Abetting AIDS | Letters | Chicago Reader

Abetting AIDS 

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To the editors:

Re: The City File, January 3. Second Entry.

Let's see here. A few months ago [October 4] the Reader featured an article which promoted the views of virologist Peter Duesberg, who claims that AIDS is not an STD, but a disease of drug use. Then in the City File, you scold gay men for the apparent rise in unsafe sex practices. ???? Aren't you partially responsible for that rise in risk behavior when you yourself tell people unsafe sex is not responsible for AIDS?

Of course your Janus impression doesn't surprise me. The whole reason we are a straight, white, male dominated culture is that swm's are masters at making double standards and double binds sound and seem completely rational--when if the swm worldview were taken altogether, the rest of us would realize how completely irrational Western Civilization is. For instance, gay men are blamed for bringing the disease of AIDS on themselves. Yet straight men and women bring equal tragedies on themselves when such people, with the foreknowledge of genetic predispositions to diseases like MS or diabetes, bear children with genetic disorders. No one blames them. No one suggests, God forbid, that these people should be neutered or quarantined. No one boldly promotes the idea that these people are undeserving of sympathy. Of course not. They are conforming to the procreative ideal, an ideal invented by swm's.

You might have pointed out that a good reason that risk behavior is increasing is the lack of funding for meaningful education in our schools. Risk behavior is highest among young men, who hold the notion that this is a disease of the older gay community. They believe that if they don't have sex with people over 30, they won't get AIDS. It is sad that this ignorance will take many lives, but I don't see where the responsibility for this shouldn't be shared by the media (the Tribune's coverage of this disease amounts to a hounding of Robert Gallo and nothing more; and then there is your editorial department promoting Duesberg: if it is a disease of drug abuse, why are people who haven't abused drugs getting it too?); the government (Jesse Helms got funds removed for safe sex education, Bush has publicly stated that "condoms aren't the answer" when C. Everett Koop, a more knowledgeable man, says they are); and swm culture, which continues its two-faced reaction to this disease (read any sports commentary on Magic Johnson, many of which have stated that Magic, although he had unprotected promiscuous sex, isn't to blame for his HIV status, though gay men still should be).

Name withheld

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