THE COVER BOY

Isn’t It Great That No Celebrities Have Caught HIV Since 1991??!

The last celebrity I remember publicly coming out as HIV+ was Magic Johnson in 1991. Apart from him, the only other celebrity that comes to mind is Jack Mackenroth and he’s not even really famous outside of the gay world. So no celebrities since 1991 have ever caught HIV, right? And that’s great, right? Hmm… no.

Think of it—can you name a single celebrity right now who has publicly admitted having HIV? Even Wikipedia’s listing for famous HIV+ people has nary a big name on it past the late ’90s. Does that mean that every star in Hollywood is HIV-negative? I seriously doubt it.

Yet with all the new drugs and treatments looming, one can potentially live a long-healthy while HIV+. In fact, some people consider HIV a manageable illness like cancer. Like AIDS, cancer is a worldwide epidemic that kills millions. And though some celebrities publicly come out as having cancer, if they wanna keep it quiet and deal with it in peace, that’s their right, right? No if no celebrity comes out as HIV+, that’s their business and no skin off of anyone’s backs, right?

But there’s something problematic about the perception that the rich and famous don’t get HIV. For one, it makes HIV become an “other person’s” disease—a disease for people of color, the poor and the unattractive. And with that perception comes a deeper shame. AIDS and HIV becomes a second closet and that no self-respecting public figure should come out of, lest they sacrifice their career.

For two, the lack of an HIV+ celebrity removes HIV and AIDS from the national spotlight. When Rock Hudson got AIDS, Elizabeth Taylor helped bring closeted Hollywood, the deadly epidemic and its attendant medical needs into the national spotlight. When young Ryan White contracted HIV in 1984, he became a sympathetic national face of HIV-phobia, HIV+ children, and HIV education in schools. When Magic Johnson announced his HIV status in 1991, it started nationwide conversations on HIV in sports, safe-sex in the African-American community, and destigmatizing the disease.

But even though some stars continue to do great advocacy work on AIDS and HIV, none do it as openly positive, so we persevere under the impression that it no longer effects America’s public face. The faces we see on TV and film don’t have HIV and never will. Even if their characters do, they won’t.

I’m conflicted: Do I want a celebrity to contract HIV and focus their career on AIDS advocacy just so more Americans will talk about the ongoing epidemic? Of course not. But without a visible face for the American pop-cultural mind to consider, HIV and AIDS remains “someone else’s problem,” those needing a role model feel alone, and a vital national conversation is left unspoken.

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63 Comments

  • christopher di spirito

    I don’t want to see anyone contract HIV.

    Contrary to what that limey Brit, Andrew Sullivan, opined in the Advocate, HIV is not, I repeat, not any worse than a diabetes diagnosis.

  • Roger

    This could be one of the more baffling articles I have seen. Last time I checked getting Aids wasnt as easy as catching a cold or as random as cancer. You have to actually engage in risky behavior to get it. Not so difficult to believe that no celebrities have contracted it.

    Any no, it is A LOT worse than a diabetes diagnosis you moron.

  • beerwad

    Since when is cancer a “manageable illness”? You get it, you start chemo, you get really sick, and you die. I like to think HIV is a lot more manageable than that. Like, yes, diabetes. Diabetes gone untreated will kill you just like AIDS and cancer.

  • Pedro

    Wow, are you upset that celebs aren’t into barebacking and gifting like so many gay men? You actually want celebs to be get a horrific disease so slutty and emotionally damaged queers feel better about killing themselves? This article is pathetic.

  • hf2hvit

    @Pedro: How do you KNOW that???I don’t see you going off on married men having sex with men while barebacking. What an ignorant statement.

