In the current climate of rising HIV infections amongst Gay Men in the UK, when health charities often place the sensibilties of poz people above prevention, many say we need to go back to basics. When this so called *gay plague* started I was there, being tested at The Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead in 1981. Doctors had flown from America to London because a mysterious virus had turned up in major american cities in gay men who were also chronic Hepatitis B Virus. I had recently been told that I had Cirrhosis of the Liver caused by chronic Hep B living in my body undetected for a decade. I was a Hep B super-carrier with an immune system unable to create the antibodies to fight the virus. I stopped drinking alcohol, dealing with my addiction to booze and drugs, but my liver got worse, and I continued to self-infect myself with Hepatitis B until May 1996 when I cleared the virus through yogic breathwork and thousands spent on therapy, retreats and alternative approaches. I was one of ten on the first Human Interferon drug trial in 1982 – there was and there still is, no cure, and I received no further medication except to manage liver failure.
Everyone died on the trial except me.
All gay men under the guidance of The Royal Free and St Mary’s in Paddington were tested by American doctors, hair, blood, saliva and semen, to see if we had the mysterious virus called GRID. Gay Related Immune Deficiency. In 1984 French & American Researchers came up with the same conclusion and called it the HIV Virus. I did not have the virus and remain negative today. Having lived through one virus, why create another. Reading through the following quotes you will notice that nothing much has changed in 30 years. The only unspoken thread is that millions and millions are thrown at the AIDS Industry for an estimated 96,000+ people in the UK, when hardly anything is available from the Government for the University of Southhampton’s figure of 450,000 people in the UK living with Hep C. Poz guys who refuse to use a condom as an act of masculinity are rapidly becoming infected with Hep C, aided and abetted by the PC warriors who insist ” HIV is a manageable disease with a few pills each day “. It isn’t. This is as much a scandal as those 450,000 HepC carriers and those infected with Chronic Hep B who are left to wander in the wilderness without a day to rattle tins.
Centers For Disease Control, Atlanta, USA. 1984
Four days later, researchers from the Pasteur Institute provided Don Francis with convincing proof that their virus, LAV, caused AIDS. In October, Francis had sent the French Scientists 30 blood samples, including 10 from the San Francisco Hepatitis B cohort of gay men who had developed AIDS, 10 from gay men with lymphadenopathy, and 10 from heterosexuals not at risk for AIDS. The samples were sent blind, marked only with code numbers. The French researchers reported to Don Francis their results : positive LAV antibody tests in 20 of the samples and negative tests in 10. Francis quickly paged through his notes to compare the code numbers. The French had accurately sorted the blood of AIDS and lymphadenopathy patients from the blood of uninfected people. Francis was elated. With the cause of AIDS found, scientists could now get on with the business of controlling the spread of the epidemic and finding a vaccine.
– AND THE BAND PLAYED ON / Randy Shilts New York 1989
” First, I’d always been a little crazy, not clinically, just over-intense, compulsive, prone to a variety of erotic addictions and narcissistic mood swings – euphoria to despair in 3 seconds flat. Second, the backdrop of my breakdown – New York in the Eighties – was insane in itself. Third and most important, I was plugged into the epicenter of that insanity, working for Andy Warhol. the grand vizier of meaninglessness, and the most famous artist in the world. In the three years since I started working there, Andy had come to symbolize everything that was wrong with the world : hype and cleverness without soul, a Technicolor surface without depth, a glittering facade fashioned from fame, name and money; an inverted place where everything and everyone is reduced to an object and put on sale, where everyone has his fifteen minutes, where the serious is boring, the fluffy fabulous and behind this great mask of glamour and image, an abyss. It wasn’t always like this. For a long time, this world thrilled me. With every hoop my bosses held up, I jumped higher. New York was the big game and I adored it. I scheduled an appointment for the HIV test on March 30 1989. I was casual about it with friends, who warned me of my usual bravado “.
– SEX, DEATH, ENLIGHTENMENT / Mark Matousek
New York City 1994″ Even during the most repressive years of the AIDS crisis, a vibrant sexual playground survived in secret. The streets grew cold and scant, the neighbourhood bars thinned out, but if you knew the right someone you got taken to a place behind locked doors. Most gay men knew the right someone. The generation of gay men who have come of age in the era of AIDS are as fervent in desire as their disappearing Stonewall predecessors. In New York the night before the June 1994 Gay Pride Parade celebrating 25 years of gay liberation, the lineup of clean-cut, all -American men for a popular sex club stretched five blocks down the West Side Highway. The truth is that gay men like to have communal sex – or, as it’s called in the vulgate, orgies. Communal sex is to gay men what golf is to, well, other kinds of men: they find beauty and bonding in it. It defines the individual as part of a collective. By definition – because that is how history and social forces have conspired – “gay” is the construction of identity through sexual relations.
The origin of the modern gay community arose in the simple act of two men picking each other up “.- THE CRISIS OF DESIRE : AIDS AND THE FATE OF GAY BROTHERHOOD / Robin Hardy
London does not have any space to remember those brave souls who were struck down with AIDS. We are told that no-one dies of AIDS anymore, Cancer has always reassured the family on a Death Certificate. If no shame exists around HIV/AIDS why not proudly proclaim on the Death Certificate : Cause of Death : Aids Related Infection. Londoners have never dealt with the critical mass of collective grief over Aids, we have nowhere to ponder on the friends we lost, a space to leave notes, flowers and acknowledgement. A Collective have started a Facebook group to correct this error, please join our group.