n safe-sex education, why is there so much talk about condoms and so little about lubricants?
Apropos of lubricants: Common safe-sex practices among gay men are mutual masturbation and frottage (a.k.a. intracrural intercourse, "thigh sex", "the Princeton rub", etc.). Often one man ejaculates before the other, and his semen is used as lubricant for the other's cock. If the first partner's semen contains HIV, is there a risk for the other?
Living with AIDS is usually a huge financial burden. Gay men who die from the disease are often impoverished. A few such men-- my educated guess is about one in thirty-- leave estates of a million dollars or more. Typically, who inherits these fortunes? Is wealth in the gay community thereby concentrated, or dissipated?
There's a good chance that a cure for AIDS, if discovered, will involve very expensive long-term maintenance care. In an age of Medicaid cutbacks, managed care, and fancy footwork by health insurance companies, what proportion of persons with AIDS will actually get this care?
If I were diagnosed with AIDS tomorrow, I'd wish for nothing so much as some "mad money" to travel far and enjoy life while I still had my health and energy. Is it not possible that those euphoric months or years would considerably extend my life expectancy? Why, among all the AIDS charities, isn't there one for giving out "mad money"?
Among gay men, it seems that receptors in anal sex are much more at risk than insertors. Before the age of AIDS, a substantial percentage of gay men were always "tops", and another percentage were always "bottoms". Has differential AIDS mortality changed these percentages? Are "bottoms" noticeably scarcer?
A study of the drug scene in Bayview-Hunters Point, by Mindy and Robert Fullilove, found that the higher the young men in the dealing hierarchy, the greater their sexual activity-- and the greater their incidence of sexually transmitted diseases. In the same vein, The Economist reports that HIV infection in African armies is directly correlated with rank. How does this phenomenon affect the female sex partners of the men? As the women become aware of the situation, will things be different?
Great plagues usually result in a "world turned upside down." The Black Death, for example, led to new opportunities for (suddenly scarce) wage-laborers, and helped bring an end to the Middle Ages. Will the world be turned upside down for the nations of eastern and southern Africa?
What if humanity has to live with incurable HIV for generations? Would there be a sea-change in the sexual practices of young women? Of young men?
In the U.S. economy in the past 15 years, the rich have gotten richer and the poor poorer, in a process one acerbic observer noted as, "class warfare where only one side is fighting." Is the same thing happening in American healthcare, with the healthy getting healthier and the sick sicker? If so, what does it mean for the HIV+ population?
(MidCity Numbers, October 1995)
(printer friendly version)