Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The "Gay" Deathstyle -- Redux

Is it any wonder that little or no progress has been made in getting "those at risk to avoid risky sex"? (New York Times 2-15-05) Isn't it obvious that homosexual males are still engaging in promiscuous, anonymous, and risky sex partly because we have all been instructed to approve of all things homosexual? No longer is any shame attached to such behavior. And here in Massachusetts, our court, legislature, and governor have gone so far as to bless anal intercourse with the sanction of "marriage"!!

The story in the New York Times misses this point. With the scare over a new virulent AIDS strain in that city, they are puzzling over why "gay" men are still behaving carelessly. And why counseling by health workers has had essentially no impact on lowering risky sexual behavior. Buried in the story is the idea that counseling doesn't work because "many high-risk men who engage in unprotected sex with multiple partners have histories of drug use, childhood abuse and depression." Could it be that these men weren't born "gay", but became that way due to deep childhood hurts, whether outright abuse, or neglect?

"Researchers say that several factors outside their control have made such public health efforts harder than ever. The antiretroviral drugs that have extended the lives of so many people with AIDS have also tempered the dread of catching the virus, they say, especially among a younger generation of gay men who have not known the agony of watching friends die of the disease.

"Many men now search for and find casual sex partners on the Internet, bypassing bars and other central meeting places where public health workers traditionally have reached people. And especially among gay men, the drug crystal methamphetamine has become associated with casual sex for some men. Some experts suspect that methamphetamine may also increase a person's susceptibility to infection by suppressing immune function."

A second NY Times story, "Gays Debate Radical Steps to Curb Unsafe Sex", reminds us of the failure of our public health establishment to deal with AIDS, and to be honest about the behavior that spreads it. (The "radical steps" alluded to, widespread screening and partner notification, hardly seem "radical" and should have been employed 20 years ago.) This failure has led us to the brink: "Many AIDS experts say it is only a matter of time before a supervirus does emerge", totally resistant to drugs. That supervirus may be what's just shown up in New York City.