QUESTION: Regarding HIV/AIDS, Are We Destined To Repeat The Past?

silence-death-1988Earlier this week, a CDC study and interviews with HIV/AIDS specialists both came to the same conclusion: that young gay men are becoming ambivalent about the disease.

With barebacking going up 20% from 2005-2011 and the ongoing popularity of the practice in today’s porn, condoms just aren’t being used the way they were before.

At the same time, an aggressive new strain of HIV has been discovered which develops into AIDS even faster than before.

Though HIV prevention is easier than ever, we pose the question to you, Queerty readers:

Regarding HIV/AIDS, are we destined to repeat the past? 

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  • the other Greg

    “Ambivalent” is your own word, Queerty headline writer, that you’re repeating from the previous article’s headline. I couldn’t find it in any of the several links (which are all very different), and to me it seems a strange word to use since it implies that young gay men think something like, “well there are bad things about HIV but also some GOOD things” ???

    Unless someone believes – incorrectly, I assure you! – that an HIV+ diagnosis means automatic SSDI nowadays, which it doesn’t – there are no good things about HIV.

    More likely, it’s just peer pressure by tops who don’t want to use condoms anymore, and the bottoms (the ones really at risk) go along with it because they think they don’t have much choice.

  • middleagespread

    Add to the mix an increase of drugs and or alcoholic use. Inhibitions and sound judgement are not likely to be made.

  • the other Greg

    @Kamuriie: “Puh-leeze,” really? So articulate – you must be a top!

  • the other Greg

    @middleagespread: Maybe, but has there really been an increase in drugs/alcohol? Are there stats on that?

  • Caine

    2 words for this


    In 2005 The New York Native and other gay press outlets ran cover page stories about a new deadly strain of HIV based on one guy and a couple of infections with one main goal: to sensationalize and inflict fear on the gay community.

    Around this time the gay press (including QUEERTY) ran numerous stories about the big fatal meningitis epidemic to basically do the same thing. The only winner in that was the pharmaceutical company who makes meningitis vaccines who charged $300 for treatment.

    Yes ambivalence because it’s just more of gay FEAR MONGERING.
    Don’t have sex. Have sex with condoms (winner? Lifestyles and Trojan). Be afraid of sex – you will die.
    blah blah blah
    Yes – we are repeating the past.

  • Caine

    oops meant to say around this time (LAST YEAR)

  • the other Greg

    @Caine: You’re confusing several things. The NY Native was always a POS – in the ’80s/’90s they were HIV denialists and killed a lot of people.

    Meningitis is NOT sexually transmitted anyway, and that outbreak (though it was suppressed) is still quite a mystery.

    Are condoms such a high-profit item that Lifestyles/Trojan are resorting to conspiracy theories?

    You’re right, IMO, that the sensationalism scares some guys into celibacy. That’s unnecessary and sad, but there’s no $$$ profit in it! – so I don’t see how your conspiracy theories would apply there.

  • Merv

    @Caine: Calling it fear mongering implies that the risks are exaggerated. With gay male infection rates in US cities often on the order of 25%, you can’t really call it fear mongering. If anything, there isn’t enough fear.

  • QJ201

    Stupid Headline.

    What mistakes exactly are we repeating?

    When HIV/AIDS hit in the 1980s, many guys wised up and started using condoms and/or cut down on hooking up.

    Our GOVERNMENT is repeating the same mistakes. Lack of sound effective HIV prevention aimed at gay men. Lack of access to HIV medications for many RIGHT HERE IN THE USA is still a huge problem.

  • bystander

    Why can’t people just make the best choices for themselves and not be so Goddamn righteous about people who may do something different… Fuck

  • Fitz

    I wish I had kept my mother’s pearls. That way I could clutch them and mutter “oh dear, oh my” with these stupid things.

  • GayTampaCowboy

    I’m getting a bit frustrated with some of the “editorial licence” being taken by some of the writers on Queerty. Posing the question to readers about the rise in HIV infections is one thing, adding a link to this fact and barebacking videos (ie: pornographic entertainment) is really in bad form. BB films and video’s have been around for decades! Linking hiv infections to porn is like linking school shootings to music lyrics or video games!

    REALLY QUEERTY? Can’t we stick to the facts and avoid glittering generalities?

    Gay men are NOT becoming ambivalent to hiv. It’s been a part of our community for decades! Hiv status is a part of virtually every dating and hookup site. Websites like Queerty, Advocate, etc. have sections dedicated to the issue and EVERY site has banner ads about hiv awareness/prevention/meds.