  • den

    Odd writing. I think the writer’s heart is the wrong place – but I hate to tell the haters out there – hiv IS a manageable disease – not ‘some people consider’ Like any disease, things can go wrong – but proportionately, a vast majority of people with HIV have no problems on medications for YEARS. Does that mean you should not be careful? Heck no. But let’s at least be honest. In the majority of cases – large, large majority – it is less serious and life-changing than diabetes. Diabetes – requires change in diet, constant blood sugar management, possibly daily shots and/or blood pricks. HIV – you take a pill maybe three. Again – not saying it’s nothing to worry about and try to prevent – and I think it is very comparable to Diabetes in the big scheme of things. Although, I really think Diabetes is more dangerous and quality of life – altering on average.

  • Daniel Villarreal

    @den: HIV is a manageable disease IF you have decent healthcare coverage, access to medical care, and can afford the treatments and prescriptions. For the countless thousands who DO NOT HAVE THOSE THINGS, yeah… HIV is still a death sentence. Anyone who compares HIV to diabetes or cancer presumes a high level of privilege across the board that does not take financial and racial-disparities into account.

  • Shawn g

    @chris What! How is diabetes even remotely the same? You can manage type 2 with dieting and exercising sometimes. I’ve never heard of someone only dieting and exercising to control Hiv or aids. Let’s not even look at the social aspect. I have to admit i’ve never asked anyone if they have diabetes before sex either.

    @roger are you joking? Celebrities never engage in risky behavior?

    @beerwad you do realize that of diabetes, hiv/aids and cancer, cancer is the only one that can be cured. Cancer for the most part is no death sentence. Why do people even take chemotherapy if all they are going to is get sick and die?

  • Dave

    Brave writing. I think your right. Don’t worry about the haters, they will understand someday.

    Long term survivor of HIV.

    There, I said and I am not ashamed. Everyone should be that way. It keeps me sane.

  • Pedro

    @hf2hvit: Do you think degrees of sluttiness differ depending on a person’s matrimonial status, I didn’t say single gay men, I said slutty and emotionally damaged gay men. That includes the closet cases who go home to wifey after the evening whore fest. I am sorry, but I simply cannot muster much sympathy for people who contract HIV in this day and age. If you get HIV through sexual contact in 2011 you pretty much must want it. So congratulations your mission has been accomplished. Now go take your meds and shut up about it, because the truth is most people don’t give a damn! Myself included.

  • Shawn g

    @pedro no, I can’t say that I hope you get raped and get hiv…. But I wouldn’t have any sympathy for you if you did.. You were probably asking for it.

    People do stupid things but that doesn’t mean you should turn your back on them. I’m sure you’ve made mistakes.

  • John

    I found this info a few days ago:

    AIDS: “Gay plague”? Nope. Bioweapon? Yup.

    June 2, 1988 Los Angles Times

    Research Refutes Idea That Human AIDS Virus Originated in Monkeys – Los Angeles Times: http://lat.ms/qvsOus via @addthis
    http://articles.latimes.com/1988-06-02/news/mn-5832_1_monkey-virus

    AIDS: A Doctor’s Note on the Man-Made Theory By ALAN CANTWELL, J.R, M.D.: http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/46a.htm via @addthis

    “When AIDS officially began in 1981 the public was told that anal sex, drugs, and homosexuality were at the root of the new “gay plague.” The first cases were all young, predominantly white, and previously healthy homosexual men from Manhattan who were dying mysteriously from “gay pneumonia” and “gay cancer” in the form of Kaposi’s sarcoma. The association with homosexuality was so remarkable that the disease was initially termed GRID (“gay-related immune deficiency”). To this day, gays are still blamed for the spread of AIDS into the U.S. population…

    …Proponents of the AIDS conspiracy theory believe that AIDS has nothing to do with green monkeys, homosexuality, drug addiction, genital ulcerations, anal sex or promiscuity, but that it has to do with scientists experimenting on blacks and gays: in short, AIDS is genocide…

    …Conveniently lost in the history of AIDS is the gay Hepatitis-B vaccine experiment that immediately preceded the decimation of gay Americans. A “cohort” of over a thousand young gays was injected with the vaccine at the New York Blood Center in Manhattan during the period November 1978 to October 1979.1 Similar gay experiments were conducted in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, St. Louis, and Chicago, beginning in 1980.2 The AIDS epidemic broke out shortly thereafter…

    …There is an ominous link between cancer and AIDS, between animal experimentation and the genetic engineering of viruses, between biological warfare technology and drug companies, between gay experiments and AIDS, between vaccine programs and the contamination of the nation’s blood supply. Why else would all these people from diverse areas of science be attending this high level government conference?

