Stop Bludgeoning Young Gay Men with Our AIDS Tragedy
In his latest blog, Mark S. King writes:
"Lesley was my closest friend to become sick in the 1980′s, and he fought bravely until his death from AIDS…I often write about him, the first of many friends lost to the epidemic.
But there’s something I will not do. I will not dig up Lesley’s body and beat young gay men with his corpse. Lesley didn’t perish so I could use him as a scare tactic. He wasn’t a cautionary tale. He wasn’t a martyr. He was a man with the same passions and faults as anyone else, and I won’t use his death as a blunt instrument.”
Why Aren’t You Out About Your HIV Status?
"Who knew that 30 years into the HIV epidemic, it would still be viewed as courageous, even radical, to be public about your HIV status? And at a gay pride parade?
"…Fear alone doesn’t excuse us from watching others being stigmatized and not letting our community know that there are more of us than they imagine. Why make those of us who are open about our status look radical, or as exceptions to some social rule? I’m afraid there are too many people living with HIV that are letting too few of us do the heavy lifting”
This is a clever social media campaign: Healthline, an online health community, has asked people who have been living with HIV to create videos for those who have recently tested positive, known as “You’ve Got This.” Think of it as “It Gets Better” for those with HIV.
Of course, I had to create a video in my own peculiar way —
HIV Disclosure Advice From a New York Times Columnist
Timothy Rodriguez from Healdsburg, California, asks ‘Civil Behavior’s’ Steven Petrow:
"I’m married to a wonderful man, 51, and have lived quite well with the virus for 15 years…. While I’ve never specifically hidden the fact of my serostatus, it’s always been a bit of work to tell others…. What’s your advice on how (or if) people who learn that they’re HIV positive should tell others? (I’m not asking about dating situations.)"
"He told me to go get the book. The one about how to kill yourself."
Richard’s next few remarks would be lost on me. I couldn’t get past The Book.
"So I’m reading him the chapter we had picked out," Richard was saying, "and it suggests washing down the pills with alcohol. We had some Seconal and I found some Scotch."
I knew about assisted suicide but had never heard of the mechanics of it firsthand, or considered the logistics a caring lover would undertake — or had witnessed the haunted result like the one that now sat chain smoking across my living room.
"I made some toast for him just like the book said," he continued, "and while we waited for him to digest the toast I opened the capsules and put the stuff into a glass."
A Cure for AIDS: The HIV Activists Turning Hope into Action
They are cautiously optimistic. But their faith is contagious, if you’ll pardon the choice of words. And they also know that that we got protease inhibitors because of the same kind of tireless community efforts that they are displaying now.
"I settled for a while on the back patio, carefully dabbing the magazine covers and giving the crowd inside some relief from the excitement of my presence. I wondered if the Kardashians ever had to dry their own magazines. I suddenly realized how very alike we are, those girls and I. Well, maybe not Kim. Unlike her, my sex video was a crystal meth-induced camera phone escapade that I have refused to commercialize. No, Khloe is my true soul mate. The sassy one."
Even if you have read the piece, I would encourage you to visit the comments section on the POZ site — now with over 100 comments that will inspire you, anger you, and break your heart.
The June issue of POZ magazine is now online! Featuring: Mark S. King’s “The Sound of Stigma”, A Journey with Visual AIDS, HIV vaccination trials, Treatment updates & more.
To check it out, click here.
POZ Blogger, Mark S. King reminisces an unforgettable night with the famous actor. Rock Hudson was HIV-positive and died in 1985.