, but for now the proper weapon is knowledge: know how it is spread and know that the earlier it is detected the better chances you will have of living a longer, better life. Yes, I am scared of it, and yes I know someone very close with HIV. And everytime they get sick or get some other physical ailment I worry that they will never recover and be the same. Andrew Sullivan is misguided....horribly misguided...almsot to the point of being evil. He seems to fine with his status, but what tune will be he singing when he decides to stop taking his "Flinstons" because he's never felt better and suddenly gets pneumonia that puts him in the hospital for weeks?

AC said...

I don't think Andrew Sullivan really is condoning unsafe sex. When you go through something as terrible as finding out that you are HIV+, you have either to choose to deal with it in a way that is positive, forward-thinking, and helps keep you alive or you can choose to be afraid, dwell on the past, and welcome death. Similarly, I gotta say that HIV has made me a better person in many ways. I moved to another town to get away from the drugs and partying, fell in love with someone who is negative, quit my job at the sex club, enrolled in college, went through massive amounts of therapy, I eat better, and my quality of life is better now than it has ever been. These changes all occurred because I choose to look at HIV as an opportunity rather than a death sentence. If you are one who believes that everything happens for a reason, then you can choose to look at your HIV status as a wake-up call to change and improve your life -- as I did. As a positive person, I have to maintain my hope and not relate my disease death. That is how I am staying alive.

hbjock said...

Hey handsome... I agree 100% with you. Although HIV is a manageable disease these days thanks to advanced medicine and even a possible vaccine soon to become available, who the hell wants to go through life taking 5-6 pills a day, wondering if/when they might get sick again, and possibly not recover...

On the positive side of life, my doctor tested me for HIV and even ran a chest xray because I was still coughing after a couple of months... she called the next day to say that everythign turned out negative.. whew!!

Jim said...

First, let me say Hey and Woof! :)

As a student of Virology and in particular, HIV, let me say this is not a matter to be taken lightly.

I totally applaud anyone who **after** becoming HIV+ turns that into a positive opportunity for personal growth. In fact, for people living with HIV this is critical; mental processes will affect the physical.

However, the converse should not be advertised - i.e. If you want a better life then become HIV+. I think that is unfortunately the perception some people may be reading into his comments.

I routinely post about advances in HIV treatment since that is my chosen field of research. There are great success stories, that cant be denied. I have several friends that have survived this bugger for 20+ years. Progress towards a vaccine is rolling forward at light speed. New meds are good at delaying immune collapse. However, given the choice, its a no-brainer that you should choose to remain HIV negative, do whatever it takes, its still the 4th largest killer in the world.