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December 27, 2003

blood, sports and HIV

I've been uninspired in terms of blog entries lately, perhaps because there's not much going on, which is a good thing. I'm just enjoying the quiet time around the house, working out and playing computer games. I'll probably go out tonight to celebrate my birthday into tomorrow though. I'm waay behind on movies, and wanted to see that Tim burton Fish movie, and of course LOTR. Just an added note: who was geeking out big time when the first LOTR movie came out? Just a reminder of who is always ahead of the curve on blockbuster geek movies.

I've always wanted to write an op-ed piece for the Washington Blade, as you know I have my opinions. However you usually have to be right on top of the subject and get the piece out quickly. I've been a little peeved by the statements made by Cirque du Soliel about firing their HIV+ aerialist. They now state that they are in fact willing to retain HIV+ employees as dishwashers and assistants.

I guess their ignorant assumption is that HIV transmission is possible from extended physical contact in acrobatic positions, and that cuts and other such potential transmissions is less likely in the dishwashing profession. I can tell you that I've cut myself just as much washing dishes at restraunts as I have cut myself playing rugby. When your hands are wet and soft and you're washing big knives and cleavers, it can get pretty gory.

Furthermore, our mostly gay team the Washington Renegades have been playing in the local mostly-straight Potomac Rugby Union for four years now, with no similar reactions from the straight teams in the union as Cirque du Soleil has espoused. I suppose it's a fallacy of an argument to compare rugby to the circus, but here I go.

We can assume there are HIV+ rugby players on our team, and possibly on the other teams as well. Rugby players, especially forwards, are in close contact throughout the 80-minute match. And we bleed a lot. Like totally spurting and gushing, and I have the scars to prove it. When we entered the local union, some concern was raised, and resonable measures were taken to address the concerns of HIV transmission in the sport. The referees will take an excessively bleeding player out of the match until his bleeding is staunched. No known cases of HIV transmission have occured due to rugby-related injuries or contact to date in our local union, or at world gay rugby tournaments.

So Cirque du Soleil is freaking out about acrobatic contact, during which there are far fewer breaks in the skin as there are in rugby. Maybe you'll get a minor abrasion while you're in some kind of acrobatic position, and maybe you'll get a cut from a bad fall. But the show or practice stops when that happens, right? So jimbo give a big 'pttttht!' to Cirque du Soliel for their weak and unenlightened position on HIV transmission during their shows and practices. The circus tradition may be hundreds of years old, but your health policies should not be so archaic.

Posted by jimbo at December 27, 2003 11:58 AM


ummmm actually there was a pretty heavy reaction at first - it was debated whether or not to admit us to the Union for exactly that reason back in 99-2000. (Before your time, young one).

Posted by: Dan at December 27, 2003 6:13 PM

ummmm my point was that the PRU is now over it, and instituted rules to help alleviate concern, and so should cirque du soliel, mr. smarty pants.

Posted by: jimbo at December 27, 2003 8:46 PM

Even in this age of information, I am suprised by how many people I come across that still know very little about HIV. How its passed and that Those who have it can lead average everyday lives.
Most people still think that kissing someone who has it can get it. (Sad)
Iam thankful that I can get all the info I need from my father (he is a Doctor)
Sad thing is that there is a very high stigma against those who have HIV.
Friendsships end, people become outcasts, and are treated as if they had Leperosy or the Black Death.

To me shunning someone because they have it or judging them on how they got it is the worst thing one can do.
Its hard enough living in this world as it is.

Education is the only way.

Posted by: Dax at December 28, 2003 7:38 PM