Matt Bomer Normal Heart; AIDS Today; Zimmerman Trial

Matt Bomer Normal Heart

When I posted about Matt Bomer earlier this year doing the film version of the stage play, The Normal Heart, I made a point of following the story.

From January 5th

Matt Bomer is scheduled to star in Larry Kramer’s “The Normal Heart” on HBO. It’s going to be directed by Ryan Murphy (Glee), and will also star Julia Roberts and Mark Ruffalo.

In this case, I have a feeling it’s going to be authentic with Murphy as the director. He tends to get a bit too political sometimes, but in this case, with this film, I don’t think it’s possible to get too political…or rant and scream too much about. If that is what he intends to do.

Although I was only a kid at the time, I can still remember how AIDS was ignored back then. The President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, never used the term once while he was in office…as I recall personally. There was panic, protests, and emotional events that helped define the next generation of gay men. Things were never the same again.

I went on to write another post about this topic, here.

Since I wrote those posts, filming for The Normal Heart began on July 3, in New York. And it is set to air on TV in 2014. I think the film is going to be significant for several reasons, one of which is I’ve seen a trend where we are finally starting to talk about AIDS openly, and what it was like during the height of the AIDS crisis. Just this year, I posted a rave review of John Irving’s novel, In One Person, because I thought it went into the most detailed account I’ve ever read in fiction about what it was really like back then…including the actual medical issues people with AIDS had. And recently, something I didn’t expect happened, Irving won a Lambda Award for In One Person.

You can read more here about Bomer and The Normal Heart. The cast also includes Taylor Kitsch, Mark Ruffalo, and Julia Roberts. And, it’s being directed by Ryan Murphy of Glee.

From Wiki:

The Normal Heart is a largely autobiographical play by Larry Kramer. It focuses on the rise of the HIVAIDS crisis in New York City between 1981 and 1984, as seen through the eyes of writer/activist Ned Weeks, the gay Jewish-American founder of a prominent HIV advocacy group. Ned prefers loud public confrontations to the calmer, more private strategies favored by his associates, friends, and closeted lover Felix Turner, none of whom is prepared to throw himself into the media spotlight. Their differences of opinion lead to frequent arguments that threaten to undermine their mutual goal.

As a side note, during the time The Normal Heart was written we viewed the world and the AIDS virus very differently than we do today. I’m always glad to see historical things like this being approached by producers and publishers because we should never forget. But I’d also like to see how people are living with HIV/AIDS today. It’s not the horror story that we’ve seen in the past. And I find that so many people who are unfamiliar with HIV/AIDS don’t get all the information they should be getting. So while I am looking forward to this film version of The Normal Heart, I’m not so sure about what it’s going to do to help break the stigma for people who are living “normal heart” lives today with HIV/AIDS. It’s actually a topic I plan to tackle eventually, because I think we need to know more about it. And also because I have been in those proverbial trenches personally.

AIDS Today

In a totally unrelated article, new ground is being broken daily for people with HIV. And many are working hard to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS all around the world.

Doctors could save three million more lives worldwide by 2025 if they offer AIDS drugs to people with HIV much sooner after they test positive for the virus, the World Health Organisation said on Sunday.

While better access to cheap generic AIDS drugs means many more people are now getting treatment, health workers, particularly in poor countries with limited health budgets, currently tend to wait until the infection has progressed.

What this basically means is that people who are HIV positive can get drugs and the virus can actually remain virtually undetected if they take the drugs regularly. I’m familiar with this personally because of a friend who has HIV and I’ve listened in on his medical consultations at the University of Pennsylvania. I’ve also learned that getting these drugs out there to people is highly important, and getting them to take the drugs regularly is even more important. Another issue is that the drugs are not always affordable, but there are programs, too.

I think this is a fascinating article, and simple to understand for those like me who are not medical experts. Just this alone made me stop and think twice:

“With nearly 10 million people now on antiretroviral therapy, we see that such prospects – unthinkable just a few years ago – can now fuel the momentum needed to push the HIV epidemic into irreversible decline,” she said in a statement.

You can read more here.

Zimmerman Trial

I’ve been following the Zimmerman trial on Anderson Cooper 360 partly because attorney Danny Cevallos is local to Philadelphia and he’s on the AC 360 panel, and partly because I have found it so hard to get real information about the entire case…anywhere. Almost everything seems to be biased in one direction or the other.

This is a highly charged issue for many, and in following AC 360 this past week I’ve learned many facts about the case (on both ends) I didn’t know from what I’d read in articles and blog posts that can’t seem to remain objective. In fact, the very first time I learned of the tragic death of Trayvon Martin, I read about it on a publishing blog by literary Agent Janet Reid, here.

