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George Orwell on AIDS reporting


Andrew Sullivan quotes the master, but fails him

Oprah, Kristof also show Orwellian traits, but not the kind he would approve of

Uberpundit Andrew Sullivan was on Travis Smiley’s straight shooting interview show on PBS just now, hawking his new book, The Conservative Soul, and as unpredictable as ever.

Today this ever young conservative critic tells us that he feels that in the forthcoming elections conservatives should lose their seats, and he is even looking forward to it, as it is nothing less than what they deserve for so royally screwing up their time at the top, not to mention fooling him that there were WMDs in Iraq.

That is not too relevant here, of course. What was interesting, however, given his uncritical acceptance of the standard line in HIV∫AIDS, is the quote he then chose from George Orwell:

“One of my heros is George Orwell, and he said: To see what is in front of your nose is a constant struggle.

Refreshing humility, we thought, given the irony of the remark in the light of Sullivan’s determined credulity in the matter of HIV∫AIDS.

The truth about the meds

Andrew then informed Travis that “I was diagnosed with a fatal illness 13 years ago – HIV – and one of the things that came to me was, Tell the truth. Why are we journalists if we don’t tell the truth?”

More irony, perhaps. Still, if he is still taking the meds, as he earlier blogged, he seems to be doing alright. It is becoming clear that some people thrive on these things, or at least, are not particularly affected by them. Only a certain portion of patients are seriously affected, even though, as the recent big HAART study in the Lancet showed, those who are not ill before treatment tend to get AIDS symptoms very much earlier now. In fact, the mean (for those who get symptoms within the year) is two months. That is to say, half of those who get AIDS in the first year get it within two months of starting HAART.

Since they have no symptoms beforehand, it looks very much as if it is HAART that gives them the symptoms. In fact, it is hard to think of any other source.

But lively Andrew seems to be doing OK, as we say, unless he was sweating for some other reason than the heat from the studio lights. The point is that some people can survive HAART well enough, including presumably Magic Johnson, a robust athlete, after all, if he really is taking HAART as he claims in the ads.

What’s important is that this phenomenon shouldn’t be seen as contradicting the fact which has emerged from the Lancet and the JAMA studies this summer, which is that HAART gives people “AIDS”, and eventually kills many of them, doesn’t rescue any more from death now than it did nine years ago, and its success in diminishing the presence of the virus to “undetectable levels” only demonstrates that HIV has nothing to do with “AIDS” symptoms.

More AIDS lore on Oprah

Tomorrow, Oprah Winfrey continues her massive disinformation campaign on HIV∫AIDS with her 21 million viewers. She recently was seen interviewing Senator and future President Barack Obama and congratulating him and his wife on risking the HIV test in Kenya, thus encouraging a million more people (Oprah’s estimate) to fall in line with the CDC goal of testing everyone in the world.

Her program tomorrow will feature six beautiful women who will be said to have unfortunately contracted the virus from incautious liaisons with men who are HIV positive. How this is accomplished will not be investigated, nor will Nancy Padian be featured on the show.

The Hans Christian Anderson of AIDS

Seems to us that Oprah should have Nicholas Kristof on her show next, with or without Andrew Sullivan. Kristof is a world champion swallower of HIV∫AIDS fairy tales, as we have pointed out before, and now occupies a leading role as HIV∫AIDS propagandist. He recently visited Africa and filed a series of heartrending tales based on on-the-spot reporting.

His column The Deep Roots Of AIDS on September 19 was the pinnacle of achievement for the Times’ most expert ladler of HIV∫AIDS lore. Here is what readers learned:

70 years ago, a man in a remote forest in Cameroon “butchered a sick chimpanzee, and the AIDS virus was born”.

What made the chimp sick was SIV, genetically close to the main human variant of HIV.

The first proven case of AIDS dates from 1979 in Kinshasa, Congo, downriver from the forest.

The world can’t tackle global poverty unless we tackle AIDS effectively.

Pascal Nttomba was the breadwinner for 20 in his family, which lived in a nice wooden house in Yokadouma, Cameroon, and sent his children to technical school. Then he became sick, and neither traditional healer nor doctor could save him. ARVs are available only in the cities, as in most of Africa, so Pascal died. Now the family is destitute.

Hermine, 19, is prepared to save it by taking up with a sugar daddy, but this common arrangement in Africa has led to high infection rates among young women.

In a world of voluntary testing none of the family has been tested for HIV, and this “tip toeing approach” is costing millions of lives.

Unless we have routine testing the world is on track for a worldwide death toll of 70 million by 2020.

Unless they opt out, people in high prevalence countries should be tested “whenever they enter the medical system, marry, enter the armed forces, take a job in the civil service or get pregnant”.

This program of testing for all should be part of President Bush’s “fine program against AIDS” which will save 9 million lives and will be “Mr Bush’s best legacy”, and it should be extended with “even more money”.

AIDS is killing 8,000 people every day worldwide, and infecting 14,000 more, so we need a “more aggressive approach” if future Pascals are not to die and future Hermine’s are not to be sold into sexual slavery.

No better encapsulation of every element of the HIV∫AIDS fairy tale than this could possibly be imagined. Every scientific statement is contradicted by the scientific literature. Is Kristof in the employ of NIAID as a ‘consultant’? Is he a dinner buddy of Anthony Fauci or Mathilde Krim? Or does he do his scientific research simply by reading glossy pamphlets from the UNAID and WHO?

We intend to write to him and find out, but only when things have calmed down. At this very moment he is involved in battling to protect his sources for articles he wrote about the anthrax scandal in 2001, which a magistrate has just demanded he produce.

The Deep Roots Of AIDS

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September 19, 2006

The Deep Roots Of AIDS

By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

It was about 70 years ago, evidence suggests, that a man somewhere in this remote forest area of southeastern Cameroon butchered a sick chimpanzee — and the AIDS virus was born.

Chimpanzees here carry a strain of simian immunodeficiency virus (the monkey version of H.I.V.) that is genetically close to the main human variant. So the scientific betting is that the virus jumped to humans here and then traveled with human hosts by river south to Kinshasa, Congo, and then eventually to the wider world. The first proven case dates from Kinshasa in 1959.

I’m traveling with Casey Parks, the student who won my contest to accompany me on a reporting trip, and we’ve been talking to people about AIDS here in its possible birthplace because the world can’t address global poverty unless we tackle AIDS effectively — and in places like this, it’s obvious that still isn’t happening.

We met the family of Pascal Nttomba beside the fresh mound in the garden where he was buried two weeks ago. Mr. Nttomba was the breadwinner for the 20 people in the family.

The Nttombas were relatively well off, living in a nice wooden house and sending their children to technical schools to learn vocations that would take them up a notch in the world. But then Pascal became sick.

He could no longer work, and the family used all its savings to try to cure him — first paying a traditional healer and then a doctor. Neither did any good, although the doctor charged more.

In theory, antiretrovirals are available here to control the disease. But they are mostly for middle-class victims in the cities, and as in most of Africa, an ordinary person in a remote area has next to no chance of getting the drugs. And so Pascal died, and now the family is destitute.

”There’s nothing to eat in the house, since this morning,” said his father, Valeré. The women in the family were planning to scour the fields for cassava leaves to cook for dinner. They say they can also go into the forests to look for edible wild plants, but malnutrition looms.

The children in technical school have dropped out, because there is no money. One of them is Hermine, a 19-year-old, who is now at risk of being approached by an older sugar daddy offering gifts in exchange for being his mistress, a common arrangement in Africa that has led to high infection rates among young women.

”I’d do it,” she acknowledged — after all, the family needs money.

The family’s predicament underscores how the virus not only kills people but also further impoverishes the world’s poorest. And while the hardest-hit countries in southern Africa are doing a bit better against AIDS, others in the middle range like Cameroon or India haven’t woken up to the severity of the problem.

An essential challenge is that 90 percent of those with H.I.V. worldwide don’t know it, and you can’t begin to tackle the disease when no one knows who has it. Here, for example, neither Pascal’s wife nor any other member of his family has been tested.

The mantra has been ”voluntary counseling and testing,” but this tip-toeing approach is costing millions of lives.

It’s time to move to routine testing. Sure, that will cause difficulties; despite efforts to safeguard privacy, some who test positive will become pariahs and will be driven from their villages. But the present approach is even worse and is on track for a worldwide death toll of 70 million by 2020.

So unless they specifically opt out, people in high-prevalence countries should be tested whenever they enter the medical system, marry, enter the armed forces, take a job in the civil service, or get pregnant. That should be coupled with a pledge to try to make treatment available to all who test positive.

That emphasis on testing could be incorporated into the extension of President Bush’s fine program against AIDS, which will save some nine million lives and is up for renewal next year. That program, which provided huge increases in spending and will be Mr. Bush’s best legacy, should be extended with even more money, while dropping its obsession with abstinence-only programs.

