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Author Topic: Where are we headed?  (Read 2244 times)

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Offline Moffie65

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Where are we headed?
« on: December 11, 2008, 06:08:56 PM »
Oh how I wish I didn’t have HIV, both in my body and in my heart.  Having the virus in one’s body isn’t too hard to imagine, but in your heart?  Yes, I have for years been an HIV educator and activist, not unlike many members of this website.

Lately, both here and in my work, I have noticed that many of the people who are newly infected are straight, or heterosexual.  What an incredible struggle this must be for you who are straight.  For almost 30 years now, you have been told by most everyone that this is a “Gay”, “Injection Drug User”, “Hemophiliac” or “Sex Worker” disease, and you are not part of any “Risk Group”, and you believed it.  It allowed you to create stigmas to the disease, and few ever challenged your rightful conclusions that this virus was not only virulent, but intelligent, and was surely God’s punishment on the undesirable fringes of the society world wide. 

Meanwhile, the disease was spreading, killing, challenging science, and generally screwing up health care delivery systems all over the globe.  Globally, it was no secret that the disease was, and always has been, predominantly a straight disease, simply because the numbers of people, who actually are part of the fringes of society, were simply not enough to quantify as the main infected.  There simply aren’t enough of these groups to become the dominant reason for the spread of the disease. 

We are now living in a different time, and while the majority of straight people on the planet were going about their business, not caring a twit about protecting themselves from the gay or druggie disease, and spreading the virus at an alarming rate of infection;  we, who were infected and affected, spent countless hours, days, months and years, making sure that everyone on the planet got the message that this disease is caused by a viral protein that neither has a brain, or anything, outside the compunction to multiply.  Now, suddenly we are finding more and more of you are coming into care with advanced disease, which suggests that many of you have been infected for years and didn’t know it.

What I find astounding is that one of the current world wide problems we are facing is the obvious stigma which the straight world created, and they now are forced to face and try to deal with.  Funny, how the message changes when you are forced by your own lack of attention to now walk in my gay shoes.  How do they fit?  I know there are hundreds of straight people on this very forum that are straight and coping with their disease handsomely, yet many are certainly not.

I have seen more and more straight men in this very forum who are totally incapable of seeing that their own lack of attention to the common knowledge of HIV, and their own sense of invincibility have brought them here to vent and cry out about the women who caused their infection.  Many of you have accepted the responsibility for your infections, which then sets you up to live on and learn about the disease, which of course is the mature and masculine thing to do.  Only when we accept our infections, and accept the responsibility for our frivolous actions of the past, are we then capable of taking on the “life-long” struggle with this virus.

Many of you have blindly gone forward, ignoring the very actions that will help you deal with HIV, and just shrug it off by saying “Some day there will be a cure, so I’m not worried about it”.  “After all, it has now become a Chronic Manageable Disease”.

I will admit, that if you live in a country that embraces HAART in their Health Service Delivery, most times the disease is just that, and for many, it will not be a disease that will in the end, kill you.  Ahhh, but for many on the planet, disease management is a truly elusive goal.   So, here we go again, trying to re-create science and make a very deadly virus into something it is not, and therefore giving us a certain sense of security that if we take our medicines, we will live for a very long time.   I won’t be arrogant enough to argue the fact that we now have it better, but when I see thread that discusses the question if HIV is no longer a terminal disease; I begin to see a dangerous precedent being set.  Who of you want to accept this message from the people that manufacture the drugs, and then make sure that everyone on the globe will have enough of the right medications that will sustain their lives?  Who of you will dig deep to make sure I never run out of medications and will supply the current $52,000 that it takes to pay for my medications annually?

You know, it is one thing to understand the politics of HIV/AIDS globally, but it is quite another thing to make sure that everyone in Siberia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, India and most of Africa and every other country on the planet are going to be supplied enough medications for life, yet we spend countless hours arguing whether or not HIV is still a deadly disease.  Take away the supply line of medications and we end up back to the future, and back to the bloody and disgusting series of deaths I witnessed in the late ‘70’s, ‘80’s, ‘90’s and up to last week.