    There is also a connection between Szmuness’ gay experiment and the outbreak of AIDS that cannot be denied. This connection is not coincidental or a paranoid fantasy. It is time for a serious study of the link between covert biological warfare research and the initial outbreak of the “gay AIDS plague.” Ignoring evidence pointing to AIDS as a man-made disease makes a sham out of AIDS education.”

    Strecker Memorandum – Good Quality Version: http://bit.ly/oWDa3q via @addthis
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1349285080949254539

    “The Strecker Memorandum is a 96 minute Video Tape and one of the most controversial video tapes you will ever see. Robert B. Strecker M.D. … all » PhD, presents with document evidence the Truth about AIDS being a Man-Made Disease. In his video he lectures how the AIDS Virus was Predicted, Requested, Created and introduced into human population through Medical Injection Programs. Dr. Strecker practices Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology in Los Angeles as a trained pathologist, with a PhD in Pharmacology.”

    Check out the above video folks. It’s a real eye-opener.

  • Pedro

    @Shawn g: Now you’re being ridiculous. If someone contracts HIV through rape, then obviously my heart goes out to them. If they contract it through a needed blood transfusion, then they have my sympathies. However, if they contract it because they did not take the necessary precautions during sex, or used a dirty needle trying to get high, then they’ve made their bed and should just shut up and lie in it.

  • Pedro

    @John: I’m a minority and a homosexual, how come they haven’t gotten to me yet? I guess they’ve forgotten about us spics…or just perhaps your conspiracy theories are completely insane with no basis in reality.

  • Eric

    @Pedro: Umm, I got HIV doing things right. The guy did not know he was HIV+ (he and I talked about it), we were practicing safer sex, and the condom broke. I wasn’t being slutty nor am I emotionally damaged, then or now. Shit happens sometimes even if you take precautions.

  • TMikel

    IF this is true, then it suggests that celebrities take safe sex more seriously than the rest of the country. It may just be that we don’t HEAR about those who sero convert and become HIV+.

  • John

    @Pedro: Read and learn, then comment.

  • Laughriotgirl

    @Pedro: Good thing you keep an open mind about the “innocent victims” while you tell every other HIV+ person to STFU… nothing like condemnation, morality judgements, and buckets full of assumptions about a world-wide population that shares a disease in common.

  • Ganondorf

    Truly great.

    Gosh fellas, why are you still getting HIV? Don’t you know that it’s bad for ya?

  • Cam

    @den: said…

    “but proportionately, a vast majority of people with HIV have no problems on medications for YEARS. ”
    ______________________-

    From what I’ve read the medications have some pretty nasty side-effects, from diarreah, to stomache issues etc.. It’s better than the alternative, but taking that much medication on a daily basis is absolutly going to have effects and couldn’t be called having “No Problems”

  • Pedro

    @Laughriotgirl: Let me be clear, I have great sympathy for people who contracted HIV during the early years of AIDS, as someone who was born in 1988, I look at some of those old news footage and my heart breaks watching those dying young men, they had no idea that this monster of a disease was chasing them…However, let’s get real, since about the mid ’90’s most everyone with a functioning brain in the Western World has known about how HIV is spread and the necessary steps to take in order to prevent it. If people do what they should they have a 99.99% chance of not contracting the disease. As for people in third world countries on the African continent or more remote and poorer areas of Central and South America, where superstition rules the day and education is not so readily available, my heart definitely goes out to all of them.

