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Why gays love their ARVs


GMHC provides opportunity to speak to gays about their meds

The art is therapy, the science is a mystery, and psychology rules

Last night GMHC in New York City celebrated “the first 25 years of the fight against AIDS” with an art opening – a show of the art of gay men with AIDS, giving us another opportunity to meet more gay men with HIV that are “on the meds”, and talk to them about their experience and their thoughts about their predicament.

As it happened on the way there we passed this huge ad on the 51st Street subway platform for what we were told later was the most popular ARV medication at present, Truvada. If you enlarge it (two clicks for maximum size) you will be able to read the anti gay graffiti (mild) and also the impressive list of horrible side effects risked by those who take it.

Truvada’s dangerous success

The extraordinary ability of the drug industry to announce such a grotesque list of expected side effects without impairing the willingness of the patient who reads the ad to swallow the pills is reminiscent of the tobacco industry, and its labelling of cigarette packs as deadly without much effect on consumption, or the TV ads for drugs with innumerable unpleasantnesses attached.

The fact that gay men can take these drugs without investigating their fundamental rationale is the mystery we wanted to solve in a few more friendly chats with the subjects. Presumably their confidence in the meds is a tribute to their trust in the medical profession, in HIV∫AIDS science, and the pharmaceutical industry, which seems odd, since gay activists distrust the latter on the grounds that they love profits more than patients.

There is also the point that these days almost everybody double checks the knowledge of their physicians by searching the Web, since they suspect probably correctly that by the time the docs have seen their patients and worked out how to get paid by filling in forms in triplicate they have little if any time to skim more than the latest headlines in JAMA and the NEJ. Exactly why the gay patients on the meds do not read the copious intelligent material on the Web questioning the drugs and their theoretical relevance to immune system dysfunction, or do not take it seriously, is also a mystery, at this stage, when some 24 books have been written and so much activity has been seen on the Web in the last two years.

This is an closeup photo which will enlarge to readability if you click it once or twice, whereupon you can see the full list, which includes so many stated risks, that as far as we are concerned they would, if we read them, prompt us instinctively to throw the stuff with great alacrity into the nearest garbage can and wash our hands of the whole pack of doctors and health workers who peddled such dangerous substances as cures for anything at all, since the potential cost is clearly not worth it if there is the slightest doubt that it does anything less than save your life for sure, and such a list of detrimental impacts by itself raises overwhelming doubt that there can be any wise rationale behind it, even if we knew nothing about the literature which rejects HIV:

Buildup of acid in the blood leading to nausea and muscle weakness, a medical emergency which may need hospital treatment immediately;

Serious liver problems with liver enlargement and fat in the liver, turning the skin and whites of the eyes yellow;

Flareup of Hepatitis B virus;

Kidney problems;

Possible bone damage;

Changes in body fat distribution (ie ravaged face, neck humps, fat on belly;

Dizziness;

Diarrhea

Vomiting

Headache,

Abdominal pain

Depression,

Rash,

Gas,

Skin disoloration (spots and freckles).

Plus, watch out if you are taking other ARVs, your health care provider may need to adjust your therapy and follow you more closely.

Reviewing this forbidding list of the crippling effects you risk by taking this chemotherapy, one had to wonder anew how it is that anyone carry on taking the pills for long without encountering problems severe enough to stop, or at least to prompt one to doublecheck the necessity of carrying on. But as we understand it, patients fervently believe in the efficacy of the regimen, as if it were some kind of manna from heaven, or wafer of communion in the church of the blessed paradigm.

We hoped to find out some indication of the roots of this irrationality at the show opening party, which was held for the thirty or more painters and photographers with HIV that were invited by GMHC and the Ryan Chelsea Clinton Community Health Center to contribute works.

Searching for rationality

Entering the Ryan Chelsea Clinton Community Health Center after navigating round a block long white limo parked outside, we found Everett Faulkner, a tall, good looking older African American standing against the wall nursing a soft drink, who turned out to be one of the two photographers whose work had been chosen for the show. His photo was that of a train engine he had found in the Danbury Train Museum, a splendid streamlined monster which loomed impressively over his camera lens, a beautiful artefact from an earlier age when rail engineering was aesthetic as well as practical.

We chatted to Everett about his picture, which he said was one of many he has taken as a freelance photographer of trains, landscapes, and other topics; he listed a few, and we noticed that none of them involved people. Clearly, Everett was an independent by nature. So we asked him whether he was on the meds, and how he felt. He told us amiably he has been on them since 1999, and he felt fine, he hadn’t suffered major symptoms, and he counted himself “lucky”. We asked him whether he had tried giving up taking them, and he said he had found that when he went off them for a short time, he felt worse, so he had returned to using the drugs. The only thing he complained about was fatigue, which meant he wasn’t able to stand for very long.

Had he ever heard of people questioning the whole rationale of the drugs, we asked. He said he had but he hadn’t really looked into it himself. We found ourself telling him what we thought – that we wouldn’t trust the scientists who peddled the paradigm with our wallet, and that we saw that the idealists who sacrificed gain to hold on to their view were the critics, who were penalized and censored. Not surprisingly, perhaps, we found him only mildly interested in what we said, but not overly curious – after seven years of taking the drugs, it didn’t seem that he could easily entertain the idea that he might have been misled, and it wasn’t something that caught his imagination.

We took a picture of him with one of the two curators of the art show, Michi Yamaguci, who said he liked Everett’s work, and then went to examine the art, which turned out to be mostly untalented daubs, serving self expression and presumably comforting to the patients, but with little or no artistic value. Were we wrong to conclude that the general intelligence of the artists was not that high? It is hard to be intelligent when ill, because it takes the edge off the mind and the psyche, and many of the artists and others present were noticeably sweaty faced. Moreover, we have to report we recognized that peculiar sense of detecting germs when talking to some people that we recall from past exposures to AIDS patients taking medications.

But anyway, there was another good photographer, who had two works in the exhibition, a night shot of a silhouetted urban skyline, and a picture of a little girl staring into his camera with particularly open gaze.

That author, Mitchell Stout, posed with both works and afterwards we struck up a conversation with him too along the same lines. He said he had been taking the meds religiously for some years, but he also counted himself “lucky” because he hadn’t suffered terribly bad effects, except gas. Had he ever taken a drug holiday? Yes, once, for three weeks. He hadn’t felt any ill effects from it. So why did he go back on the drugs? It seemed he was simply being a dutiful patient. We asked why he didn’t just stop and see what happened? “Oh I am not a lab rat!”, he said indignantly. Anyhow, he earnestly assured us, the virus is extremely cunning, and you never knew what it might do next. We suggested that maybe given the criticism of the validity of the drugs, perhaps he might consider it. “Oh no”, he said, “You’re talking to the wrong person here! Excuse me, I have to go find someone.”

The impression we got was that taking the drugs was rooted in his life as some part of his identity now, and the idea of any change was disturbing to him. He gave us the impression that any idea that he had been doing the wrong thing for years was a matter of challenging his life philosophy. The troubled science was clearly a subject which he was simply not equipped to handle.

At this point we gave up our investigation, deciding that these glimpses of the deep rooted nature of the meds as part of a philosophy and culture were enough to suggest that seeking to provoke any independent thought on the part of these recipients of GMHC patronage was a waste of time by definition. Their meds were part of a complex cultural system, a gay mentality that incorporated the whole ethos as part of gay identity, at least in these circles. It seemed to go far deeper than the gay politics we had imagined, the Don’t Blame Us, Blame the Virus ethos, which has always seemed too weak to sustain HIV and lethal drugs as sacred. We left, after checking in with the GMHC media representative, and getting on his email list for future events.

As the Comments on this blog will show, this very topic then came up without any prompting by us today on the thread under the Buy a red nano, save an African life post. One comment in particular from Dan seemed to mirror our sense of what was involved in talking to the GMHC artists.

The intertwining of “AIDS” to our identity runs so deep for so many gay men, that they cannot even imagine a world without “AIDS”. It’s ours. We own it. Don’t you truthseeker, a heterosexual, even try to take away this most basic, fundamental part of our character/identity.