Damnit, wake up please, this disease is so easy to NOT get, and yet people come here daily and ask questions about becoming infected, and yet the knowledge of how one becomes infected has been global for a good 25 years.   

Yes, HIV is deadly, yes there is no cure, yes it is both easy and difficult to get, and yes, once you have it, current science being the rule; you will have HIV when you die!

Take responsibility for your disease, and move forward.  If you have friends who are HIV-, help them learn to take care not to become infected.  Damnit, the whole world will become infected if we allow the world to keep on going with the current level of infections, and current level of ignorance and apathy.  Who needs to be in a world of that much misery and that much fear? 


Thanks for letting me vent.
The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals,
and 362 to heterosexuals.
This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
Lynn Lavne

Online mecch

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Re: Where are we headed?
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2008, 08:12:48 PM »
Interesting perspective.  Since I tend to be a bit western - occidentally biased, I imagine that HIV is a heterosexual epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa, China, Russia, etc.
I was just wondering if you could share some statistics on it changing into an increasingly heterosexual epidemic in Europe, or the USA. Thanks.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline anniebc

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Re: Where are we headed?
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2008, 08:38:04 PM »
Hi Mecch

I don't have any info on Europe or the US, but here in NZ there are more hetrosexuals being diagnosed than ever before.

Hugs
Jan :-*
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Never knock on deaths door..ring the bell and run..he really hates that.

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Where are we headed?
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2008, 09:00:53 PM »
And you'd be surprised how heterosexual it is in Philadelphia.  Heterosexual contact outnumbers both homosexual and IV drug use cases.   Only 1/3 are homosexuals and 13% are IV drug users.
"I’ve slept with enough men to know that I’m not gay"

Offline Moffie65

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Re: Where are we headed?
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2008, 10:49:06 PM »
Mecch,
Interesting that you are asking for statistics and data, when the OP stated in the second paragraph that it is my observation, and not data. 

Today I had a very interesting conversation with my HIV nurse, who told me straight up that nearly all of the recent infections in the Tucson VA are straight, and both men and women. 

To ask for epidemiological data at this time is really not an easy answer, due to the recent confession of the CDC to the shear inadequacy of their own data gathering.  Considering that the last 8 years have been sparsely funded for the CDC, and the fact that they have been using the HIV monies for their slush funds for parties and dinners; exacting data will not follow for many years.  Also it is important to note that CDC data is always two years late in publishing, so their data seems to be a bit irrelevant to the "current" observations in my personal work and the work of others here in this forum.  Jan is very deeply involved on a national level in New Zealand, so her observations should not be overlooked either.  Obviously Philly is very deeply involved in his location also. 

As this thread evolves, I will be very interested in finding out just how many of the membership have also noticed the same pattern.

Thanks for asking, but I think the second paragraph of the OP stands for itself.
The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals,
and 362 to heterosexuals.
This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
Lynn Lavne

Offline komnaes

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Re: Where are we headed?
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2008, 11:07:20 PM »
I wouldn't relay on just statistics.. or in order to get the fuller picture, the health care policy makers need also to change their mindsets.

One point I think has never been emphasized enough is that the gay community has always been very active in the educational effects - almost every bars you go to in Hong Kong for example will have some flyers, etc on HIV. You hardly see any in straight bars. And there are campaigns to urge people to test and even free anonymous tests in saunas.

I have never seen anyone making the effort to find out the difference between gays and straights on taking the initiative to test. Also, do policy makers even bother to find out among those tested late (i.e. not found out until a serious OI has occurred and only then a test was carried out), how many of them are straights.

