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December 1, 2003

world AIDS day

This morning on the Today show I saw Sigfried pretty much out himself as Roy's partner without really saying it, and was later followed up by Magic Johnson talking about World AIDS Day. Very gay on Today I'd say.

Anyway, I'm pulling up the soapbox for a bit of current jimbo info on the above topic. In the 13 years I've been out as a gay man, I've only recently been close to people who are in the middle of medications or other treatments, or who have shown symptoms of AIDS. Before that, most of the people I knew who were HIV+ were either asymptomatic or were already in the process of a well-integrated drug therapy. I thought I had known and seen it all, but this fall more than a few wake-up calls have come thru on the clue phone.

The medications to treat HIV are no cakewalk. Reactions to the drugs vary, but its comparable to difficulties with cancer chemotherapy. Explosive diarrhea, kidney and liver damage, hives, and blistering mucous membranes are just a few of the side effects...and remember that's just from the medications.

Most people don't get to see this sort of thing unless you're partnered or living with someone with HIV. I think that's why the 20-something gay youngsters of today are so oblivious to the importance of staying healthy and having safe sex. They just don't see this sort of thing and they totally missed the massive mortalities of the 80s and early 90s. People are still dying today, but I think they are doing it quietly, behind closed doors. But hey, Magic Johnson looks robust, so what the hell, right?

In the 7 years I've been in DC I've seen a marked decrease in the amount of community HIV/AIDS education and support for gays. Only in the last three years have I ever had to actually buy condoms. Until lately, they've always been free, at the door in every bar in town. I don't know what the deal is, but the education effort regarding HIV/AIDS has gone downhill.

So that's why I sing this song. I can hear all your TMI-heard-it-all-before shields at 100% going up. But tell your tactical officer to bring 'em down and listen up to Captain Jimbo. Here's an incomplete, but informative review of what all you gay boys gotta do:

I'm sure I'm going out on a limb saying these things...it seems like the extreme left has claimed HIV/AIDS as thier own issue, and anyone else voicing an opinion is labeled an oppressor. Some of the crap I've heard over the years has been out of control. "It's my body...I'll do as I please!" "Safe sex is sexual facism!" "Safe sex education is a tool of the right!" Great...that's just what every kid who just came out needs to hear to formulate his own opinion about his personal health. Sure, depending on the spin, safe sex education can be sold as something akin to celibacy. But if you go to the source, and get the info from your local, gay HIV/AIDS support center, the facts have pretty much been tested true over the past decade.

Posted by jimbo at December 1, 2003 10:13 AM


Good for you, Jimbo. Some Gay men are so quick to run off to an AIDS fundraiser, then get picked up and go home for unsafe, cheap, near-annonomous sex. In the 80's is was easy to blame the non-reacting governement, but now the responsibiblity is within our own community to stop new HIV infections.

Gay Boys of Earth: Spread love everywhere-but save sex for someone special...and do it with a condom! to Bareback is Whack!!!

Posted by: Brian at December 1, 2003 1:49 PM

I totally agree with what you wrote in your post. "...it's no big sacrifice to put the latex on, ya know? Deal with it - every goddamn time." So true! People have forgotten there is still no cure to AIDS.

Posted by: WCB at December 1, 2003 5:01 PM

Well put, Jimbo! Thank you.

Posted by: Fredo at December 2, 2003 7:38 AM

Well put Jimbo.

I use to volunteer for Whitman-Walker as one of those guys who would carry the bag and hand out the condom packs.(you've probably seen the the RV parked infront of the clubs)
Sad thing was that by the end of the night we would find most of the packets we handed out left behind intact on the ground or in the bathrooms in the sinks.
I think thats one of the reasons they cut back on the program. And why you do not see them out.

I think its a tragedy that people are putting their entire lives at risk for a few moments of pleasure.

But then again, it has been my observation that most gay men dont bother thinking about the longterm future just the here and now.
Sad very sad.

I only pray that a cure or vaccine is found.

Posted by: Dax at December 2, 2003 9:14 AM

In 1983 I stood at the corner of Market and Castro in San Fran, A wide eyed youth of 19, I remember there was a girl at the street corner screaming into a bull-horn about the "Gay Plague" killing her brother (no one really knew anything then, esp me) My eyes remained open. I think she probably saved my life. Those were Dark times. What's that thing about people who don't learn from history being doomed to repeat it? I talk openly and honestly about sex to young people when I discover they are dating or sexually active. (I am blessed to be the COOL Uncle in their lives ). The Wonder to me is that the parents of these 20 year olds were reading the same papers and watching the same TV I was when we first started learning about the epidemic that became AIDS.Where have all the rubbers gone? Aids Education money on a local level in the US is pathetic. So Many Lovely people have died or are living their lives touched by something that is preventable or at least can be protected against. I remember what AIDS looked like as it ravaged the body and mind of a beautiful friend until it squeezed the life out of him. It makes me want to scream on a street corner, unfortunately I don't think anyone listens anymore, because they don't know what aids really looks like. Thank you Magic.

Anyway, I go on...Well Said Jimbo. I concur who heartedly. Need a Bullhorn?

Posted by: Timothy at December 3, 2003 8:58 AM