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AIDS Programs: An Epidemic of Waste.
March 4, 2002 6:06 AM   Subscribe

AIDS Programs: An Epidemic of Waste. Interesting article about AIDS funding in the USA... and these people want more taxpayer money! Heres a quote: The Stop AIDS Project of San Francisco, which received $698,000 (39 percent of its budget) in CDC grants in fiscal 200139, has sponsored several "prevention" events, including a gay prom in April. Last August it held "Booty Call," a seminar about dildos, plugs, fisting, and rimming. The advertisement read, "After a little basic science, share tales of intercourse and orgasm. Find out why so many of us find ass play a major turn on."
posted by Keen (47 comments total)

 
CAGW sounds to me like relatives of the guys who want evolution out of the clasroom ... Am I supposed to be outraged by gratuitous depictions of out-of-context slices of extreme homosexual depravity/privacity (i.e. training to do anal intercourse while suffering from diarrhea)?

Funniest part about Citizens Against Government Waste is that it was "inspired" by Ronald Reagan, who was responsible for blowing up one hell of a deficit.

As I said, phony post from beginning to end.
posted by magullo at 6:34 AM on March 4, 2002


How does this misuse of funds differ from any other government-funded program? Many have programs that seem to be far outside the reason the funding was provided.
posted by fleener at 6:44 AM on March 4, 2002


Per the site: On Feb. 28, 2002, the Stop AIDS Project of San Francisco, which received nearly $700,000 from the CDC in fiscal 2001, will sponsor "GUYWATCH: Blow by Blow." Note: they don't say how much of that $700k 'GUYWATCH' actually costs. The report does this again and again as you scroll down...
posted by gimonca at 6:53 AM on March 4, 2002


allow me to cut to the chase of what i beleive keen is saying here (keeping in mind his posting history):
"it's faggots! filthy gay prom going, ass play enjoying, fisting and rimming faggots! wasting our hard earned white heterosexual tax dollars! where is the outrage?!"
posted by quonsar at 6:56 AM on March 4, 2002


Welcome to the world of government spending. This is how it works in any given government program. Don't like it? Go vote. Get vocal. Volunteer.
posted by bjgeiger at 7:02 AM on March 4, 2002


... and afterwards, share tales of intercourse and orgasm.
posted by ntk at 7:11 AM on March 4, 2002


magullo: Eh? Phony post? How, exactly?

I would think that a number of things in the article are quite relevant, and less than phony. Say, for instance, "In 1996, NIH spent an average of $1,160 for every heart disease death, $4,700 for every cancer death, and a whopping $43,000 for every AIDS death". And it is entirely appropriate to ask whether the specific expeditures are appropriate uses of limited funds, particularly with respect to a cause that seems to receive a vastly disproportionate share of resources. If you think CAGW does a poor, or biased, job chronicling waste, we'd love to hear why. But calling it names is hardly constructive (and what, exactly, does this article have to do with the evolution debate anyway?).

That said, the more I read, the less I like. The "HIV Stops With Me" reference is particularly cringe-worthy (the fact that one spokesperson was transgendered is relevant how?). But, underlying biases aside, the main thrust of the article is interesting, and dismissing it out of hand is not advised.
posted by apostasy at 7:21 AM on March 4, 2002


I was going to make the same point, apostasy. There's no question that this isn't the most reliable source, and keen's motivations might be at issue, too. But it's a little lazy to dismiss an argument just because you don't like the source. If you disagree with the points made, explain why. And I see this arising more often in the opposite ideological context -- where a "liberal" source is raising an issue that is arguably being ignored by the "corporate mass media." I support funding for AIDS research, and the fact that a small portion gets "misdirected" doesn't change my mind. But funding for AIDS research shouldn't outpace cancer or heart disease research (although I note that this is spending "per death" if that skews the results, since fewer people are dying of AIDS these days).
posted by pardonyou? at 7:38 AM on March 4, 2002


In 1996, NIH spent an average of $1,160 for every heart disease death, $4,700 for every cancer death, and a whopping $43,000 for every AIDS death