There are of course many gay men with an active (and sometimes risky) sex life that continuously refuse to get tested, despite knowing full well of their risk level, but my experiences so far have always been that straight HIVers often find out their status not through their own initiative. Either it's the result of low awareness of their risk, or the shame and stigma that HIV is been seen as a gay virus, both of much are results of years of stigmatization of AIDS being a gay disease.

My two cents... and thanks Moffie for your "vent"... :-*
Aug 07 Diagnosed
Oct 07 CD4=446(19%) Feb 08 CD4=421(19%)
Jun 08 CD4=325(22%) Jul 08 CD4=301(18%)
Sep 08 CD4=257/VL=75,000 Oct 08 CD4=347(16%)
Dec 08 CD4=270(16%)
Jan 09 CD4=246(13%)/VL=10,000
Feb 09 CD4=233(15%)/VL=13,000
Started meds Sustiva/Epzicom
May 09 CD4=333(24%)/VL=650
Aug 09 CD4=346(24%)/VL=UD
Nov 09 CD4=437(26%)/VL=UD
Feb 10 CD4=471(31%)/VL=UD
June 10 CD4=517 (28%)/VL=UD
Sept 10 CD4=687 (31%)/VL=UD
Jan 11 CD4=557 (30%)/VL=UD
April 11 CD4=569 (32%)/VL=UD
Switched to Epizcom, Reyataz and Norvir
(Interrupted for 2 months with only Epizcom & Reyataz)
July 11 CD=520 (28%)/VL=UD
Oct 11 CD=771 (31%)/VL=UD(<30)
April 12 CD=609 (28%)/VL=UD(<20)
Aug 12 CD=657 (29%)/VL=UD(<20)
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May 13 CD=567 (31%)/VL=UD(<20)
Jan 14 CD=521 (21%)/VL=UD(<50)

Offline skeebo1969

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Re: Where are we headed?
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2008, 11:44:32 PM »


   Being one of the few straight male members who frequent this board, I must say this post kind of strikes a nerve.  Of course Tim, if I've learned one thing, it is that you will never tone down your feelings on any subject for anyone, you shouldn't have to, and  I can sincerely respect that. 

  I think before I can offer any response I need to think this one through. 

 
I despise the song Love is in the Air, you should too.

Offline Oceanbeach

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Re: Where are we headed?
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2008, 02:50:50 AM »
Hey Mecch,

Here is some data from Sonoma County, which is said to mirror the infection rates across the country.  Having served on the Commission on AIDS, we were given a short version which listed the number of new infections each year.  Those statistics pointed out:
1.  Married women in a monogamous relationship, over 40 years in age and no reported history of drug abuse.
2.  Hispanic men and their wives
3.  Afro American men
4.  Gay and Bi-sexual men

www.sonoma-county.org/health/ph/hiv/pdf/r_epi_010630.pdf  I don't have the ability to draw the same conclusions from this report but the high risk groups 1 thru 4 has been discussed in the Commission on AIDS meetings, I think page 13.  Ellen S., a Health Information Officer with the County of Sonoma and the current Director of the COA had said, it was time to start rethinking sex with her husband.  ;D  Have the best day
Michael
« Last Edit: December 12, 2008, 02:55:30 AM by Sonomabeach »

Offline Punxsie

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Re: Where are we headed?
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2008, 05:05:47 AM »
Hey Moffie65.

very spot on. As an aged middle aged mainly het-ish female I had not educated myself until a dear family gay friend was diagnosed as pos. Demonstrates the/my/our arrogance completely. The het world needs to get real very quickly.

Offline Moffie65

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Re: Where are we headed?
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2008, 07:10:04 AM »

  Being one of the few straight male members who frequent this board, I must say this post kind of strikes a nerve.  Of course Tim, if I've learned one thing, it is that you will never tone down your feelings on any subject for anyone, you shouldn't have to, and I can sincerely respect that. 

  I think before I can offer any response I need to think this one through. 

Thomas, Thank you for checking in.

