Category: hiv/aids

Family Circle Gay Backlash; Davey Wavey on Safe Sex; Gay In Prison; Pat Robertson: Gay Rights Activists Terrorists

Family Circle Gay Backlash

Remember how I posted about Family Circle Magazine earlier this week, and how they did a feature with two gay dads in a new feature section? Well, there’s been plenty of backlash from the anti-gays out there about that feature and it hasn’t been pretty.

Women’s magazine Family Circle just made history by featuring a gay family in its publication for the first time ever, but they were met with backlash from some hateful readers.

Same-sex couple Chris and Bob Osner-Hackett appear alongside their two daughters in the most recent issue of Family Circle in a new question-and-answer column titled “Modern Life.”

Here’s the link. You can read the comments from facebook, and the people who commented are listed by name. I’d rather not put that kind of thing here on the blog. I don’t even like linking to it. In this case, as in most others, the hate is coming once again from the good old God-loving religious types.

Davey Wavey on Safe Sex

Sometimes I wonder if these things are meant to be serious or not. Common sense dictates the best way to talk about safe sex with a potential partner is to come out and say, “I only practice safe sex, like it or not.” That’s what always worked best for me. I’m really not joking about this. I have no complaints, and if anyone didn’t like talking about it, or me stating this, I went home alone. I never buckled to peer pressure. I’m not trying to sound holier than thou either. I was a kid when AIDS started and I still remember the details all too well.

Evidently, Davey Wavey has a few tips on how to bring up the topic of safe sex in a more casual way. I honestly didn’t even think something like this could be an issue. But I guess it is and at least someone is discussing it in a way that makes sense to those of you who are embarrassed.

For many guys, simply asking, “Hey do you have a condom?” does the trick — it’s direct, lets him know you’re on board to get down, and sends the message that safe sex is a priority for you. If he responds, “Uhh…no, but it’s cool,” then you know you have a problem.

My only comment is that you should never be embarrassed to say you practice safe sex, not with anyone. And never trust anyone who tells you it doesn’t matter to him.

You can read the rest here.

Gay In Prison

I personally have no doubts about this one…that it sucks to be gay in prison. I can’t even imagine what it would be like. And this article makes some very interesting points.

15 former and current inmates at San Bernardino Prison in California filed a class action lawsuit alleging mistreatment and discrimination because they’re gay and bi.

The lawsuit says that the, “inmates are not given equal access to opportunities to reduce their sentences, services, programs and facilities, and are often treated in an abusive and neglectful manner. In short, GBT inmates at WVDC serve longer sentences and endure substantially worse conditions of confinement simply because they are gay, bisexual or transgender.

Unlike the male, non-GBT general population, sentenced GBT inmates at WVDC are generally not allowed to participate in the inmate work program, and, to the extent they may occasionally have limited access, it is substantially less than that available to non-GBT inmates.”

You can read more here. The rest is as disturbing.

Pat Robertson: Gay Rights Activists Terrorists

When I posted about Anderson Cooper responding to something Pat Robertson said about the AIDS virus, yesterday, I didn’t know the discussion would continue. But now it seems Pat Robertson is calling gay activists terrorists.

“These people are terrorists, they’re radicals, and they’re extremists,” Robertson told “700 Club” viewers. “No Christian in his right mind would ever try to enforce somebody against their belief or else suffer jail. Now they did that during the Inquisition. It was horrible. It was a black mark on our history, but it isn’t being done now. There’s no Christian group I know of anywhere in the world that would force somebody to do something contrary to their deep-held religious beliefs or else face criminal penalties, but that’s what the homosexuals are trying to do here in America and I think it’s time pastors stand up and fight this monstrous thing.”

It’s hard for me to comment on this one because I’m not an activist. I just believe in good old fashioned civil rights and equality for all. But aside from everything else in this article, you’d think Robertson would at least get it right in a technical sense when he makes claims that AIDS can be spread through towels (his comment is in the link below), because it’s getting harder to take the man seriously.

You can read the rest here.    

Ring My Bells by Ryan Field

.99 Gay E-book

Matthew Mcconaughey Plays Character with AIDS

When I first noticed the startling photos of Matthew Mcconaughey after he’d lost so much weight because he’s playing a character with AIDS, I skipped over it fast. I’ve seen and watched what AIDS can do to people first hand and it’s not always something I like to revisit. But I did want to write a post about it because it’s also good to revisit things like this to in order to keep yourself grounded and to remember all those people who have gone through full blown AIDS and died from full blown AIDS. Watching it is nothing compared to what those people with full blown AIDS went through first hand.

As a side note, for those who are not familiar with AIDS, or what it was like during the height of the epidemic before FDA approved HIV drugs were around, I suggest reading John Irving’s latest novel, “In One Person,” for a first hand account of how things went down. After going through so much with people I knew in the 90’s (and still know now) with AIDS, I found Irving’s book to be the most comprehensive, accurate, work of fiction ever written to date that discusses AIDS. It’s not something I’ve written about often in fiction because, as I said, I don’t like to revisit some things in that much detail, and I’m not sure I can be objective enough about it to do it justice. And when you’re writing fiction it’s important to be objective in order to capture a variety of topics and characters. In short, if you are a very liberal Democrat and you can’t write an objective Republican character, something’s wrong with your basic writing skills…in my opinion.

