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Attitudes Toward Homosexuality

graph_attitudes.jpgBlogger extraordinaire and POZ cover boy Andrew Sullivan wrote an entry on July 7 in his blog, The Daily Dish, tying a turnaround in public attitudes toward homosexuality in 1990 (see chart) to AIDS-related deaths.

Here's an excerpt:

"That was the transformative, traumatizing effect of AIDS on both gay and straight America. It came in the early 1980s, but the deaths only reached their stunning peaks in the early 1990s - which is when the polling shifts.

"Remember: most of these deaths were of young men. If you think that the Vietnam war took around 60,000 young American lives randomly over a decade or more, then imagine the psychic and social impact of 300,000 young Americans dying in a few years. Imagine a Vietnam Memorial five times the size. The victims were from every state and city and town and village. They were part of millions and millions of families. Suddenly, gay men were visible in ways we had never been before. And our humanity - revealed by the awful, terrifying, gruesome deaths of those in the first years of the plague - ripped off the veneer of stereotype and demonization and made us seem as human as we are. More, actually: part of our families.

"I think that horrifying period made the difference. It also galvanized gay men and lesbians into fighting more passionately than ever - because our very lives were at stake."
I couldn't agree with him more. I remember the emotional see-saw I felt in 1991 when I tested HIV negative and then in 1992 when I tested HIV positive. All of us who are HIV positive go through that, but I relate to his assessment that something changed at that time. That feeling, as fleeting as it was, is what allowed me to believe things were going to be fine.

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Comments on Oriol R. Gutierrez Jr.'s blog entry "Attitudes Toward Homosexuality"

I found out I was positive in 1991, so have always been on the very edge of a life-saving invention or breakthrough, if you prefer. I remember reading the Washington Blade each week and feeling helpless, afraid and let's face it next. Then the protease inhibitors were introduced starting with Inverase, which helped me go from 800,000 ppc HIV to 10,000 parts over a 3 month window. At that early time in my cycle of treatment I was ecstatic. Crixivan took my vl to undetectable over just the following month. My KS went into remission. You get the idea. The best news of all, my friends disappeared from the obit. pages of the Blade. "YEA!!!!". I've changed meds to keep up with the best possible treatment for myself and happily see that my buddies are doing most of the same. Now the "rescue drugs" have come my way with fantastic as well as inspirational results. Isentress and Prezista are my Doctors choice for my cocktail at this point. BTW, Sustiva never really did what others swear by, and that is to keep their T-cell count high. It took the 2 above mentioned drugs with old-school Norvir to accomplish that, for me. I realize we are all different from one another in our response to prescribed medicines, but I read in the above blog, the gentleman discovered he was HIV positive a year within my discovering the same news. I just wanted to contrast our lives living with AIDS, at least medicinally and hope maybe we can compare other things in our respective lives which could or may not be effected by being determined with as many other guys like us to survive normal long-lasting lives despite HIV.

It it not just the attitude about homosexuality, but also the stigma of having HIV. I hate being treated as a leper. If I had parkinsons, I wouldn't be treated that way. If I had MS, I wouldn't be treated that way. I have cancer and I am still treated as a leper because I also have HIV. None of these small town bible thumping doctors want to treat me and I even had 3 big city doctors make it clear, that I am a homosexual, else I would not have Aids. Well I am not. I have been happily married for 2 1/2 decades and got it from a blood transfusion. I know 3 gay people and they are very nice people. I hope no-one treats them like I am treated....EVER!

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This page contains a single entry by Oriol R. Gutierrez Jr. published on July 7, 2009 6:27 PM.

Farrah Had Anal Cancer?! was the previous entry in this blog.

The Latino HIV Stigma is the next entry in this blog.

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