Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I’ve been thinking a lot about AIDS lately. I am writing a novel set in 1990-1991, a time when I was fully committed to the cause. AIDS Walk, A Loving Spoonful, AIDS Project Los Angeles, I helped wherever I could. Now it only seems like something I read about in the paper, the headlines appearing less often and buried on the back pages.

Maybe it’s because I’m so far removed from the gay community, but I think we’ve become complacent. Well, I have. It is true that I no longer see men with recognizable signs of AIDS when I walk through Vancouver’s West End, but I’m guessing that’s because drug treatments have become more effective in allowing people to live with AIDS. It’s still there,…just not in your face.

I don’t know current stats. Perhaps things are much rosier for gays now. If so, great, but today is a day to remind us that there is a generation of gay men greatly reduced in numbers due to what came before. I think of Stephen and Don, two men I supported as a buddy in L.A., both magnificent men in unique ways. Don would be 64 this year if he hadn’t died of AIDS-related complications at 47. Stephen would be 47 had he not died at 28.

No doubt, great progress has been made since AIDS was a curious affliction known as GRID (Gay-Related Immune Deficiency) in the early ’80s. I read in the Vancouver Sun today that there is a walk-in clinic where you can get an HIV test through a finger prick and know the results in a minute. A far cry from when I went with my lover to have a test and I ended up lying on the floor, the poor nurses watching to see if I would pass out after the dreaded needle. The information and much better medical resources are out there. Still, there is much work to be done to ensure that the best education and treatment are offered throughout the world.

Today is a day to reflect on the past, hope for the future and give myself a kick in the ass to do something.

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