What surprised me the most about Mcconaughey’s images were how accurate they looked. That wasted look I’ve seen before with people who are in full blown AIDS, where T-cell counts are so low you don’t even have to wonder, is not something you forget. And from what I can see, Mcconaughey nailed it with the look he was trying to achieve.

The movie isn’t about a gay man. Here’s the IMDB blurb:

Loosely based on the true-life tale of Ron Woodroof, a drug taking, women loving, homophobic man who, in 1986 was diagnosed with full blown HIV/AIDS and given thirty days to live. He started taking the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved AZT, the only legal drug available in the U.S, which brought him to the brink of death. To survive, he smuggled non-toxic, anti-viral medications from all over the world, but yet still illegal in the U.S. Other AIDS patients sought out his medications forgoing hospitals, doctors and AZT. With the help of his Doctor, Eve Saks and a fellow patient, Rayon, Ron unintentionally created the Dallas Buyers Club, the first of dozens which would form around the country, providing its paying members with these alternative treatments. The clubs, growing in numbers and clientele, were brought to the attention of the FDA and pharmaceutical companies which waged an all out war on Ron. “DBC” follows Ron Woodroof’s personal fight to survive which lasted 2191 days when he died on September

Part of the blurb is interesting to me because it says that AZT brought him “to the brink of death.” I don’t know how this was handled in the film, but I have seen this before. I do know that if someone is in full blown AIDS and their T-cell count is that low, they run the risk of going into what’s called IRIS when they start taking AZT…or any HIV drugs. It can be very dangerous, which is why it’s important to find out early if you are HIV positive. When people are in full blown AIDS, which nowadays means they’ve waited too long to get tested for HIV, and they start taking HIV drugs the symptoms they have only magnify and get worse sometimes, which can either kill them or bring them back to life. A lot of the time it depends on the doctors and how the patients going through IRIS are being supported. This is also why if you are HIV poz you want to get a good Infectious Disease doc who knows what he or she is going…usually associated with a university teaching hospital if you can.

Immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (also known as “Immune recovery syndrome”[1]) is a condition seen in some cases of AIDS or immunosuppression, in which the immune system begins to recover, but then responds to a previously acquired opportunistic infection with an overwhelming inflammatory response that paradoxically makes the symptoms of infection worse.

I don’t know much about Ron Woodruff because I was too young back then to remember a lot of these things. Most of what I do remember about AIDS was directed toward gay men and not the straight community. Though I do remember hearing about The Dallas Buyers Club, I don’t remember much because it didn’t seem to be something on which the media focused back then. It sounds to me as if the film is going to focus on how the FDA and the government went against what Woodruff was doing with the club which isn’t something that surprises me at all. The one thing I do remember about the l980’s and AIDS as young as I was is that very few were willing to speak up about AIDS and offer support. The government, during the Reagan years, did the least for people with AIDS. It was as if AIDS didn’t exist at all, and that alone is a travesty. Unfortunately, it seems to be the case once again with how the government ignores marriage equality and we are forced to lobby state to state, and I guess some things don’t change all that much no matter who the President is.

But, in spite of government, a lot of people worked hard to help people with AIDS back then and I’m hoping this film gets into this in depth. Hollywood doesn’t make films like this often, but when they do I usually find them to be accurate. And from the way Mcconaughey prepared for this film from a physical POV, it seems as if they are going for accuracy this time instead of fluff. I do know this, it won’t be easy to watch.

Something I Just Learned Today…

I learned something new today while I was going through social media and reading about World AIDS day.

Evidently, a lot of gay men who have been diagnosed as HIV+ are considering the dates they were diagnosed significant. I saw one long comment thread on facebook where gay men were just posting dates. Some get these dates tattooed on their bodies.

I didn’t know this. The strong emotional support these guys were giving each other brought me back to something I experienced with a friend in 2007. My friend didn’t actually have a set date for his diagnosis. I’ve worked closely with him and I know this for a fact. In his case he didn’t know he was HIV positive until it was almost too late. He’d gone into full blown AIDS by then, because a few bad doctors were treating him for other illnesses and ignoring the possibility of HIV/AIDS. It happens. Don’t think it can’t. Bad doctors are everywhere and most medical errors are human error.

Though my friend came close to death and spent three full months in the hospital in 2007, he came back and he’s doing well now, knock wood. He’s considered a “miracle” patient in the hospital that treated him. I’ve never seen any human being fight so hard in my life, and doubt I ever will again. He had to go on permanent disability and he’s not the same person he was. This is sad because he’s only in his early forties. But he’s taking his meds and living a normal life, and he takes nothing for granted anymore.

I’m not an HIV expert. All I know is what I witnessed first hand with my friend, during and after his hospital stay. But I do know this. HIV is not considered a death sentence anymore. With the right ARV meds people can live with HIV like other people live with chronic illnesses. The problem, I know from helping my friend as his acting legal power of attorney, is the cost of these meds…thousands of dollars a month. I don’t have any great advice to offer in this respect. I wish I did. But I don’t. I do know there are programs offered and anyone with HIV should look into everything they possibly can. When and if I do learn more, I’ll post about it.

And if anyone out there can add something in the comment thread, I would appreciate it. I don’t think there’s enough information out there.