With AIDS still killing 8,000 people every day worldwide — and infecting 14,000 more — we need to acknowledge that the present strategy isn’t adequate. We need a more aggressive approach, built around greater testing, so that we don’t go through another few decades with the Pascals of Africa dying needlessly and the Hermines selling themselves into sexual bondage.

Times Is Ordered to Reveal Columnist’s Sources

(show)

The New York Times

Printer Friendly Format Sponsored By

October 24, 2006

Times Is Ordered to Reveal Columnist’s Sources

By NEIL A. LEWIS

WASHINGTON, Oct. 23 — A federal magistrate judge has ordered The New York Times to disclose the identities of three confidential sources used by one of its columnists, Nicholas Kristof, for columns he wrote about the investigation of the deadly anthrax mailings of 2001.

The order, issued Friday by Magistrate Judge Liam O’Grady, requires the newspaper to disclose the identities of the three sources to lawyers for Dr. Steven J. Hatfill, who has brought a defamation suit against The Times. The order was disclosed Monday.

Catherine Mathis, a spokeswoman for The Times, said the newspaper would appeal the ruling.

Dr. Hatfill, a germ warfare specialist who formerly worked in the Army laboratories at Fort Detrick, Md., has asserted that a series of columns by Mr. Kristof about the slow pace of the anthrax investigation defamed him because they suggested he was responsible for the attacks.

Five people died in the attacks. Although the federal authorities identified Dr. Hatfill as a “person of interest” in the case, they have not charged him with any crimes.

At a deposition on July 13, Mr. Kristof declined to name five of his sources for the columns, but two have subsequently agreed to release him from his pledge of confidentiality. Judge O’Grady’s ruling identifies the remaining unnamed sources as two Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and a former colleague or friend of Dr. Hatfill at Fort Detrick.

The judge ruled that the laws of Virginia applied and that under that state’s law, reporters have only a qualified privilege to decline to name their sources that may be outweighed by other factors.

He wrote that for Mr. Hatfill to have a chance of meeting his burden of demonstrating that he was defamed by the columns, he “needs an opportunity to question the confidential sources and determine if Mr. Kristof accurately reported information the sources provided.”

Mr. Kristof wrote about a government scientist he initially referred to as Mr. Z, saying he had become the overwhelming focus of the investigation. In August 2002, he wrote that Dr. Hatfill had acknowledged he was Mr. Z. at a news conference in which he said he had been mistreated by the news media.

The lawsuit was originally dismissed by a federal judge in Virginia in 2004. A divided three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond reinstated the case and the full appeals court, by a 6-to-6 vote, declined to overturn that ruling. The Supreme Court declined to intervene last March.

Judge O’Grady wrote: “The court understands the need for a reporter to be able to credibly pledge confidentiality to his sources. Confidential sources have been an important part of journalism, which is presumably why Virginia recognizes a qualified reporter’s privilege in the first place.”

He said Virginia law required the use of a three-part balancing test as to whether there is a compelling need for the information, whether the information is relevant and whether it may not be obtained any other way.

71 Responses to “George Orwell on AIDS reporting”

  1. Martin Kessler Says:

    It’s too bad that Andrew Sullivan is such a shill for the AIDS establishment, he is so articulate and clear headed on church-state issues. All of the ARV’s have side effects – what if any does Mr. Sullivan have. If there are none (and that a big IF assuming he’s actually on the meds), then he is a very rare bird indeed. But if he has no side effects at all even if “mild”, he like Magic Johnson are lying.

  2. Dan Says:

    Andrew then informed Travis that “I was diagnosed with a fatal illness 13 years ago – HIV

    “HIV” isn’t an illness.

    More evidence that gay men are working with propaganda and emotionalism, rather than real information.

  3. kevin Says:

    “One of my heros is George Orwell, and he said: To see what is in front of your nose is a constant struggle.”

    If Andrew were a true fan of Orwell, he would easily see through the lies of the HIV?AIDS meme and all the doublespeak supporting it, particularly after being diagnosed as positive. Orwell also said:

    “The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.”

    …although the his quote about not being able to see what right under one’s nose is also applicable.

  4. nohivmeds Says:

    I believe it’s well known that Andrew Sullivan takes Androgel (testosterone replacement therapy) and HGH — so he clearly has had side effects. I believe he also endorses treatment holidays.

  5. Truthseeker Says:

    Thanks. Maybe we need a study of drug holidays. They seem to be a constant factor in all this.

  6. nohivmeds Says:

    From Dan:

    “Andrew then informed Travis that “I was diagnosed with a fatal illness 13 years ago – HIV

    “HIV” isn’t an illness.

    More evidence that gay men are working with propaganda and emotionalism, rather than real information.”

    Dan, this is “evidence” that Andrew Sullivan is working with propaganda and emotionalism (perhaps), but it does not constitute “evidence” that “gay men” are working that way. This is an anecdote — one person’s experience. We must avoid these types of generalizations (from anecdotal evidence to the population), as they are scientifically not legitimate.

    Only a large-scale, representative survey of gay men in the U.S. could provide “evidence” of the type you are speaking of, and I am not aware of such a survey.

    However, your desire to turn anecdotal evidence into normative population generalizations could be construed as “evidence” of your bias against gay men regarding this issue.

  7. nohivmeds Says:

    By the way, I’m not suggesting that your hypothesis (which is what your statement really is, rather than evidence) isn’t correct — it could be that if we did the appropriate survey work, we would find out that gay men are being swayed by propaganda and emotionalism in regard to HIV/AIDS. But Andrew Sullivan’s admissions do not constitute evidence for your hypothesis.

    In the same vein, my positive experiences, as well as Sullivan’s and Magic Johnson’s, with the ARVs do not constitute evidence of their effectiveness — again, anecdote only.

    It’s I think vital that we distinguish between anecdote and real evidence here — after all, this site claims to be concerned with real science, and real science does not/cannot accept anecdotal information as “evidence.”

  8. Bialyzebub Says:

    Yo NHM,

    While I find myself in agreement with essentially everything you write above, one little thing like they say jumps out of the closet like King Kong….

    What is the evidence for the effectivness of ARV consumption on Mr. Magic’s health?

    As far as I know he has never been sick a day in his life. The man is healthy as a horse, and probably hung like one too.

    If you have Evidence for how ARVs have benfitted him other than by keeping the AIDS Inc hit squads from his door, then please provide it, Dr. scientific evidence man.

    Thank you very, very much.

  9. Dan Says:

    More evidence, and outright propaganda to be found here…

    http://www.ownitendit.org/

    First, it says HIV is a disease. Hmmm. Ok, sure, if you say so.

    Second, as I’d stated earlier on a rather contentious thread, that the gay community “owns” this “disease”.

    Why, here it is, in an ad, imploring us to “own it”. It’s “ours”, remember?

  10. Dan Says:

    Dan, this is “evidence” that Andrew Sullivan is working with propaganda and emotionalism (perhaps), but it does not constitute “evidence” that “gay men” are working that way.

    I’ll admit that the “evidence” I present isn’t backed by studies. It is backed by some interesting exchanges I’ve recently had with gay men, as well as years of interactions with hundreds of gay men who display a frightening lack of knowledge about the basics in the HIV=AIDS hypothesis.

  11. Truthseeker Says:

    In the same vein, my positive experiences, as well as Sullivan’s and Magic Johnson’s, with the ARVs do not constitute evidence of their effectiveness — again, anecdote only. – NHM

    If you have Evidence for how ARVs have benfitted him other than by keeping the AIDS Inc hit squads from his door, then please provide it, Dr. scientific evidence man – Bialyzebub

    Isn’t this agreement?

    However, your desire to turn anecdotal evidence into normative population generalizations could be construed as “evidence” of your bias against gay men regarding this issue.

    NHM, do you accept any generalization at all about gay men? Perhaps you could let us know what generalizations you do accept regarding gay men, if you have a list of acceptable ones. They tend to be gay, more or less, would you agree with that? They tend to have older brothers and sisters, right (recent result)? They tend to be more talkative and more sensitive to their environment, whether it is clean, whether the decoration is tasteful, and they have a greater clothes sense, right? They are more often talented in the arts.

    We are informed of all these by reading the Times and watching television. But are these generalizations correct, and are there other valid ones?

    What about in HIV∫AIDS? Is there any key behavior here typical of gay men but not of heterosexual men?

    We ask merely for information. We want to rid this blog of any bias, and you are both a scientist and a psychologist.

  12. Dan Says:

    Truthseeker: NHM, do you accept any generalization at all about gay men? Perhaps you could let us know what generalizations you do accept regarding gay men, if you have a list of acceptable ones.

    NHM (from a very recent thread): In other words, I think there is a general acceptance throughout the gay community that we are complicit in the mess we find ourselves in.

  13. Martin Kessler Says:

    Truthseeker asked:

    What about in HIV∫AIDS? Is there any key behavior here typical of gay men but not of heterosexual men?