  • CInesnatch

    Wow, um, celebrities by definition are well-off enough to have decent health-care coverage. Whether or not one of them comes out of the HIV+ closet isn’t going to do anything to improve the conditions of those with HIV who don’t have health coverage.

    Rather than an HIV+ celebrity, we need to work on ourselves as gay people, so we respect ourselves and act responsibly. This has nothing to do with shaming those who are HIV+. The idea is build strong people who don’t engage in risky behavior because they don’t need it to begin.

    “Treat the disease, not the symptoms,” so to speak, is not the judgmental statement some want others to believe.

  • rick mechtly

    Regarding the comments on conspiracy to pass HIV into the gay community by testing the Hep B vaccine- I was in that study-in L.A. most of the immunologists and physicians I met there at our GLBT clinic were of the gay community – I received placebo but was immediately told so that I became first to actually be immunized with the 3 injections as a consequence of my participation- Have never heard of the many involved (quite a few from the medical/academic profession) getting a blanket AIDS diagnosis ! Alive and very well—and reimmunized each decade following as the vaccine does require booster shots depending on the individual metabolism

  • ashton cruz

    Anyone over 35 who catches the bug is a fucking idiot. Hell, you lived through this nightmare unscathed and yet you allow your drugs to make you into a bug chaser? well you are just a fucking idiot. as for the bug free celebs? If only I could tell. Trust me, m in the industry, you have a lower chance of catching it with a homeless man who just shit in a paper bag and ate it, that you do from one of these “squeqee” clean assholes with a multimillion picture deal. Stop “star fuking” boys, trust me, they are nothing but jam packed ego bags of NO no no!..

  • John

    @rick mechtly: Have you reviewed the links I posted?

  • Pedro

    @John: Give up the ghost buddy, nobody cares.

  • jeff4justice

    Now we live in an age in which we are seeing an increase in the glorification of condomless gay sex in porn blogs, in the ads on sites like Adam 4 Adam, on amateur sites like Xtube, and now in magazines like Frontiers for Men which is part of Frontiers LLC – Frontiers LLC publishes Frontiers in LA which is a mainstream gay mag and features celebs on the cover and is full of HIV med ads. We’ve come a long way baby.

  • TheRealMannequinAdam

    @ashton cruz: I’m sorry, but aren’t you a porn “star?” Are you seriously trying to give a lecture about HIV transmission?

    No, dear. Just stop.

  • meego

    @Shawn g: Mistake? A mistake? You know something? By making excuses like this, you are part of the problem. People who knowingly play with fire, while well aware of the risks, are not making mistakes, as you call it. This “I’m sure you’ve made mistakes” bullshit only shows you do not take responsibility for your actions and denotes reckless, careless behavior on your part. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, there’s no such thing as a “mistake” in 2011. Christ, this is 2011, not 1981! Deliberately having unprotected sex, while aware of the dangers, is not a mistake. It’s reckless and irresponsible. Period. Case in point : Mason Wyler.

  • meego

    @John: John, I’ve already read off all this years ago. Have you read “Queer Blood: The Secret AIDS Genocide Plot”, by Alan Cantwell? Very enlightening. I’ve actually corresponded with him. He presents some pretty convincing evidence. But try and get anyone here to see that.

  • Dorothea from Germany

    In Germany, we have an openly HIV+ celebrity, although certainly not A-list and not voluntarily out. Her name is Nadja Benaissa from the girlband “No Angels”.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nadja_Benaissa
    “In February 2010, she was charged with causing bodily harm by German police for having unprotected sex with three men between 2004 and 2006, without informing them she was HIV-positive. In August of that same year, she was found guilty of hiding her HIV status from sexual partners and was given a two year suspended sentence and 300 hours of community service.”

