I don't know why I'm HIV negative while my friends and a few former lovers are not. I simply don't know. The Normal Heart doesn't answer the kinds of questions I'm asking. It does however, for me, reveal the randomness, the chance of life.
Sex became scary -- reading the obituaries in the newspaper even scarier. As I aged, I trained myself to hold on to relationships like life rafts. At least they floated, while others around me were sinking.
Who are you to call me a victim? Ever hear of the Denver Principles? In the early 1980s, a group defining themselves as the People With AIDS Caucus rejected the word "victim," and HIV-positive people still do. I am not a victim, nor is my virus a burden to me any more than it is to you.
Lesley was my closest friend to become sick in the 1980s, and he fought bravely until his death from AIDS. I will not dig up Lesley's body and beat young gay men with his corpse. Lesley did not perish so that I could use him as a scare tactic. He wasn't a cautionary tale. He wasn't a martyr.
A river of infected blood runs through Dallas Buyers Club. So too do bruises that won't heal and purple skin lesions and flakes of dry, reddened skin. And that's kind of beautiful. Because that's what AIDS looked like in 1985. I had never seen AIDS shown this way in a film.
Critics have showered Dallas Buyers Club with praise, which is good news for Focus Features and Matthew McConaughey, whose outsized performance swings for the fences. But it's bad news for LGBT history and the history of AIDS activism.
There you have it, on the record: the federal government's own top HIV prevention official, a gay man himself, admitting that homophobia at the highest levels of the U.S. government keeps gay and bisexual men from getting the targeted HIV prevention interventions they need.
The drama chronicles the dawning of AIDS activism in the wake of unconscionable political and institutional neglect. Timeless and poignant, the play's call to action is as relevant now as it was when the play debuted in 1985.
The major new opportunity that has arisen recently has been encapsulated in the term "treatment as prevention." Powerful new evidence has emerged that antiretrovirals not only can preserve the lives and the health of people with HIV but can significantly reduce the odds of new transmissions.
We went in for our test results together. It was May 1985. Still, after three years of reluctant monogamy enforced by the dread of a sex-borne plague stalking San Francisco, I feared for my lover of seven years. Christopher was younger and had been far wilder.
When I learned of Keiron's death, I made the round of calls, dutifully and with dread, to inform our friends. If you're lucky, you never become skilled at telling people that your mutual friend has died. A few days later we were all assembled at Keiron's memorial service.
Just like in any battle, some of the long-term survivors of HIV can sometimes hold a bit of resentment toward those who avoided the worst part of the fight. And this sentiment is quite understandable. The early days of HIV are comparable to very few other epidemics in modern history.
It is remarkable how little has been done to dispel myths about HIV-positive people. Changing these perceptions is one key to wiping out HIV. Meanwhile, the HIV-positive community, now numbering almost 2 million in the U.S., continues to grow every year by 50,000 people.
On Sept. 18 the United States government observes National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day. On such an occasion one is left to ponder whether the aging of the HIV-positive population is a cause for celebration. Is this day intended to be a celebration?
Despite the promise of its beginning, the novel falters in its lack of character depth and development, ultimately pinning the novel's success on the glib lives of six New Yorkers who occupy a bubble separate from the city's racial and socioeconomic diversity.