I assume you see this statement as compelling and would prefer a system where public health spending was budgeted on a per death or per sufferer basis? This is bad reasoning because AIDS is communicable whereas heart disease and cancer (for the most part) are not. Therefore, a reasonable modification to this line of argument might be a per potential sufferer basis which would put AIDS near the top of the list. In any case, the per-person method so many people argue for would fail because the research required to discover and contain the causative agent(s) for any particular malady bears no correlation to the number (or socioeconomic status) of suffers.
posted by plaino at 7:52 AM on March 4, 2002


There are plenty of reasons why higher spending on AIDS can be justified. I.e. cardiovascular diseases would practically disappear if everybody quit smoking and eating greasy crap. We have the cure, it's a matter of implementing it.

Cancer has also been tamed to an extent. The key here is, once again, prevention. Cancers detected early have a high chance of patient survival. Thus the present cure includes once again changing people's habits (i.e. be informed, get regular doctor checks).

AIDS is the newest and less known of the three diseases you mention, and it is the only infectious one. That's 2 reasons for your right there, maybe 3:

1. We know less about AIDS than about cancer or cardiovascular diseases

2. AIDS can be transmitted from one person to the next, leading to disastrous situations (i.e. Africa)

3. Prevention is doubly encouraged in this case (for your sake, for your partners' sake)
posted by magullo at 8:04 AM on March 4, 2002


The evolution debate has to do with this in that in both cases good science is questioned with fake science. By the same people, with the same objective. As if it wasn't clear ...
posted by magullo at 8:09 AM on March 4, 2002


plaino: Not particularly, no. The statement is indicative of an imbalance in funding priorities. But, as pardonyou? pointed out, it is imperfect as a basis of policy. I'd add to his point the fact that different diseases require different approaches and different funding needs. If cancer is, as it seems, a vastly more complicated malady than heart disease, that would provide support for a funding imbalance between the two. I suspect, however, the the wide imbalance with regards to AIDS is driven more politically than medically.

As to your "potential sufferer" argument, the comparison is invalid. AIDS is a communicable disease. Cancer is not. You can no more catch cancer than have AIDS emerge spontaneously. Everyone is a potential sufferer of heart disease, should we then say that heart disease has more potential sufferers than cancer because everyone could, in theory, eat horribly for the remainder of their lives? But, as you point out, this shouldn't be the only factor determining funding.

The contrary argument is that, in theory, AIDS is nearly entirely avoidable. Similar, perhaps to a lesser degree, in the case of heart disease. One's control over cancer seems a bit more up in the air. I tend to argue that funding priorities need to be set by a variety of factors, including incidence in the population, impacts on quality of life, scientific needs and dependency on personal behavior. So, in light of this, as magullo points out, heart disease should fall under the same constraints. I'd also suggest that "We have the cure, it's a matter of implementing it." applies to AIDS as effectively as to heart disease.

This should by no means be read as arguing that those who are subject to disease through lifestyle choices should suck it up and bear the consequences of their actions. It's merely a question of funding priorities. There are a limited pool of funds available, and we need to determine how best to use them. If we have an epidemic of heart disease because we suck down cheeseburgers, that money may very well be better spent researching a less preventable disease.

And no, it's not at all clear. Exactly what science is being rejected here?
posted by apostasy at 8:28 AM on March 4, 2002


Presenting dollars spent per disease-related death as a scientific argument equally if not more important than others when deciding what to fund is bad science.
posted by magullo at 8:42 AM on March 4, 2002


And hardly on par with the denial of an entire explanatory mechanism of biology.
posted by apostasy at 8:55 AM on March 4, 2002


I don't care for a lot of what happens at the extremes of the public health movement -- but it must be said that, at least in the US, AIDS is spreading more or less only at the extremes: most of the people contracting HIV today are people who are very marginal and extreme themselves: very poor, very queer in sexual practice and orientation (i.e., no Will Trumans), very drug addicted, very young, etc.

