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View Diary: Serophobia, or, Giving in to "Temptation" (166 comments)

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  •  Why someone as incapable of thought (12+ / 0-)

    as Tyler Perry has such an obsessive urge to deliver moral messages is, well, beyond me.

    His entertainments are of the lowest, crudest sort -- gags strung together with little concern for coherent plots or, for that matter, messages.

    And while I'm at it, let me add something to the diarist's first point: Everyone has the same right to unprotected consensual adult sex.  Everyone.  Gay couples just as much as bona fide blessed-by-God-and-State married heterosexual couples.  At the same time, nobody has the right to transmit potentially deadly viruses.   People obsess over the second point while choosing to ignore the first one (and yes, I'm talking to you too, Larry Kramer).  

    The fact that so little in the way of money and other resources is devoted to finding a vaccine and a cure continues to speak volumes -- none of it good -- about our society.  But heck, protease inhibitors continue to allow the pharmaceutical corporations to rake in the big bucks, so from their perspective it's all good.

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 10:09:09 AM PDT

    •  I'm with you all the way. (11+ / 0-)

      This is a point that so many people, including lots of gay men, just don't get:

      And while I'm at it, let me add something to the diarist's first point: Everyone has the same right to unprotected consensual adult sex.  Everyone.  Gay couples just as much as bona fide blessed-by-God-and-State married heterosexual couples.  At the same time, nobody has the right to transmit potentially deadly viruses.   People obsess over the second point while choosing to ignore the first one (and yes, I'm talking to you too, Larry Kramer).
      I very much appreciate everything Kramer has done in terms of activism, but he's a champion of fear-based prevention and a black and white thinker when it comes to talking about risk behavior among gay men.  As sfbob says above, the reasons people engage in risk behavior are extremely complex, a fact that Kramer steadfastly refuses to acknowledge.  

      The other problem people such as Kramer have is that they devalue physical intimacy between gay men.  Their focus on HIV makes them look at gay men's natural desires as pathological.  What they don't see is that the desires are normal and healthy; the only thing pathological is the presence of HIV.

      "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

      by FogCityJohn on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 10:22:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In all fairness, Kramer saw lots of friends die. (9+ / 0-)

        On the other hand, even a cursory reading of his Faggots shows that a b&w moralist was always lurking just below the surface in him.

        Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

        by corvo on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 10:28:07 AM PDT

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        •  I know he did. (14+ / 0-)

          Kramer is himself HIV+ and is a long-term survivor.  I give guys like him huge credit for creating the much more humane world in which people like me live today.  

          But despite my appreciation for his writing and activism, I just can't agree with his harsh, unforgiving assessments of his gay brothers.  Like everyone else, we're only human.  Love, desire, and passion will lead us to do things that are unwise.  That's just the human condition.  It's not a peculiarly gay moral defect.

          "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

          by FogCityJohn on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 10:36:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  That b&w moralist was front and center (10+ / 0-)

          It was apparent to me even when I was a young man reading the book for the first time. I re-read it not long ago. It didn't hold up very well. As talented a fellow as Kramer is you would think he could do better.

          Back when the book was first published, other gay male novelists shunned him. I've been told (by some of them) that it was in part because his book was making money while their books were not, and I've been told that it was because he pulled the covers on aspects of New York's gay male culture of the 1970's that many would have preferred not to expose to the general public. But it does seem to me that Kramer's rather pointed finger-wagging was part of the issue as well.

          •  Moralizing makes money. (6+ / 0-)

            I'm not going to impute improper motives to Kramer, because I think he honestly believes what he's writing, but it strikes me that he could make money by issuing moral judgments about gay men simply because that's exactly what straight society (and far too many gays) wanted to hear.  It's a message that fits in perfectly with the "HIV is punishment" idea, and it's one that allows people to feel comfortable with their homophobia, since they can say, "See, those irresponsible gays brought this on themselves."

            I find the whole idea very deeply disturbing.

            "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

            by FogCityJohn on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 11:02:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I distinctly remember, when a friend came out, (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FogCityJohn, corvo, LucyandByron

              thinking that HIV was the only thing he needed to worry about beyond simple bullying. Because of course that was all anyone at school or church talked about happening - simple no-physical-scars bullying and the dangers of HIV.

              Not what the guy three pews over saying 'amen' to every vaguely homophobic statement in a sermon in our no-audible-reactions-ever church might be willing to do to him on a dark evening. And not that the anti-HIV drug regimens were actually getting fairly dependable at the time all this talk was going on in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

              Thanks to the moralizing, I had the risks he really faced completely flipped in my head.

