Here we go–Planned Parenthood says no reason you should reveal you are HiV positive to your sex partner. Really?
I practiced in Augusta, Georgia in 1984, and some of my colleagues in Augusta were moonlighting from jobs at the Centers for Communicable Disease (CDC), so I got to quiz them on their research on this new immune deficiency disease that was rolling through the iv drug user and male homosexual community.
At one point they thought it was just a variant of the Gay Bowel Disease–chronic diarrhea and wasting from anal sex contact and infectious disease transmissions.
Then American and French researchers started chasing a virus, a retrovirus.
Randy Shilts, a very good journalist and designated homosexual advocate with the San Fran Chronicle wrote a comprehensive book on the first decade of the AIDs epidemic And the Band Played ON, (1987). It is an extremely good book on a complicated political and public health problem that was extraordinary in its effects.
To go back to the Planned Parenthood advisory that is the subject today, in Shilts’ book he tells of Gaetan Dugas, the Air Canada flight attendant promiscuous sex athlete, homosexual who traveled from coast to coast in the US and infected a a significant number of men. Most people have no idea of the sexual contacts in the lives of active male homosexuals. Like many Gaetan had sex with a large number of men, sometimes anonymous sex. He was Patient Zero (the index or primary case) for the new Immune Deficiency Disease entity epidemiologists that was eventually determined to be caused by Human immune Deficiency Virus (HIV) that when it was completely set up in a human, caused Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
Shilts told the tale that, after Gaetan got Kaposi’s Sarcoma, a particularly nasty looking skin cancer associated with what was still at the time the mysterious immune deficiency disease, he would have sex with men in the dark and then turn on the lights after to scare the daylights out of them and he would tell them he had just given them what he had.
Nice guy. Maybe he should be the Planned Parenthood spokesperson for spreading HIV? Woops, he’s dead a long time ago, Age 31, 1984. At the time of his death HIV had not been discovered.
But no better than people going to sex parties (homosexuals do have sex parties, they do, they do and they call these Circuit parties, Bareback Parties) where young initiates are asked to play, not knowing the HIV status of others at the party, sort of like Russian Roulette?
Well Shilts, who died of AIDS, was the San Fran Chronicle homosexual advocate and many of his friends died of the epidemic in those first years before retroviral agents were found and became effective.
Shilts made the effective point that the epidemic was aggravated by political cowardice on shutting down bath houses.
Deaths and the epidemic were due in great part to promiscuous sex in bath houses, and Shilts deplored the failure of public health authorities to insist on doing what was necessary to control the contagion. AIDS got special treatment even till today on reporting rules and investigations by epidemiologists.
AIDS could have been reduced in effect if not for the decision of society and politicians to treat a disease differently than other infectious diseases because of the lifestyle of the victims. That is still a problem with AIDS as exemplified by this Planned Parenthood advisory or public announcement–whatever you might want to call it.
Politics often causes bad science and bad pubic policy.
Try to make heads or tails of this Planned Parenthood release.
And remember, condoms fail. AIDS is treatable but not curable so far and some suffer horribly others are exposed to the problems of the side effects and high cost of the drugs, and the problem of transmissibility.