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AIDS Complacency

An article in the San Francisco Chronicle point to the interesting consequence of the conventional wisdom about the treatability of HIV/AIDS.

"I think people have become less worried about contracting (HIV), but multiple partners and unprotected sex are nothing new to this community," said Jim Harrison, 48, who came to the Castro to participate in a community fund-raising event. "I don't see that changing any time soon."

Some people said they worried that successful drug treatment has caused men to become complacent, especially those who are just coming out.

Christopher Hall, medical director at Magnet, a community health center that offers HIV testing, said attitudes have evolved over the years and anti-HIV drugs have created a different level of concern.

"I don't think that people are radically changing their behavior because they believe that HIV/AIDS is treatable," he said. "Gay men care about health, want access to health services and remain concerned about HIV."

It's been over a decade since Magic Johnson announced that he was HIV positive, and the palpable sense at the time was that in short order he would succumb to the disease. Magic Johnson's death sentence never came, nor did those of other patients lucky enough to get in on early AIDS treatments.

It's possible that the success (or the perception of success) in treating HIV/AIDS has caused complacency, or even worse, regressive behavior in high risk populations. The closing paragraphs of this The New York Times article highlight a person who is fully informed of the risk factors and health consequences of HIV, yet can't resist playing Russian roulette with it.

Jon, a 33-year-old New York escort who uses the Web site Manhunt.com, a popular gay dating site, said in a telephone interview that even the most educated and cautious often slip into dangerous behavior. On Friday night, he said, an H.I.V.-positive lover he had met online came over to watch a movie. Though he worked in health care for 15 years and usually insists on practicing protected sex, this time he did not make his lover wear a condom.

"After the sex, I freaked out," he said. "I thought, 'How stupid to go that route after 40 years of being negative.' "

I'm not sure how a 33-year-old can be negative for 40 years, but the fact that he would have unprotected sex with someone he knows to be HIV positive speaks volumes as to his complacency about the disease.

Related: Australia has already encountered strains of the HIV that have not responded to treatment, and the Boston area is now reporting several cases of drug resistant HIV.

Comments (12)

Every time someone tries to... (Below threshold)

Every time someone tries to discuss behvior as an aspect to healthcare in association with infectious diseases, there is much criticism that follows by the gay community about that.

Which indicates to me that there is also a psychological issue (if not many) in effect in certain behaviors, going so far as intending problems for whatever perceived gain (you get more "care" when you're ailing, and other related human psychology that ought to be discussed without the high level of nastiness that results).

Aside from homosexuality and behaviors, there are many behavioral, psychological motivations involved in other infectious processes, so those get aired but once there's some indication that there is a homosexual correlation, the entire discussion gets shut down with insults and various to anyone posing any information contrary to, well, contrary to uncommon sense.

I have to add here that the... (Below threshold)

I have to add here that the main emphasis by many among homosexuals, as to the acceptance of them with "victimhood" aspects and qualities, is, in fact, real. And needs to be confronted and discussed through to some exhaustive social change.

It's not just complacency.... (Below threshold)

It's not just complacency. There is a certain amount of fatalism involved. Even the best condoms have a failure rate that can be expressed in whole percentages while the average rate of failure is something like 12 percent. Given the promiscuos lifestyle of a segment of the gay community it doesn't take long for one in eight odds to catch up to people.
I understand that there is also a segment, perhaps with a degree of overlap with the fatalists, that views being positive for HIV as a rite of passage.
I don't really consider myself competent to expound on any reasons for these phenonoma, nor are they main items of interest. I'm just a guy who's career involved working among all parts of society. As such, I learned a lot of things I have no explanation for.

I remember an article from ... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

I remember an article from a couple of years ago, can't remember which one, but it was about young gay men who were actually trying to get AIDS-they were called "bug chasers."

So there is something beyond just saying "safe sex" at work.

Also, the ermergence of viral strains that are drug resistant is going to be a huge health problem.

Hell, other bugs have becom... (Below threshold)

Hell, other bugs have become resistant to drugs, this couldn't be a suprise to anyone. Look at staph- there's a very nasty strain immune to almost every drug.

But as to this new super-AIDS....it's a good thing. Now don't flame me, hear me out-

Previously, someone would get infected with HIV, and it could be years for it to develop into full-blown AIDS. Plenty of time for these people to infect others (which they obviously have been doing)

With this new AIDS, you get it, then within months, you're in endgame. Much less time to infect anyone else.

Time to stop treating AIDS as some civil-rights cause-celebre. Time to start treating it as a fatal disease again...

Trump you make a good point... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

Trump you make a good point. No other desease really is tied so closely to a political agenda as aids is. It makes it difficult to develop a sound health policy to deal with it.

The ugly truth about this p... (Below threshold)

The ugly truth about this plague is that it wouldhave been eradicated about 20 years ago through quarantine, either self-imposed or government enforced.

So many deaths for political correctness, and now it's coming back with a vengance.

Tim McNabb

There is no doubt there is ... (Below threshold)

There is no doubt there is something psychological involved. When men go to public restrooms to have sex with other men they don't even know, then it is more about a serious mental problem than sex. At least that is the way I see it. This, of course, applies to the heterosexual community as well. But you just don't hear about this public restroom stuff there. I just can't wrap my mind around something so wrong.

While homosexual men still ... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

While homosexual men still have the highest numbers in regards to aids cases, African American women are the demographic whose rate of infection is rising at the quickest rate.

There is so much public health policy wise that needs to be done, but because the desease is so closely tied to political agendas, it is hard to create a workable one.

Just Me: Yeah, and those A... (Below threshold)

Just Me: Yeah, and those African females are contracting HIV from males who have been infected by other males, almost routinely.

I realize that there are some individual males who contract HIV from an infected female partner (anywhere, it's not just in Africa), but the case has long since been proven that HIV proliferated in and among both gay males and intravaneous drug users, both groups which don't -- as a general practice -- engage in sensible limitations to which and what bodily fluids from whom they expose themselves to.

It's a glaring case of human behavior of the reckless kind by a small percentage of mankind that has allowed HIV to enter into the greater human population, and has long ago been recognized as such. And still we have to suffer through hearing gay activists object to anyone suggesting that they modify their behaviors out of concern for others. You get ten males with HIV having sexual contact with a hundred others each, of either gender, and you then get the same behaviors amplified outward.

I don't get the recklessness so much as I do get that the intention is to disregard the well being of others. Disregarding the public good may work for an individual's sense of their own "rights," but it doesn't prevent other people suffering because of thier insistence on whatever.

They forget to remind peopl... (Below threshold)

They forget to remind people that they've found new strains before. Like one was from the area where most of the Portuguese live in MA and those that traveled back and forth from Boston to Portugal. I remember it - how come they don't remember it when they found the different strains? They'll figure it out - it's bound to change with each person anyway. Only way to beat it is to protect oneself. I'll go with neosporin. :-)


Running the great risk of b... (Below threshold)

Running the great risk of being considered insane, I would like to propose that the paradigm of HIV causing AIDS is at fault here.

There are many scientists including the great Kary Mullis
a Nobel Prize winning Bio chemist who do not belive in the HIV ==> AIDS hypothesis.

He is far from alone in this belief and is supported by at least two other Nobel laureates and others who have worked in AIDS research.

AIDS may turn out to be not a disease at all but a political fiction






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