    Yes but only a small population (mostly in urban centers) – not all gays, myself included engaged in the body-destructive behaviors that that particular population practiced: use of poppers, Crystal meth, heavy use of antibiotics, repeated typical venerial disease infections (syphillis, gonhorrea, scabies, crabs etc.), virtually burning the candle at both ends – terrible nutrition, lack of sleep, use of uppers and downers – as a good friend (who is also quite healthy) told me – youth is a credit card – buy now pay later.

    If you look at the diseases that these gays got – predominantly Kaposi Sarcoma – it was virtually non-existent outside the gay community that used poppers.
    I visited Studio 54 only once when it was in its heyday, and by my observation, I could not do what the regulars did – it just wasn’t my thing.

  14. nohivmeds Says:

    As a behavioral scientist, I’m generally averse to making generalizations about a population, like gay men. First of all, the population is heterogeneous — people have less in common than you would think, TS. I mean, Andrew Sullivan and I are both gay, but have very, very, very little in common. Perhaps the only thing we have in common is that we like to have sex with men. That is the only generalization I’m really comfortable with.

    I would be uncomfortable with generalizations about women as a whole, or straight white men, etc., etc. These groups are too heterogeneous to make blanket statments about.

    I did agree that gay men were complicit in creating the situation we are in — but each man has been complicit to a different degree, I would argue, so again, generalizations only get us so far, and are very hard to establish regarding human behavior. In the study of human behavior, there are very few accepted “universals” and the emphasis is really on “individual differences.”

    As for Magic Johnson, I don’t know his ARV situation well enough to comment.

  15. nohivmeds Says:

    From TS:

    “NHM, do you accept any generalization at all about gay men? Perhaps you could let us know what generalizations you do accept regarding gay men, if you have a list of acceptable ones. They tend to be gay, more or less, would you agree with that? They tend to have older brothers and sisters, right (recent result)? They tend to be more talkative and more sensitive to their environment, whether it is clean, whether the decoration is tasteful, and they have a greater clothes sense, right? They are more often talented in the arts. ”

    TS, all the things you mention there are stereotypes. Indeed, stereotypes are based on real exemplars, but exemplars are singular “examples” that are then used to generalize (inappropriately) to an entire population. This is how stereotypes work. So, no, I don’t agree with anything you’ve written there. In fact, I know a trove of gay men who have no sense of taste or style, in my opinion. I know many who are not at all talkative or forthcoming. Again, these are all stereotypes based on experiences with a small number of exemplars, and should not be generalized to the population of gay men as a whole — a point I have been desperately trying to make for a while here. Thank you for helping with that. I hope that resolves this issue somewhat.

  16. Dan Says:

    Setting aside a certain poster’s hypocrisy when it comes to making generalizations…

    let’s get back to Orwell.

    The ad above states that “HIV is a disease”. Interestingly enough, Mr. Sullivan also states that HIV is a disease. Not only is Mr. Sullivan not seeing what’s right in front of him, he’s an active participant in language manipulation (propaganda) that has the unfortunate effect of deceiving, and creating a false perception of reality.

    Call me old-fashioned, but a retrovirus isn’t a disease. And the retrovirus in question doesn’t cause a disease. Supposedly , infection with this retrovirus is the catalyst for a syndrome. This gets back to the basic education we were talking about before. It looks like Mr. Sullivan could use it.

  17. nohivmeds Says:

    Setting aside a certain poster’s hypocrisy when it comes to making generalizations… “

    Dan, weren’t we vowing to try to get away from personal attacks? And did I not acknowledge that I made a generalization when I wrote:

    “I did agree that gay men were complicit in creating the situation we are in — but each man has been complicit to a different degree, I would argue, so again, generalizations only get us so far”

    Are you reading my posts at all, Dan, or just reacting to them?

    and:

    “Call me old-fashioned, but a retrovirus isn’t a disease. And the retrovirus in question doesn’t cause a disease. Supposedly, infection with this retrovirus is the catalyst for a syndrome. This gets back to the basic education we were talking about before.

    Might that not have been better written as: ” And the retrovirus in question, in my opinion, doesn’t cause a disease .” Again, we are trying to distinguish fact from opinion here, anecdote from evidence.

    BTW, I agree that as far as being complicit in the scientific fiasco we are all so concerned with, Andrew Sullivan has much responsibility and should be held accountable.

  18. Truthseeker Says:

    BTW, I agree that as far as being complicit in the scientific fiasco we are all so concerned with, Andrew Sullivan has much responsibility and should be held accountable.

    Good to hear this. We agree. Like many others, he will have to feel responsibility for not taking responsibility when it all comes out. Now, how about you, oh distinguished commentator, being grateful for the responsibility for correcting the situation that has been taken by those who have done so (including you at this stage), and the sacrifices they have made in doing so?

    Fair enough? Credit and gratitude where due. OK? can we agree on that now?

    This is how stereotypes work. So, no, I don’t agree with anything you’ve written there. In fact, I know a trove of gay men who have no sense of taste or style, in my opinion. I know many who are not at all talkative or forthcoming. Again, these are all stereotypes based on experiences with a small number of exemplars, and should not be generalized to the population of gay men as a whole — a point I have been desperately trying to make for a while here.

    Oh come on. Obviously there are exceptions to rules or generalizations about any group of human beings, all of whom are exceedingly odd when you get right down to it, though many if not most succeed in concealing their big differences, which we fondly believe is done more in this country than in Europe, especially merry old England, which is fond of her eccentrics, and cultivates them, like flowers in a garden. This country could do with more latitude for nonconformists, it might enjoy life more and learn more about reality, we say.

    Anyhow, of course you know plenty of exceptions, that is not what we are talking about – we are asking what are the rules to which there are many exceptions? Is the rule that most gays are near average sensitivity as far as clothes, haircuts, environment go, with only a few like the TV show gang who remake a heterosexual’s style? Or are there enough gays who behave in this way to make it a characteristic of their crowd? Since gays don’t seem to stand out in a crowd that much, we assume it is not a widely shown characteristic, but may be frequent enough to be a characteristic. What’s the story?

    If you continue to argue that there are absolutely no generalities to be made about the difference between straight men and gay men, we shall begin to disbelieve you. It doesn’t seem possible that there are not any general differences wide enough to justify expectations, ie prejudice, but of the non hateful sort, just meaning ‘pre-judging’ or simply reasonable expectations. As, for example, one would prejudge Eskimos as generally knowing how to survive the Arctic very well, rubbing noses, being short, and lending their wives to their guests (if they do).

    The trouble with PC is that too much of it censors knowledge. No, we are not saying you are motivated by PC. You seem, rather, to be motivated by holding us to exact science. But we don’t think that that very admirable standard precludes generalities, nor that generalities – the lifeblood of journalism! – are necessarily prejudice (of the hateful kind).

    For example, if one says that gays tend to be interested in and talented in the arts, to whatever extent that is true relative to straights, it is a compliment, for Heaven’s Sake. Is it not? Like saying that doctors tend to be interested in music (a study result, we heard).

    Can you not make any generalities about gays? It has its own culture to some extent, obviously. So what is characteristically different about the culture?

  19. Dan Says:

    Call me old-fashioned, but a retrovirus isn’t a disease. And the retrovirus in question doesn’t cause a disease.

    Might that not have been better written as: And the retrovirus in question, in my opinion, doesn’t cause a disease.

    I was clear in what I wrote. It’s not an opinion.

    Does HIV cause malaria? Does HIV cause tuberculosis?
    Does HIV cause candidiasis? Does HIV cause pneumonia?
    Does HIV cause any disease? NO.

    According to the folklore, it supposedly damages the immune system, which makes one more susceptible to disease.

    Let’s get straight with definitions. HIV doesn’t cause a disease.

  20. nohivmeds Says:

    Here is a website for both Dan and TS to check out that C. Farber has brought to my attention. I think, TS, you would greatly benefit from reading the article (as would Dan):

    http://www.whitecranejournal.com/66/art6605.asp

    Sorry I couldn’t hyper-link it — I’m just not sure how to do that.

    And Dan, you’ll excuse me if I treat your pronouncements on HIV as hypotheses, despite the way you state them. After all, as far as I know, you are not a microbiologist or something similar.

    And TS — the answer is “No.” No generalities, I’m afraid. Do you make any generalities about African-Americans? or the British? or preschoolers? I think you get my drift.

  21. kevin Says:

    nohivmeds:
    Here is a website for both Dan and TS to check out that C. Farber has brought to my attention. I think, TS, you would greatly benefit from reading the article (as would Dan):

    http://www.whitecranejournal.com/66/art6605.asp

    I know it wasn’t directed at me, but I decided to take look at the website you linked.

    I found it to be more of the same old tired pollyana that one usually encounters when bending an earnest ear to an industry apologist. He was simply defending the status quo that he purports to challenge. Whether he realizes it or not, his optimism only superficially conceals his defeatism.

    I suppose it doesn’t help that I find much of his supporting evidence to be of erroneous origins. Here are a couple of the most odious of those evidential statements:

    If we were truly self-destructive, wouldn’t more than 75% of us to be infected, especially since the virus is so efficiently transmitted through sexual activity that brings great pleasure to most gay men.