  • John

    “…without informing them she was HIV-positive…” Unacceptable. There’s plenty of HIV-positive folks out there whom she could develop a meaningful relationship with.

  • jason

    HIV never caused AIDS to begin with. AIDS does exist but it is the product of poor lifestyle choices and the use of amyl nitrate. Anything that diminishes the immune system will make you prone to a number of typical diseases like pneumonia.

    Try going without sleep for a night or two and you will soon find yourself coughing and feeling awful. It’s an acute response to a suddenly weakened immune sytem. Multiply this by 10 or 20 and you’re on a path to a permanent decline in your immune system. A lot of gay men failed to realize that their constant wild-partying ways combined with amyl nitrate use was causing this multiplication.

  • Nick

    Does Andrew Sullivan count?

  • pedro

    @Nick: No.

  • MikeE

    @jason: Asshole. You’re utterly ridiculous statement places you in the same intellectual bracket as Sarah Palin.

    I’ve never taken Amyl, I’ve never done drugs, I was never promiscuous. I’ve always been a “health nut”, exercised, and worked at my job a reasonable amount. NONE of the people I know who are HIV+ are “drug addicted, promiscuous, barflies”. HIV causes AIDS. You’re just a fucking idiot with too much time on your hands. Shut the fuck up.

  • MikeE

    @MikeE: and of course that would be “your” and not “you’re”. Ah, posting in the heat of inflamed passions. But what do you want. Fucking idiots inflame passions!

  • akn

    @meego and @Pedro:

    I can understand why you would feel little sympathy for people today who, fully informed of the risks, engage in risky behavior and contract HIV. But I would hope that when you encounter HIV+ people in your every day life, regardless of how or when those people got the disease, you would find the decency to treat them with the same respect and dignity we should afford any human being.

    Until you’ve personally experienced it, you really can’t imagine the stigma of being treated as an untouchable disease-bag. And yes, that stigma (especially from within the gay community itself) is still very much in effect today.

    I’m not suggesting it’s an ‘excuse’ for anything, but from my own experience, being ostracized and marginalized by the very community that is supposed to be one’s own was a major part of the ’emotional damage’ that led me to engage in risky behavior to begin with.

  • lizcivious

    My gay pal Gregory and I worked in the office of KLAC, the radio station that broadcast the Lakers during Magic Johnson’s glory days. Gregory and Magic were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS at around the same time; Gregory, a few months before Magic. After Magic made his announcement, I recall the heads of the station herding us all in the conference room, where it was like a funeral in there; tears were even shed. What was going to happen to Magic? Meanwhile, Gregory was absent, since his disease was increasingly making him feel worse. No one talked about what was going to happen to Gregory. Only a few of us from the station kept in contact with him when he could no longer report for work. Gregory was forgotten, but Magic was like everyone’s close relative. None of the station heads gathered the staff ’round to announce Gregory’s death. I believe just three of us from work attended his funeral. Gregory and his gay friends, who weren’t wealthy and famous like Magic Johnson, didn’t last long after their diagnoses. Magic? He’s still here and seemingly enjoying life. I’ve always wondered what kind of treatment Magic was getting that Gregory and other less fortunate gays in the 90s did not. I have nothing against Magic Johnson and am glad he’s surviving, but I still feel bitter towards the radio station’s apathy towards Gregory’s illness. I keep thinking that if he had the same treatment Magic had, Gregory would still be around to laugh with and go to the horse races with. I miss him. Celebrities now can probably keep their HIV/AIDS quiet while receiving the best of care, knowing they’ll still hang on as long as Magic Johnson, who brought the disease to the attention of homophobic straight people.

  • Henry

    @MikeE: You’re right. And people who work don’t have too much time on their hands. He’s jobless, and either lives with his parents or his girlfriend doesn’t mind him being a parasite.

  • alan Balehead

    Aids is the enemy fight as hard as you can!!!