Reaching these people is simply vital from the standpoint of public health, because it these people who are least likely to be fully-compliant with treatment regimens and most likely to continue to continue unsafe behaviors ... meaning, collectively, that they are the principals incubators and principals vectors of new drug-resistant strains of HIV and of AIDS-associated opportunistic pathogens.

Unless you think that the weird sexual practice should have the death penalty now, and unless you're willing to see your straight teenage daughter dying from AIDS in a few years because of the new strain which can be passed at tatoo parlors despite conventional antiseptics ... I'd say that these sorts of things are tolerable as (at worst) a necessary evil.
posted by MattD at 9:05 AM on March 4, 2002


There are some politically reasoned arguments to explain AIDS/HIV funding being so much higher than any disease, which I believe was covered in the 2001 or 2000 AIDS day here at metafilter.

Regardless of how high and how it got there, it would seem that any communicable disease that can lead to death would warrant more funding than your average chronic disease. There's a potential to have a plague on everyone's hands. Left completely unchecked, it would be quite possible that millions would have died by now if appropriate research wasn't done to figure out how the disease spread. When judging the effectiveness of the funding levels, you have to take into account the potential saved healthcare costs by not infecting more people, which could be immense at this point.

Since it is transferred from one person to another and we know how that happens, the main deterrent to spread is simply education. Educating the public about anything requires spending many tens of millions to get messages out there. You can't simply publish a 5 bullet list of "how not to get AIDS" in a medical journal and expect the majority of the population to get that information.

Which takes us to the offending event flyers. Say you've got to educate the highest risk group in the highest risk city. You're dealing with a potential powder keg of infection here, and if you're going to reach any group, this is the one you want to talk to. Now, imagine you're the local health group that is going to do some AIDS prevention seminars. Do you put a flyer up in the Castro saying "Discussion of the cause-effect relationship of AIDS studies 1980-2000: focus on prevention techniques" or do you put a flyer up saying "How to get every last drop out of your lover: blowjob techniques that will blow your partner's mind while keeping you safe from harm." Which seminar would reach the most people and have the biggest potential to do good and save people from harm, and the state from incurring healthcare costs? Unconventional? You bet, but whatever it takes to work. When you're trying to educate the public, you're fighting an almost impossible battle, no one wants to be educated or listen to your findings and have to change their behavior. I think the local AIDS awareness programs know this problem well and have taken to using a couple classic adages in advertising: sex sells and know your audience.
posted by mathowie at 9:21 AM on March 4, 2002


Uh, people can and do "catch" cancer. Cervical and liver cancers can come from infections.
Each year there are about 400,000 new cases of cervical cancer—80% of which occur in women living in developing countries. The vast majority (99.7%) are associated with infection with one or more cancer causing types of human papillomavirus (HPV), which is sexually transmitted.
from Reproductive Health Online

Also relevant: The Percentage of Cancer Caused By Infection.

...not that I know what this knowledge is supposed to make me believe about funding priorities.
posted by NortonDC at 9:24 AM on March 4, 2002


This post demonstrates a tactic reminiscent of right-wing talk radio: complain about the waste present in a grossly underfunded social program and punctuate it with some ostensibly shocking detail (NEA and piss christ, welfare queens, etc.). The money given for AIDS prevention by the government is a pittance compared to something like corporate welfare. Also, having us argue about petty things like this keeps us from discussing more important things, like how much we're spending on war being conducted solely by the executive branch of government.

Waste is present in any funded system; however, the examples given for the Stop AIDS Project in this post don't really meet the definition. These events are primarily educational, geared toward particular high-risk groups, not excuses for government funding of an elaborate orgy.
posted by troybob at 9:28 AM on March 4, 2002


There are plenty of reasons why higher spending on AIDS can be justified. Sure, but are programs like "Booty Call" and a "gay prom" those reasons?
posted by schlyer at 9:29 AM on March 4, 2002


apostasy: See, you can't have science that's only a tiny little tiny bit bad. If its false, it's not science. If you mix the two (good and bad science), you still get bad science. As for denying, what's worse, denying evolution or denying help to people at risk?
posted by magullo at 9:33 AM on March 4, 2002


Keen - Look at it this way, would you rather pay some money for prevention programs now or pay a huge amount in hospital and drug costs, and plain old pain and suffering later.
This disease is one of the most horrible ways to die I can imagine. If the language of these programs offends a few bluenoses while it saves a couple lives, I can live with that.
posted by jonmc at 9:37 AM on March 4, 2002


troybob - war being conducted solely by the executive branch of government.