    Butt sex has been around awhile and is not necessarily self-destructive, but meth use is just about as common and far more self-destructive. His flowery optimism won’t change that. Besides, HIV has been proven to be anything but efficient.

    Those of us who were there in the early days of the gay men’s health movement look at gay men today—and at the communities where gay men come together, establish bonds, and celebrate—and see creativity, caring, and audacity. We’re delighted and impressed with new generations of gay male styles, rituals, identities, and subcultures, even as we remember that gay men have always had an amazing ability to keep inventing bold, new ways of being,

    I’d argue that HIV is the new “way of being” for many in the “community”. Dan and others are right. The more I really open my eyes to the inner workings of my local gay community, the more I see the resignation and the conformity that is sewn from the seed of HIV.

    I can’t see the optimism in that.

    Thanks for sharing the article but I found that it merely affirms much of what TS and others charge to the “community”. At least, there was a tone of sincerity co-mixed with the maudlin drivel.

    Kevin

  22. nohivmeds Says:

    Kev–

    Although I don’t agree with your interpretation of the piece at all, I honor your right to have it. You wrote “I can’t see the optimism in that.” Seems to me that you can’t see optimism anywhere.

    I disagreed with several specifics in the article, but what I liked most about it, and what our discussion here has lacked I think, was a certain generosity of view.

    One can view the same situation differently. Where you see mostly a pessimistic vision and make a lot of judgements regarding the behavior of other, the article, and my view attempt to understand people from their own perspective, without judgement, and to look for strengths, rather than attending only to weaknesses. Undoubtedly, there are such weaknesses, but our discussion here has ignored the also obvious strengths. I won’t deny the weaknesses. You, TS, and Dan best not deny the strengths.

  23. nohivmeds Says:

    In other words, you have been unsparingly critical , and that, to me, is an indefensible stance, ultimately. It’s not a black or white issue at all (sorry to Dan in advance) — it’s mostly gray. We (gay men) are not a list of stereotypical qualities, we are, like heterosexuals, unique amalgams of unique experiences.

    Criticism without compassion is just cruelty.

    I think there’s room for more than just criticism here.

  24. Truthseeker Says:

    And TS — the answer is “No.” No generalities, I’m afraid. Do you make any generalities about African-Americans? or the British? or preschoolers? I think you get my drift.

    You are drifting out to some extreme far from land, if you ask us, in your desperate attempt to avoid hateful prejudice, which you see everywhere, so you also evade reality, or don’t understand simple English. A large group of men with a very powerful sexual orientation in common living in a culture that is hostile to it to some degree or other in quite large chunks will separate out and form their own culture, and as far as I know that is what has happened.

    In that culture there will be many defining behavioral characteristics and also habits of mind, attitudes, tastes, styles etc in larger or smaller groups within the group, some sufficiently trend setting or overhwleming that they can be used as reasonably reliable markers or anyway indications of gay membership, which reason indicates and it seems futile for you to deny. So what are they?

    Certainly if you deny that the British are a different culture with a certain homogeneity and widespread if not universal characteristics in common you don’t know what Marmite is, what the Queen stands for, what a hot water bottle is, what a stiff upper lip is, why we drive on the left, why we are so good at story telling, why beer should be warm, or what the two greatest universities in the world are and why.

    Apparently you are also unaware of the fact that the greatest American contribution to the arts arises from the stream of humanity that was shipped from Africa and used to pick cotton in the South for decades, which is why jazz has so much in common with African music. But oh no, you are going to tell us that Afro Americans have the same sense of rhythm and dance skills as white Anglo Saxon males from chilly Europe. Take a look at any club in New York at 2 am.

    Culture is culture and has its own rules and generalities whether science can measure them or not. Humans imbibe culture and live it every second. That is how we pass it on to the next generation, further adapted to reality or not as the case may be. Since when are gays not human?

  25. nohivmeds Says:

    You’re missing my point, TS, which is a very simple one. Gays, or Brits, or African-Americans have less in common with one another than they do individual differences. You said it yourself – each culture can be characterized by some stereotypical descriptions — but those descriptions are useful only at the level of cultural critique — once you actually consider the individuals within the culture, the commonalities seem to shrink as the individual differences expand and overwhelm the previous cultural stereotypes. This is not my view, per se, so much as it is folks like anthropologist Ruth Benedict, and Freud as well.

    This discussion has repeatedly failed to acknowledge the vast inter-individual differences in the gay community. That’s the point.

  26. Dan Says:

    This discussion has repeatedly failed to acknowledge the vast inter-individual differences in the gay community. That’s the point.

    Maybe that’s because the title of this thread is “George Orwell on AIDS Reporting”. If you notice, I tried to bring the conversation back to Orwell and language manipulation, i.e. “HIV is a disease”.

    Calling “HIV” a disease is a strange, decidedly Orwellian, rather recent change in “AIDS language” that should be called to attention as it is false, and can even further distance us from much-needed common ground in discussion.

  27. kevin Says:

    nohivmeds wrote:

    I disagreed with several specifics in the article, but what I liked most about it, and what our discussion here has lacked I think, was a certain generosity of view.

    In other words, you have been unsparingly critical, and that, to me, is an indefensible stance, ultimately.

    You are correct in that I was unsparingly critical, since there are insights in the rather long article that I simply ignored and that was unfair, for example:

    It came as no surprise that gay men began to see one another, not as brothers and caregivers and lovers and comrades in gay liberation, but as opponents, threats, and enemies to one another’s health. HIV prevention asked us to treat every man we sexed with as if he were infected, in order to ensure compliance with the condom code, even when not necessary. We were told to distrust men’s identified antibody status because “men lie.” We were force-fed campaigns like “HIV stops with me,” which worked ironically to drive home—in case anyone doubted it—that there were legions of positive men out there eager to pass on their virus to vulnerable, clueless uninfected men.

    His position is more nuanced than most and for that, I was a bit too harsh; however, I think he does not go far enough in his condemnation of certain behaviors and certain stereotypes, particularly those stereotypes that arose within the gay community itself, as it struggled to find identity in an HIV-dominated world (i.e. his own uber-optimism in the face of such fear-mongering is one such stereotypical response which the article obviously ignores, yet it can be found in abundance at any gay men’s health meeting, along with the requisite lack of insight into the HIV propoganda machine…but I digress). To deny that the fear of HIV is not an all-consuming burden for many, many gay men, especially those who are active in the community for they suffer constant exposure, is not being honest and is only superficially optimistic. I have dated many positive men, and it is incredibly frustrating trying to deprogramme them. No matter how active/inactive they are in the community, the “HIV is a disease” message, and all that it entails, is never far from the surface. I think Dan first mentioned the trials of trying to establish a sero-discordant relationship in today’s “community” climate.

    nohivemeds wrote:

    This discussion has repeatedly failed to acknowledge the vast inter-individual differences in the gay community. That’s the point.

    I just don’t see the inter-personal differences you reference as being substantially represented in the gay community, at-large. I see the opposite as true. I’m pleasantly surprised when I encounter someone in the community who can think for himself and do so freely, without apology. That’s a rare bird, indeed. I am an open-minded person, and I’ve tried to become involved in the community as an activist many times over the course of my adult life…in several different cities, too. Each time, I’ve been rejected and derided by members of each respective community because I could not conform to the prescribed worldview that being an “in-crowd” gay activist demands, i.e. I found the music boring, I found the need to adopt affectations burdensome, I found the worship of pop culture icons abhorrent, I found the lack of personal HIV inquiry dangerous….I could go on and on and on….all I wanted was to share authentic experiences with people, who like me, were at increased risk of suffering discrimination based on sexuality, but I had a hard time finding that authenticity.

    The strange liturgy developed around HIV by the gay community is classicly Orwellian, i.e. language manipulation, authoritative surveillance practices, intolerance of dissent, the denial of past failures (including AZT-caused deaths)…all this is nothing, if not Orwellian.

    My intent was not to insult you, nohivmeds. The article was a worthy addition to the discussion, but I ultimately found it lacking. Also, I’d like to point out that I am an equal opportunity pessimist. I feel the same way about all of the predominant cultural values offered by our society. My criticism extends well beyond the gay community and well beyond HIV, but to be on point, I’ve tried to be focused here; however, it’s all inter-related. I should also add that my multiple attempts at community-involvement are indicative of my sometimes very optimistic nature. I am not apathetic, as I would hope my involvement here reflects, but I am a realist. I guess I reserve the optimism for my inter-personal relationships.

  28. nohivmeds Says:

    Hi Kev,

    Thanks for your post. I agree that there is sometimes a tendancy to default into a sort-of false optimism regarding these issues — but I think that is inherent to human nature — not just gay human nature. I’m sad to hear that your efforts to get involved with the community have been frustrating — I have enountered that too at different time points — in the early 90s for example in NYC — then the Act Up liturgy was very strong. I made my way into the community in the last 5 years via my involvement with youth programming — I found that working with gay youth was more rewarding, as they had not yet been entirely, as you say, programmed.