              Prayers and best wishes to those in Boston, in Texas, and for this week to be over without anything else happening.

              by Cassandra Waites on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 01:54:51 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Well, in all fairness, (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FogCityJohn, slksfca, commonmass

            he wrote better than most of those Violet Quill guys.  

            Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

            by corvo on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 11:46:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I must respectfully disagree (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              corvo, FogCityJohn, slksfca, commonmass

              Some of them are excellent writers; others might have become excellent writers had they not passed away too soon.

              I find Kramer's writing in Faggots to be clunky, dated and generally obnoxious. I don't think it read all that well even in 1978 when it was published, which is probably why it became a best-seller but you would think someone capable of garnering an Academy Award nomination for a movie script ("Women in Love") and who later went on to write a couple of terrific plays would be a better fiction writer.

              •  De gustibus etc. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                FogCityJohn, slksfca, commonmass

                But I do draw the line at Ferro (appalling self-worship) and early Edmund White (pretentious stylistic failures).  :-)

                Holleran ain't half bad, although his desolation has to be taken in small doses.

                I'll admit that Faggots reads as if it had been written in one sitting, and that citing it doesn't set the bar terribly high.

                Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

                by corvo on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 12:28:00 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  I heartily agree (14+ / 0-)

      People often forget that having sex with a condom is an adaptive behavior, where having sex without one is the normative behavior, and has been since the very first humans.

      Often when prevention work considers this, they think about it backwards -- that condom sex is the norm and they look for the reasons why people "fail" to use condoms, and not think about it as the reasons people would choose to use them as an adaptive, learned behavior.   Typically the "failures to comply" are reduced to judgements about intelligence "you are too smart to do that," or morality, "you fucked up and did a bad thing."

      Last point, there is research being done now in the field of gene therapy, which to sum up something complicated in a sentence, involves taking the t-cells out of your body, and genetically changing them to be immune to HIV, and then placing them back in your body.  If successful, an HIV positive person will never need medications again.   I believe this is being done by a company called Sangamo.

      I was approached about being in this study but my platelet count was too low.

      We have the elite, smart people on our side.

      by fearisthemindkiller on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 12:04:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  One Million Imaginary Recs for this: (10+ / 0-)
        Often when prevention work considers this, they think about it backwards -- that condom sex is the norm and they look for the reasons why people "fail" to use condoms, and not think about it as the reasons people would choose to use them as an adaptive, learned behavior.   Typically the "failures to comply" are reduced to judgements about intelligence "you are too smart to do that," or morality, "you fucked up and did a bad thing."
        EXACTLY!  All men, whether they are straight or gay, have trouble adhering to condom use.  This has been true since condoms were invented.  Rather than recognizing this, though, prevention work tries to tell us things that contradict ordinary experience.  Condoms are supposed to be "fun" or "sexy."  Almost entirely missing is the fact that most guys don't experience them that way.  Condom use requires a conscious, non-spontaneous decision that is made during the middle of a sex act, and the condom will reduce physical sensation, to say nothing of the psychological messages it sends.

        Not surprisingly, guys who don't like condoms get the message that there must be something wrong with them for not liking them.  This can lead them to go underground with their behavior, because they don't want to deal with the disapproval they'll get if they admit to difficulty with condom use.  

        We'd do a lot better if we owned up to the facts about condoms and then tried to find better ways to get guys to adhere to this adaptive behavior.  Fear-based messages just aren't cutting it.

        "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

        by FogCityJohn on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 12:13:53 PM PDT

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        •  Yes, beacuse while putting a condom on a bananna (6+ / 0-)

          using your mouth is good for some giggles, it's not likely to do much to counter act several million years of evolution that has favored and necessitated the exchange of body fluids.

          We use sex, after all, as means to experience our own humanity and it can be one of the most pleasurable ways to enjoy being human.  I'll speak for myself, doing it with a rubber was not as enjoyable.  I know I am supposed to say that it is just as good, but that does not reflect the truth of my own experience, and I am guessing I'm not alone in that.  

          Yes, that has been the source of a tremendous amount of shame, and back in my early 20's I made terrible choices in regards to drugs and bad lifestyle.  It wasn't until after sero-converting and learning how to be openly Poz and comfortable with that fact that I got my act together with no more recreational drugs, eating healthy, and staying up with my Doctor visits.  A large part of how I got to be OK with being Poz was being able to have enjoyable (non condom) sex with other Poz guys -- enjoying sex without the shame, guilt, or fear of HIV infection was liberating, and it was not possible for me while I was negative.