That's it's job, troybob. If Congress doesn't like the execution of the war by the executive branch (wait a minute, is there some link there?), then it's Congress's right and responsibility to use the purse strings to reign it in.

..and I would have mailed this to you privately to preserve thread momentum if you had provided an email address in your profile, troybob.
posted by NortonDC at 9:37 AM on March 4, 2002


I have a feeling the reason they make programs such as those described is because they have next to no chance of getting those who are most at-risk (young, ignorant) to show up to a meeting about "protecting yourself from HIV/AIDS ".

I believe that these programs described are bait-and-switch: come for the ass-play, find out about condoms, disease rates, etc. once you're there.
posted by cell divide at 9:39 AM on March 4, 2002


meanwhile back in some secluded spot...1.3 million children under five in developing countries died from diarrheal diseases caused by unsafe water supply, sanitation and hygiene in the year 2000.
No research even necessary to prevent these deaths!
posted by quercus at 9:40 AM on March 4, 2002


allow me to cut to the chase of what i beleive keen is saying here (keeping in mind his posting history):
"it's faggots! filthy gay prom going, ass play enjoying, fisting and rimming faggots! wasting our hard earned white heterosexual tax dollars! where is the outrage?!"


Come on now, that kind of language is unkosher and uncalled for! And as far as my posting history goes, I don't think its that horrible... or is it?

I just don't take these programs to be serious at helping people prevent AIDs, I mean come on "Booty Call"?

From mathowie ...I think the local AIDS awareness programs know this problem well and have taken to using a couple classic adages in advertising: sex sells and know your audience.

Ok thats good. I didn't about it that way.

But I still think things like this is just plain wasteful:

Each participant received a welcome bag filled with mints and chocolate and each room was equipped with welcome packets containing condoms, lubricant, candles, massage lotion, and lip balm. TSWN receives 86 percent of its funds from government sources, including the CDC.
posted by Keen at 9:47 AM on March 4, 2002


meanwhile back in some secluded spot...1.3 million children under five in developing countries died from diarrheal diseases caused by unsafe water supply, sanitation and hygiene in the year 2000.
No research even necessary to prevent these deaths!


Oh yeah. Its hard to get people to donate cash to save kids in developing countries from diarrheal diseases because its nothing to us here. But saying AIDs is a good way to raise funds.
posted by Keen at 9:50 AM on March 4, 2002


"Where's the outrage?" Well, the gay community seems to delight in being "outrageous." ("We're here, we're queer, get used to it! Woooo! We're so delightfully daring!")
No outrage here, just disgust. Wrongheaded and politically incorrect as I may be, this sort of thing creeps me out. That's just the way I'm hardwired I guess; from what I've seen gays are born and not made, and like the late Sam Kinison, I myself cannot comprehend being attracted to some guy's ass. (OK, so I can't imagine being attracted to men even if I were a woman, just as I can't really understand what it's like to be black or Jewish.) By extension, "gay pride" sounds like an oxymoron. To the gay individual, being gay no doubt feels as natural as being hetero seems from my viewpoint. To me, it's as creepy as Scientology or Pat Robertson. (In turn, feel free to be disgusted by my narrow-minded bigotry if that's how you choose to label it. It's all subjective, like my distaste for Jon Bon Jovi or Garth Brooks.)
As I've said before, I'm not anti-gay. Consenting adults should be free to do as they choose. But this sort of thing, IMHO, does nothing to help make gays more acceptable to the mainstream.
I think the religious Right would take umbrage at this even if it were heterosexually oriented. My only problem with it is the focus on "a major turn on" rather than on Stopping AIDS. They're just asking for a major turn off of federal funding.
posted by StOne at 9:52 AM on March 4, 2002


Each participant received a welcome bag filled with mints and chocolate and each room was equipped with welcome packets containing condoms, lubricant, candles, massage lotion, and lip balm.

