AIDS was a crisis because thousands of people were getting sick and dying, and nobody knew why; they couldn't do anything about it and didn't know how to prevent it. That constitutes a crisis. At this point in time, however, it is known how AIDS is transmitted, and it is preventable in simple ways that are available to everyone. People know how to avoid this disease; it's just a matter of whether they use common sense and take precautions. This is not to say that getting infected is anyone's fault. I'm only saying that AIDS is no longer a mystery and therefore no longer a crisis.
But Dan! Move on to a new topic. I want to hear more about "Mr. 200 percent straight guy" pissing up his dog's butt. --NYC
Thanks for the encouragement to move on to a new topic--which we'll do by the end of this column. By the end of this column, we'll be talking about pussy farts, I promise.
But how can you say preventing HIV infection is simply a matter of taking commonsense precautions and then say getting infected isn't anyone's fault? If prevention is just commonsense stuff, then it follows that infection results from a lack of common sense and is therefore the fault of the persons involved--infector and infectee. If you're going to assert the former (prevention equals common sense), have the courage not to contradict yourself by including the latter (infection equals fault).
Once upon a time I would've called you a murderer and punched you in the nose for suggesting HIV infection was anyone's fault. But I've either mellowed or lost my mind. You're right: prevention is commonsense stuff, and it does seem that the only two ways people get infected these days are by doing something really stupid or by being really unlucky--and other people's stupidity and bad luck is not necessarily everyone's health crisis.
Can we please stop these boring, obsessive letters about the AIDS crisis, yadda, yadda, yadda? I don't trek all the way to the corner at the risk of viral infection to read this boring treacle. --DK in NYC
If reading my recent AIDS columns was . . .
I remember the good old days when it was fun to read your column. Lately it's all dull debates on subjects like the AIDS crisis. Lighten up and get off your soapbox. --Pollyanna
. . . anywhere near as boring as reading these letters about how boring my AIDS columns were . . .
I hope the AIDS crisis is over. I also hope the AIDS crisis columns will be over soon. Your column has been really boring lately. Get back to sex!
--HIV Negative Straight Man
. . . then I apologize for writing those boring AIDS columns!
I was upset about your short comment regarding the AIDS crisis being over, but then I read your long column on the subject and could see your point. But even if everyone says that yes, the AIDS crisis is over, what have you accomplished? At best you've got people feeling warm and fuzzy about the research going on, but at worst you've got uneducated morons thinking that since the AIDS crisis is over, it's OK to have unprotected sex with strangers. Why prove this point when the ultimate end does more harm than good? --Just Curious
First, those of us who are not morons should not have to pretend that what is not so is so in order to save the morons from their own stupidity. Are we supposed to say, "Hey, how about that AIDS crisis?" nudging and winking, just in case a moron might be nearby?
Second, all that yammering we did about the AIDS crisis led the morons to believe HIV was the only STD they needed to worry about. For the past 15 years the AIDS crisis has been practically the sole focus of safe-sex campaigns and the sole reason given to morons to take precautions. So when AIDS became less deadly, as it has recently, morons became more likely to take risks. And by the logic of AIDS education itself, why shouldn't they? Continuing to promote AIDS as the only "crisis"-brand STD drowns out awareness about other STDs, awareness that might keep the morons from harming themselves; it also promotes risk taking by folks who, rightly or wrongly, don't feel they're at risk for acquiring HIV. Syph, gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, warts, hep, children, etc: AIDS is one point on a continuum of risk (granted, a high point), one of many STDs we need to take precautions against and seek treatment for if we catch. Crisis or no crisis, the virus isn't going anywhere--like Cats, HIV is now and forever. We need to take reasonable precautions, now and forever, to protect ourselves from HIV and everything else--and crisis-driven AIDS education gets in the way of that.
Not only is the AIDS crisis over--blab blab blab blab blab--but AIDS is boring! I'm an HIV negative gay man, and I'm proud to have kept myself negative all these years. But there are far greater challenges in my life than worrying about where my next boyfriend is gonna come from and making mental lists of all the boring AIDS services I'm gonna need when and if he gives me some disease.
AIDS Inc. is boring. Volunteering for AIDS Inc. or any AIDS organization is boring. They're all doing the same thing they were doing ten years ago. Same handouts, same party line, same scare tactics. Same AIDS Inc. people packaging AIDS in the very same glamorous ad campaigns. It's all so boring! I expect a creative guy like you to stop churning out nonsense bullshit on boring subjects. Write about something you're good at, like vaginal farts. --TY
Actually, I've never written anything about vaginal farts, but per your request:
By Dan Savage
One of the few times I had sex with a woman, we encountered some turbulence immediately after we finished--or, I should say, immediately after I finished; I'm certain she didn't have an orgasm as a result of the meager sensations this 15-year-old fag managed to provide her with. Suddenly, she started brapping down there--shoop-put-put-shwapp-phrrrrtd-put-put-grrap-ap-ap-shoooshrrp. I thought I'd harmed her! No one had warned me about vaginal farts. When my mother or sister made farting noises--which was not often, at least in my mother's case--I assumed they were coming from the same place my farting noises came from. I asked my girlfriend if we needed to get a doctor, and she said, "It's just a cunt fart, for Christ's sake," and at that moment, I decided I wasn't going to waste any more time trying to force myself to be straight. If I was going to fuck something that made sounds like that, well, by God, I was gonna fuck butt.
Send questions to Savage Love, Chicago Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago 60611.