I want to first off, state that this post had nothing to do with feelings of mine, other than feelings of amazement and impatience with the current trends.  Other than that, the things I have stated are observations of the spread of the disease here in Arizona, and the western United States in the last couple of years.  If you would ask any of the activists on this site, I would suspect that they would also concur that they have noticed the same thing in their home districts. 

Outside of the fact that this disease has always been hands down a straight disease globally, many of us have known for years that this was going to be the natural evolution of the pandemic domestically.  I only wish we were wrong in our observations and truly the heterosexual world would have taken care to keep it confined to our subcultures.

If the facts be known, I would say you are a member of an increasing slice of the membership here, and not one of the few.

By the way, how is you health these days Thomas?


Punxie. Welcome to the forums, and thanks for your observations, and comments.
The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals,
and 362 to heterosexuals.
This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
Lynn Lavne

Offline David_CA

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  • Joined: March 2006
Re: Where are we headed?
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2008, 08:37:07 AM »
I remember talking to a lady from the NC Department of Health when I was diagnosed back in March '06.  I'd been listed as a contact by another recent diagnosee who had tested positive for HIV and syphilis.  Evidently, there has been a significant rise, in our area, of incidents of both in gay men.  I don't have numbers, or any other data, but just the observations of an individual who has to meet with newly diagnosed folks day-to-day.  I'm not saying that there are not more heterosexual people diagnosed but just commenting on what she said.  Personally, I can think of a quite a few guys I've met in person and online who were all diagnosed around the same time as hubby and I were.  2006 seems to have been a bad year for HIV in our area.

David
Black Friday 03-03-2006
03-23-06 CD4 359 @27.4% VL 75,938
06-01-06 CD4 462 @24.3% VL > 100,000
08-15-06 CD4 388 @22.8% VL >  "
10-21-06 CD4 285 @21.9% VL >  "
  Atripla started 12-01-2006
01-08-07 CD4 429 @26.8% VL 1872!
05-08-07 CD4 478 @28.1% VL 740
08-03-07 CD4 509 @31.8% VL 370
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02-21-08 CD4 648 @32.4% VL 600
05-19-08 CD4 695 @33.1% VL < 48 undetectable!
08-21-08 CD4 725 @34.5%
11-11-08 CD4 672 @39.5%
02-11-09 CD4 773 @36.8%
05-11-09 CD4 615 @36.2%
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11-19-09 CD4 944 @33.7%
02-17-10 CD4 678 @39.9%  
06-03-10 CD4 768 @34.9%
09-21-10 CD4 685 @40.3%
01-10-11 CD4 908 @36.3%
05-23-11 CD4 846 @36.8% VL 80
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You must be the change you want to see in the world.  Mahatma Gandhi

Online mecch

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Re: Where are we headed?
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2008, 08:54:33 AM »
And you'd be surprised how heterosexual it is in Philadelphia.  Heterosexual contact outnumbers both homosexual and IV drug use cases.   Only 1/3 are homosexuals and 13% are IV drug users.

Thanks for the stats. Thats very surprising indeed (to me at least). Pity there isn't more education to prevent this virus from spreading further.  Maybe more hetero poz people should talk about it publically.  I've told quite a few straight friends about my recent infection.  They seem more willing to discuss HIV then my gay friends.  I get judgments from my gay friends.  However, maybe the hets are more willing to discuss because they aren't aware HIV is a real threat for their hetero friends and lifestyles, as well.  I think the gays judge not from wanting to hurt, but from displaced fear.