Thinking over our talks with the GMHC artists this matches precisely the impression we got. It also explains so much other stuff to do with gays’ trust in their doctors on this life threatening subject. Why do grown men docilely accept the Kool Aid of ARV’s from the hands of their physicians, led as they are by Dr Fauci and the pharmas, but criticized so powerfully and without refutation by distinguished scientists and experienced commentators on the Web and in books, not to mention journals? Why do they do this so meekly even when their very lives are at stake? Why, when activism is the very hallmark of gay AIDS on every other basis – such as wrenching drugs from the hands of researchers before trials have been completed?

For this writer it all harks back to the experience he had long ago at the San Francisco AIDS conference of 1989, when a writer for Vanity Fair, a sophisticated urbanite capable of writing worldly pieces on the most demanding topics, was told of the validity of the critique of HIV∫AIDS and advised to research it for himself, since he was HIV positive and taking meds, at that time meaning AZT, at much higher and more lethal doses than prescribed as part of HAART today. He wouldn’t really listen, even when we put a draft of an assigned article for Harper’s magazine through his door later (opened a crack for his hand to stretch through and take it), a few months before he died.

Matthew Grace panics the GMHC

But a similar incident that was even more striking was the amusing but depressing and telling incident which happened a year or so ago to filmmaker and nutritionist Matthew Grace, author of A Way Out: Disease, Deception and the Truth about Health. Grace is an extreme skeptic about modern medical treatment for ailments, having been diagnosed with “multiple schlerosis and spinal cord degeneration” and being unable at one point to stand or even move his legs.

Given little hope of recovery from this crippling state, he refused all conventional treatments and fought his way back to health and impressive strength and vitality using his own precriptions for nutrition and exercise. His book has a photo on the back which in itself is a remarkably strong argument for the validity of his theories, however extreme. For as it shows, there is no one in New York who looks healthier and stronger than the rugged jawed, thick biceped, smooth skinned Grace, veins and muscles rippling in the picture and straight backed and glowing with health in real life.

Grace has been lecturing on the HIV∫AIDS theory for some years, attacking it as yet another example of the misguided venality and commercial fiction of a drug based medical culture. He has also been filming a documentary, and one day he arrived at GMHC, where several representatives of the gay activist group were delighted to meet with him and be filmed advancing their platform. having been told that his topic was “Heroes of AIDS”. Half way through the interview, Grace announced that he wanted to contribute $150,000 to the work of the organization, and produced a check for that amount made out to GMHC.

He said, however, he had one stipulation. What was that? the GMHC people asked. “That you show me convincingly why you believe that HIV causes AIDS”, said Grace. Apparently this resulted in an instant uproar and the summary folding of the interview session, with Grace and his crew ushered out to the sidewalk as if they were enemies threatening the whole foundation of GMHC’s social and cultural existence.

The question raised, of course, is why there is such alarm if this foundation stone is investigated, and if it is so cracked and vulnerable to examination, why is such a large and active gay activist body governing the health and treatment of a large part of the gay community built on such a rickety foundation?

The answer, of course, is much more deeply rooted than a discussion of the science would indicate.

72 Responses to “Why gays love their ARVs”

  1. nohivmeds Says:

    So then, using Grace and the many gay people you’ve met here, TS, you can’t honestly say that all gay men are under some strange mind control, can you? There are those that question. More of course than you’ve made contact with.

    Making generalizations about gay men, as you and Dan do, is about as useful as me making generalizations about British ex-pats. It’s stereotyping. Not very informative.

  2. nohivmeds Says:

    Do you honestly think gays will continue to visit your blog given your current attitudes? What would happen if they all (minus Dan, of course) went away? I guess, for the most part then, you’d be talking to yourself, which you seem to be doing anyway.

  3. nohivmeds Says:

    So perhaps you get the message now: you’re not qualified to speak about the gay community or the “AIDS” experience in the gay community.

    Additionally, several of your commentators have affirmed both my right and even potential interest in the ARVs as pulse therapy — you’ve just chosen to ignore that and write post after post about my psychology–which is laughable, given my profession and our lack of acquaintance.

    But, consistent with my new attitude, I will ignore your faux-pas, and will contniue to particpate and will continue to argue the merit of the ARVs for short term pulse therapy. If your goal was to derail then, my participation here, you have failed, and will fail again and again and again. Like I said, I’m not going anywhere, TS. But please — continue to demonstrate your disdain for gays. I think it will win you so many friends!

  4. nohivmeds Says:

    Oh — just for the sake of truth in journalism — did you really meet anyone who LOVES their ARVs, or is that just a little sensationalistic fluff that betrays your inner biases?

  5. nohivmeds Says:

    no need to answer the previous question, of course. the answer is quite obvious to anyone reading this blog. have you and Jerry Falwell had a good sit-down lately? the two of you have a lot in common. next thing we know, you’ll be telling us that AIDS is God’s punishment for the “gay lifestyle.”

    actually, the idea of you and Falwell together seems just about right.

  6. Marcel Says:

    Well, i haven’t read TS’s story yet, as it’s my habit to copy stuff to a text file and read it later. But I will say this: I think gays have a tendency to be self-destructive, and a tendency to hypochondria. In at least the self-destructive case, there are psychiatrists who agree.

    Now, it’s not gays’ fault that they have these traits, it’s caused by the self-hatred that society unfairly instills in them. But it explains why they might love to take medicine and love to feel sick and love to feel like some tragic heroine in some old triple-hanky Joan Crawford or Bette Davis flick, dying from some tragic disease (actually the tragic medicines). They DIG this, see?

    Now let me just point out that some of my favorite musical comedy writers have been gay, so please don’t accuse me of prejudice.

  7. Dan Says:

    Truthseeker,
    I think NHM and I might be in agreement that this piece probably won’t win over many gay men, and get them to question this aspect of gay culture. That’s the difficulty though, it’s much less a scientific issue, and much more a cultural and psychological issue.

    It seems that this unholy alliance came about in the ’80’s with Larry Kramer’s ACTUP. In what proved to be very decisive, gay men willingly gave away their power to the pharmaceutical companies. In doing so, we handed over our lives, and any possibility of collective critical thought over what was happening.

  8. nohivmeds Says:

    for you, Marcel:

    Also, just as an FYI, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the DSM in 1973, and the American Psychological Association followed suit in 1974.

    I’m glad to hear you love gay musical comedy writers. Is that like saying, “I don’t know any black people personally, but I like some of their music. Kinda sounds like it! Have a good one! : )

  9. nohivmeds Says:

    sorry, missing link:

    Freudian idea

  10. nohivmeds Says:

    In case you don’t want to follow the link:

    April 14, 2004

    Study casts doubt on
    Freudian idea of homosexuality

    An old Freudian idea that’s contributed to beliefs that homosexuals aren’t fit for marriage should be scrapped, according to a new study by California State University, Sacramento child development professor Mark Biernbaum that will appear in the May/June Journal of Homosexuality.

    Contrary to Freud’s theory, gay and lesbian individuals are not psychologically immature, according to Biernbaum’s study. They haven’t simply failed to grow into mental adulthood, which Freud believed caused them to seek partners of the same sex much like children seek playmates of the same sex.

    Biernbaum found instead that gay and straight 18- to 25-year-olds with similar backgrounds responded almost identically to a questionnaire designed to test psychological maturity. That finding also rules out the idea that immaturity makes homosexuals more prone to mental illness.

    “You can’t make the link between psychological immaturity and homosexuality. It doesn’t exist,” Biernbaum says. “Yes, gay people do seem to be much more at risk for mental illness, but I think it must be due more to societal factors than psychological factors.”

    Biernbaum’s current research and a series of other studies have found that homosexual youth are at increased risk for a host of mental health problems – including suicidal thoughts, depression and anxiety.

    Biernbaum says his findings should influence how psychiatrists and other mental health professionals treat homosexual clients.

    More generally, he says, the findings could help alter broad public perceptions.

    “A lot of what’s behind this whole debate about gay marriage is Freud’s concept that homosexuals are promiscuous and aren’t capable of a grown-up romantic relationship,” Biernbaum says. “I really think all the recent media coverage showing gay couples as real people sends an important message, both to society and to homosexual youth who may be having trouble finding their way.”

    In addition to not differing on psychological maturity, the study found no differences found between the two groups regarding their views on adult romantic relationships.

    Biernbaum’s study included 56 young people in the Seattle area ages 18-25; homosexual youth were matched with a heterosexual peer on a number of demographic factors as well as on their views about mature, romantic relationships. It compared their responses about how they handle conflict and whether they felt symptoms of mental illness.

