More than thirty years after his death, Canadian flight attendant Gaetan Dugas — who has been dubbed “Patient Zero” of the AIDS epidemic in the United States, has been exonerated by medical evidence, a new study published in Nature today.
Twenty-nine years ago, the AIDS Memorial Quilt was unfolded on the Mall for the first time, with 1,920 panels. Today, it has grown to more than 49,000.
Yesterday marked the 35th anniversary of the founding of what would become known as the the Gay Men's Health Crisis. On August 11, 1981, Nathan Fain, Larry Kramer, Lawrence Mass, Paul Popham, Paul Rapoport, and Edmund White met with Dr. Alvin Friedman-Kien and discussed the "gay cancer" that was affecting their friends and lovers. "In 1983 Larry Kramer, one of the founders of Gay Men’s Health Crisis, was kicked out of the organization he helped create, due to his loud and often controversial methods of raising public awareness about the AIDS epidemic." Today, GMHC serves more than 10,000 people per year. [more inside]
Designer babies, the end of diseases, genetically modified humans that never age. Outrageous things that used to be science fiction are suddenly becoming reality. The only thing we know for sure is that things will change irreversibly. [more inside]
Peter Staley was a 24 year-old banker at J.P. Morgan when he was diagnosed with AIDS in 1985. His brother, Jes, worked there as well. In a Q&A with Fortune, they discuss how their paths diverged,
Good news for Oz: AIDS epidemic no longer a public health issue in Australia, scientists say. The nation's top scientists have declared "the end of AIDS" as a public health issue, as Australia joins the ranks of a select few countries which have successfully beaten the epidemic.
Happy Birthday Cole Porter! In 1990, Red Hot + Blue, an AIDS benefit album was released featuring covers of Cole Porter's music by an electric array of performers accompanied by a TV special with music videos from the likes of Jim Jarmusch and Wim Wenders. Notable tracks include "Miss Otis Regets" by the Pogues and Kristy MacColl (video Neil Jordon) "Don't Fench Me In" by David Byrne "You Do Something To Me" by Sinéad O'Connor (video John Maybury) "Have You Evah" by Debbie Harry and Iggy Pop (video by Alex Cox) "From This Moment On" by Jimmy Somerville (video Steve mcclean) and "Ev'ry We Say Goodbye" by Annie Lennox (video by Ed Lachman)
Last Men Standing. The stories of eight men who aren't supposed to be here. Diagnosed with HIV in the 1980's, when that was a death sentence, they are now living lives they never expected to have. [more inside]
Independent Lens documentary Wilhemina’s War [55m30s]: AIDS is one of the leading causes of death for black women in the rural South, where living with HIV is a grim reality. In Wilhemina’s War, Wilhemina Dixon, her daughter Toni, granddaughter Dayshal, and her 92 year-old mother, all the descendants of sharecroppers, live in South Carolina. Wilhemina cares for Dayshal, 19, who was born with HIV.
Gay City News profiles Robert Woodworth, on his retirement after thirty-two years at New York’s LGBT Community Center.
Bryn Kelly, writer, performance artist, voice behind The Hussy, activist in the transgender and PLW HIV/AIDS communities, hairstylist and Lambda Literary fellow, died on Wednesday.
"This summer will mark 35 years since the first reports of AIDS. Additionally, two decades have now passed since combination antiretroviral treatment began to transform a health crisis into a more manageable public health concern. " [more inside]
A new short film, When AIDS Was Funny, unearths never-before-heard audio reaction to the escalating AIDS crisis.
