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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Today in History

"In 1985, a spokeswoman for Rock Hudson confirmed that the actor, hospitalized in Paris, was suffering from AIDS. (Hudson died the following October.)"

This is the 20th anniversary of the event that made AIDS an issue for the rest of Amerika. I remember this event being talked about when I was a child. I had no idea what they were talking about but, I kept hearing words like, "oh, not Rock Hudson" and "I never thought he was a homosexual". Naturally, in the innocence that youth provides, I was clueless.

Now, today I am able to think about this event and the events of the past 25 years and reflect on their meanings. The literature says that, "AIDS made its appearance in 1981 when an increase in Karposi's sarcoma and a rare lung infection alerted the United States Centers for Disease Control that there was a problem." (Cascade AIDS Project)

Well, we have come a long way from the days of G.R.I.D. and Gay Cancer. But, still today in the United States, "2 young Amerikans become infected with HIV every hour". (Advocates for Youth)

We have people like Andrew Sullivan telling us that, "How are you supposed to scare people when the treatment is this simple, this effective and this easy?" For a very well written critique of Mr. Sullivan's post read what Joe Perez has to say on his blog.

On this anniversary of sorts, I am going to remind people that yes, there are HIV/AIDS medications and sometimes they are effective for some people. However, those same medications are no cure, often have terrible side effects, and can cause a host of other organ problems, are incredibly expensive, and do not work for everyone because of resistance.

1981: 122
1982: 453
1983: 1,481
1984: 3,474
1985: 6,877
1986: 12,016
1987: 16, 194
1988: 20, 922
1989: 27, 680
1990: 31, 436
1991: 36, 708
1992: 41, 424
1993: 45, 187
1994: 50, 071
1995: 50,876
1996: 37,646
1997: 21, 630
1998: 19,005
1999: 18,454
2000: 17,347
2001: 17,402
2002: 16,371

Death rate extrapolations for USA for HIV/AIDS: 15,244 per year, 1,270 per month, 293 per week, 41 per day, 1 per hour, 0 per minute, 0 per second.

Bottom line: people are still dying from AIDS here and around the world. The things that allowed AIDS to get to the magnitude that it was at in the '80s are the same - racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism. We have to fight against all of those -isms to get the root of the pandemic so that we can someday offer a generation a world without AIDS.


At Tue Jul 26, 05:44:00 AM GMT+10, Blogger Emma Beverage said...

Very informative and well written. I've decided that the politicians pay attention to opinion polls, maybe they will listen to the blogs. If we all start linking up! Visit my blog at:
If you like what I have to say put my link on your site. I am going to put your link on mine. Keep up the good work.
Blessed be,
Emma Beverage

At Tue Jul 26, 06:46:00 AM GMT+10, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps an exploration of specifics behind the deaths would be beneficial. Explaining everything away to isms sounds nice and could in fact be a partial explanation. But it does little to change the circumstances that people with the disease and those at risk find themselves in.

1. What about the fact that a significant number of those deaths are attributed to coinfections that are difficult to treat, (for example Hep. C and HIV)?

2. What about the isms within the gay community itself that leads to less services available for people of color and women than for gay white males? How do we eradicate that ism?

3. What about the death rates attributed to people not seeking medical assistance until its too late, particular as it impacts the deaths attributed to people of color? How do we address those situations?

Yes, let's bring light to this subject, but let's also give things for folks to think about other than very abstract isms that does little to change the reality in which we ALL live in.

At Tue Jul 26, 08:30:00 AM GMT+10, Blogger Matty the Damned said...

Has it been nearly twenty years since Rock shuffled off? Lordy!

The table you present showing the death rates from AIDS in the US is chilling stuff indeed Ronnie. Why?

Here in Australia we have about 14,000 people living with HIV/AIDS at the moment. and since the epidemic began we've had no more than about 25,000 total infections.

So around 10,000 people have died from AIDS in my country since 1981. Yet in one year more than 50,000 people died in the US alone.

To an Australian mind that is chilling stuff.

Well done Ronnie. Thanks for the timely information.


At Tue Jul 26, 09:02:00 AM GMT+10, Blogger Bucko said...


I was taken by the fact that roughly the same amount of deaths are attributed to HIV last year as in 1987, which was a dark year indeed. The "diabetes" lie needs to be exposed for the dangerous myth it is.