          I wish they had made PREP available 10 years ago, that might have worked for me.  I'm hopeful though.  I'm told to expect to live my full life span and to plan for retirement, so I'm going to keep eating healthy, taking care of myself, and look forward to my non-sequestered Social Security one day ; )  

          We have the elite, smart people on our side.

          by fearisthemindkiller on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 12:31:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  They tell me that on average (8+ / 0-)

            we can expect to live 45 years or so after beginning meds. So I'll be going until I reach my 90's.

            By the way I appreciate your candor regarding, well, lots of things obviously but particularly when it comes to condomless sex with other positive guys. Some things are difficult to have reasonable conversations about.

            •  Thanks (9+ / 0-)

              Those of us on borrowed time get to be candid ;)

              Kidding aside, that's 45 years in which the possibility of real and significant improvement in treatment, including gene therapy and other "functional cures" have a high likelihood.

              There's already an improved one a day medication, like Atripla, but with less side effects.  I know someone who started on it and went to undetectable in two weeks.

              The biggest threat to my health right now is Republicans and their fucking Austerity.

              We have the elite, smart people on our side.

              by fearisthemindkiller on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 12:43:44 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  There is that possibility (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                FogCityJohn, corvo, Cassandra Waites

                Though I've seen mixed reviews on the newest multiple treatment; I believe it's called Stribild. It includes Viread which I am no longer able to tolerate; apparently the latest study (there was a diary here about it a couple of weeks ago) noted a fairly high potential for kidney damage which is precisely why I went off of Viread.

                •  And it's expensive too. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  corvo, Cassandra Waites

                  I've heard different things, but Stribild costs somewhere between $28,000 and $34,000 for a year's supply.  

                  OT:  I may have to go off of Truvada because of kidney problems.  Do you mind telling me what drug you were switched to?  I'm seeing the doctor tomorrow.

                  "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

                  by FogCityJohn on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 02:08:40 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Currently... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    FogCityJohn

                    I'm only on Sustiva and Isentress. This is somewhat atypical I know (my doctor is famous for her unusual treatment regimens). I'll get new numbers in a few weeks; we've talked about possibly adding Maraviroc.

                    •  My doc is talking about Epzicom. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      corvo

                      I'm a little nervous about switching regimens.  I've been doing really well on this one, with the exception of this kidney issue.  Guess I'll find out tomorrow how serious it is and whether Epzicom is even an option.  Some people have bad reactions to it.

                      "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

                      by FogCityJohn on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 03:03:04 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  A combo of Ziagen and Epivir (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        FogCityJohn, corvo

                        Epivir is a very old medication, originally called 3TC. I was taken off of Ziagen simultaneously with Viread. I'm not entirely sure why my doctor did that but then again I'd been taking it for quite some time (though not as long as I've been on Sustiva). It may not be compatible with Isentress.

                        Here is some info about Epzicom.

          •  You're certainly not alone. (4+ / 0-)

            I wish more people felt comfortable saying this out loud:

            We use sex, after all, as means to experience our own humanity and it can be one of the most pleasurable ways to enjoy being human.  I'll speak for myself, doing it with a rubber was not as enjoyable.  I know I am supposed to say that it is just as good, but that does not reflect the truth of my own experience, and I am guessing I'm not alone in that.
            Admitting the sex with a condom isn't as good does not mean you can't advocate condom use as a means of prevention.  It also doesn't mean that you don't use condoms.  I don't like them, but on those (unfortunately rather rare) occasions that I have sex, I always use them.  We'd be a lot better off just admitting the fact that there are a lot of perfectly understandable reasons why men don't particularly care for condoms and then designing condom use strategies around those facts.  Making guys feel abnormal or inadequate for preferring condom-free sex isn't helping anyone.

            "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

            by FogCityJohn on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 12:50:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Also, speaking of condoms, (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FogCityJohn, commonmass

              there are better and worse ones.  Latex just isn't a very good option, actually.

              Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

              by corvo on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 12:58:05 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I prefer it to the others. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                corvo, commonmass

                The other ones are made out of some kind of substance that's not as flexible and so they're less comfortable.  But as you said elsewhere, de gustibus, etc.

                "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

                by FogCityJohn on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 01:02:56 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

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