    The study was part of more extensive research about college student adjustment.

    Biernbaum acknowledges that the portion of the research dedicated to homosexuality was limited in scope, and suggests additional research is needed. An important strength of his work is matching of young people from similar backgrounds. Most similar research has compared small groups of homosexual youth to large groups of heterosexual youth.

  11. Truthseeker Says:

    I think NHM and I might be in agreement that this piece probably won’t win over many gay men, and get them to question this aspect of gay culture. That’s the difficulty though, it’s much less a scientific issue, and much more a cultural and psychological issue.

    This is a science blog, not a gay site vying for gay readership. The post simply reports the attitudes found, which you express very well yourself.

    NTM seems to have got his knickers in a twist to such an extent he has duplicated his comment postings, and his loony responses cannot even get straight what is being said. Perhaps gays who want to sort all this out instead of staying “lab rats” for pharmas and the NIAID will come here to compare the facts as reported from our live encounters with players in this social theater and from the scientific literature of the field with his accusations of homophobia, which are beginning to look like nothing more than a way of preventing proper examination of his ideas, which are by no means all bad, though somewhat self sacrificial, to our mind, as he prepares to be a voluntary lab rat to test whether ARVs taken over short spans are effective antifungals, as they are antibiotics and microbicides.

    Anyone who has any idea how to stem the flow of accusations of homophobia for us simply trying to work out why it is that so many gays have participated in their own genocide in this matter with an enthusiasm that goes beyond the pure, “don’t blame us blame the virus” politics of the situation, please post. But we happen to think that your analysis hits the nail on the head, as we have made clear, because we find it matches our reporting.

    As a leader of gay politics in HIV∫AIDS Larry Kramer has failed his community by heating, stirring and handing out Tony Fauci’s pharmasoup without examining its ingredients carefully, and reading the rationale behind the recipe, and he has stood by while people have died, or lived with their health impaired by drugs without scientific justification. As I told him years ago in Montreal, “you suspect the officials in Washington and the drug companies of cheating you out of access to good treatment, why are you not suspicious too of the motives of scientists, who are just as human in their motivations?” He just listened and bleated, “Oh you make me feel so ashamed!” and went off to get some coffee, never to return.

    But all this has been reported in earlier posts. The point now is how long is the gay community going to resist the scientific critique which month by month is emrging from the mainstream literature to back up the tested reviews over 22 years of Peter Duesberg? The fact that the community continues to act as if it is involved in mass hypnosis and NTM takes refuge in hissy fits when one reports this, even as he experiments on himself to see what the silver lining of the drugs might be, is the mystery we are trying to solve.

    It is a long time since we blamed people in general for believing what they are told without examination, since it has long been clear that this is a necessary social trait and science has shown how it works with fMRI readings which reveal which part of the brain is involved. There is no accusation here than gays are any more self deluded than any other human beings in this kind of situation. This is a human problem, not a gay problem. As far as we are concerned, there is nothing in being gay which justifies any prejudice of any kind.

  12. Dan Says:

    The point now is how long is the gay community going to resist the scientific critique…

    I don’t think the gay community is resisting the scientific critique. We can’t actively resist what we don’t acknowledge.

    Talking with gay friends and coworkers about “AIDS”, even those who have been activists, I’m struck by how extremely little they know about the fundamentals. I asked one of my gay coworkers recently what he knew about retroviruses. His response was “no, what’s a retrovirus”. I had to tell him that HIV is a retrovirus.

    I asked another gay coworker who’s adamant about “testing” and calls “AIDS drugs” “life-saving” if he knows any of the side effects of protease inhibitors. His answer was NO.

    These are just a couple of very recent examples of how little the gay community knows about the basics (the second person used to be involved in activism). I used to be feel some trepidation about asking questions like this as I’m not always up for a heated “AIDS” debate. Now that I’ve gotten my feet wet, and have seen how little real information gets past our collective filters, it becomes glaringly obvious why this nightmare has persisted for so long.

    “AIDS” is a cultural phenomenon in the gay community. We have no reason to resist the scientific critique, because we haven’t even educated ourselves, or been educated on the most basic elements of the paradigm.

  13. German Guest Says:

    Well done! This is probably one of the most important and most overdue discussions on this blog! Thanks everyone for your controversial views and statements.

    The HIV?AIDS paradigm definitely is an obscure psychological phenomenon – a mystery, a humbug that I am still trying to penetrate.

  14. kevin Says:

    Your examples made me laugh with disgust, Dan. My experiences have been the same.

    Recently, I was dragged (not too hard to do, really) into an email discussion about HIV by a friend of mine who is trying to understand the dissident viewpoint. Several friends–all gay men–are being cc:’ed and anyone can respond to anyone else’s comments. One of the participants is a college Philosphy instructor that I have known for several years. I figured he’d be open to the idea of questioning the establishment since that his M.O.. Well, he and I have been dominating the discussion. (Everyone else is too ignorant of the details to be of use). He’s an aidstruth.org parrot. Here’s copy from my last email to him; it’s relevant to the discussion, I believe. Names changed, of course. The villain is “Fred”. “Biff” is our the orignial questioning, mutual friend. Fred purports to be ethical bound to protect Biff from my influence:

    What’s the matter, Fred? Are you afraid of debating someone who is obviously more educated on this topic than you are?

    AIDS is an issue about which we all have a responsibility to be as educated as possible, particularly as gay men, so your deference to “so many other people who know so much more than me and present their evidence with references” is disgusting. Nothing more than a faith-based rationalization of your own intellectual laziness. After all, even a cursory examination will reveal the frequently contradictory and always incestuous nature of the “referenced” evidence you find so compelling. The people presenting the mainstream viewpoint are obviously influenced by unprecedented political considerations. To deny this is turning a blind eye to the truth.

    Biff may very well not respect my opinion on the matter, but I will continue to offer it to those I care about since that is the only way I can encourage people to look at the issue more carefully.

    You are a malcontent and a blowhard, Fred, who has always placed more value in intimidation than in reason, in spite of your philosophy background. Well, I’m not Biff and you cannot intimidate me.

    Kevin

    Kevin

  15. kevin Says:

    I should add that “Fred” is fond of using the cliched language typical of the paradigm…things like “live-saving drugs” and “overwelming evidence” and “nothing more than straw man arguments”…it’s really disgusting. He is intelligent and we share opinions about a great many things but HIV is apparently a sacred cow.

    I’m no longer keeping quiet about my dissident views. Lately, I have been engaging virtually all of my friends on the subject, especially those who possess intellects I respect. The responses have been varied but mostly positive. I, of course, let them acclimate to the idea of a non-HIV cause of Aids, for a bit, before turning up the heat. Only those who are increduously dismissive and/or rude get my full wrath immediately.

    Kevin

  16. Dan Says:

    He is intelligent and we share opinions about a great many things but HIV is apparently a sacred cow.

    Kevin, what are gay men protecting? Why are we so afraid to question? What is at that we’re so frightened to allow to see the light of day?

  17. Martin Kessler Says:

    For those gay people who had lived a life of drugs and partying and sex (with the attached venereal diseases), etc., many of these people knew each other – that formed a community. In this society, gays are still an unpopular minority (the GOP and the government has seen fit to maintain the bigotry). The gay AIDS dissident may be an even more unpopular minority ie the majority of gays that the gay dissident would come across would more than likely be AIDS community types. So if a gay man who had tested positive for antibodies allegedly related to HIV was in the “AIDS system”, he’s got a powerful support community, he also knows the disdain his establishment colleagues have towards “denialists”. Why would he want to become one of “those”. He has suffered previously as an outcast (and is still one outside of his AIDS community) and didn’t like the situation, why would he want to become an outcast again? He would also face the possibilty of losing the friends and acquaintences he has become “addicted” to. The “ARV’s” are “addictive” in the same fashion, he must take them not just because of the belief he is being kept alive but also they add a sense of community – like smoking cigarettes, difficult to quit because of the many things associated socially that the ceremonial ritual of smoking stands for.

  18. Glider Says:

    What are we protecting? I think 25 years ago gay men, acting out of shame and self-loathing, collectively made a Faustian bargain which in return for keeping the seamy underbelly of our community hidden from view, because it would’ve damaged the nascent gay rights movement, we sacrificed thousands of our own brothers to AIDS. We’re protecting ourselves from the painful truth.

