I usually don't publish articles from The Guardian because they are a little similar(similar not the same)to adamfoxie.
wrote this article (published at The Guardian) of which I like very much because it makes the connection of two cousin virus and how millions of gay men had to deal with this other Pandemic and how still we deal with it because even though HIV is not causing AIDS anymore but is only because of the meds who took out their balls. There is much to learn from those dark days. Even the funeral homes going by street talk would not bury the son of a crying mother begging to bury her son.
It won’t end until there is a cure. What we have right now is management. Since around 1980, when the first cases were identified in the US, 700,000 people have died of Aids. In my lifetime, it went from an epidemic with no cure to one for which we have the tools to at least approximate herd immunity. People still die. There are no certainties. And the blood sacrifice we give at the clinic every few months reminds us of this.
We also remember not to blindly trust experts. Before writing this, I rewatched the Aids activism documentary How to Survive a Plague by David France, Woody Richman and Tyler Walk (full disclosure: Jordan Richman, my collaborator, is Woody Richman’s cousin). It’s inspiring because a group of activists rejected the incompetence and ignorance of politicians and played a decisive role in forcing them to find treatment. Act Up, the HIV/Aids activist group, was not always right, but neither were the experts. There was no time to wait for gay representation in the CDC, the FDA, Congress or White House. They used the tools of self-education and critical engagement to ensure they understood the issues and were able to call bullshit on their credentialed betters when necessary.
We spoke to David France about his recollections from that moment: “There were 15 dreadful years of unmitigated death – 15 years! – before treatments finally became available to make an HIV infection survivable. I spent those years in brutal terror, flat-out convinced I would be one of the dead. I have always thought that it was fear that saved my life. But 15 years after that, when I returned to the troves of archival videotape to make How to Survive a Plague, I was surprised to see how much joy there was among us. Some of the humor was dark, naturally, but all of it was affirming and forward-focused. Someone once said to me, ‘We had so much fun when everybody was dying,’ which sounds awful, but what she meant was not that we didn’t grieve or weep; she meant that we didn’t give up on the vision of a life we so fiercely defended. I think now that the power to imagine, put to the test by a plague, is the strongest tool we can deploy.”
The movie was released in 2012, and I went to see it at the IFC Center in New York. What struck me then was that this was still necessary. I remember returning home after college, and feeling like I had gone too long without STD testing. I made an appointment with my GP but got bumped to a physician’s assistant in his office. When I asked for screening, she replied incredulously: “Why do you want these tests? You think you have all the STDs?!” I remember my monotone and annoyed response: “I’m a gay man. I have multiple sexual partners. Men are oftentimes asymptomatic. I’m just here to get my periodic screening.” Sometimes you have to be the waiting room pamphlet you want to see in the world.
Just because someone is a doctor doesn’t mean they’re not an idiot. I don’t mean that to demean healthcare workers, only to point out they are humans, too. So let’s keep our wits about us. Let’s evaluate people based on actions, not positions. Let’s not forget that sometimes we do know more than experts. If we don’t, they will never be able to refine and update their opinions. They will not see what they don’t see.