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Issues Archives: The Domestication of HIV

March-April 2017

Women on the Verge

THIS NOVEL by Patricia A. Smith explores fictional events in Bradley, Massachusetts, following the abduction and murder of a ten-year-old boy. Leo Rivera has been lured into a car by a “much older” friend, Mickey, who knows the boy wants a new bike, calls to him from a car window, and invites him to go see one downtown. Leo gets into the car and discovers that Mickey is not alone.

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Seasons in Hell

DAVID FRANCE’S HISTORY of AIDS opens with a memorial service for Spencer Cox, an ACT UP activist, to whom we come back in the epilogue. In between are approximately thirteen years of Hell. Although How to Survive a Plague pretty much follows the plot of the documentary film he released four years ago with the same title, the difference between the two is enormous. When the film came out, this reviewer wondered if a book would not give us more nuance, more insight into what people were really thinking in those ACT UP meetings we saw on screen. Well, here is the answer to that wish.

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Gay Resilience and HIV Prevention

WE HEAR a lot about advances in HIV treatment, the use of Truvada or PrEP to prevent HIV infection for the sexually active, and the latest programs designed to promote safer sex. Largely unreported, however, has been a huge shift toward addressing “upstream” mental health issues—such as depression, substance abuse, or partner violence—because it has finally become clear that gay men who don’t feel good about themselves or their lives are less likely to protect themselves and more likely to take risks.

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The Man Who Took On The Times

A 2015 book by Samuel G. Freedman, Dying Words: The AIDS Reporting of Jeff Schmalz and How It Transformed The New York Times, documents Schmalz’ profound effect on American print media. In a personal interview, Freedman, a professor at Columbia University and the “On Religion” columnist for The Times, discussed the atmosphere at the paper before Schmalz’ arrival.

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Where HIV Has Not Been Tamed

OVER THE PAST DECADE, we’ve seen a great deal of progress on HIV/Aids in the U.S. Data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in late 2015 indicate that diagnoses of HIV in the U.S. declined significantly over the last decade. … However, black and Latino gay and bisexual men actually saw an increase in HIV diagnoses of 22 percent and 24 percent.

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Playwrights Who Rewrote the Rules

By writing plays that call attention to the unreality of theater, Albee and Shaffer called attention to the inauthenticity of modern life: both how people are influenced by movies and commercials and how they fashion their sexuality to conform to socially celebrated norms. Relying heavily upon the conventions of Greek tragedy, plays like Albee’s The Goat and Shaffer’s Equus attempted to return theater to its ancient roots in which one wore a mask to deliver a primal authenticity that could not be enacted in everyday life.

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George Michael Made It Big

To millions of fans, George Michael will remain the “father figure” of which he sang with a blend of lust and longing, and for that, we can collectively say: Wham, bam, thank you, Georgios Panayiotou—or, as you will be forever loved and remembered—George Michael.

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Wide Use of PrEP Raises Hopes—and Questions

IN 2012, San Francisco-based biopharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences launched Truvada as the first antiviral drug approved by the FDA as a means of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention.

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Readers’ Thoughts

  Gay Life Thrived Long Before Stonewall   To the Editor: You state that one of your missions is “to preserve our history, especially the early history [of gays and lesbians],” yet you ignore a segment of early gays who do not fit, it would seem, into the convenient ideas of what life was like […]

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B.T.W.

  Cher Was There Police were stumped when house after house was getting robbed in a Portland, Oregon, neighborhood, and the burglar kept eluding capture. He would take the usual items of value—cash, electronics, jewelry—and managed to rob fifteen homes without slipping up. But then he was done in by… Cher. It seems the burglar, […]

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