But there seem to be so many facts about this case that have been coming out in the trial since I read Ms. Reid’s highly emotional post, I’m in shock each time I hear something different. How this will turn out or what the verdict will be is not something I can predict. But I do think that it’s going to set new standards for other cases. Unfortunately, I’m not so sure it’s going to change the violence we are all experiencing in the US. And I don’t think violence is a racial issue. Violence in the US is something we are all dealing with nowadays.

You can read more here at AC 360. And I did search this link out with care. I found other links that were geared toward the defense, with highly biased statements…just as the post written by Janet Reid last year was highly biased in the opposite direction without much merit or substance. As a small blogger, I take the written word very seriously. My goal is to learn the unbiased facts with cases like this, and to base my decisions about the content of a blog post on facts. If I don’t know them I don’t post about them, which is why I haven’t posted about the Zimmerman trial before. And even though I’m just a small blogger with a few thousand hits a day, I think I would be doing readers a huge disservice if I didn’t do this.

7,000 Dental Patients Take HIV Test

At least 7,000 patients of the Dr. Scott Harrington Oral and Facial Surgery practice in Tulsa, Oklahoma, have been alerted after one patient tested positive for HIV and Hepatitis C. However, when tested again this patient tested positive for Hepatitis C and not HIV. The 7,000 have been encouraged to be tested for HIV and Hepatitis C as a precaution.

Even so, a complaint filed by the Oklahoma Dental Board cites Harrington for an array of safety and health violations that created contamination risks for his patients. He is scheduled to appear before a dental board hearing on April 19 and has voluntarily closed his practice and surrendered his license.

I read this here.

And this article goes into more detail:

Inspectors found a number of problems at the doctor’s clinics in Tulsa and suburban Owasso, according to the state Dentistry Board, which filed a 17-count complaint against Harrington pending an April 19 license revocation hearing. According to the complaint, needles were reinserted into drug vials after being used on patients, expired drugs were found in a medicine cabinet and dental assistants administered sedatives to patients, rather than the doctor.

I’ve also checked out a few other places and basically I found the same information in a simple search. The reason why I’m posting about it is because I saw it on TV earlier and I was left wondering more about the story. The alleged needle issue is scary. But you can’t get HIV from expired drugs and sedatives administered by dental assistants.

I’m also posting for another reason. When a friend of mine was discharged from the hospital a few years ago for an HIV related issued, I took him to the dentist about two weeks after he was discharged and found the dentist more than apprehensive to work on him. He basically passed him off to a “specialist,” for something basic. I found that not only insulting to my friend, but to all people with HIV. And I let the doctor know how I felt before I left, in private, so my friend wouldn’t hear me and get embarrassed. It was evident this dentist was terrified to treat anyone with HIV.

That same day, after my friend was rejected by that one dentist, I called another dentist who is also local and she saw my friend the next day. There was no issue whatsoever with her. The second dentist was a professional and she knew what she was doing. Not a single issue. And, my friend has been going there ever since. NONE of her other patients have contracted HIV as a result.

In an unrelated TRUE story, Tony and I had good friends who lived in New Hope about ten years ago. One was a dentist, however, at the time we became friendly with these two guys the dentist had stopped practicing altogether. I couldn’t help but wonder why. He was only in his early forties at the time. So I asked him and heard yet another horrible dentist/HIV story.

Back in the late 1980’s, my dentist friend had a growing practice. Although he was gay, he was also married with two kids at the time. One thing led to another, he met his gay partner and fell in love, and he ultimately left his wife. As a result, “someone” started a rumor about him. This “someone” spread lies about him being gay and having AIDS. At that time, HIV wasn’t as commonly used as a term as AIDS. And, also at that time, those who tested positive didn’t have HIV drugs and AIDS was basically a death sentence.

The rumor about my dentist friend spread rapidly, which ultimately killed his dental practice and put him out of business. To make an involved story short, my dentist friend filed a civil suit against the “person” who started the rumor, he sued for defamation, and won a three million dollar settlement. Of course he wasn’t HIV positive and he had no problem proving this in court. He also had eyewitnesses to testify on his behalf.

Unfortunately, this changed his entire life; guilt by association because he was gay. He stopped practicing for years and went into a small business. He eventually moved to Palm Springs and went back to school to become a licensed dentist in California, and started a thriving practice there which lasted until his recent passing from a heart attack.

And whenever I see something HIV/AIDS related to anything involving dentists, I’m always curious about all the information, not just a piece of it. If I find out more about the story above, I’ll post a follow up to this.