    Glider

  19. Dan Says:

    in return for keeping the seamy underbelly of our community hidden from view

    The irony is that it actually placed it under a microscope, figuratively and literally!

  20. nohivmeds Says:

    Glider,

    Were you there 25 years ago when the Faustian bargain was made? Who was it made with? Was a secret pact signed? Who exactly has sacrificed our brothers? We are responsible, each one of us, for our own choices individually. I can’t say I know what was in the minds of men back then, so I don’t judge the choices they made, even if I don’t like the resutls. You say we are protecting ourselves from the truth — do you mean that we were complicit in all of this? If so, I don’t see evidence of that here. I see the opposite, in fact. I don’t see evidence of that in my community either. I don’t see evidence of it in Larry Kramer, when he publicly states that AIDS has become an “industry” and our stupid treatment advocates helped make it that way.

    Certainly, there are the Gregg Gonsalves and Richard Jefferys in our community, still using this all to advance their own agendas, and they have money and power. But do we need to bemoan the ENTIRE gay community and gay experience in order to “face the painful truth?” I think not. I think the majority of gay men face it every day. We seem to be saying that we somehow know better — but what exactly is that contention based on? Has anyone referenced any sort of research on the attitudes of gay men on these issues? No. A lot of rhetoric has been thrown about, but not a lot of facts, as far as I can see.

    One piece of research I did see recently discussed on this blog is that only 10% of HIV+ gay men are using ARVs in the U.S. That says to me, at least, that the “truth” you speak of is well known, not some secret holding of a select dissident few.

  21. nohivmeds Says:

    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. I don’t think this awareness is restricted to those who read this blog, or even to those who call themselves dissidents.

  22. nohivmeds Says:

    Of course, the more important thing to ask is, what are we going to do about it NOW? Not 25 years ago, or in ’96 when we clamoured for the protease inhibitors — but now. Do we blog here at NAR about how disappointed we are in the choices of our brothers, bemoaning their lack of intelligence? Hindsight, Glider, is 20/20, as they say. I think, to be honest, rather than continue to rail against the mistakes of the past, it would be much more interesting to discuss how to avoid such mistakes today, and tomorrow, and the day after.

    Attacking choices made 25 years ago is simply destructive. Proposing ways to get us out this quagmire would be constructive.

    So, challenge to the commenters:

    Given the mistakes of the past, how does the gay community change the present and the future?

  23. Dan Says:

    Given the mistakes of the past, how does the gay community change the present and the future?

    As far as “AIDS” is concerned, it looks like there needs to be some basic education for gay men. If a gay man in his forties didn’t know that HIV was a retrovirus, or another that used to be an “AIDS activist” couldn’t name one side effect of protease inhibitors, then it looks like we’re dealing more with propaganda, and less with real, solid information. That in itself may get the ball rolling toward more productive discussion and understanding.

  24. nohivmeds Says:

    I couldn’t agree more about the need for basic education, — but look who is currently handling “education” now — GMHC, AMFAR, Pharma. How do we educate? Do we demand change from the existing educators, or do we have to provide new sources for education — meaning, can there be a mutiny from within, or do we start from the outside, or both?

    I think our need for this type of education is true of ALL americans — I think that most americans could use some basic education on medicine, medical research, clinical trials, etc.

  25. nohivmeds Says:

    A really interesting thing to think about would be what sort of “curriculum” we would craft. We would want to identify the worst pieces of propaganda. We would want to simplify some the science that is used to obfuscate the truth.

  26. Dan Says:

    Sometimes it isn’t even the obvious propaganda as much as the glaring omissions. Good stuff to brainstorm on!

  27. kevin Says:

    Dan (mail):
    He is intelligent and we share opinions about a great many things but HIV is apparently a sacred cow.

    Kevin, what are gay men protecting? Why are we so afraid to question? What is at that we’re so frightened to allow to see the light of day?

    He’s unusual in that he’s a bit of a science freak, which isn’t necessarily bad; however, he’s steeped in the dogma and it’s a religion for him. I love science too, but I understand it’s susceptibility to be unduly influenced by the more rancid parts of our culture, i.e. our political system is thoroughly corrupt; all else flows from that. Many people understand that truth but they don’t like to consider it for very long. Recognizing a failure on the scale of AIDS frightens most people, gay or straight. People say to themselves, “How could we, collectively, have let such a tragedy as this occur?” and the obvious answer to that question does not reflect well on humanity? Greed is no longer seen as a destructive, undesirable trait in our society, but rather, it’s just a sign of one’s ambition. (stepping down from soapbox).

    There have been quite a few insightful posts regarding the reasons why gay men have been such willing players. There is truth in much of that analysis. However, I certainly don’t think it is fair for gay people to shoulder all the responsibility for this AIDS debacle. After all, there is enough blame for everyone. As others have noted, the minority status of gay people increases suceptibility to exploitation, for sure, but there are so many factors outside of gay culture that are more substantial players in this tragedy…things like the political corruption and greed I mentioned before.

  28. kevin Says:

    AIDS is a symbol of our failure to achieve greater humanity in spite of our ever growing scientific understanding of the world. These are some of the other social developments that I think might explain how something as severe as AIDS came about:

    Our healthcare industry is a propaganda machine specializing in a pill for every ill and gangsta-style extortion. ( And to think that it used to pretend to be concerned with protecting health )

    Our education system is underfunded at each level and performance by students at each level is equally poor. Literacy, measured by quality, is definitely on the decline.

    Our Elected officials are much wealthier than the populus they represent and that weatlh accumulation has come at the expense of that same populus. Exploitation is the hallmark of our political system. Powerful lobbyists and financially prohibitive campaign costs will ensure that continues until it all implodes.

    All of these social institutions reflect deteoration due to greed. That we’ve reached this point as a society is frightening.

  29. GS Says:

    I am a scientist in training and a gay man (no longer in training). I, therefore, feel compelled to make a comment on this post and the replies that it has generated.

    I must first state that I did not find Truthseeker’s post to be, in any manner, derogatory towards homosexuals. This is perhaps due to my own experience (working with gay men who are HIV positive, and interacting with both positive and negative men in the gay community). I have witnessed a lot of ignorant acceptance of HIV in the gay community. I think, however, that this ignorance is, and always was, willing.

    Individuals who have the most political clout control the homosexual community. The acceptance of HIV, as the causative agent of AIDS, was the result of the political leaders of the homosexual community making a choice. They could have either sided with this hypothesis, or admitted that the lifestyle of the mainstream gay man was not healthy.

    The HIV/AIDS hypothesis was something that homosexuals could accept, because it removed the majority of blame from them. The political leaders of the community were perhaps aware of the fact that the hypothesis did not measure up, but made the choice to accept it in order to maintain the gay community. Individuals who have no political clout were forced to accept this decision or be removed from the community – in a Peter Duesberg like fashion.

    We have all witnessed how much AIDS means to the modern homosexual male. Accepting AIDS has helped homosexuals as a segment of society. It has made them more visible, less responsible for their actions, and a more accepted segment of society. The acceptance of AIDS has changed society’s depiction of gays. Gays are no longer seen as the enemies, they are seen as the victims.

    While I understand people being defensive when they sense their “group” is being attacked, I also feel as if “we” (the gay community) must admit to our faults.

    “We” often criticize other groups, such as Christian groups and the AIDS orthodoxy, for not admitting to their faults. Thus, unless “we” want to be hypocrites, “we” must accept truthful criticisms from individuals such as Truthseeker!

  30. nohivmeds Says:

    In whatever ways people view themselves, the situation remains, as Dan has stated, that education on health issues is incredibly poor, and this is not remotely restricted to gay men and HIV.

    1. People fail to question their doctors;
    2. they don’t research their prescriptions;
    3. we allow Pharam to advertise directly to consumers, and
    4. biomedical research is no longer held accountable for its mistakes.

    These are much larger societal problems, as many have pointed out, than just the AIDS issue.

    There is plenty of criticism, in other words, to go around. But again, we don’t seem to be able to conceptualize ways to deal with these issues constructively.

    For example, websites like http://www.thebody.com, and GMHC have blogs. We could all be on there “educating.”

