Monday, May 08, 2006

... troubled...

The CDC is pushing for mandatory HIV/AIDS testing.

"Federal health officials say they'd like HIV testing to be as common as a cholesterol check."

The idea is to make those people who have seroconverted and don't know it aware of their status. But, I also think they hope to keep track of who has it and who does not.

I want to think this is a good measure, but I have my issues. Like, why is the CDC willing to do this, but not willing to confront the public on HIV/AIDS stigmatization which has been good and strong since, well, since the early 80's? What happens to the anonymity? the privacy of health conditions? And what about all the wacko nut-jobs who want to quarantine everyone who is positive?

Perhaps my view is a touch unique. After all, before I could start having sex, I was educated about HIV/AIDS, then scared to death when I finally did come out, and have had my life irrevocably changed, altered, by this fucking dis-ease's touch in my sphere... my father, my cousin, friends, even best friends dead at its behest. I watched as protease inhibitors brought people back from the brink of death, literally, like with my mentor. I have even watched HIV become a "chronic manageable illness" as people said it would back in the mid-90's. However, I have also wanted to raze the earth when I considered how quickly my father went and how that went hand-in-hand with the lack of access in B/black communities. I have felt rage at the rising suspicions of the sexualities of B/black men to the point where everyone understands "DL" and even someone like me who has been effectively out since I was 14 has been asked on multiple occasions whether I am on the "DL." There have been books and panic about it, even. Being gay, I get to watch as gay men throw away condoms as if HIV/AIDS has been cured and have been awash in my own sense of negative guilt and...

I would expect that people would stop going to their doctors out of fear. Our government has blocked proper, realistic sex education at every avenue. Abstinence does not fly in a realistic world of teenagers and it sure as fuck doesn't with adults. How do they expect to implement this measure without taking proper stock of the world -- these people really don't live in any reality you and I share.

Part of me wants to applaud because I *do* think knowledge is power, but the greater part of me believes this is a mistake without a vast and intense campaign aimed at educating everyone about sex so they can educate everyone about what measures one can take regarding HIV/AIDS transmission...

I mean... I have CAUGHT Poz men on Craigslist saying they are negative who say they are positive on manhunt, say. There are SCORES of young guys who think they can negotiate risk by putting strict limits on how "old" a person can be in order to have sex, never realizing that the numbers of young gay men who are sero-positive are immense and rising. There are those who are more comfortable thinking that HIV/AIDS affects "them" -- "them B/blacks," "them gays," "them B/black women," "them Latino/as" -- but HIV/AIDS affects us ALL. Connects us ALL in ways that are so simple and profound most people don't even recognize.

Every since HIV/AIDS came on the scene, there have been people who have wanted to separate them from the rest of humanity. (Hence "dis-ease") Does the CDC really think no one will try to make that kind of thinking a reality? And before you go thinking that's a good idea, remember, you could have it, too, and not even fucking know because the incubation period, last I was informed, was 10 years. For ten years you could be carrying this dis-ease and not know it because it has not gone active. This scares me more than I am ever able to admit. Scares me so much that I can't enjoy being told I am negative because, often, it does seem like a matter of time no matter what. People say, "But Quentin, you are with Ryan." And it is true, I *am* with Ryan. But there was a time I was not with Ryan. Time that will haunt me till the day I die. The same with you.

They make it sound so good... and it *does* sound good. It would be nice, for me, if I was tested every time I went in for some upper respiratory thing, but how many doctors would waive testing it for "straight" people? Already, I notice how I am treated differently by different doctors directly related to my race, perceived gender, and sexuality. What makes the CDC think this measure would be fail proof? Doctors are but people and no matter the myths of objectivity and science, being human, they are subjective creatures (and if they are not, they are monsters) and have biases and where bias does not work, heterosexism might.

Also... I find this interesting:

"We need to expand access to HIV testing dramatically by making it a routine part of medical care," said the agency's Dr. Kevin Fenton.

Notice -- he isn't talking care.

What is the use of knowing if no one has a plan -- besides quarantining -- to take care of these people?

Let's not forget, the world is making Africa pay a shit load of money for drugs. (Anyone remember that big ordeal a couple of years ago? It could have found a solution by now and I wouldn't know... but a parallel and justice is a parallel and justice.)

And the thing of it is... had we just socialized medicine...


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