Archive for the ‘AIDS’ Category

I’m back. It’s been awhile and the depression got worse and darker but I think I have turned the corner and understand the roots. The shrink gave me some meds that made matters worse. I remember joking about the warning on antidepressants, warnings that they “increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior”. Wow, they were not kidding. There are a few of us that can have these reactions and it is unbelievable to me how dark it can get.

The good news is that I think I have discovered a root of the problem and can go about fixing it. One part of the problem is that I never wanted to be an attorney. As I mentioned earlier, I went to law school so my obituary would not read waiter. I never thought I would live to see graduation. Now some 25 years later I am in a situation where I can do what I want and I am going to start doing that. Piano, Photography and continue with the athletics and training. Most important is writing. While I reorganize my life a bit I will update regularly. My this weekend the blog will pass 50,000 views. Thanks for your support.

Though I’ve never been through hell like that
I’ve closed enough windows
to know you can never look back

This week Lincoln Nebraska debated GLBT protections. As usual in times like this the christian bigots come out in full bloom. Laying bare all their true hatred and stupidity. He we have a prime example of this Magnificent Fuckery.

“P- E- N- I- S goes into the anus to rupture intestines. The more a man does this the more he’ll be a fatality or a homicider…”

“A huge percent of gay men in school grounds molest boys, partly because they don’t have AIDS yet…”

“Hillary Clinton’s roommate four years in college was a gay woman. To avoid going gay like Clinton did, college students need single rooms and single gender dorms… A college woman is seduced with illegal Rohypnol to go gay.”

“Candida fungus grows hugely on a corpse. AIDS is a candida fungus disease…”

“Roman senators went to Roman baths to be promiscuous gays, bis, and orgiers then went to the Coliseum to watch Christians get mauled and perish. Do gays become this sadistic? Yes. They cuss after coupling, don’t like the land they lay on, and 80% of those that did treason by the year 2000 are gays.”

“Gays can transform to be celibate to live to be 80 years old.”

“Read the book Nijinsky to understand that bisexuals always become insane.”

“A wedding dress is for a woman not a man.”

“Jesus was kissed by Judas, a homo, who tried to sabotage Jesus’ kind ideas. Do you choose Jesus, a celibate, or Judas, a homo? You have to choose!”

Ya just can’t make this up.

What the F*ck has happened to the gay world. Every one is jumping with joy over the table scraps that the President gave today in support of gay marriage. Every gay organization from the National Human Right Campaign, Victory Fund and others are patting themselves on their back about what a wonderful job they did moving the President – Now send us money!

Did no one watch the entire interview or did their heads just explode at another fundraising opportunity? The president went on to say that he still believes that it is a state issue. The headline for tomorrow should read;

OBAMA AFFIRMS NORTH CAROLINA’S RIGHT

TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST GAYS!

That is what he said. That it should be up to the states. Can you imagine an America today if Lincoln had said the he is personally against slavery, but he thinks it is an issue best left up to the states? He realized that Americans should be afforded the same rights in each and every state. Including the right to be legally protected in love.

We have no cause to celebrate today any more then we did when President Reagan finally used the word AIDS. Words can hurt but seldom amount to anything substantial. It is actions that count. Today we got a half ass endorsement and a pat on the head. The President and the gay organizations got a new fundraising tool. And today I got squat! I got no protection for my marriage and told once again that I am a second class citizen in my own country.

Again I apologize for not being more consistent in writing. After fifty years of trying to do every thing myself I have realized that this time I am over my head. I have been depressed before but not like this. I have put on 18 pounds of comfort food since January and spend a great deal of time sitting in a chair in my living room staring at the beach.

I did have a string of good days, four in a row this past week but hit a pothole yesterday. I did get a chance to go to Orlando for a day and spend a great day at Disney Animal Kingdom on a “photo safari.” I have finally let a few friends know the depth of the hole and how close I came to crossing the Rubicon. Now on medication to sleep better and on Testosterone shots. There are many different factors at work in this bout that are causing the perfect storm. My lab work came back much better and that helped. I have come to realize that there is a huge generational gap with respect to AIDS. When I was first infected int he first wave of infections in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s there was not a name for what was killing us. Boyfriends, partners, friends and tricks were healthy one day and dead a week later. There was never a question of “if” it was going to kill us. Only a matter of “when”. for the better part of ten to fifteen years there was no real hope. AZT appeared to be as toxic as the virus.

People today say oh – it’s no big deal anymore. Just take a pill every day and you can live normal. That is like telling a survivor of Iraq or Afghanistan that the pop was just a car backfiring or the transformer explosion is nothing or the knocked over trash can was just a cat there is nothing to worry about. Years of mental programing take years of programing to undo. Even now, the meds only prolong – they do not cure. It is very hard to start living again when I’ve spent so long getting ready to die. And to that the drive to succeed that becomes hindered and blocked by the medical condition life is frustrating at best. Then there are the chemical changes the body encounters as it grows older.