  • Blake White

    This is such a sad article, and on so many levels. 1st – The author is delusional. HIV/AIDS is “a disease for people of color, the poor and the unattractive.” You and your friends in the press are trying so hard to make it seem like AIDS no longer affects the gay community. It’s in vain, dude. When people think of the gay relatives and friends that they love, they also worry about them catching HIV/AIDS. That’s reality. It still affects gays the most. Sorry to bust your bubble, but that’s the truth.

    2nd – “Some people consider HIV a manageable illness like cancer.” Dude, WTF??? Who are these people? Cancer is hardly a manageable illness. Cancer is a beast. There are so many survivors (and non-survivors) of cancer who give you the finger at this very moment. I really like this website, but the lunacy and idiotic mentality of Queerty just hit the roof.

  • WTF

    This is the article where I end my “relationship” with Queerty. This is one of the most depressing article I’ve ever read. May you lose your “job” over this.

  • den

    @Cam: I’d say you read about the people who do have problems with the drugs. The ones not having issues, you don’t hear about. Not that personal samplings are valid – but of the 30 or so that I know who are positive and on meds, none have issues.

  • den

    @Daniel Villarreal: Of course, the assertion was assuming one had access to those things. And yes, I know that many many DON’T have that access. My point was – You can’t deny reality. You can still encourage people to be careful without denying the fact that most who have meds do not have major problems. And – when treated – I stand by the diabetes assertion. Again – you miss the whole point. Over-stating it as simply a death sentence only further stigmatizes those living healthy, fulfilling lives with HIV.

  • Mike in Asheville

    @christopher di spirito: Please clarify: you use a triple negative [contrary … is not … not …] so, are you saying that HIV is a manageable disease similar to diabetes or HIV is not a manageable disease similar to diabetes?

  • Mike in Asheville

    @den: Well Den, you are obviously NOT positive, and if you are, you are very ignorant about the definition of manageable.

    MAKE NO MISTAKE, HIV/AIDS is a disease that requires the consumption of multiple pharmicologic poisons, poisons designed to attach the virus and several strategic replication points, but nonetheless poison many other body and blood cells. The year-after-year use of these chemical poisons drain the entire body in the very similar manner as excessive alcohol and recreational drugs. The body ages, kidney and liver functions in particular plus the skin, at much faster rates diminishing life longevity.

    Of course, therapy to control HIV/AIDS requires the financial requirements of health care insurance, which is lacking in more case than not.

    And for those simpletons who think that by the time the disease would terribly affect them there will easy treatments/cures, there remain after centuries strains of uncontrollable TB, polio still exists, of course cancer and cancer, etc.

  • Mike in Asheville

    @Daniel Villarreal: Daniel: Please read my post @49. Every word has various degrees of definition, including “manageable.” From your post, I assume you are negative; before pronouncing what is/is not “manageable.”

    And let me point out that in @49, I don’t even get into the social stigma, the challenges to one’s mental state, pyschologic side effects, death-panic to survivor’s guilt, appearance changes including facial and under-the-skin fat redistribution, extended guts, skin rashes, and more. PLUS, every time the meds are changed there is a new “getting used to it” challenges including diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, sleep disorders, more skin rashes, etc.

    Is HIV/AIDS more manageable than yesteryear? Of course. For me, in 1996 when my weight fell from 165 lbs to under 118 lbs, I was on a course of 4 anti-virals and 4 supplement/antiside-effect drugs — 55 pills every day, some 2x daily with food, 2x daily without food, 3x daily with food, 3x daily without food. (W/o food requires 3 hour periods w/o food — so there was never a time when taking my pills was not an issue. Today, I have 8 direct ant-viral pills/day and 6 supplements to control side effects — all with or w/o food.

    NONETHELESS, all of this continues to weaken one’s overall health while hampering the effects of the virus. At 51, and 17 years of taking anti-virals/anti-side-effect drugs, I will be facing any number of new medical conditions that, w/o HIV/AIDS I would not reach for another 10-15 years: hypertension, reduced hormones, skin conditions, etc.