    We can write and complain to those we feel are obfuscating the truth. When this all started for me, I engaged in email exchanges with Gregg Gonsalves, with Richard Jefferys, with John Moore, with others. I think I may have irritated these men a lot, but they are people who hold powerful positions in HIV/AIDS, depend on some public funding for their work, and so must be held accountable.

    There is a great deal we can do, I think, to combat the ignorance we are discussing here, besides parsing the blame. And the lessons gay men have learned throughout this crisis are lessons that most Americans could stand to learn as well – in other words, our experiences have a lot to teach others. We should commit, in whatever ways we personally can, to doing so.

  31. Glider Says:

    NHM,

    My post yesterday was more damning than I intended, and I certainly didn’t mean to indict the whole gay community. To be honest, I’m not sure what I meant. At the risk of sharing too much information, I was in a very angry place when I wrote it. I’d just been to visit a good friend who’s been ill (not AIDS-related) only to find he had died unexpectedly earlier in the day. I was, and still am, a jumble of emotions.

    Glider

  32. Dan Says:

    GS,
    interesting comments. I’d like to respond to a few…

    Individuals who have the most political clout control the homosexual community. The acceptance of HIV, as the causative agent of AIDS, was the result of the political leaders of the homosexual community making a choice.

    I think there’s a lot of truth to what you’re saying. Being involved with this since it was called GRID (which was mainly focused on drug use, particularly poppers), the switch from GRID to AIDS (with no causative agent) to HIV/AIDS wasn’t making any sense. I don’t think even in ’84 that community leaders immediately gave in to the HIV=AIDS idea. There was some resistance, as GRID certainly wasn’t useless or suddenly forgotten about. That resistance didn’t last very long as the news on television kept pumping out the fear and hysteria, and people were absolutely panicked over the idea of a microbe that destroys the immune system. Did gay community leaders make a bargain? Or did fear coupled with the dramatic authority of a scientific press conference take its effect on our collective psyches, causing us to abandon what we had previously thought and known?

    The acceptance of AIDS has changed society’s depiction of gays. Gays are no longer seen as the enemies, they are seen as the victims.

    Unfortunately, I think a lot of our political gains have been made because of “AIDS”. I think this is one of the reasons we’re not willing to let go of “AIDS”. Somewhere in the back of our minds, we fear we may lose those gains, and go back to less accepting times. I don’t think that’s going to happen, though.

    This is perhaps due to my own experience (working with gay men who are HIV positive, and interacting with both positive and negative men in the gay community).

    This is something I’d like to see given a burial. The delineation between “negatives” and “positives”. Can’t anybody see how we’ve been divided and conquered by this paradigm?

  33. nohivmeds Says:

    Dan —

    You write beautifully on the neg-poz divide. It’s killing the community in my book, but won’t go away until infectious AIDS goes away. Great observation.

    And Glider — as someone who has written from a place of hurt and confusion before, I can say — don’t worry about it. So, so, sorry about your friend. Please take care of yourself first right now.

  34. noreen martin Says:

    Everyone above makes some valid points. The key to turning this around is first education. Secondly, if someone is diagnosed HIV+, well keep your head screwed on and do not let fear take a foothold. Do not let fear, peer pressure or doctors coerce you into doing anything that you don’t agree with. Above all, do not let this make a victim out of you which equates to weakness and the giving up of one’s power over the situation.

  35. Celia Farber Says:

    Why worry about how accountable gay men might be when in fact the paradigm was launched by the US government, and hammered into place by US and International media, groups like AmFar, etc?

    Who among the following, listed off the top of my head, architects of the paradigm, are gay men?

    Robert Gallo? Margaret Heckler? Ronald Reagan? Anthony Fauci? Sam Broder? Mathilde Krim? Lawrence Altman? Laurie Garrett? The editors of LIFE? TIME? Newsweek? NY Times? The producers of ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN etc etc. Oprah Winfrey?

    What gay man had real power to run the bubble machine?

    Few or none that I can think of off the top of my head.

    The complicity of gay men is a secondary historical subject–the primary subject surely, is who gave the world this paradigm. Who were they? One whose scientific authority were they speaking?

  36. Celia Farber Says:

    Sorry–I meant: ON whose scientific authority were they ACTING?

  37. YossariansGhostbuster Says:

    What gay man had real power to run the bubble machine?

    Not sure but Randy Shilts and the SF Chronicle were well ahead of the NY Times in news publications. Duesberg is a late comer by 1987 and Diane Feinstein wasn’t exactly an innocent bystander either.

    Yossarian objectivity doesn’t of necessity relegate the complicity of gay men to secondary historical status (at least in the news media).

    Then again, retrospective analysis by the current dissidentia finds blatant malevolence quite easier than Monday morning quarterbacking these days.

  38. Dan Says:

    Why worry about how accountable gay men might be when in fact the paradigm was launched by the US government, and hammered into place by US and International media, groups like AmFar, etc?

    Should we not be having this conversation? Are there other “AIDS” conversations you think we shouldn’t bother having? I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that the discussion of gay men’s complicity in this mess will be going on for years to come.

    I think it’s an incredibly important conversation. Without “our” “help”, this nightmare never would have gotten off the ground. Never. And without our current glassy-eyed faith in this death cult, it wouldn’t have the power to continue. Period.

    It’s NOT all about us. Nor are we to blame. But if we sweep all the questions of our part in this under the rug, we will certainly not end up learning from it.

  39. HankBarnes Says:

    Here’s my general take:

    1. Gay men are the primary victims of this AIDS farce. They were stigmatized with the “fatal virus” and then scared into taking drugs such as AZT — which became a self-fulfilling death prophecy.

    2. Sadly, a small group of gay men (Stockholm Syndrome?)were co-opted by AIDS Inc. to perpetuate the debacle and make some decent $$ to do so.

    Reminds me of that line in an old song by The Who:

    Here comes the new boss — same as the old boss.

  40. kevin Says:

    Celia Farber (mail):
    Who among the following, listed off the top of my head, architects of the paradigm, are gay men?

    Robert Gallo? Margaret Heckler? Ronald Reagan? Anthony Fauci? Sam Broder? Mathilde Krim? Lawrence Altman? Laurie Garrett? The editors of LIFE? TIME? Newsweek? NY Times? The producers of ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN etc etc. Oprah Winfrey?

    Amen. In the beginning, gay men were not the ones who gave this disease a name, only a face. Besides, it was a different time then. People were more trusting of their government and more importantly, they trusted the medical community a lot more back then. Doctors had not become the de facto drug dealers like they are now. Hell, at that time, profit margins and the hypocratic oath were still in competition for research influence. We know how that ended. Drugs are profitable. Good medical care is usually not so profitable. Bingo…virus. Pills for everyone. Doesn’t everyone feel better?

    Regardless, the betrayal of that trust and the manipulation through fear-mongering were orchestrated by those with power (not usally minorities of any kind). The fear was great and still is for many. Even I believed it for a while.

    Dan (mail):
    I think it’s an incredibly important conversation. Without “our” “help”, this nightmare never would have gotten off the ground. Never. And without our current glassy-eyed faith in this death cult, it wouldn’t have the power to continue. Period.

    It is an important conversation but the blame is misplaced and somwewhat unnecessary, I think. It’s okay to criticize the complicity but educating gay men to the truth is the key to turning this this nightmare around. So, yes, this conversation must take place but blaming gay men for being scared of the unknown is not as constructive as empowering them to see through the fear-mongering with the facts of the day.

    Kevin

  41. GS Says:

    Kevin

    How is the blamed misplaced? Without the support of the male homosexual community, AIDS Inc. would not be able to function. While the everyday gay man may not be responsible for the contemporary belief in the almighty HIV, those gay men in positions of political and editorial power often offer criticisms of the rethinking movement.

    AIDS is culture. While HIV may not thrive biologically within homosexual males, the dreadful belief in HIV is definitely pumping through every vein and artery of the political heads of the homosexual community.

  42. Celia Farber Says:

    Dan:

    I didn’t mean to sound censorious of the conversation itself, or any other. I expressed myself sloppily. I only meant to distinguish between what the government apparatus of science and medicine did, and what individual people or even activist groups did.