To Little Miss Grumbletones "anonymous":

R's post does not explain HIV/AIDS as a problem of isms. But it is true that the dialog is hoplessly mired in the prejudices of greater society. We can either respond by adding to the din politely or by skywriting overhead. We prefer the second approach. Sorry if you find it facile or symplistic. We all do what we do best.

I applaud whatever efforts you are taking in your little piece of the world to enlighten the masses and sieze back the dialog. But condescending posts sent anonymously to a smutty little blog aren't helping anything.

You might not understand how being provocative opens up dialog (perhaps because you are incapable of provocation in the open) but trust me, we are expanding both thinking and discussion one orgasm at a time.

Get your own blog, it sound as if you have great ideas-


At Tue Jul 26, 09:54:00 AM GMT+10, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys are too sensitive. I'm done.

At Tue Jul 26, 05:38:00 PM GMT+10, Anonymous Frot Queen said...

As a gay man I take pride in the great gay artists, scientists, soldiers and poets who’ve preceded and will follow me. Our stereotype for outstanding achievement, particularly in the arts, impresses me. I also believe in another stereotype about us: that we infect each other with venereal diseases at higher than average rates (compare with lesbians, for instance). Aside from statistics from public health, (we are still 50 percent of the HIV infections in the USA,) I have my own personal epidemiology. I acquired 4 venereal diseases from my first 15 or so initial gay sexual contacts in San Francisco between 1980 and 1983. In 1983, when I was infected with rectal herpes I made the tear filled (at the time) decision to bar my anus from further sexual encounters. I became a frot queen (frottage) and have happily had my hands on thousands of dicks in bathhouses, parks, buses, bathrooms and bedrooms from New York to Bangkok since then. Many of these experiences are among the happiest of my life and the one STD I’ve had in those 22 years is a case of the crabs. I have no regrets other than the lack of having had a role model to inspire my decision at that time. I do not feel like I’ve missed out at all.

As for the “ism’s” and their role in my STD’s, yes I thought a lot about their roles in relation to each of my 4 infections:

1) racism - Fabian, my black boyfriend gave me the clap twice in 1980 and I felt an indirect victim of racism and how it might have been a factor in his disregard for my health and his own. I broke it off after the 2nd infection.

2) size queenism - Greg, my boyfriend with the very small penis knowingly gave me rectal herpes and I felt an indirect victim of all the trauma I imagined he suffered in the gay (and hetero) world for his penis that no-one envied. I did not return his phone calls once I became very ill with my initial outbreak.

And lastly, there was the most common “ism,”

C) Selfish Egoism - Steve, who had a highly enviable large penis and attractive body, exposed me to Hep B. When I confronted him about it, he was unsympathetic, flipping it around and suggesting that I in fact had infected him. As fate would have it I recovered and became immune and he became a chronic carrier (karma?). These and other experiences taught me I must never let responsibility for my sexual health be at the will of another.

We as gay men infect each other. Straight people and governments are not with us when we are infected with STD's. I think we need to model the option to young gay men of a lifestyle without anal sex, in addition to the model of sex with a condom, as an honorable one until the HIV and HepB and C epidemics are history. I have been called “homophobic” for not having anal sex. But I’ve been around enough not to be shamed into behavior that doesn't suit me.

At Tue Jul 26, 08:18:00 PM GMT+10, Blogger Matty the Damned said...

Dear Frot Queen,

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and share your frank and rather graphic views with us. They are most welcome!

Might I say from the outset that I am familiar with the "Frot Boy" movement and the principles espoused by it. I should make it clear that I don't share most of those ideals.

I believe that it is the right of any queen to practice anal sex at his discretion and should a faggot decide not to do so that's fine.

Nevertheless, it is possible to practice anal sex without incurring physical damage in the manner that you describe. I myself have had many STD's over the years and not all of them have been because of unprotected anal sex.

In fact my first STD was syphilis that I acquired at the hoary old age of 15 through unprotected oral sex. Horrible disease but I had a whole lot of fun catching it!

I don't believe that it is "homophobic" for a fairy not to enjoy nor practice anal sex, but I do have issues with those men who try to stigmatise the majority of us who do.

Thanks for visiting The Spin Cycle. I would be pleased to hear your response to my comments.


At Mon Aug 14, 02:44:00 PM GMT+10, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You must have been about six years old when Rock Hudson died. Jeez this was the worst kept secret in Hollywood, This guy was not just gay, he was the ultimate flamer. Any male on the set was fair game for good old Rocky Boy. He could barely tolerate love scenes with a woman and only married to satisfy studio moguls. Faggotry was just 'not in' at the time.


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