    **************

    I appreciate your article, very much. It is an interesting thought; I suspect, though, as Rock Hudson and Liberace both denied their afflictions as HIV/AIDS to their death beds, that current celebrities are keeping it underground as opposed to not-existing. I won’t judge whether that is right/wrong; I do believe you are correct that society in general and the gay community in particular, would benefit with the knowledge of how someone famous handles the disease.

  • Mike in Asheville

    @christopher di spirito: So much for asking a fair question. If you bothered to read my other post, I find the notion to consider HIV/AIDS as manageable terribly misguided and dangerously leads to further spreading the disease. Since that is your opinion too, why so hostile to clarifying a confusing statement so that others can understand the point that “manageable like diabetes” is misguided and faulty thinking. To better days, cheers.

  • Julio

    @Pedro:

    Yes

  • Mike in Asheville

    @jason: What you know about HIV and AIDS is zilch.

  • Mary Denny

    @Pedro: anyone can get HIV/AIDS just by having unprotected sex.

  • Liz

    Having HIV is not the end of the world. Because of it, I have met so many wonderful people in Michigan and around the country (even a few abroad) on HarmonyHIV.com. My life has become richer because of it. To all of us who test positive stay strong and don’t let anyone put you down. life goes on and we can continue to live a full and happy life.

  • SteveC

    HIV is a VERY manageable condition.

    I am Type 1 diabetic.

    Every day I take 4 injections (1 shot of fast acting insulin before each meal, and 1 shot of slow acting insulin before bed.)

    Every day I do 3 finger prick blood tests.

    I need to watch what I eat very carefully to ensure that I eat the correct amount of food to match each injection.

    I am 37, and I have been Type 1 diabetic for 33 years (Momma used to inject me with big old fashioned hospital syringes back in the day, and I used to do daily wee tests before the blood tests were available.)

    I have no complications from my condition. But on each of my 3 monthly checkups, my doctor reminds me that I am at much higher risk than the general population from things like heart attacks, strokes, blindness, amputations, cancers, kidney failures etc etc.

    I have every sympathy for anyone who is diagnosed with HIV.

    Now take your pills and quit whining.

  • SteveC

    Or to summarise.

    Shut your mouths about what a difficult condition HIV is. Learn from diabetics. We know ALL about daily maintenance.

    And console youselves. At least you don’t have to worry about keeling over and dying immediately if you miscalculate your meds (because I’m sure HIV+ people know how difficult it is to estimate how much medication you need to take on a daily or even hourly basis).

    HIV has a horrible stigma attached to it, which diabetes doesn’t.

    That’s what the focus should be. Attack that.

    But seriously. Don’t whine about the mechanics of treating your diagnosis. In that respect, you have it easy.

  • Mitch

    Steve, I actually want to thank you for recognizing the horiffic stigma attached to HIV while telling people with the virus to get over having to take a few pills. As a pozzie who comes from a family of diabetics, I’ve always found the comparison between the two a bit odd, but seeing that you uniquely recognize both the problems YOU face and the ones WE face makes me realize that there is an underlying compassion and sensibility that most people simply don’t have. I hate to be trite, but while they are different diseases, the common humanity they instill is what we share.