    I’d hate to see everybody get censorious all over again because it is perceived that this thing will be blamed on gay men now, but in reverse. My earliest sources, Michael Callen, Richard Berkowitz, and Joe Sonnabend always used to tell me how gay men, or rather, the gay community, (early to mid 80s) perceived that allowing the multifactorial “model” to be explored would be a political catastrophe for gay men. But some–such as Callen and Berkowitz– fought hard for it. This history exists in Callen’s archives, as well as Berkowitz’s. Not sure what’s happened to Sonnabend’s papers, but I’m sure he has them.

    I see this as a huge matter for historians to deal with, and they will. But blame, such as it is…must begin with the architects. Gallo, Fauci, Baltimore, Broder, Krim etc.

    That’s all I meant.

  43. GS Says:

    True Celia.

    The majority of blame should be directed at the architects. There is, however, the nasty fact that these architects formed symbiotic relationships with major players in the homosexual community. It was these relationships that allowed the HIV hypothesis to take hold. It is also these relationships that maintain the HIV hypothesis.

    In Canada, Dr. Mark Wainberg does a lot for the homosexual community. Is it because Wainberg feels for the homosexual community? Personally I doubt Wainberg feels for anyone – The Other Side of AIDS seemed to me to be a projection of Wainberg’s own psychopathology (not Duesberg’s).

    The fact appears to be – these scientists support the homosexual community and the homosexual community supports the scientists. The HIV hypothesis is thus furthered.

    Without the support of the gay community where would the HIV hypothesis be? Perhaps it would be on the scrap heap with hypotheses regarding the health benefits of smoking.

  44. nohivmeds Says:

    Again, I think it’s important to remember that hindsight is 20/20. I don’t think any gay man would have run out in the early 80s clamouring for government support and expedited FDA review of potentially dangerous medications had they known that this is where we would end up.

    I’ve tried, unsuccessfully – to pull this strand away from blame altogether and towards what can be done. Apparently, people need to blame someone or something. And as Celia points out, there are lots of potential targets for blame but I’m gonna propose something radical here — I don’t think holding on to a lot of blame and anger are particularly good for the immune system.

    And like I wrote previously, the quesiton is not to parse out what happened 25 years ago — the real question of import is what happens now? And as Noreen and Dan have suggested, education is the most potent tool we have. So, maybe now that blame has been expressed and dissected, we can leave it too in the past and move forward in a more proactive and constructive way.

  45. Dan Says:

    Celia,
    thanks for the clarification.

    The architects and promoters of this nightmare need to be held accountable. These people have willfully deceived us in ways that are actually too macabre to contemplate for more than a few minutes at a time. I’m sickened when I see their faces in propaganda ads like the “We All Have “AIDS” bullshit. They profit financially and professionally by promoting this pseudo-scientific march to an Auschwitz of deadly pharmaceuticals, hopelessness and belief in a death assured by a malevolent retrovirus.

    Maybe I’m overly concerned that the gay community won’t reflect and learn from what’s happened. So much has been lost down the memory hole already, though. To clarify, this isn’t about blame. This is about learning (as I continue to do) why we were so easily manipulated, why we relented, and continue to do so. If I seem too angry or aggresive, it’s because this has gone on so incredibly long and my patience has worn very thin.

    I’m glad that there’s been some common ground agreed to in this discussion. As both Kevin and I can attest to, there’s very little real information being given to the gay community. I agree with NHM that somehow we need to educate and give people the basics, as opposed to all the propaganda they receive.

  46. German Guest Says:

    You remember that one? It somehow fits perfectly to the topic:

    Michael:
    Hello Trrll. Your advocacy of the “entire institute dedicated to this purpose” is surely meant as a joke, right?

    NCCAM does fund research on medicinal plants, but compared to other institutes the NCCAM budget is quite small (estimated at $113 million for 2003) and much of the budget goes to keeping the public informed about the safety and effectiveness of various complementary and alternative medical practices–not to funding scientific research.

    Contrast that with the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which is slated to receive some $5 billion dollars in 2003, roughly half for research project grants.

    Funny thing isn’t it trrll? Yah know what else is funny? Very few people put much trust in the government to ever get anything right, be it Iraq or running the NIH or FDA, except on one issue-HIV/AIDS.

    The gay population, which has been in no way ever overly loved or protected by any government entities other than the dept of HIV/AIDS, does not trust the US government to do anything for it whatsoever, without a fight. Witness the ongoing struggle since 1969 for any kind of gay rights and protections. The government is in no way overly loved or trusted by the gay community, except on one issue- HIV/AIDS and HIV drugs.

    Only the HIV/AIDS paradigm and HIV drug and medical thing is the sole aspect of the relationship between gays and their government that has been one big lump of mutual and unquestioned trust, love, and coziness since high dosage AZT was approved in 1987. What government agencies or government funded scientists say about HIV or AIDS is fairly unquestioned by all, gay and straight alike, except for us few and far between fanatics and AIDS dissenters.

    Funny thing, trrll, isn’t it? I really am glad to know that bright and itelligent people such as yourself are scrutinizing all of this and after your scrutiny, you are still so completely trusting of the government to have gotten the whole HIV/AIDS thing and health alternatives thing right. Brightens my day to know that such bright and questioning minds such as your own are looking into issues such as NIH funding for alternatives and looking into the HIV/AIDS and medications issues, and finding, after your quite scrutinizing look at it all, that all is just swell here in NIH and HIV paradise. It is nice to know that you are still completely trusting of our government on these issues. Thank you for letting us AIDS dissenters know in no uncertain terms that our scepticism and distrust of the government on these issues is just simply unfounded and unwarranted. Thank you trrll, for looking in-depth into these matters. I certainly feel much safer knowing that people such as yourself stay on top of it all!

  47. kevin Says:

    GS (mail):
    Kevin

    How is the blamed misplaced?

    The lionshare of the blame is misplaced by not being directed at doctors. They are on the front lines of the medical establishment and have the greatest incentive to protect a patient’s interests. We know the motivations of the politicians and of the execuitive members of the AIDS Club—Greed, Greed, and more Greed. Doctors should care about their patients if they have any integrity at all, but the profession has lost a lot of prestige in the last twenty years. Because of the prevelance of HMOs, doctors no longer “get to know their patients” and that makes it easier for them to be greedy and negligent. In the age of Big Pharma, the profession seems to produce cynics and selfish losers in greater proportion than the heroes of yesteryear. They are far more complicit than gay men in this fiasco. After all, doctors are highly educated, and that training and education should prepare them to creatively participate in treating illness, including emerging illness. The clinical abberrations have been around since the beginning, and their inability to recognize those inconsistencies speaks volumes about their integrity and ultimately the quality of their professional training.

    As a gay male moving to a new city, I sought out a doctor that was recommended by the local gay resource center. That doctor was a complete moron, though he was listed as an internal medicine specialist. He was kind and professional in demeanor, but he was incapable of meaningful engagement with me about my own health health histoy, even after I explained the relevant details, in a slow and responsive manner. He was simply a creditialed, pill-pusher, who was obviously uncomfortable having an educated patient. I’m sure the local resource center recommended him due to his openness to treat gay men (he is straight), but that is not enough. I certainly reported my experience to the resource center, but he is currently still listed with the highest recommendation. The resource center is obviously stressing the importance of minimalizing gay marginalization at the expense of quality care. It’s another concession, born of minority status.

    The point is that gay people, like everyone else, probably expect their doctor to be capable of guiding their healthcare appropriately. We all know how dangerous that is in today’s medical minefield, but since gay men were and are the primary causalties, we need to reach them without alienating them.

    I agree with much of the anger and frustration that is directed at the gay community and its reliance on HIV for establishing and maintaining its identity as an accepted social institution, but as I encounter my gay brethren one-on-one, some respond positively to my opinions on the matter, others become belligerent, but they are all interested in debating the issue. I’ve found the same range of reaction with all others that I engage on the topic–gay or straight. I can see how the complicity of the gay community was a graver offense in the early days, but the HIV propaganda machine is all that many young people have ever known. Giving them hope is important to opening their eyes to the truth.

    Kevin

  48. Truthseeker Says:

    This blog blames those gays who resist even looking at the information that might save them when it is based on the mainstream literature and proffered by those who sacrifice considerably to make it available.

  49. nohivmeds Says:

    TS — you ruined it! We had reached agreement, a detante, and you ruined it with that comment. In any case — you blame as many gays as you can get your hand on, that’s just fine, as I don’t know any gays who would be all that interested in your opinion. Just couldn’t leave well enough alone, huh? Sad. Well — just to complet the circle of blame — I blame you, TS, for your “considerable sacrifice.” What attitude! You either do what you do and say what you say because you believe in it, or you don’t. At this point in the story, you have no right to wax on about your considerable sacrifice, or anyone else’s for that matter.