Each of these is now being felt with. I will say I spent several months actively damaging relationships and professional licensing in an attempt to make sure there was nothing keeping me tied down here. I have begun the journey of repairing them but it will be awhile. As the quote goes. Life does not come with a remote. Ya gotta get up and change it yourself!

There has been a break in blogging over the past few weeks due to the difficulty in seeing clearly in the darkness of a real depression. It has been a number of years since I have been in this deep a depression. For the first time in almost twenty years I am actually seeing a professional.

I had forgotten the difference in being depressed and hitting depression. Sad is ok because it makes you appreciate the happy moments. This depression had no hope of happy on the horizon. A few factors built the hole and a few factors came together to break out of the hole.

One of the key factors building the hole was the fact that my lab work came back with a positive viral load for the first time in almost ten years. There is a huge disconnect between the attitudes of younger people who are getting infected for fun or whatever reasons. They believe, maybe incorrectly, that there will be medications available to them that will always keep the disease in check. Then there are the people I came of age with, the few remaining from my generation.

We became the walking dead

I came out in Washington DC in the pre-AIDS days. This season of fun and excitement soon turned to the dawn of the dead. My friends and lovers soon became walking corpses almost overnight. Healthy, playing racquetball on Monday, a cold on Wednesday and a cough by Friday. Saturday a trip to the ER when they began coughing blood and dead the following week. Drowned by their own lungs. This was my life. This was their death. For ten years I waited for my turn. Expecting that at any day the virus would explode in my system and take me like it did so many other of my generation. It is hard to unlearn a decade of learning that was pounded into my psyche.

A few of the lucky ones actually had family or friends with them at the end.

Every trip to the local stores, every time I took a buddy to the doctor or came to clean their house was a reminder of what I had to look forward to when it was my turn. In times like this when the virus makes it presence known I realize that I am still waiting for that explosion. I realize how many are dead and wonder why I’m not. I was a bigger whore than Barry, Ron, Mike but not Andrew. They are gone and I’m in a hole of my own making as dark as any grave.

Logically I understand that things are different now. I could live another twenty plus years without any problems. Those thoughts can’t change or explain the past.

So what is helping me climb back out of the hole? Bottom line, like a ghost that can’t cross over, I have unfinished business.  I have several books that I’m currently reading. The common thread in them is that we use energy available to us to create our own reality. We can be energy vampires and drain people around us or use the energy available to us to create a new reality. That is what I’ve started to do. One of my perceived obstacles is that I feel as though there is no one to support me. That after years of being people’s confidant, strength and counselor, there was no one with time for me. I began to realize a couple of things. First was that I had not really let anyone get that close to me again that could see me when I not in control. Second, that I probably need to do it on my own.

The facade we show is usually enough to hide behind.

I have long felt that to many people like to be victims and want other people to either carry the blame for their failings or in the alterative seek out the attention reserved for true victims. I have started to reshape my energy so as not to be a victim of my past. There is still a world of difference I can make in the lives of other. I hope for the better. More important, there are things left in that not only bring contentment but long-term happiness. I also need to stop relying on comfort food. I added ten pounds on in the form of a severe “zinger” addiction.

I look forward to more blogging in the coming days and weeks and I hope this time I can get completely out of the hole. I am going to spend a lot of time in the next few days setting long and short-term goals for myself in a lot of different areas.

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I am sorry the blogging has sucked. I hit a major depression a month ago and had trouble pulling out. Think that is behind and off to Disney for the weekend. Regular bloging should be back then!

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July 2012, Washington DC is hosting the International Conference on AIDS. The Names Project Foundation, which takes care of all the Quilt Panels is trying to ‘blanket DC’ with all the Quilt Panels. The Quilt has been to DC in 1987, 88, 89, 92 and 1996. Some of the Quilt were included in President Clinton’s Inauguration Parade. The Quilt was also nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. It is the single largest community project in the World to this day.

The Quilt continues to grow as HIV/AIDS takes more lives. The Quilt now has over 47,000+ panels, weighs over 54 tons and has over 92,000+ names listed. Some famous names include: Arthur Ashe, Eazy E (rapper), Perry Ellis, Rock Hudson, Richard Hunt (muppeteer), Liberace, Freddie Mercury, Tim Richmond (Nascar), Robert Reed (Brady Bunch), Anthony Perkins (Psycho), Max Robinson (ABC News anchor), Jerry Smith (Redskin Football player), Ricky Wilson (B-52 band), Ryan White, Rudolf Nureyev, just to name a few…

According to POZ magazine, the  AIDS Memorial Quilt will be displayed in its entirety for the first time since 1996 in multiple key locations on and around Capitol Hill and throughout metropolitan Washington, DC. from July 21-24.

Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt is a 1989 documentary film that tells the story of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. Narrated by Dustin Hoffman with a musical score written and performed by Bobby McFerrin, the film focuses on several people who are represented by panels in the Quilt, combining personal reminiscences with archive footage of the subjects, along with footage of various politicians, health professionals and other people with AIDS.  One of those focused in the film was an ex of mine Tracy Torrey. Part of me want to go to DC to see the quilt, but after all this time and all those deaths and all those funerals, not sure I could handle it.  One of those focused in the film was an ex of mine Tracy Torrey. Part of me want to go to DC to see the quilt, but after all this time and all those deaths and all those funerals, not sure I could handle it.

This week, The Canadian Supreme Court heard an appeal involving a people living with the human immunodeficiency virus, who recently were acquitted by provincial appeal courts of aggravated assault and sexual assault charges for not disclosing their HIV status. The convictions hinged on their failure to inform his sexual partners that they have HIV.

In the first case, Mabior was convicted in 2008 of aggravated assault for having sex with six women without disclosing his status, but two years later he was acquitted on appeal. The Manitoba Court of Appeal ruled if an HIV-positive person wears a condom or has a low viral load and, therefore, a low risk of transmitting the virus, having sex does not pose a risk of serious bodily harm.

In the second case, a Quebec woman did not disclose her HIV-positive status to her former spouse. In neither case did the “victim” contract AIDS. In 1997, Florida legislators made it a felony for an HIV-infected person to have “sexual intercourse” without informing the partner of their infected status, adding the virus to a list of established STDs like gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis.

But Florida statutes specifically define sexual intercourse only as vaginal sex between a man and a woman meaning — “the penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ.” Therefor gays and lesbians cannot be charged. The question before the courts and legislatures needs to be decided on legal and not moral grounds.

For the vast majority of people living with HIV, preventing others from becoming infected with the virus is a primary concern. HIV positive individuals are aware of just how difficult it is to live with the illness.

Not all HIV positive people take the precautions that they perhaps should. Some people, angry at their plight or just plain crazy, “deliberately or recklessly transmit the virus” to others. Some of the individuals concerned have even been criminally charged for their actions. To some it might seem obvious to prosecute someone for recklessly or intentionally infecting another with an ultimately fatal virus.  I personally oppose this position for several reasons.

As I have stated earlier, I have been infected with the HIV virus since December 1980.  I personal feel it is my duty to tell people up front about it before there is any intimate contact that could cause exposure. I do not however think that it relives the other person from being responsible for his or her own protection. Unless a person has been home schooled or worse, they should know that every person is a possible carrier of HIV, Herpes or other STD’s. Each person is responsible for his or her own protection. By criminalizing the status of the person with HIV for not telling and not criminalizing the “negative” person for not inquiring, is wrong. It is the same as making the actions of a drug dealer criminal but not the actions of the person buying drugs.

It also becomes a dis-incentive to getting testing and treatment. More important it is impossible to defend against.

Let’s start by using the case of the woman accused of not telling her ex-husband. What was to stop him for saying he was not told simply as a way of getting back at her for cheating or other perceived malfeasance during the marriage. It becomes a he said she said. If it is a case of a trick in the bar, or an ex boyfriend, this becomes a matter of ones word against another. We all know hell has no fury like a scorned queen!

Second if the “victim’ is exposed, it needs to be proven that the accused was definitely the source of the accuser’s HIV. This would involve a range of evidence including sexual history, testing history and scientific evidence in the form of phylogenetics. This compares the DNA of the virus. If they are completely different then it means that the accusers almost certainly did not acquire HIV from the accused. If the strains are very similar, however, it is possible, though not conclusive, that the accused infected the accusers. Phylogenetics cannot reliably estimate the direction of transmission and therefore it is possible that the accusers infected the accused. Furthermore, the same third party, or different third parties who shared similar strains of HIV could have infected both.

Then there is the issue of informed consent. Can you really have informed consent after 4,6,8 drinks on a Saturday night? Being under the influence is a legal justification for getting out of contracts.  Do people need to start carrying informed consent contracts to the bars at night in case they get laid? The most bizarre aspect of the entire thing is that if an HIV person is raped and does not inform the rapist that they are positive, the rape victim is then guilty of a felony. This is a very real scenario in our prison system.

These laws don’t necessarily provide the public with any additional protection, and it may in fact provide the public with a false sense of security because people may have unprotected sex, presuming their partner must be HIV negative because a criminal offense has been created. Do not confuse moral with legal when it comes to obligations. We should not criminalize status.