    As for dating in a sero-discordant relationship — I think that is an entirely different and very complex ball of wax.

    Finally — I think that it is not just my perception concerning the heterogeneity of our community. It’s just a sociological fact. I think it can sometimes be difficult to see because of the weight of cultural stereotypes, but I do think it’s there, and I’m glad to hear that you feel like an optimist at heart. I think if you enter an interaction with the community expecting that thinking people will be rare — then that is what you’re going to find. It’s called a confirmation bias — we see what we expect to see. If you expected, on the other hand, to see a very heterogeneous group of men — all searching, working on life in different ways, thenI think that is what you’d see. Just something to think about. Sometimes we draw conclusions before we give folks a chance to surprise us.

  29. nohivmeds Says:

    I think to be totally fair to Kevin and Dan, I should say that there was indeed a long period of time in my life when I felt alienated and disappointed in the gay community — I used to make fun of and deride the community. What changed? Well, not the community, I don’t think. What changed was me, as a person, and the way I looked at other people’s pathways in life. I decided to take my “I’m too good for the gay community” blinders off and instead, adopt a new view, focusing on community strengths and heterogeneity. So — it was me that had to shift perspectives in order to become productively involved in the community, and as I did this — I really was more than pleasantly surprised, and I began to see what Rofes describes in the article: a hightly interesting and variable community that had a lot to offer, provided I did not approach with judgement, but instead, approached with an open mind — and allowed for human frailty and imperfection.

    I also realized that I wasn’t going to be just crazy happy about everyone I met in the community — that indeed, people who were willing to think and talk about complex issues like HIV/AIDS in a complex way, weren’t going to just pop immediatley out of the surround — that I was going to have to do my part to search them out a bit. And I did, and I wasn’t disappointed.

  30. Dan Says:

    Back to being off track again, it looks like.

    Kevin,

    some thoughts on gay community…

    For a short while, I was involved with a group of men in Portland. We were getting together fairly regularly to discuss how to get real HIV/AIDS information into the larger community (Portland, basically). Some diligent work by a couple members of this group was able to get “The Other Side of AIDS” played in a theater in Portland. Quite a feat, really.

    It was very enjoyable to be a part of this micro-community of gay men, that comprised “positives” and “negatives”. Being englightened, “status” was a non-issue between us. There was no artificial line delineating between the supposed “haves” and “have nots”. What a breath of fresh air, at least for a short while.

    Unfortunately, I haven’t had any success getting folks in Seattle together. There’s a real fear of coming out of the closet on this issue. Not surprising at all, being that we’re the home of the now famous “Seattle Manifesto”, a gay-self-hating document borne out of a mini-epidemic scare here that turned out to be nothing of the sort. We’re also the home of “The Stranger”, an alternative weekly rag that is rabidly pro-orthodoxy.

    Even though it may entail a lot of work, the mini-community I was involved with in Portland is the new gay community. This is what we should be striving for. A community based on REAL hope, health, introspection, intelligent discussion and comraderie, and NOT divided down the phony lines of “positive” and “negative”.

  31. nohivmeds Says:

    Dan observed wisely:

    Even though it may entail a lot of work, the mini-community I was involved with in Portland is the new gay community. This is what we should be striving for. A community based on REAL hope, health, introspection, intelligent discussion and comraderie, and NOT divided down the phony lines of “positive” and “negative”.

    I couldn’t agree more. That is the direction I’m headed. That’s exactly what I’ve been trying to say. I’ve been a member of such micro-communities, and those micro-communities often had important critiques of the larger community. And an interest in educating/getting out the word. Seems to me everyone’s on the same page about this.

  32. nohivmeds Says:

    In fact, I’ve been doing this since around 1995 — talking with other intelligent people about HIV/AIDS, all believeing that the drugs were exceptionally dangerous. Believe it or not, even if you are completely unaware of any dissident critiques, which I was, there were still plenty of people that knew that the cure was worse than the disease.

    During that time, I also read Walt Odets’ book, In the Shadows of the Epidemic — about the intense division in the community between “poz” and “neg” guys — that all the attention/sevices/culture/everything had realigned to serve the “poz” guys, while leaving the “neg” guys on the outside.

    So, Celia Farber’s article confirmed for me a lot of what I had been talking about with people, regarding the “disease” and its “treatment” for a long time. It didn’t teach me the talking points — I already knew those intuitively — it gave me access to structures to put those talking points in — real, full-on critiques of the existing power paradigm. That’s the most recent step for me. But in terms of questioning the “disease” and the “treatments,” in my experience, there are many people who have never heard of Duesberg or Perth, but intuitively gravitate to essentially similar views.

  33. German Guest Says:

    I can’t help, but I regard nohivmeds views as a little bit too optimistic. I tried to discuss the issue with gay men several times but the vast majority of gays simply refuse to educate themselves, for instance to do some reading, fact-checking or to challenge their doctors orders. Some even classify “HIV-dissidents” immediately as wackos.
    I usually get told all those phrases with some gesture of superiority:

    “overwhelming evidence for HIV”,
    “same old stories”,
    “Duesberg is a gay-hater”,
    “that’s what Scientology and the Creationists say”,
    “your statistics don’t proof anything”,
    “my physician is an expert, you are not”,
    “HAART made me feel better”,
    “without HAART i would be dead already”,
    “thousands of scientists can’t be wrong”,
    “you want to promote bareback-sex”,
    “Longterm-Nonprogressors have a genetic vantage”,
    “Glutathion is only a expectorant”,
    “Gallo got the nobel price for discovering HIV”,
    “HIV is a very dangerous and intelligent virus”,
    “AIDS is not deadly, it’s just a chronic disease” … … …

    Of course, everyone could question the HIV-AIDS-hypothesis. Enough information can be found quite easily everywhere – in the scientific literature, internet and so on. But the main problem is that gay men really, really don’t WANT to look into it. They are happy with the virus, they are happy with being a potential victim of a terrible disease. Apparently, there is something heroic to it, even it they are labeled as retirees because their CD4-Count dropped below 350.

    This is the world we live in!

  34. kevin Says:

    Thank you Dan and you too, nohivmeds.

    I appreciate each of you for your insights about the ways in which we can forge a new identity within gay community. You are right; it requires a great deal of effort. You’re experience in Portland is inspiring, Dan, but that city is rather unique in this country, I think. It’s so progressive. I love Portland and would live there if the weather suited me better. I do plan to continue trying to create a micro-community here in the desert, but so far my experiences have been similar to what our German Guest describes. However, in the very least, I will continue to live my life as though the dinstinction between “pos” and “neg” is irrelevant, which is the first step to living in hope and not fear.

    Right now, I’m busy engaging the scoundrels on Tara Smith’s blog…trying to teach them how to debate without using prejudiced language. They are such poor students.

    Kevin

  35. Dan Says:

    Kevin and German Guest,

    we’ve really got our work cut out for us.

    My experience in Portland was short-lived. It was very difficult getting us together with such divergent schedules and the fact that a few of us didn’t live in Portland.

    Being online is the closest thing I have to this former mini-community. The truth is that there are extremely few of us gay men willing to question, and we’re spread far and wide.

  36. nohivmeds Says:

    Dan —

    I’m sure you meant to include me — because you wouldn’t want to be rude, for one, and because we are all trying to educate and form community.

    What kind of example does exclusion set?

  37. nohivmeds Says:

    “Community” isn’t about everyone agreeing on every little thing. It’s about shared goals — a shared vision. And it’s model is “inclusion.”

    Groups that all agree with one another on everything — and have no tolerance for any sort of dissent, I would not describe as “communities,” nor as right minded. That’s more like the AIDS Establishment, or a Facist state like North Korea, or…..

    you here on this blog, Dan (and others who believe we all have to agree on everything to oppose AIDS, Inc., which is of course, not correct. At times, it does seem as if the “dissenters” cannot tolerate any dissent either — behaving just as unintelligently as AIDS, Inc. You are not unintelligent.

    I’m trying to extend an olive branch. I’ve been posting about looking at the gay community with generosity — looking at everyone with generosity. We don’t have to like one another or be best buds — it’s not about that. Shared goals. Shared vision.

  38. Dan Says:

    NHM,

    I didn’t include you in my statement. You’re just not as far along on this issue as “German Guest” and Kevin.

    Anyway, I wasn’t attempting to forge a new “community” with Kevin and German Guest with that post. I was simply stating that we all have some work ahead of us, singly or collectively.

    I’m not trying to create some online version of the micro-community I was a part of in Portland. If something like that naturally occurs, that would be great. That’s what happened in Portland. It all just sort of organically came together for a little while.