It's incorrect to assume that it's government funds that pay for these sort of things--thousands of private businesses donate stuff like this to AIDS causes all the time. It gets the brand name out there to a hugely lucrative market niche and fosters community goodwill towards the company. I strenuously doubt much if any government funds are being diverted towards candles and lotion.
posted by Skot at 9:57 AM on March 4, 2002


Read what cell divide wrote schyler and st0ne, there is a simple explanation for the risque titles used. And st0ne, I don't really care how you feel about guy's asses, no need to go off on your own personal problems with homosexuality, we're discussing funding for education and prevention programs here. Do you want to control the spread of a disease or not?
posted by mathowie at 10:06 AM on March 4, 2002


Another aspect of the difference in numbers is the fact that a lot of AIDS research funding goes to basic research in viruses and antiviral drugs.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:15 AM on March 4, 2002


magullo: Well, first of all, all science is false. It comes with the territory of not being omnipotent. But that's hairsplitting. This group is using an admittedly imperfect statistic to, somewhat simplistically, make a point that may be true. Contrast that with a movement that pathologically rejects evidence and the scientific method for determining truth and you'll see why I think the comparison is hyperbole.

mathowie: Excellent point. AIDS (and heart disease, and plenty of other things for that matter) is only preventable insofar as people understand how to prevent it. As such, the events CAGW listed may be entirely appropriate and a proper use of funds. As I'd have trouble selling Ozzy a rabies shot, I am certainly no authority on how to market prevention. I still have to hold that, given hypothetical AIDS-I and AIDS-II, where I is easily preventable (with education) and II is nearly unpreventable, II should have funding priority.

NortonDC: Uhm...IANABiologist? };> I was not aware of that, thanks for the heads-up.

Exhortation through repetition: The question is not whether we should fund AIDS research/education (of course we should). The question is to what extent we should, at the expense of other relevant diseases.
posted by apostasy at 10:19 AM on March 4, 2002


But this sort of thing, IMHO, does nothing to help make gays more acceptable to the mainstream.

I believe that AIDS activists are a lot more interested in saving lives than they are in making gays more acceptable to people like you. Activists have no interest in providing turnons for anyone, but they know what works. When they have events like this, they're looking to reach predominantly young gay men who have not had intimate experience with the devastation that AIDS causes. A lot of those people feel that they're invulnerable and are taking unacceptable risks because of it. Events like the ones mentioned are a good way of getting the attention of the groups most at risk. If that offends your tender sensibilities, well, that's too bad, but I think the target demographic would rather live with your disapproval than die from AIDS.
posted by anapestic at 10:24 AM on March 4, 2002


mathowie, I got your point about reaching the community at risk. But my attitude is a lot more tolerant than most taxpayers'. You don't care about my "problems with homosexuality," whatever that hell that seems to imply. That's fine. I'm not trying to get into any pissing contests. I'm just saying tolerance is the best I can muster.
Obviously, I do want to control the spread of disease. I just don't believe that this kind of negative publicity and opinion backlash is going to further the cause.
OK, I'm done.
posted by StOne at 10:28 AM on March 4, 2002


In 1996, NIH spent an average of $1,160 for every heart disease death, $4,700 for every cancer death, and a whopping $43,000 for every AIDS death

This could be interpreted as showing that the money spent on AIDS research and prevention is far more effectively spent than the cash thrown at heart disease and cancer research.

What would be seen as a better statistic? More people dead from AIDS?

These kinds of numbers absent a context are completely useless.
posted by srboisvert at 10:30 AM on March 4, 2002


"We're here, we're queer, get used to it! Woooo! We're so delightfully daring!"

Call me crazy, st0ne, but that slogan seems to be saying the exactly the opposite; ie "Yeah, we're gay. Get over it and move on to more important matters." I'd never presume to speak for gay people, but I imagine they're main concern is simply saving lives in an at-risk community.
posted by jonmc at 10:43 AM on March 4, 2002


I just don't believe that this kind of negative publicity and opinion backlash is going to further the cause.