So, speaking about the wealthy western context, I'm not sure the socially/politically liberal straight community maintains a lot of stigma about HIV --
"What I find astounding is that one of the current world wide problems we are facing is the obvious stigma which the straight world created, and they now are forced to face and try to deal with." -- but I do agree that they may not want to discuss hiv in their own community.  And now since tritherapy has somewhat lessoned the fear and panic in the gay community (in the wealthy western context) I daresay the gay community creates its own stigmas in the last few years about those who seroconvert now. ("should've known better, you irresponsible ______ (fill in with appropriate label - sex pig, meth addict, whatever....")
There was an insane comment along those lines in these threads, recently, about a HAART trial in LA - someone said only dysfunctional gayboy addicts were trying to get into it, to get the money for drugs!
« Last Edit: December 12, 2008, 09:26:04 AM by mecch »
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline skeebo1969

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Re: Where are we headed?
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2008, 09:04:56 AM »


   Generally when I hear the word "vent" I think of the things stemming from: anger, frustration, and/or disappointment.  I agree with much that is said, I guess I just take exception with how certain things were presented.  There is  a condescending air concerning particular points in your vent that I feel just causes  dissention amongst heteros and gays in the HIV community we have here.  I mean this is directed at the hetero people here in the forums by a gay man with a HaHa how does it feel now approach.

  I've experienced the feeling this thread gives me before though.  All my wives, girlfriends, and all but one friend are black.  Whether it's a family get together, a holiday, hanging out on the corner back in the day with friends, or as in my case the birth of my first daughter, I have had to hear something or another regarding whites or worse yet put crackas.   They know I'm there, they know I love them, I didn't do nothing.  I did not take part in enhancing the hatred you have for my skin color.   See there were times I would say something and then wisely, there were times I just kept my mouth shut.  You better damn make sure those people really love you if you are going to speak up.  Other wise you might be in store for a beat down, or the ever so lovely kicked to sleep routine.

Some of these instances were not always clear to me though, causing me to question my own feelings and perhaps coming to the conclusion that it's my shit.  That's kind of where I stand with your initial post in this thread...  It may just be my shit and no offense taken if anyone wants to tell me so.  I'm not angry about it, just a little indifferent I suppose.


    Outside of my two failed marriages of 4 and 10 years respectively I always tested every 6 months.  While I admit I might of been a minority in the hetero world who tested regularly, I don't think I was the only one.

   I witnessed the whole Rock Hudson ordeal over the news as a preteen and it was just a few short years later that I witnessed what this whole stigma thing was about.   I had a friend in high school,  one day  his sister approached him in the halls and started speaking Creole to him.  See the thing is Joseph did not want people knowing he was Haitian because the media had basically informed the public at the time that this whole thing started with them.  I did not witness what exactly happened, all I know is Joseph slapped his sister after feeling he had been exposed in front of everyone, went home and committed suicide.

  To be honest I was in tune early on once correct information about this disease started becoming public knowledge.  This of course after the scientific world finally figured out how this bug was transmitted.  I just don't like condoms simply put.  I admit it's a faulty way to go, as you can see, but I just don't like them and I never will.  I am willing to use them, yes..... but do I want to? No...

  You know what I just lost my fucking train of thought :( :(..  Holy shit!
 

   

   
I despise the song Love is in the Air, you should too.

Offline Moffie65

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Re: Where are we headed?
« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2008, 09:22:03 AM »
Thank you Thomas for your comments, however I stand by my content, and do not apologise for anything in the OP.  It may sound like I am taking on a "so there" attitude to you, but that was not the intent, nor the reality of the written words.  If I really were presenting the way you have stated, I wouldn't care a twit about the recent rise of infections in the straight community, and I think the last few paragraphs explicitly express that.
The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals,
and 362 to heterosexuals.
This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
Lynn Lavne

Offline skeebo1969

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Re: Where are we headed?
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2008, 09:26:56 AM »


  OK understood...
I despise the song Love is in the Air, you should too.

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Where are we headed?
« Reply #15 on: December 12, 2008, 11:01:16 AM »
Thanks for the stats. Thats very surprising indeed (to me at least). Pity there isn't more education to prevent this virus from spreading further.  Maybe more hetero poz people should talk about it publically.  I've told quite a few straight friends about my recent infection.  They seem more willing to discuss HIV then my gay friends.  I get judgments from my gay friends.  However, maybe the hets are more willing to discuss because they aren't aware HIV is a real threat for their hetero friends and lifestyles, as well.  I think the gays judge not from wanting to hurt, but from displaced fear.