  39. nohivmeds Says:

    Dan wrote:

    ” I didn’t include you in my statement. You’re just not as far along on this issue as “German Guest” and Kevin. ”

    There is a difference between not being as far along, and holding different opinions, Dan. How old are you? How long have you been quesitoning? It’s not a competition — we are all in this together. Your post was a very sad display of not being “far along,” I would argue, as a person, or as someone concerned about science, HIV/AIDS, and community.

    In other words, Dan, what you judge me to be, turns out to be exactly what you are — and good evidence of it too. Very sad.

  40. nohivmeds Says:

    Having lived in Seattle for 6 years, and Portland for one, I can say that your exclusive, judgemental, and belittling attitude may be the reason why you haven’t found your place in the community. Does that make sense, Dan? You’d have us believe it’s everyone else in Seattle who has the problem. That is illogical.

    Would you like me to introduce you to some of my friends there who don’t? I have several friends in Seattle who would appreciate the discussions we have here. I know this, because I’ve had these discussions with them. And my experience tells me that we are all more than “far enough along.”

    The offer stands. Email me, and I’ll facilitate contact for you, despite your poor atttitude.

  41. nohivmeds Says:

    Whatever you do decide, Dan, regarding my offer, given that, and the olive branch extended, the very least you could do would be to fake it — just out of general human kindness (you’re a proponent of that, aren’t you?).

  42. nohivmeds Says:

    The decision should be an easy one. Take my offer of connections in Seattle, or just try to be a nice person. Otherwise, I’ll have to continue to point out your exclusivity, judgement, and disdain, as well as your tendancy to generalize from anecdote to evidence — which is not really moving the discussion forward, and it nothing I enjoy doing. The resolution of this frisson is all up to you, Dan. I’ve extended myself. There is no more I can do. Whatever you decide, will dictate how things continue to go in this space. Think it over. I think I’m walking the walk — generosity is my goal, here.

  43. Dan Says:

    NHM,

    We have different goals.

    I’m interested in awakening the masses out of their “HIV/AIDS” dream/nightmare. That’s first and foremost with this issue.

    Should gay community organically come together like the one I experienced in Portland, great. But that’s not my focus.

    You can continue to point out my “exclusivity, judgement, and disdain” all you like. It quickly makes it look like you’ve got an axe to grind with me, nothing more.

  44. nohivmeds Says:

    Dan —

    I too am interested in “awakening the masses out of their “HIV/AIDS” dream/nightmare,” and think that’s a ncie way to say it. I agree it’s first and foremost.

    So on that goal we are in agreement.

    What other goals do you have? So far, we have no differences. Let’s elucidate the goals. I’m guessing we’ll agree on all of them. Batting 100% so far.

    So — what is your next goal?

  45. nohivmeds Says:

    If the list of goals doesn’t interest you, then, since you have stated repeatedly we are somehow at odds with one another in some way (not goals, apparently), please elucidcate and tell me how you think we’re at odds in this. I’m not sure how we could be at odds when it comes to the big picture here — like your foremost goal, for instance.

    It seems illogical to me to think that when you examine the issue from that larger perspective, given that we both participate here and elsewhere in support of your first goal, that there are any differences between us at that level.

    That might indicate that the difference you perceive is personal and has nothing to do with HIV/AIDS or the gay community, or Orwell, or Sullivan.

    Enlighten us.

  46. Dan Says:

    NHM,

    you’re correct. It is personal. I don’t care to work with you. Here’s the reason why…

    You’ve called me a “homophobe” numerous times on this blog.

    I bet that there are many people here who would agree (including yourself) that labelling somebody a homophobe shouldn’t be done lightly, randomly or haphazardly. As a gay man, I would think that you would use this term judiciously. As a gay man, I’m sure you’re sensitive to how damning and potentially damaging that term is. As a gay man, you can appreciate the seriousness of calling somebody a homophobe, especially another gay man. It’s quite an ugly, demeaning term.

    As a psychologist, researcher and scientist, I’d like you to provide the evidence that I’m a homophobe. I’d like you to provide the evidence, for all to see, in detail worthy of and required by your scientific peers that allows you to publicly label me a homophobe.

    Even if you’re able to provide evidence that I’m a homophobe…in your estimation, as a psychologist, can you tell me what purpose it serves to continually label me as such in this public forum?

  47. German Guest Says:

    nohivmeds,

    the reality you are living in is very different from the experiences others have made. Let me just give you another example found at aidsmythexposed.com:

    I stumbled upon a H.E.A.L. lecture in a Santa Monica park. I was amazed by what I learned.

    I have tried to tell as many people I know of this theory and it has proven to be a ridiculous communication disaster. Screaming matches at times. People get oddly freaked out on the subject and grow defensive and angry and refuse to listen. The very idea that they have believed a lie for so long sets them into a defensive frenzy and they just refuse to listen.

    I have only convinced one person of this theory after persuading him to actually take the time and read about it and have only actually met one other person who knew about it on her own. This is 2 people out of about a 100 that I have talked to about this. The other 98 are not reachable and out to lunch. This other 98 is what scares me about humanity, that they are not able to see the truth when it is right in front of them.

    Therefore, I am really surprised at your optimistic und sanguinely point of view.

  48. nohivmeds Says:

    Dan —

    I think I said you suffered from internalized homophobia, yes? That is charge that could be levelled at any gay person at different times — myself included. In my field, it is generally considered easy to understand — most gay and lesbian people harbor inner fear and disdain towards homosexuality exactly because the culture we grew up in does. You are not unique in that regard. Despite that, I am sorry that it hurt you. I could re-read all your posts, culling them for evidence, but as it is a concept that I would apply equally to any GLBT person if I thought their behavior or comments were indicative of it, I’ll skip the exercise of pointing out those times when you evidenced it. It applies to you. It applies to me. It applies to Kevin, to German Guest. We all carry it. Try picking up a copy of Odet’s “In the Shadow of the Epidemic.” If you’d check that book out, I think we could have a really productive conversation about internalized homophobia.

    German Guest, and Dan, and Kevin —
    I am not denying the existance of ignorance in the community — but you cannot deny the existance of like-minded individuals either, so indicting the entire community is simply factually incorrect. Again, this is a point I’ve tried to make repeatedly. It has nothing to do with being too optimistic and everything to do with fact. We here are all critics of AIDS, Inc., and we’re gay men. Therefore — blanket indictments of the community simply don’t apply. I’m really surprised this is such a hard point to get across. It’s just logic. If we are discussing all this, and there are men on other blogs in other towns discussing all this — then, again, a blanket indictment of gay men or the gay community is simply not supported – WE OURSELVES are evidence of that.

    And finally, Dan — you have labelled me very unkindly as well, but I don’t take it personally. I don’t know you, so why would I? Why do you take my words so personally? You don’t know me, so why does it matter so much to you what I think?

  49. Dan Says:

    NHM,

    It would be one thing to say that I’m “expressing homophobia” (which I would disagree with), but you have simply stated that I am a homophobe (an absolute, a permanent state).

    Coming from a psychologist, calling somebody a homophobe carries more weight than if it were coming from the average person. So, once again, I’d like you to provide the evidence that I’m a homophobe. I’d like you to provide the evidence, for all to see, in detail worthy of and required by your scientific peers that allows you to publicly label me a homophobe.

    If you can’t put up the evidence, you shouldn’t be casually throwing that term around at people.

  50. kevin Says:

    nohivmeds wrote:

    We here are all critics of AIDS, Inc., and we’re gay men. Therefore — blanket indictments of the community simply don’t apply. I’m really surprised this is such a hard point to get across.

    We are all here precisely because we question HIV=AIDS; therefore, we are not typical representatives of that community. That’s the fact. Your point is hard to get across because it lacks resonance, particularly with regards to HIV. I certainly agree that gay people come in as many flavors as any other minority, but whatever heterogeneity exists within the community uniformly dissolves into a communal ignorance whenever HIV is “discussed”.

    Allow me to tell you a story… a good friend of mine who is open to my ideas on the subject has begun dating a guy who is blissfully HIV+. This guy is relatively young (mid-thirties) and otherwise healthy, but he’s been taking the meds for 7 years, mostly at the behest of his overbearing parents, in whom he has great trust since they’ve always been supportive. He’s obviously co-dependent on both the meds and the parents, but I thought I’d give him the benefit of the doubt. Anyway, my buddy asks me to speak with him about the dissident position, so I invited them along on a hike. Of course, he had expressed an interest in discussing it prior to meeting me. Well, we had a great hike, and I did not mention anything about HIV, wanting him to get to know me a bit, which is only reasonable.

    While having our after-hike beer, out of the blue he mentions that he doesn’t think he needs to be taking the meds and that he only started after his parents made him. He’s actually fairly smart but I quickly realized he was probably attracted to the victim-status afforded to him by HIV. However, I let him lead the discussion, but eventually hit on most of the finer points of the dissident viewpoint, particularly concerning taking ARVs before suffering any ill-health. He seemed interested in learning more so I told him to get my email address from my buddy, send me a message, and I’ll reply with some links for him to do his own research. Several weeks have passed with no email. I asked my buddy what the deal was, if he was still interested in learning about alternative viewpoints regarding HIV and he tells me that the guy discussed it with his parents–I’d be laughing my ass off if it wasn’t so tragic–anyway, after discussing it with his parents he’s decided to remain in treatment.