The negative publicity is simply an article with dubious statistics printed on a site with dubious intent. I'd hardly call that effective negative publicity, it's an opinionated source professing their opinions. Nothing more, nothing less. I think it's illuminating to discuss it here, as I would hope a rational person reading the article then reading the responses here could understand the original article is mostly bullshit statistics with obvious pandering to the "evils" of homosexuality and calling the whole thing a waste of taxpayer dollars. There are enough holes in the article that I don't think it serves its intended purpose very well.
posted by mathowie at 10:44 AM on March 4, 2002


Here's a context: by 1996, deaths from AIDS were dropping dramatically due to new treatments. More dollars per death could be because there were fewer deaths overall.


Another thing this report misses: back a few years ago, an AIDS diagnosis meant death in a short number of years. Today, it means years of drug treatment, maybe decades--at tens of thousands of dollars per year. Having a seminar to encourage safe sex would save lives, sure, but more important for these CAGW people, it would save taxpayer dollars.


posted by gimonca at 10:53 AM on March 4, 2002


There are enough holes in the article that I don't think it serves its intended purpose very well.

I don't know about that. I think perhaps you're either misunderstanding the article's purpose or overestimating the target audience's critical thinking abilities. Outrage articles like that are sometimes pretty effective at getting the converted to cough up more money.
posted by anapestic at 10:56 AM on March 4, 2002


Homophobics seem to forget that a lot of research that starts in the gay community benefeits all HIV-positive people: HIV in the US is spreading fastest among straight Hispanic and African-American women. It's easy to rile up the conservatives by pointing out some minute amount of government funding may be going to an ass play seminar at SASF - but so what? That's a mode of transmission, and unless you reach the community in a real and sincere way, there's going to be a higher risk of transmission outside the gay community.
This is like saying no AIDS prevention literature should be printed in Spanish, because gosh durnit, it ain't white Christian 'merican English.
posted by sixdifferentways at 11:06 AM on March 4, 2002


Yes, audits need to be made, and misspending needs to be immediately curtailed. However:

One: Regarding the spending-per-disease money game: that's just NIH money. That isn't anything like the TOTAL monies, public and private, spent on research, treatment, and prevention. And sugar: it's a 1996 figure. Times have changed.

Two: , St0ne you might be interested to know that Bay Area AIDS agencies just survived a major federal audit of their programs, because complaints were lodged -- by HIV activists (technically, they were HIV-doesn't-cause-AIDS activists), (source, their arrest for harrassment and "terroristic" behavior here) -- about the pornographic content of prevention materials. All the programs out there were scoured vigorously for waste, gay indecency, and the like. SF Gate: Three months after the Bush administration criticized sexually explicit HIV prevention programs of a federally funded San Francisco organization, the president's AIDS czar says it appears the program is working and ought to be left alone. (source)

Some changes were made and compliance with this (ahem, out-dated) 1973 anti-obscenity law is being met to the Bush administrations's satisfaction.

Many AIDS organizations post their budgets online now: see San Francisco AIDS Foundation 01-02 projected budget.

And yes government funds should be audited, but not because a couple of HIV-denialist freaks call the feds to complain about shirtless gay men on websites and talk of fucking in ... sex forums!

Three: I used to be a volunteer at Stop AIDS Project/SF, and I've also worked at 5 or 6 AIDS non-profits, in medical, legal, research, and prevention capacities, in NY and SF. At all of these places, if you wanted an extra paperclip it was a big damn deal. Money was incredibly tight, the pay was for shit, and volunteers were probably overutilized (for example: on my first day as a volunteer at Stop AIDS Project they had me working on the computer system and dealing with hotline referrals, something I had no clue how to do and had to learn fast because of the skeleton staff).

Four: The complaints on the link about the Division of AIDS Services/Income Support in New York City are hilarious. DAS was the most tightwadded bunch of mean welfare workers it has ever been my misfortune to deal with. Of course, they are a pain in the ass because it is their job to be cheapskates (although once threatening to hit me in the face with a 2x4 while I was trying to halt a client's eviction was a little much...).