    UGH!!!! Here are two words that should be banned from this blog once and for all: BLAME and SACRIFICE.

  50. kevin Says:

    Truthseeker (mail):
    This blog blames gays who resist even looking at the information that might save them when it is based on the mainstream literature and proffered by those who sacrifice considerably to make it available.

    Unfortunately, I have to agree with TS’s sentiment when it is directed at the ignorant gay stereotype of which he is referring; however, it is not wise to make broad generalizations about “gay people.” After all, many of us are not part of that community, for numerous reasons and some who are a part of the community are not as keen to the HIV-cult as such generalizations demand. Regardless, we’ve all been hurt by the cult of HIV.

    The tide is turning, albeit slowly and it will continue to turn as more and more “gay people” are educated to the genocide that has occurred over the last 20 odd years. The so-called leaders of the gay community will be among the last to acquiense, as is typical in major paradigm-shifts, so don’t hold your breath that their tune will change anytime soon. It’s the minions that we must reach. People of all walks of life will continue to poison themselves via the pills right up until the bitter end when the whole house of cards tumbles and CNN and MSNBC broadcast their self-congratulatory exposes twenty-five years too late.

    By the time those exposes air, post-HIV anger will be well-established in the gay community and the world at-large, and perhaps the new leaders of the gay community will be more courageous during what will definitely be a dark, dark time for all. Reforming AIDS will require more than a change in the gay comunity’s attitudes. It’ll require correcting the horrendous global exploitation that is the result of the wealthy perpetuating resource inequities for obscene personal gain. The accumalation of such staggering wealth by the very few at the expense of so many has not ended well , historically. Not to be overly apocalyptic, but the situation speaks for itself: only crisis can instigate change of that magnitude, and the fall of AIDS will indeed be a crisis–one that is part of a greater global crisis, perhaps, whether as a cause or an effect. We really are heading for that. Greed is undermining the world order. Ever hear of the houising bubble..it’s global too, and it may very well be the catalyst that brings the crisis to us all, ready or not.

    Kevin

  51. Truthseeker Says:

    TS — you ruined it! We had reached agreement, a detente, and you ruined it with that comment. In any case — you blame as many gays as you can get your hand on, that’s just fine, as I don’t know any gays who would be all that interested in your opinion.

    The blame referred to those who are purposely deaf to those who would help them, which doesn’t include you, Mr No HIV Meds Except Every Six Months. You after all were able to read Celia Farber’s piece in Harpers without throwing it away in panic, for some reason.

    But it also, come to think of it, includes gays unable to think with their brains instead of their attitudes, yes, who cannot read posts properly before reacting to them with a look-at-me song and dance, whose own posts’ main use is to provoke highly intelligent corrective responses from others, some of them equally gay but somehow free of it when discussing science. In a way, you seem to be merely the equivalent of CN on the other side, we have to tell you, except for your invaluable reports on your own actual experience.

    At this point in the story, you have no right to wax on about your considerable sacrifice, or anyone else’s for that matter.

    Not that we mentioned our own sacrifice at all, but sure, if at this stage you don’t recognize the work and other sacrifice (perks, money, more important research, recognition, prizes, social ease) of the heroes of this corrective movement, including especially Peter Duesberg, Harvey Bialy, Celia Farber, Christine Maggiore and a host of others that you and other incurious exemplars of foolishness ignored over two decades of preferring to take your drugs rather than listen to them seriously, then yes, you deserve blame and every bit of discomfort visited on you as a result.

    You deserve that blame for every second you prefer prancing about showing off your personal gay attitudes and your inability to think straight, coolly and scientifically about a life and death problem – your life and death, by the way, as well as many others – and to indulge your self centered, gay centered emotionalism, of which this last post was a quintessential example in its disgraceful contempt for the very idea that you should be grateful for the sometimes heavy sacrifices made for your unworthy self by others.

    In inability to show gratitude you are merely a typical specimen of the human race. But to actually argue against it, that makes you as a disgrace to the human race. If there is anyone who deserves your humble thanks it is the roster above.

    You and anyone else who is benefiting from their work, but especially those who actively scorn it, which in your ingratitude you come close to.

  52. Celia Farber Says:

    Would I be able to cool this down a bit if I said this:

    Speaking for myself, I have only ever done what my inner voice told me to do, in “journalism” and elsewhere.

    I never ‘sacrificed’ anything, and nobody owes me any thanks.

    That is not to be UNgrateful to TS for being gracious in that regard, to those who are said to have sacrificed, myself included, but I feel it is important to stress that everybody did what they did because…of nothing other than..because something in them was LIKE that, giving that message. Everybody being themselves, for good or ill. Getting beaten with rusty pipes in dark alleys is not the same as ‘sacrifice.’

    One does one’s job as one understands it. Until one is beaten hard enough to be made to understand that one has misunderstood the job description.

    I will admit to a deep seated contempt for those who have tortured all of us, over so many years, but I don’t want to see the innocent saddled with a debt of gratitude.

    It isn’t NoHIVMeds’ fault that journalism failed him and the world alike on this uber-subject for 20 years.

    It is the fault of each editor, journalist, professional, through history, each faced with the choice to either investigate or not investigate.

  53. GS Says:

    Could we all please relax?

    I know I have taken part in this, but I think tempers are about to really explode. While raging tempers are sometimes necessary, this topic is not important enough for us to be fighting amongst ourselves.

    Please agree to disagree. We are not going to change each other’s minds about this topic. Plus, no matter which perspective we side with it will not change the mess that is AIDS.

    GS

  54. Truthseeker Says:

    I never ‘sacrificed’ anything, and nobody owes me any thanks.

    You have sacrificed what you have lost relative to not caring about the truth enough in your reporting, and taking the easy way and being a hack who just passed propaganda from your in tray to your out tray, which would have won you a good deal more money, respect, prizes and fame and ease that the path you took, however you may have been impelled down that path by your own makeup, and not been motivated to do it for the sake of those you have rescued from victimhood. No one is accusing you of being a saint or a self sacrificial idealist, but the fact remains that you have sacrificed a huge amount and those who have benefited should have the grace to be grateful to you for doing it, whatever your motives.

    If a doctor rescues the life of my new born babe I don’t ask him what his motives were in undertaking his profession, but I thank him for his action. And if it turns out that he gave up his night at the opera to deliver the babe, I recognize that sacrifice in my thanks. This situation involves far greater sacrifices by individuals for the good of society and the benefit of people they don’t even know. Yes, it arises out of the idealism and other qualities of the individuals concerned, some of which are functions of individual character, such as Peter Duesberg’s passion for science as a process, but the sacrifices are still made.

    One of the grosser stupidities of this arena is the blindness of those who could easily help with money for Peter Duesberg and others for the kind of money which he and others need in pursuing their destiny to serve science and the social good rather than their own selfish interests. With 400 million millionaires around there are only one or two who will think to give him money even when the whole thing is laid out for them at special evenings. Meanwhile they all give to AmFar and others who want to poison gays and Africans.

  55. nohivmeds Says:

    Let me put this very simply, TS — and please excuse my “prancing” and my “gay attitude” (???? if that isn’t homophobia, what is it) — some men in my community have made the ultimate sacrifice. You should kindly keep that in mind when throwing global insults at a heterogeneous group of people. Your posts on this topic have made your hatred for gay people very clear. We’ve got it now. Best to move on.

  56. nohivmeds Says:

    And TS — I believe you owe me an apology, personally, for this statement:

    ” You deserve that blame for every second you prefer prancing about showing off your personal gay attitudes and your inability to think straight, coolly and scientifically about a life and death problem – your life and death, by the way, as well as many others – and to indulge your self centered, gay centered emotionalism, of which this last post was a quintessential example in its disgraceful contempt for the very idea that you should be grateful for the sometimes heavy sacrifices made for your unworthy self by others . ”

    That was a piece of really disgusting writing, TS. Base and vulgar — especially for you. Full of unnecessary vitriol, and nothing but destructive. I’m deeply hurt, actually. So I give you the chance to rethink that paragraph. If you’re comfortable with that paragraph, then apparently, this is not about gays, it’s about me — it’s personal. And I thought you were interested in rising above the personal.