    Parents aside, I also suspect that he would not know how to relate to his friends without HIV, since he is very active in the local scene, including voluteering at the local AIDS resource center. That said, at least he listened that day. As our German Guest has made clear, just getting our gay brethren to give us a chance to speak is a real problem.

    I do intend to keep trying but my early forays into offering real HIV education to the members of the community has been anything but promising.

    Kevin

  51. nohivmeds Says:

    Kevin,
    I can appreciate your friend’s predicament, and your own. I think they are both fairly common among diagnosed men and some of their friends. My friend TD did not want to take the drugs, his parents pretty much made helping him contingent on doing that. He talked a lot about his misgivings about this, and about HIV=AIDS. That was 1994. He died in 1996. All your story proves is that there is deep discomfort with the current HIV paradigm in the gay community. You make my point for me.

    Dan, if you want me to spend the time to go through each of your posts here and pull out all the homophobic statements, I’m capable of doing that. But I think you know that once I do, you’ll simply state I’m misrepresenting your intentions. Someone who speaks so frequently in generalities about “gay men” and the “gay community”, and always speaks negatively about these things, woudl be any decent psychologist, or human’s, prime suspect for harboring internalized homophobia. Calling you a homophobe is saying the same thing, but not as nicely. I apologize for that.

  52. Truthseeker Says:

    Calling you a homophobe is saying the same thing, but not as nicely. I apologize for that.

    Could distinguished commentators agree to avoid insults which are not amusingly phrased, at least?

  53. Dan Says:

    I suspect the reason I’m being labeled a homophobe by NHM has to do with our very different basic views on what being gay even means. Two distinct things that do not equate with gay identity for me are: victim-mentality, and the fetishizing/worshipping of HIV with it’s inherent faith in the church of AIDS. So, yes, if those things are part and parcel of gay identity, then I’m a homophobe.

    I’ve resigned myself to the fact that NHM views me as a homophobe. That’s fine. It’s his opinion, nothing more.

    So, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way (realizing that the accusations will no doubt continue) I can post freely and not spend any time attempting to defend myself from baseless, hollow attempts to slap the “homophobe” label on me.

    Story time…

    I’ve had an on and off relationship for a couple years. “Mike”, up until just two years before he met me, was by all accounts living a heterosexual life. When we met, he was still very new to a lot of ideas concerning gay culture. Oddly enough (or not so oddly), the one thing he did concurrent with accepting his homosexuality was to enroll himself in a program to be monitored and researched for “HIV infection”.

    Of course, when he was living life as a mainstream heterosexual, no such thought crossed his mind.

    This illustrates a point I’ve been making about “AIDS” and gay identity. “AIDS” is practically inseparable from gay mens’ idenitities, whether they’re “positive” or not. As part of Mike’s self-initiation into gay culture, he enrolled himself in an “HIV” program to monitor him.

  54. kevin Says:

    I suspect the reason I’m being labeled a homophobe by NHM has to do with our very different basic views on what being gay even means. Two distinct things that do not equate with gay identity for me are: victim-mentality, and the fetishizing/worshipping of HIV with it’s inherent faith in the church of AIDS. So, yes, if those things are part and parcel of gay identity, then I’m a homophobe.

    Thank you, Dan. I, too, can no longer be an accessory to the crime of queer victimization, to hell with that. I’m already viewed as a dangerous heretic, and probably a homophobe, by those with whom I’ve spoken freely about the subject, and nowhere does the vitriol flow thicker than in the presence of the ever-present happy-go-lucky A&F “community queer.” It’s not homophobic to criticize other queers for refusing to examine their own lives, particularly their faith in HIV. It’s no secret that every thing that serves to create the public image of the “gay community” also serves the dual role of encouraging conformity, as it is in all segregated populations. And for the gay community, HIV is Jesus Christ.

    Furthermore, it’s not homophobic to care enough to be brutally honest about the numerous shortcomings of the gay community, many of which directly contribute to HIV’s perverse reverence. It actually has parallels to the situation where poor, disenfranchised people vote for the most corrupt politicians simple because they reflect the same morality. I’ve decided that I’ll not support any community whose identity revolves around such a lie. Instead, I’ll fight to change it without compromising my integrity as a free-thinking human being. As for the charge of your internalized homophobia, I’d say the opposite is true…that internalized homophobia would make it easier to accept the vicitimization, to live in apathy with the pathetic masses. After all, it’s a difficult life, the life of a heretic, especially a gay heretic. It’s certainly easier not to care, but sometimes the cost of ignorance is too high, and someone has to hold up the mirror, right?.

    Kevin

  55. nohivmeds Says:

    I just don’t think we’re understanding each other at all. If I were a victim in any way, I doubt very much I would have accomplished what I have. How easy do you think it is to be a gay man attempting to get a PhD in Child Psychology, for example? I’m not a victim, I’m not involved in any sort of victim mentality, I don’t feel victimized by anyone, frankly. Not even by folks on this blog.

    Granted, I’ve seen the sort of victim mentality you speak of in the gay community — and the straight community — and in every community that has been oppressed. It’s a sociological given that oppressed groups will oftentimes emulate their oppressors.

    That doesn’t, however, give me or anyone else the right to generalize, and say that all women are operating from a victim mentality, or all gay men, or the gay community in general are suffering from a victim mentality. That’s way too simplistic to be correct.

    It’s not us vs. them. It’s not me vs. you. It’s not black vs. white. It’s not “gays are ignorant victims” or “gays are heros.” I mean, for God’s sake, a modicum of rationality, please. Let’s avoid oversimplification and generalizations — then we’ll actually be on a good path to discuss any issue — whether it’s the role of gay culture in AIDS, Inc. or Libya, or whatever.

  56. Dave Says:

    I appreciate the insights offered by Dan, Kevin and NHM. It is valuable, and, as someone outside this community, I definitely learn a lot.

    Here’s my take:

    1. On the whole, gay men have been the group most victimized by the AIDS establishment. They were the group, stigmatized by HIV, and then scared and bullied into taking AZT monotherapy from 1987-1997.

    2. So, in my view, the main culprits are: (1) the NIH who dictated the bad science, (2) the Pharmaceutical companies, who capitalized on the science, (3)the incompetent media, who uncritically promoted the bad science and (4) the various scientists in the academies who knew better, but turned a blind eye to the bad science.

    After 1997, the bad guys did a skillful job of co-opting some of its victims, and embraced a small, but influential segment of the gay community to assume the role of cultural/social enforcers of the HIV paradigm. Again, this is a small minority of gays. But, they were pretty effective. So, this segment would be no. (5) in the list of bad guys.

    That’s my global macro view.

    I am heartened, though, by the several gay men who have contacted me over the past year — some of whom recently were diagnosed HIV+ — who reject the HIV paradigm. This is a very, positive, healthy development.

    By nature, I’m optimistic. Though I don’t ignore the human wreckage caused by AIDS Inc., I definitely see progress.

  57. nohivmeds Says:

    Hey Dave —

    Thanks for that macro-view. It’s good to back away and look at the broader picture. That helps.

    I just want to say this. I’m really happy I’m gay. I think it’s a lucky thing — I think I have a lot more leeway in society than straight men are generally given, and I’ve taken full advantage of that. I’m not discounting the difficulties in being a sexual minority — I’ve researched and published on that. But there are some amazing benefits. I’ve just never encountered a group of gay men before now on this blog who seem so unhappy being gay. I mean, I don’t adore every gay man I meet — some I downright hate. But I’m happy being gay, and I’ll take the good with the bad in our community.

    And I too am an optimist.

  58. Dan Says:

    As for the charge of your internalized homophobia…

    Kevin,
    I’d say to not even consider it. First, it’s not something that’s provable. Second, who cares? The people in your life who really know you are all that’s important.

    Glad to meet you and German Guest here in cyberspace. I think we’re coming from very similar places in this.

  59. Dan Says:

    Quote of quotes:

    internalized homophobia would make it easier to accept the victimization

    Hit the nail on the head there, Kevin.

  60. nohivmeds Says:

    Recommended reading to all who are interested in seeing how internalized homophobia is measured and what it has been empirically related to:

    Williamson, I. R. (2000). Internalized homophobia and health issues affecting lesbians and gay men. Health Education Research, 15 , 97-107.

    Odets, W. (1995). In the shadow of the epidemic: Being HIV-negative in the age of AIDS (Series Q) . Duke University Press.

  61. nohivmeds Says:

    BTW — the article by Williamson is a review of research and discusses several approaches used in the literature to assess internalized homophobia. It has, also, an excellent reference list of additional resources. And as I’ve mentioned previously, Odets’ book is excellent. Really on target regarding the divide in the gay community which some folks here seem concerned with, but haven’t read up on too much.