The waste of money in New York City had a lot to do with the Giuliani era. Countless lawsuits on behalf of the homeless and PWAs were filed. Summaries here. Giuliani was fined tens of thousands of dollars a day at times due to lack of housing for the homeless. Here and here, for instance. There's your tax money wasted.

Poor people with AIDS in New York City get $330.00 a month to live on from DAS, plus 135 in food stamps, and $480.00 per person for rent. (source). If emergency electric bills or back rent must be paid to stave off eviction, that money is DEDUCTED from their monthly payments over time -- usually, until their case is "closed."

So whatever. America cannot ignore this inefficiency and at the same time expect to win both the war on terror and the war on AIDS. Umm, agreed, but for completely different reasons.

Sorry to be so lengthy.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 11:11 AM on March 4, 2002


Thanks for the great background information RJR, simply superb.
posted by mathowie at 12:09 PM on March 4, 2002


Tangent: I'm sure we can all agree this is very encouraging news.
posted by bee at 12:55 PM on March 4, 2002


"OK, I'm done" I said--but I feel I should add "Thanks" after reading more of this thread.
My prior posts in this thread have probably branded me as some kind of shithead (it's a judgement call), but while my own comments, er, did nothing to advance the cause of anything, this discussion has caused me to re-evaluate my initial knee-jerk reaction to the FPP. Hey, if the AIDS czar says the program is effective and should continue to be funded, that's good enough for me. And the brochure is sort of taken out of context (of the community for which it was intended).
My "problem with homosexuality", on further reflection, is my own problem--prejudice stemming from cultural conditioning. I guess you probably already figured that out. But I feel a little more enilghtened on the whole issue. That's what I like about Metafilter; I learn a lot from these discussions that I'd never pick up on otherwise.
OK, NOW I'm done.
posted by StOne at 2:34 PM on March 4, 2002 [1 favorite]


Stones point is that it is irresponsible for people overseeing AIDS programs to act like utter dumbasses, or perhaps in most cases look like they are acting like utter dumbasses, thereby making people hate them.

America does not really like gays. It tolerates them because there are a lot of them. It does not treat them as equals, and if an American knows someone is gay, they will assume that gayness is their defining characteristic. Thus, in order to handle a huge deadly epidemic such as the one we're dealing with, it is essential for planners to not offend anyone, forget to justify something or in any way at any time make any mistake whatsoever that will draw the attention of homophobes and people with homophobic tendencies.
posted by Settle at 3:40 PM on March 4, 2002


And as for my opinions on homosexuality, I have none. All people are exactly alike, and all I've ever noticed about gay people I've known is that the majority of them are very little besides gay, and although they're young, it bores me. Of course, I completely disregard and forget about their preferences when they don't fall into this category. Obviously, my opinion of myself is a bit biased, but I can't imagine being any better than the type of person who sincerely doesn't care and doesn't care to hear about what is totally irrelevant to my concerns.
posted by Settle at 3:46 PM on March 4, 2002


Settle: please don't speak for others ("...Stones point is ...")...("...America does not really like gays...), because when you speak for yourself (...everything else...), you make no sense at all. Thank you.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:24 PM on March 4, 2002


...if an American knows someone is gay, they will assume that gayness is their defining characteristic.

Wow, that's a pretty juvenile thing to say. I assume you're really young or have only superficially met one or two queer people who rub you the wrong way (look into that, btw; I had similar thoughts before I came out). Anyone who's actually bothered to look at the data on American attitudes knows that the more g/l folks a given person knows, the more supportive they are of full equal rights under the law.

it is essential for planners to not offend anyone, forget to justify something or in any way at any time make any mistake whatsoever that will draw the attention of homophobes and people with homophobic tendencies.

We tried that for decades, hon. And guess what? The homophobes hated us anyway. Inoffensive back-of-the-bus crap doesn't work. Reaching out to people you know are in trouble in the language they understand does.
posted by mediareport at 10:05 PM on March 4, 2002


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