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“i love life, and life itself could use some mercy now”

December 1, 2009

When i think about AIDS, one thing that always comes to mind is my mom’s friend who was living with and nursing her gay friend who was dying of AIDS. I was young when all that happened, and i certainly didn’t now that’s what was going on. I wasn’t near thinking about things like gay and lesbian (or, for that matter, straight, other than that a man and woman living together seemed like kind of what folks did, and sort of relationshipish). I don’t think i’ve ever talked about that situation with my mom either, so i’m not really sure what it was that made it so incredibly clear to me when i was a bit older that that was what was going on. So, that’s kind of my picture of AIDS history. That’s what i imagine when older friends mention the unbelievable numbers of friends they lost to AIDS when they were all my age.

Now AIDS is something rather different. And it’s something that i mostly understand through statistics instead of fuzzy memories. Well, it’s been a year or two since i’ve given the statistics a serious look, so they are a bit fuzzy too. But they are very strikingly different from the sort of “AIDS mythology” i’ve been taught (not that what i’ve been taught about AIDS is unimportant or untrue).

Here is what i think of regarding AIDS now – i can’t really vouch for the details of this – i’m working from memory (and from fairly local data; the national might be different). Here, the fastest growing groups of people with HIV/AIDS are African-Americans and women. “Risky” heterosexual behavior is getting very close to homosexual contact as the cause of infection. Technically, it is not homosexual behavior, it is “men who have sex with men” (or MSM) – as an issue of actions, not sexuality. That is an especially important distinction if you want to get accurate data. But, really, it’s nearly impossible to get accurate data because people who don’t get tested don’t get counted. And the one graph that jumps into my head is a bar graph of the number of HIV/AIDS cases in each county, plus a column for the prison population. Only, you can’t read the graph at all because the number of prison inmates who are positive is so high that the number in each county just looks like a pin-stripe at the bottom of the graph. I don’t have much else to say about it at the moment, but i feel like these are things people ought to be talking about.

Lady Brett

"Mercy Now" - Mary Gauthier
One Comment leave one →
  1. trinity2 permalink
    December 4, 2009 10:37 pm

    -and, people who are addicted to meth amphentamine – HIV is very prominent there.

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