  62. nohivmeds Says:

    And by the way, Dan, if you happened to read my letter in Harper’s, or taken much science, you would know that scientists aren’t interested in what you call “provable” information. They are interested in disproving alternate hypotheses by testing against the null hypothesis. The word “proof” exists in geometry, but is used exceptionally tentatively, if at all, in science. And once again, as I did previously, I remind you I’m capable of empirically studying your writings here at NAR for evidence of internalized homophobia. If you’d like me to elucidate what the method for that piece of research would be, I’d be happy to.

    (This would rate a RED BORDER if there was one to apply. – Ed.)

  63. Dan Says:

    I remind you I’m capable of empirically studying your writings here at NAR for evidence of internalized homophobia.

    NHM,
    go for it. Have a good time. And your need to label me as a homophobe helps move the discussion forward here how ? I’m interested in hearing what purpose you think that will serve. It’s obviously important to you to label me a homophobe, as you’ve threatened a number of times to dissect posts to supposedly “prove” your case.

    So, after teasing us repeatedly that you’ll show to the world that I’m a homophobe, it’s time for you to put up or shut up. And while you’re at it, tell the folks here why this is so important.

  64. nohivmeds Says:

    Okay Dan. It isn’t important to me — you keep arguing that I should do this study, so here’s what it would entail — and you’ll note that we’ll need three additional people to code data, which means we will need some money to complete it:

    First, I would have to pull every one of your posts and number them.
    If the number was higher than, say, 100 posts, we’d want to draw a random sample rather than examine every post.
    To draw a random sample, from say 300 posts, where we wanted approximately one third in the sample, we would ask a random number generator program to give us a number between 2 and 20. Say we got the number 8.
    We would then go through all the posts, pulling every 8th post until we reached our goal of one third.

    So then we would have our sample.

    Then we would take each post in the sample and number the sentences/phrases in each post. That way, each sentence in the sample would have a unique double-digit identifier (one # is the number we put on the post, the other is the number assigned to the sentence).

    The sentences/phrases would serve as our basic coding units — they would be the raw data.

    Now we would need some help. We would hire two data coders (I could not code the data, because I have a specific hypothesis about you, so I have to remove that bias and get objective coders).

    Each data coder would be asked to examine each sentence and code on the following questions:
    1. Is the sentence about gay men/the gay community/gay culture?
    2. If the sentence is about gay men/the gay community/gay culture, what is the tone of the sentence? (this would be coded as “positive” “critical” or “ambivalent” or “not applicable”).
    3. If the sentence is about gay men/the gay community/gay culture, what is the intensity of the comment (regardless of the tone). This would be a numeric rating, with 1 = not intense, ranging to 5 = Extremely intense.

    The two data coders would apply this coding rubric to all the sentences.

    All sentences on which they agreed in their ratings would be logged into a database. Disagreements between the first two coders would be settled by the review of a third independent coder. The third independent coder would only be given the sentences on which there was disagreement, and would not be told how the sentence had been previously coded.

    Once the disagreements had been rectified by the third independent coder, then those data could join the rest in the database.

    I would then examine the results. There would be several questions we could answer:

    1. What percentage of the sample sentences contained references to gay men/the gay community/gay culture?
    2. Of those sentences, what percentage were “critical” “positive” “ambivalent” (and not applicable) in tone?
    3. Of the sentences coded a “critical”, what was the average intensity rating?

    This is just one way the question could be approached, Dan. I have no need to do this — but it wouldn’t make a bad content analysis, and I suppose might even be publishable. The steps are very simple. Anyone could do it now that I have laid it out. If you can find a source to pay the three independent coders, then the study could be done.

    You asked me to prove scientifically that you had internalized homophobia. You could execute this study yourself. You could even do a small pilot study, taking perhaps 30 randomly selected posts. I think that this is something you need to discover more about on your own, Dan. I made this elaborate posting to show you a way. I don’t need to do the study to feel confident in my impressions. But perhaps you might need to do the study to either reassure yourself, or maybe just explore something about yourself. I hope you do that (the small pilot study). You think I dislike you. You’re wrong about that, Dan.

  65. German Guest Says:

    Nohivmeds, I’m almost tired of reading your posts that do not contribute anything to the discussion here. Write Dan an extensive email or something but pleeeezze, don’t pollute this public forum with postings like the one above. Thank you very much.

  66. nohivmeds Says:

    German Guest — I was responding to Dan’s inquiry. Should I not respond to Dan? I think that would be rude. If you don’t want to read that kind of post, then take it up with Dan. He asked me to study this issue. I responded. If he hadn’t made such a big deal of it, I wouldn’t have bothered responding. See how that works? Your comment would have been more appropriate if it was regarding a post of mine that was not written in response to a request by another person.

  67. Dan Says:

    NHM,

    that was a long-winded way of saying that you’ve got squat.

    Now, if you have any integrity, you won’t be casually labeling folks as “homophobes”. If you do decide to call anybody a homophobe, this thread shows that you’re unable to back up that accusation.

    You’re insincere. I didn’t “ask you to study this issue”. After you repeatedly threatened to somehow , through my postings here, show everybody that I’m a homophobe, I said “go for it”. Not quite the same as asking you to “study this issue”.

    I think we can move on now, away from the accusations of homophobia. You’re full of hot air, NHM. You can’t back up your accusations of homophobia, and you didn’t bother answering the question of what purpose it serves in this forum to label me as a homophobe.

  68. nohivmeds Says:

    Dan. Like I said, if you want to hire 3 independent coders, we can complete the study. I didn’t make an accusation, I made an observation — and as with any topic, we would need to collect DATA to study it. One can’t answer a scientific question, Dan, without DOING THE SCIENCE. So once again, Dan, if you’d like to pay the independent coders, we could do the science.

    And again — I have apologized for calling you a homophobe. I have said that you suffer from internalized homophobia, and that YOU, yourself, could scientifically investigate that, since you don’t believe me, and I showed you exactly how to do that.

    Seems to me the hot air is blowing from your direction.

    And, I would submit, that any discussion of Andrew Sullivan would necessarily include a discussion of internalized homophobia. After all, he is a Conservative Gay Republican. Internalized homophobia is very much topical in this thread.

  69. Dan Says:

    NHM: I didn’t make an accusation, I made an observation

    Dan: If you do decide to call anybody a homophobe, this thread shows that you’re unable to back up that accusation.

    A little experiment. Let’s see how it goes. We’ll substitute “observation” in place of “accusation”.

    If you do decide to call anybody a homophobe, this thread shows that you’re unable to back up that observation.

    Yep. Still works.

  70. Truthseeker Says:

    And, I would submit, that any discussion of Andrew Sullivan would necessarily include a discussion of internalized homophobia. After all, he is a Conservative Gay Republican. Internalized homophobia is very much topical in this thread.

    Dear and most worthy NHM, discussion of Andrew Sullivan’s motives is relevant, agreed, since he is a public figure playing a role of influence in this affair and it can be argued that he should behave in a more intelligent and responsible fashion, and the question is, why he does not.

    Endless analysis of the degree of homophobia or other motivations of distinguished commentators on this blog is not called for, however, since the topic is the science and the politics of the science, and not what distinctly smacks of navel examination camouflaged as projection.

    Many people object to the incessant peddling of defensive narcissism by all too many gays with their ready accusations of homophobia at the drop of a hat even though it may well be only a natural outcome of the minority politics of bigotry suffered, and perfectly understandable. But the ironic result is often homophobia where it was initially absent.

    That is why we have asked repeatedly that accusations of homophobia within this blog be curtailed, as distracting, unprovable, and alienating.

    Externally directed, at far off targets, fine. Ricocheting off the walls of this refuge from insanity, endangering the peace of mind of other participants, risking boredom, not.

    Let the finely wrought wheels of your mind turn on other ways to contribute the munificent benefits of your expertise and long acquaintance with the central problem addressed by this blog, if you will.

  71. nohivmeds Says:

    TS wrote:

    “Endless analysis of the degree of homophobia or other motivations of distinguished commentators on this blog is not called for…”

    I could not agree more, TS. That’s why I laid out a possible content analysis study, to show how it would be done, but did not do it. Dan seems to be confused about this. Since I did not execute the study discussed, because it would not have been appropriate here, he states that this means I am unable to do so and could not provide evidence of his, or of Andrew Sullivan’s homophobia. This is an incorrect assumption and needs to be corrected for the record. I could apply the analysis discussed to either our friend Dan, or to our enemy Andrew.

    But the degree of homophobia is not as relevant as its continued presence amongst gay men, and they way it tends to distort their views — both of the gay community, and of society at large. For Sullivan, it rears its ugly head in his politics, for others, it rears its ugly head in reckless generalities that disallow for the obvious heterogeneity present in any human community. Internalized homophobia emerges in multiple ways, but it is always damaging to the person carrying it, and oftentimes, to those around them. It perhaps is the most relevant concept when discussing Sullivan’s work — a point on which it appears we agree.

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