    If the author of this post would do his/her research and look deeper into the question: why is hiv infection on the rise, they’d find (according to the research i did) that the majority of infections were among young black men (due in large part to the “DL” issue), hard drug users and also because many of the younger men feel that hiv is no longer a death sentence and that it’s a treatable condition.

    Yes, the fear is gone – that’s a good and bad thing. But hiv infections have NOTHING to do with bareback porn!

  • Joetx

    Short answer: Yes.

    Longer answer: Yes, b/c people are stupid. Just read all of the apologists for bareback sex/bareback porn & you’ll see.

  • mlbumiller

    @GayTampaCowboy: Agree with you, but bare back porn does not help the issue. It comes down to “monkey see, monkey do”.

  • CaptainFabulous

    Oh this should be good. Where the hell did I put my popcorn?

  • 2eo

    @CaptainFabulous: I just had that wtf feeling when an utter moron like yourself is attacking other morons.

  • viveutvivas

    Er, maybe the article writer should acquire a dictionary. “Ambivalent” doesn’t mean what he thinks it means.

  • robirob

    Barebacking and HIV transmitions (not to mention drug and alcohol addiction) are mere symptoms to a deeper rooted issue: Self loathing.

    Even today kids still grow up and are shamed and ‘guilt-tripped’ into believing that being gay is one of the worst things in life. Once the message ‘being gay and acting on your gay urges is bad!’ is established and taken for granted in young kids’ subconscious minds the damage is done. As confused and hormonal teens they wander around and try to make sense of these occurring conflicts where acting on gay urges feels good but also very bad at the same time and some see no other solution than to take drugs, alcohol, or just ‘give up’ and become HIV positive since they’ve been told as kids that ‘all fags should get AIDS and die!’.

  • Rockery

    @the other Greg:

    Whoever is writing that doesn’t know what ambivalent means, it’s actually a very common mistake, you will see MANY people think it means something like “apathetic” more than it’s true meaning. It’s something that needs to be studied, if you ask people what that word means they will get it wrong

  • Rockery


    mmmm 2eo’s aggression is SEXY LOL

  • jimbryant

    The CDC is playing a game with gay men, using us to bolster its profile and to ensure its continued funding by the American taxpayer.

    The CDC is issuing cleverly worded statements which are designed to make you think that the mere facts of being gay + male are sufficient to put you into a high risk situation AIDS-wise. It’s a combination of anti-gay and anti-male. No mention, of course, of the fact that it is promiscuity which is to blame.

    Here’s a fact which even the CDC can’t deny: there is no such thing as a sexuality- or gender-specific virus. However, the CDC wants to make you think that there is. As gay men, we are being manipulated and misled by the CDC and its propaganda department.

  • jimbryant

    Here’s another thing that might shock you: promiscuity is fine but ONLY if you are promiscuous with healthy people.

    The thing about the unique social scenes associated with male-male interactions is that it involves cheap and easy sex between anonymous men who have not been vetted for STD’s. For a very low fee (eg $10), one man can have sex with three men, each of whom then goes on to have sex with three men etc etc within the same venue. Condoms are not mandatory.

    In contrast, a man who wants to have sex with a woman often finds that a woman won’t put out. Frustrated, he attends a brothel where he pays a large sum of money (eg $150) which allows him to have sex with only one woman. The women has usually been checked for STD’s before she is allowed to work in the brothel. Condoms are mandatory.

    This is my point: the unique environment of male-male interactions combined with the promiscuous choices of men is what puts us at risk of STD’s. Both of these elements are CHOICES. Yes, CHOICES.

  • Geeker

    These guys who decide to have bareback sex because they think having HIV is no big deal and that you can live a long and healthy life with it need to be educated on the long term effects of the medications they’ll be forced to take for the rest of their lives. You only have to look at the ragged and haggard messes in your average TIM release to see what happens after years of being HIV+.

  • EEA40

    Condoms were never the permanent answer. They were the answer 30 years ago to protect people from dying. We missed an opportunity in the community to address and fortify our resources for Mental Health treatment and Drug addiction recovery. We also missed an opportunity to have good and positive role models with the elders that survived and the next generation of elders. The young have no real reference point to look for in role models because we crucify our queer famous, and ignore the role models who are not “pretty enough”, Larry Kramer warned about this, and we are bound to repeat the same mistakes of the 80’s. Bareback sex is still attractive to the young queer men as with heterosexual men because it feels like the most natural sexual act. What does the future hold? Who knows?

  • DonW

    @bystander: If you exercise your free choice to get yourself infected, will you personally fork over the $30k or so per year for HIV meds for the rest of your life? Or will you expect the rest of us “Goddamn righteous” pearl-clutchers to pay for it with our taxes and insurance premiums?

  • jimbryant


    Bareback sex is not the primary problem. You can have bareback sex with as many people as you like provided they are all healthy.