"In his final arguments to the jurors, Groenweghe called Johnson’s accusers “promiscuous.” Hands in his pockets, eyes downcast, he told the members of the jury that these young gay men “have a lifestyle I don’t understand, that many of us don’t understand. But, he said that HIV criminalization laws weren’t put on the books by legislators just to protect them, but to protect the public health — including the health of the jurors." [more inside]
Rising deaths among white middle-aged Americans could exceed AIDS toll in US A sharp rise in death rates among white middle-aged Americans has claimed nearly as many lives in the past 15 years as the spread of Aids in the US, researchers have said. The alarming trend, overlooked until now, has hit less-educated 45- to 54-year-olds the hardest, with no other groups in the US as affected and no similar declines seen in other rich countries. [more inside]
In the wake of Turing/Martin Shkreli's 5000x price hike of Daraprim, reaction sets in regarding the need for reasonable prices on FDA-generic drugs. [more inside]
"When protease inhibitors arrived, one era of the AIDS crisis was over. Many stories of the plague years in America end with this victory. Sometimes a coda is appended to acknowledge that the crisis itself isn’t over, referencing ongoing epidemics in Africa and, less often, in black and brown populations in America. What’s often missing from these analyses is an era that I’ve come to think of as the “footnote years” of AIDS activism: a sliver of about five years, from 1996 to 2001, in which a specific urban, queer-identified American activism played a role in changing the global response to HIV, and sought, less successfully, to use this work as a jumping-off point for a broader quest for justice."
An oral history of "Longtime Companion." The first major release movie to deal with the AIDS epidemic, 1990's Longtime Companion focuses on a group of gay friends in New York City, revisiting them one day per year starting in 1981. Bruce Davison won a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. [more inside]
Thirty two years ago this weekend, Bobbi Campbell and his partner, Bobby Hilliard appeared on the cover of Newsweek magazine, most notable because the two men, embracing, were living with AIDS. [more inside]
Alexander Chee asks: Future Queer: Where is Gay America going next?
Mr. and Mrs. B. As a young man, writer Alexander Chee served as a waiter in the house of the William F. Buckleys, and recalls the genteel madness of the Upper East Side.
Two studies published this week examine the politics of HIV in the United States and Europe and question the impact of personal responsibility. United States, HIV associated with race: "HIV is a biological phenomena and it is a behavioral phenomena, but in this day and age it is a social and structural phenomena," Perry Halkitis on a longitudinal study of MSM. The study claims Black and Hispanic men "do not appear to engage in more or riskier sexual behaviors compared with their white peers." (Reuters coverage of the study.) Europe, HIV associated with national homophobia: "Our findings suggest that rather than primarily being the result of personal failure, HIV risk is largely determined by national laws, policies, and attitudes toward homosexuality. This study shows that gay and bisexual men in homophobic countries are denied the resources, including psychological resources like open self-expression, that are necessary to stay healthy." (University Daily News coverage. ) [more inside]
But sometimes the evolving virus can unlock a response that holds HIV in check. Levy told Brothers he had a drop of luck in his blood. His white blood cells seemed to secrete tiny amounts of a substance that controls HIV. At the time, Brothers was only one of several hundred people, out of tens of millions with HIV, known to control HIV in this way. Levy believes an unidentified protein is responsible, and isolating and harnessing it might allow scientists to produce a revolutionary HIV treatment.
German magazine prints cover in HIV+ blood. In an effort to raise awareness about the recent rise in HIV infections, and combat stigma about HIV+ people, the German men's magazine Vangardist has printed the cover of its spring issue using ink infused with HIV positive blood. Or was it the whole magazine? More from Time.
Women haven't always gotten to play a big role in the scientific advancements, studies and cultural conversations concerning sexuality. […] But numerous powerful women have elbowed their way in, taking control over female sexuality and introducing innovations that actually what women want and need.[more inside]
Larry Kramer’s The American People: Volume 1: Search for My Heart: A Novel (previously) is now on the shelves. [more inside]
I kept a memory book/photo album of everyone I knew that died of AIDS. It's quite large to say the least. Who were these guys? These were the people I had planned to grow old with. They were the family I had created and wanted to spend the rest of my life with as long as humanly possible but by the time I was in my late 40's, every one of them was gone except for two dear friends of mine.Redditors share memories of having lived through the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the early eighties. [more inside]
Writer John Reed remembers growing up as a kid in New York in the 1970s, when his mother, artist Judy Rifka, was friends with queer artists like Keith Haring, Jean Michel Basquiat and David Wojnarowicz, under the lurking presence of AIDS.
Buzzfeed reports on Rock Hudson's last days, and the Reagan administration's response.