    To most of the rest of you…most of you should be ashamed of yourselves. “I have no sympathy for anyone who gets the virus”??? Seriously? Who the hell do you think is getting it? I’ll give you a hint, its probably more of your gay friends than you think. AT LEAST one in ten, if you’re in a large city, the number is probably much higher than one in five. Only a very, very small minority actualy contracted it from anything resembling bugchasing. Trust me, even most “sluts” actively try to avoid it, as it’ll definitely impinge on their sex lives. In my particular case, I was highly adherent to condoms. I don’t recall ever failing to use one or even catching someone removing one. I checked them after sex to ensure they had remained intact, and don’t fully comprehend WHAT happened. The truth is that HIV transmission, like most things that go wrong, is not easily broken down into black and white; there are very few deserving victims of HIV. Trying to demonize those who get it as people who should’ve “known better” is completely asinine. Reserving sympathy for “rape victims” is too. Its also why SO MANY of the 1 in 5 gay men who test positive feel like they need to explain their situation, instead of focusing on their health. The truth is that it really does just take “one mistake”, and no one is perfect. We’ve all gotten sloppy, we’ve all trusted the wrong people. These are human traits. Those of us with HIV are simply paying a greater price for our humanity than most.

    HIV is not “like cancer”. Comparing it to cancer is even more idiotic than comparing it to diabetes. “Cancer” is a complex set of bodily malfunctions ranging from slow acting and easily cured to universally fatal. It typically requires very little long term management, and is generally seen as a “good disease”. This comparison is at once dismissive and intentionally scary. No one with cancer has had to hear that they brought it on themselves for being a “slutty self hating gay”. It does sometimes screw people up pretty badly though. For those of us who were tested regularly, the first years…and possibly decades with HIV are really quite manageable, regardless of what scare stories “Mike in Asheville” might like to share. The fetish that so many members of the poz community-like Mike- share for embellishing the side effects of the treatments borders on the bizarre. Telling people its “manageable” isn’t going to make anyone run out and get it any more than telling people they might survive lung cancer is going to compel anyone to run out and smoke. Warning people about “body shape changes” is about as releveant as warning people about mercury treatments for syphillis, as many of the so called “newer meds” simply aren’t associated with those concerns. You reference the psychological dimensions of the virus, but you go to great lengths to feed them. Why is that? I suspect that like so many who are afflicted with this virus, you somewhat enjoy your victimhood. Its the same trait which leads people to tell tall tales about walking to school without shoes.

    Make no mistake, I fully comprehend the horiffic long term neurological, physical, social and economic consequences of this virus, but warning people about taking “55 pills a day” is a counterproductive joke in a world where 80 percent of pozzies begin treatment with just one pill, the most popular multi pill combo (isentress/truvada) is three pills a day and is known for having NO side effects. Rashes? The only drug known to cause rashes is viramune. It only causes “rashes” in something like five percent of the people who use it. In most cases the rashes dissappear on their own. BTW, viramune and truvada are another single dose combo. Diarhea? Virtually no one uses protease inhibitors anymore. I’m actually surprised that you forgot to mention Sustiva. The fact of the matter is that those of us who don’t inherit a highly resistant strain and don’t intentionally screw up our meds probably aren’t going have our lives consumed by the inconvience of a few pills. Stop scaring people with stories about AZT monotherapy. We’ve got enough real problems to worry about without your indulgence in the side effects of the bad old days. If you really wanna scare people, focus on what IS the problem with HIV-the sky high cost of treatment, rampant discrimination that makes heterosexism look about as foreboding as society’s preference for blue eyes and the “comorbidities”. Leave your D4T in your memory box.

  • Michael

    @Mitch – here here! Very well stated. Scrolling through these comments I was getting frustrated that no one was capable of constructing valid points.

    @Pedro – You’re kind of an asshole, man.

  • Atomic era

    Everyone needs to practice modesty, precaution and humility.
    You are all in this problem because of each other.

  • [email protected]

    Celebrities have so much Aids they just pay doctors not to tell.If regular people have it spreading ,all these celebrities do to.All they do is got to parties and fuck each other, they cheat, barely stay married but no one have Aids, yeah right.

  • acotz87

    Purlease!
    male celebrity’s are the worst of the lot, they sleep with thousands, there are endless stories openly told by ex famous stars of their endevours and those in the industry having sex with upto 2,3,4 woman a day, sex orgies and whatever else.

    The most beautiful people do the ugliest thing’s and that’s so true

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