    Realistically, the real world doesn’t contain people who are all healthy. It’s like a lottery. Some people are healthy, some aren’t. When one goes out and interacts sexually with others, the laws of probability mean that eventually you will meet someone who is not healthy.

    The fundamental problem with men who seek sex with men is that their social scenes are highly concentrated. When you concentrate people, there is an increased likelihood of catching something from one another. Concentration is the key.

  • jimbryant

    Concentration is the key to understanding STD dynamics. We must always avoid falling for the trap of thinking it is our sexuality which is to blame for STD”s. If we start thinking along the lines of the latter, we fall for the trap that homophobes want us to fall into.

    Homophobes would love us to think that our sexuality is to blame. Let me repeat: our sexuality is NOT responsible for STD’s. However, it is the fact that we have concentrated ourselves which contributes to STD’s.

  • xonod

    So many of you talk as if two healthy HIV- people with monogamous behaviors are going to magically get infected. Meanwhile you’re wearing your condoms and still giving unprotected blow jobs (which are a risk factor contrary to popular opinion.) So many of you speak as if gays are the source of the virus and therefore to blame. So many of you speak as if gay men couldn’t possibly have healthy monogamous relationships and so we are all emotionally ill horny sluts who would have sex with anyone at anytime.

    But few of you remember a time when African American women were the most infected. When soon after African American men were being blamed for the high transmission rates. When it then gradually undercover brothers (the down low variety) were the cause for all the HIV woes in the black community. You can’t scapegoat someone when you’re infected. Viruses don’t work that way. Take a hint from history. Take responsibility for yourself. If you feel that barback sex is more intimate and pleasurable, you are in a long term committed and monogamous relationship, you understand the risks if one of you isn’t faithful, then that is a healthy choice. If you’re on grindr and and screwing everything you meet with or with out protection then those are risks you take. It’s all about choices and there are a multitude of them.

    Oh, also there are tops who have the virus as well as bottoms. Get your head out of the stats and consider the dynamics of reality.

  • jwrappaport

    This isn’t a meaningful question. What does it mean to “repeat the past”? Are they referring to the mortality rate and government inaction of the 1980s? If that’s the case, then I say the answer is no. For those who say yes, you have a very stiff burden of proof to overcome.

    First, medical science has radically changed the state of play for HIV/AIDS patients. While there is no question that they are life-changing diagnoses, they are not the death sentences they used to be. Of course, big pharma is all too happy to restrict the state of the art treatment to those who can afford it, but it’s likely that even the basic level of care covered by insurers is still lightyears ahead of what it was 20 and 30 years ago.

    Second, our culture is completely different from that of 1980s America. Although we still have much progress to make with respect to gay rights and HIV/AIDS education, there is little doubt that we are in a different universe from that of the Reagan era. Correspondingly, I think our government would feel more pressure to adequately respond to a sharply rising infection or mortality rate, although it is far from certain.

  • the other Greg

    @xonod: “still giving unprotected blow jobs (which are a risk factor contrary to popular opinion.)”

    No it’s not.

    Where’s your evidence?

  • the other Greg

    @jimbryant: WHY are you so hung up on this?

    So we’re somewhat “concentrated.” So what?

    Is anybody really saying that being gay, per se, is a “risk factor” for HIV? Who is saying that, except in your diseased mind?

    I’m in a long-time, sero-discordant relationship and we are both healthy. Every time you misuse the word “healthy” I want to punch you in the face.

  • the other Greg

    @jwrappaport: Well said. The culture IS different now.

    Of course, in response to a rapidly rising infection rate, most of the government action at this point would still consist of educating people to use condoms with anal sex. This problem has its basics.

  • Stache1

    @DonW: Your argument to deny others health care can be made for allot of other medical issues. Should we just deny a person that gets heart problems too because they ate the wrongs foods? Nice to know that Gay people can be just selfish pricks just like your average straight Republican too.

  • DonW

    @Stache1: Excuse me, where did I argue to deny anyone health care? My point is that choosing to engage in unsafe practices when you know bloody well better has consequences for others. It is not just a question of personal freedom but being a responsible member of society. Yes, the system will cover you, and it should, but that means fewer scarce health care resources for others. Think of that when you call people selfish pricks.

  • iggy azalea

    “Destined?” We already are.

  • iggy azalea

    @CaptainFabulous: Popcorn? Dontcha mean Sees candy soft centers box and diet coke?

  • rickyponting

    Concur with you, yet exposed back porn does not help the issue. It descends to “monkey see, monkey do”. monkey is accommodating for making the aids cure vacccine as per the momentum inquires about.

Comments are closed.