An unwanted Visitor

Posted: February 10, 2012 in Advice, AIDS, book, Depression, My History
Tags: , ,

I realize that there has been a lack of blogging. Been trying to get my head in a better position. This past week, for the first time in almost seven years, lab work show that the virus as active again.

Of course I realize that one test does not show a trend. What is as frustrating is that my other labs were not good too. All my diet and exercise and now the cholesterol numbers are not as good as they normally are.

These seem like little things but to me it was (and is) a slap in the face. I live life like everything is ok. Like I am I normal. But every so often I get a stark reminder of reality. Yes the drugs have gotten batter and the life expectancy of people infected with HIV and quality of life get better all the time. That does not mean that the virus has stopped trying to kill me. The meds help manage; they do not dispose of the death sentence.

For those who bareback, breed or seed thinking that the meds will save you, they don’t. They only prolong the inevitable. The meds will not protect you. As much of a front as people have about life and death, reality can come along and put a big dent in it.

 

Just saying.

This past week I posted what I thought would be a cute innocuous blurb about Christmas. It simply said that “December 25: That awkward day when God is reminded that He slept with His own mother to conceive Himself!”

I thought it was cute but by reading some of the responses, you would think that I attacked the Holy Mother Church during the height of the Inquisition. People were responding about the bible saying this and that and others were urging me to stop my attacks on Christians especially at this time of year. I finally responded back by saying that these people had no room to speak of attacks. I feel that it needs a bit more explanation of my spiritual journey.

I was raised Catholic. Elementary school, middle school, graduate school and law school. During my time at the University of Maryland, I got sucked into Campus Crusade for Christ and the now infamous “Family” of “C-Street” fame who tried to “Pray the Gay Away”. From early on I questioned Dogma and theology. I asked the nuns in school how god could die on a cross and if he was really dead who raised him, or the salvation of the Indians in America while Jesus was alive in the Middle East, and other scenarios. After years and years of dogma dumped into my head, and developing a self loathing trying to resolve the “gay-issue” I looked to the evangelical movement. During this time I was never able to stop acting on my gayness. I only knew that one had to win over the other.

While I was living in the “Cornerstone House”, a home managed by “The Family” of  Jim Hiskey, Chuck Colson and The Coe’s (Father and sons), I was involved with Campus Crusade for Crist. After talking to the director, Dan Mosley, his wife told me point blank that she was; ”going to pray that the lord take me before I had a chance to sin again.” Yes she was going to pray for my death. This caused me even more confusion and anxiety since I was having sex with several of the other men at the house involved at Cornerstone and with “The Family”. I knew that something was very wrong with this situation. The Christians I met were either hateful or hypocrites. Often both. After trying several different types of counseling and often having sex with these counselors I made a clean break.

Once outside this environment I realize more and more how it was like a cult. So many people try to rationalize how to square biblical interpretations and religious doctrine with the reality of their life. I went a different rout. I question the bases of the foundation or their arguments. I looked at the validity of the “New Testament” as the word of god. I saw that the story of god coming to earth, having a son with a mortal woman who was to save the world, has played out time and again. It is the story of Zeus and Hercules. It is the story of Isis and Ra. It could also be the story of Odin and Thor. It is a story that repeats through history. The names change but the themes remain the same. It is in a writing that is done decades or even centuries after events in a time with no hard records. In short, it is a belief system base ancient myths that are reworded and refitted for a different time and period. These are nothing more than stories parents used to frighten their children and that the rich embrace to enslave the poor and keep them under control. Even the bible itself says men are but sheep being lead to the slaughter.

One of my favorite lines recently is that if the US got rid of all atheists, it would lose 93% of the National Academy of Sciences but less than 1% of the prison population. I could live with that. I would like to live someplace sane! As we get more into the Christmas season the evangelicals complain about this fictions war on Christmas is destroying the holiday. That somehow stopping government from sapling nativity sets on public land is a slap at Christmas. Or using Happy Holidays is destroying the institution. I would simply say that before they worry about keeping Christ in Xmas, they should try putting him in their religion first.  Mahatma Gandhi said, “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.”

That was never more evident that during the beginning of the AIDS crisis. Instead of helping the sick and dying, the Christians were advocating a roundup and death camps for people with AIDS. Instead of caring for the sick, the Catholic Church in Washington DC ordered an AIDS support group in their parish to cease and desist using the church basement for meeting. Jerry Farwell declared AIDS “God’s wrath on homosexuals. Christians used AIDS to justify hatred and fear of gays instead of caring for the sick and dying. Indeed and thought and action, the Christians were very un-christ like. It was not until the early 1990’s, some 45,000 deaths later, that the mainstream churches began actually helping instead of demonizing. That is unforgivable.

I have no need for a life based on mythos and I have no room in my heart for forgiveness. That is my position on Christians.