  57. nohivmeds Says:

    Why should any of us “obey” the rules of discourse for this blog when you can so easily toss of such a hurtful statement, clearly directed at a single individual, rather than an issue? And what exactly do you get out of attempting to demean and abuse me in front of the world? A feeling of superiority? Proof to yourself that you’re straight? A release for anger that I have nothing to do with and am not the cause of? I could easily attack back, but I won’t, as you’ve now dragged the discourse into the gutter. I’ll leave it (the discourse) and you there.

  58. nohivmeds Says:

    It seems that this blog is only concerned with demeaning women and gays. Who would want to be a part of that? I thought we were here to discuss science, not what Culshaw looks like or what you believe gay men are like. Enough. If this is the direction you choose to take, you go there alone.

  59. German Guest Says:

    Dear Celia Farber!

    I read your Book “Serious Adverse Events”. It took http://www.amazon.de almost 8 weeks to ship this journalistic treasure to Germany.

    On my part, there is only one effort of thankfulness I can imagine. I urge everyone I know to buy and read your book. I urge esp. my gay friends and fellows to read your book.

    Let me just tell you this: Thanks to your book and the fantastic work from Torsten Engelbrecht and Dr. Claus Koehnlein, a growing number of gay men actually living on HAART just lapsed from faith. They finally will give their doctors an extremely hard time!

    Thank you!

  60. kevin Says:

    German Guest:
    Dear Celia Farber!

    I read your Book “Serious Adverse Events”. It took http://www.amazon.de almost 8 weeks to ship this journalistic treasure to Germany.

    On my part, there is only one effort of thankfulness I can imagine. I urge everyone I know to buy and read your book. I urge esp. my gay friends and fellows to read your book.

    I concur. I’ve purchased several copies to give to my HAART-taking friends, and one to replace my original, as it fell in the pool, the only time I ever put it down 😉 It’s a great read and being able compare the details of this disease’s bizarre treatment history is overwhelming. The book is very effective at opening the reader’s eyes to the contradictions that have accompanied each new treatment breakthrough, among other things. One of my friends has begun to do his own research after reading the book, and that’s what I’ve been asking him to do from the very beginning (Thanks, Celia). He had complete faith in his doctor, which we all know is dangerous when they are so free with the poison.

    Regarding the continued bickering…agreeing to disagree on the matter is in order, as other posters have recommended. We’ve all made sacrifices to standup for this issue and all are worthy. Regardless, I’ve found that it’s best not to allow oneself to be so sensitive when posting online, which is by it’s very nature, somewhat impersonal, i.e. it’s easy to misinterpret the written word which then leads to unnecessary escalations. I’m moving on, and I suggest everyone else does the same.

  61. Truthseeker Says:

    Humble apologies to NHM for giving the impression that we wished to hurt his feelings or to excoriate him for anything at all other than not being grateful for the self sacrifice of worthy people in the cause of truth and promulgating truth to help him and anyone else interested against the juggernaut resistance of multibillion institutions and corporations and the hostility of their army of fellow traveling lemmings.

    The reference to “gay attitude” was not meant to say “attitude typical of gays” but to say “bringing in gay attitude” to muddy what is meant to be a clearheaded discussion of what is true in this field according to the best thinking and the best sources. We don’t even object to gay attitude if it is positive and meant to spice up an otherwise dull and earnest recitation of sins and correctives. That is why we incited a lively discussion of juvenile attitudes toards attractive members of the opposite sex, only for a little icing on the cake and not to divert from the cake in any way. We view Rebecca Culshaw with the utmost admiration for being one of the truly accomplished people who can combine scientific and mathematical precision with a clarity of exposition worthy of Mark Twain.

    Anyhow we apologize to NHM for anything he may have taken as a personal disparagement since we were only trying to deal specifically with what he said about gratitude and stand up for the rag tag band of dissidents tilting against the mammoth windmill of HIV∫AIDS even though we do agree with what he and Celia implied, that they all have their own peculiar reasons for doing it which rarely include a saintly attempt to rescue the lemmings of the world from disaster, at least not as a top priority. It is a priority of a kind with some though including this blog, whose aim certainly is to wean people away from sucking at the poisonous teat if we can do it, in however small a way. What other use does journalism have than to bring illumination to the dark corners of the world where bandits lie in wait fo the unwary, or sins against the common weal lie unexposed? What other purpose could this blog have other than to reform? We are trying to rescue innocents from iatrogenic murder by the powerful and the knowing. Do you imagine for one moment that they are going to do nothing in return? Self sacrifice is the name of the game. Only the naive fail to realize what is involved.

  62. nohivmeds Says:

    I’d just like to report, that since re-initiating a pulse of the ARVs on 10/18, the two bacterial infections and systemic thrush are gone.

    I believe your apology is sincere, TS, but it’s not enough.

    You still seem profoundly confused about homosexuality (that would be the nicest way of saying it). I’m certain now that nothing I write will change that, so I won’t expend any more effort in that direction.

    Thank you for trying all the same. Thank you for the effort. That is meaningful.

  63. Bialyzebub Says:

    Against my better judgement(and at some sacrifice to my third stomach) I have been reading this thread, and wish now to actually say something that I think is worth the saying.

    NHM,

    If you stopped referring to those chemicals as ARVs, and even used the monkey prof.’s fav term “microbicide” instead, you might be able to retain their undeniable effectivness in treating exactly the sorts of (ordinary antibiotic resistant, one assumes) acute infections you describe, without getting sucked into thinking the damn “viroid”* had anything to do with either your illness or your recovery.

    Unlike with ordinary antibiotics, however, knowing what represents a completed course that does not allow the eventual re-emergence of a resistant population is very problematic. So I hope your physican is as good as Claus K.

    *A term I just learned at Hank’s where the up to the minute inside report of the really big story of this week, and maybe ever, is being told right now.

  64. YossariansGhostbuster Says:

    nhm,

    TS and thee seem to have reached critical mass on the non-negotiables. That may prove to have positive end results.

    For discussion only, kindly report names of ARV’s/ antibiotics/anti-fungals.

  65. YossariansGhostbuster Says:

    Bialyzebub: re: the really big story:

    “It takes 27 outs to win a baseball game” Yogi Berra

  66. Bialyzebub Says:

    It also takes 27 outs to lose one. Yogi didn’t know everything.

    And the point, McK, is not win or lose (you guys always think that way…why? It even shapes your “religions” ahem).

    In this case, it sure as shooting stars is enough to be in the game.

    Did you notice that the plaintiff’s attorney was referred to by the Legal Editor of the newspaper as “prominent”?

    Do you think this is the last such court appearance for “the HIV”?

    These are rhetorical only fella, I’m gone to where I go now and shall not return while your clock still says it is today.

  67. YossariansGhostbuster Says:

    BZB,

    You forgot: Comments to this entry are closed.

  68. YossariansGhostbuster Says:

    If the home team is ahead after 8 and 1/2 innings, it only takes 24 outs to loze.

  69. Truthseeker Says:

    where the up to the minute inside report of the really big story of this week, and maybe ever, is being told right now.

    For the record, this typically inscrutable comment by the always mysterious Dr B means that a lawyer in an Australian court case this week is challenging whether HIV actually exists and if it does whether it can be transmitted heteroexually, and two from the Perth group are giving evidence.

  70. Martin Kessler Says:

    Serious Adverse Events got a postive review in Liberty Magazine by Richard Kostelanetz. It’s a Libertarian publication.

  71. john Says:

    the link :

  72. Bialyzebub Says:

    Even Yogi might not know what a “loze” is, and the way I look at it is, if the home team is ahead in the middle of the 9th then it only needed 24 outs to win, but the visitors still had to make 27 to lose. No?

    Did you have a cow path like point buried somewhere here?

    And as long as I am, here that is … Thank You Martin for that bit of useful data!

    Kostelanetz sounds like a somebody, and those libertarians are not to be taken lightly. I am told by my infinite almost sources that the recent Farber publication on YBYL that was linked on Lew Rockwell received close to 3000 different visits in the span of less than 24 hours, topping even the ultra-magnificent Dr. Culshaw essay on Africa that got almost that number!

    Congratulations to Ms. Farber from the abodes of the BZB.

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