In the darkest hour of the AIDS epidemic, Ruth Coker Burks cared for hundreds of people whose families had abandoned them. Courage, love and the 30-year secret of one little graveyard in Hot Springs, Arkansas. [more inside]
Does The Handmaid's Tale hold up? , Adi Robertson for The Verge:
"A few weeks ago, I mentioned to a friend that I was in the middle of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. 'It’s like 1984 for feminists, right?' he asked. Sort of, I said. But it's a lot scarier. It's about how you'll lose every right you have, and none of the men you know will care. Then I said he would probably betray me if they froze all women's bank accounts. That was the peak of my paranoia, but it held on for several more days, as I read on the subway while half-consciously figuring out how I might theoretically escape to Canada. 1984 was for lightweights."[more inside]
Today is the 20th anniversary of the death of Pedro Zamora, the cast member of MTV's The Real World: San Francisco who was openly gay and lived with HIV. [more inside]
83 year old Chicano author John Rechy (City Of Night, The Sexual Outlaw, Rushes) talks to Lambda Literary about gay assimilation, being mistaken for white, melding truth and fiction, the post-Stonewall peroid, and hating the word 'queer.'
BuzzFeed LGBT editor Saeed Jones joins journalists Steven Thrasher and Dave Tuller to discuss sex, gay men, and what we are (and aren’t) doing. (SL Buzzfeed)
What do you do after working for Bank of America, betting against the lives of AIDS patients, becoming the financial adviser and official court jester to the King of Tonga, getting sued for embezzling and accused of massive passport fraud? You turn to creating smooth jazz, of course. The life of Jesse Bogdonoff. Previously.
This month, the US Public Health Service released (PDF) the first comprehensive clinical practice guidelines for PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) which outlines the criteria for determining a person’s HIV risk and indications for PrEP use. (PrEP FAQ) The CDC states, "When taken consistently, PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection in people who are at high risk by up to 92%. PrEP is much less effective if it is not taken consistently." The FDA's approved drug — Truvada — that was previously approved for H.I.V. treatment in 2004, is now approved it for prevention of HIV transmission. (Truvada previously) [more inside]
Why Did AIDS Ravage the U.S. More Than Any Other Developed Country?
Solving an epidemiological mystery
Solving an epidemiological mystery
To those who have read Randy Shilts' "And the Band Played On", or seen the 1993 movie, French-Canadian airline steward Gaetan Dugas is known as Patient Zero. It has been only in the past few years that the full truth about how the "Patient Zero" narrative was crafted has come out.
The idea of a Bull's thigh muscle so freaks the other young ladies at the table that one of Miss Johnson's shrimps falls out of its cocktail sauce and Miss Mendoza holds her hand over her own mouth and screams. "This muscle right here," says Miss Boyd. "Right above the knee. My God! That's my downfall."
The Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections ended on March 6 And the news coming out of it was astounding. 33 years after the first cases were described, researchers are genuinely excited about where we are and where we are going. [more inside]
Blood Brother (2013) focuses on an American man who, after initially visiting as a tourist, moved to India to volunteer at the Arias Home of HOPE, a home for HIV-positive children in Acharapakkam, near Chennai. He eventually became an Indian citizen by marriage. [more inside]
[Eleven] days ago, The New Yorker’s Daily Comment blog published an essay by Michael Specter titled “What Young Gay Men Don’t Know About Aids,” in which Specter points to the increase of “unprotected anal intercourse among gay men,” claims that “the rates of HIV infection will surely follow,” and then identifies the cause of this shift as the ignorance of my generation, who weren’t around to see the AIDS epidemic for themselves. The piece is a call to arms of sort, stating the need for increased public funding for HIV/AIDS prevention, and concludes by quoting Larry Kramer’s famous 1983 warning, “1,112 and Counting.” It’s a familiar argument—one that, in my lifetime, I have heard repeated ad nauseam and, I fear, largely misses what AIDS means to me and many other young gay men.
BuzzFeed and ProPublica report: How An HIV-Positive Man Was Sent To Prison For Having Sex — With A Condom [more inside]