I think we should keep in mind that, at least in Philadelphia, the heterosexual infections are by and large confined to the non-white, low income portion of the population.  Unfortunately this makes it easier to overlook both in the media and in the larger heterosexual population (read: white).  And we're talking about one of the larger areas in the US of HIV infection, as it's often overlooked that Philadelphia is the 5th largest metropolitan area in the country at ~6.4 million.

You will find similar numbers reflected in the entire Boston-Washington corridor, and this area represents 1/6 of the entire US population.  Infection rates are even more startling in DC proper -- they have the highest rate of AIDS in the entire country, and the biggest increases are gay black men aged 13 to 24.  128 cases per 100,000 compared with 14 cases per 100,000 national rate, with most not being diagnosed until the disease has advanced to AIDS.  Still, while the largest infection increase are gay black men, heterosexuals still make up the largest segment of total cases (37%). source

More and more HIV in the US is about poverty and race, not gay men.  Unfortunately this same demographic has the least voice politically.  We should always be mindful that HIV was initially attacked by gay white men, who while socially marginalized at the time still had a significant voice due to income.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2008, 11:10:05 AM by Miss Philicia »
"I’ve slept with enough men to know that I’m not gay"

Offline franfrog

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Re: Where are we headed?
« Reply #16 on: December 12, 2008, 01:30:37 PM »
Tim
I always love your posts.  Very insightful!
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Offline MarcoPoz

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Re: Where are we headed?
« Reply #17 on: December 12, 2008, 01:45:02 PM »
I'm one of the few straight men who post to this board too.  I tested positive in 1991 in the military.  At that place and time it was almost unheard of to see a straight guy with HIV who didn't inject drugs.  I dealt with waves of homophobia and assumptions from every place imaginable.

Something very important happend during this time.  I was about an inch from killing myself when a friend noticed and told me to get my a$$ to a 'group' and deal with my crap.  I went.  I was the only straight guy.  I expected more of the same questioning, laughing, discounting me etc etc.  Instead, these men opened up to me, accepted me and began teaching me how to live each day with HIV.

I'm glad that for some lucky reason, I was able to hear them.

Many are dead now.  I will always love and honor the men of my group from TPAN in Chicago.  They really put me back together and helped me understand that now I had a choice:  Be a whinny crybaby victim and off myself---or learn how to become the man I always wanted to be.  The latter was said to take much more courage and strength then they thought I had shown at that time.

I've leaned that HIV is part of me in many ways.  Most simply, its part of my sexual life.  As the 'man' I wanted to become--I choose to do what I think makes sense---to NOT pass HIV to another person.  I want HIV to stop with me.

Many of us straight guys who become HIV positive go through a mindfu*@ that we probably never expected.  I hope my brothers can follow a shorter arc than I did and deal positively with HIV sooner--not pass it to anyone, and open themselves to alll who can teach them.

It's my hope that somehow, someway, I'll be able to honor the Gay men, Heroin users, T-Girls and Tricks who loved me enough to save my life.   

Offline Moffie65

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  • Living POZ since 1983
Re: Where are we headed?
« Reply #18 on: December 12, 2008, 10:30:22 PM »
Fran, thanks for checking in, and I'm glad you enjoyed this one.

Marco, you are doing very well with your infection, at least in the ownership of it.  I really think that was my main drive in creating this thread, to help people see that the only way to a victorious life with HIV is to own your virus, and accept it's presence in your body.  Then hopefully move on and grow with our lives accordingly. 

I am just so sad that it had to come to this, but I guess only history will be able to reflect the incredible depth of this pandemic globally.
The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals,
and 362 to heterosexuals.
This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
Lynn Lavne

 


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