I'm about to slam HIV-positive men who have bareback sex with other HIV-positive men thinking the damage has already been done - and Bugchasers - in their moronic heads with the truth no-one else is brave enough to.
Except when writing about future HIV-like epidemic(s), Superinfection and drug-resistance, there will be some hypocrisy on my part. During a manic episode two years ago I went on a crystal meth bareback frenzy, was exposed to HIV and cost the NSW Government $1600 for a course of Non-occupational Post-exposure Prophylaxis ("PEP") - medication comprising half thereof and ancillary support the other half. It worked because I took every pill with zealous discipline and precision regarding time of day and length of time before and after meals. The official line is that NPEP/PEP has an 80% effectiveness rate, but just like many other facts surrounding the HIV/AIDS disaster, data and information is buried or hidden, and obscured/manipulated in its simplification and interpretation for presentation to the public in educational material. At the end of my course I was still in high panic mode so my counsellor at the sexual health clinic let me in on the secret that there has never been a single transmission of HIV after a proper application of the entire, current PEP protocol in NSW.
By the way, scumbags who fake exposure and procure a course of PEP meds in the week before Mardi Gras weekend so they can go wild should be prosecuted for fraud.
That leads me to the first subject of this article: the question of whether it's possible, desirable and morally right to withdraw government-funded assistance from people found to have deliberately infected themselves with HIV. For heteros, these freaks are called "Bugchasers". There is actually a movement out there that denies there are such people. I haven't tried to find out their motivations for pushing this myth but I'd assume they relate to not giving heteros any more ammunition for homophobia and the prevention of the publication of articles like this. If you want to verify it for yourself, join a gay bareback website like http://barebackrt.com and click on a link to a list of upcoming "Conversion Parties" in your local area. Or read the blurbs on bugchasers' profiles on gay dating websites. Or trust me that, as someone who has been an openly gay man in Sydney (one of the Big Three gay cities in the world) for 12 years, 6 of which I spent doing sex work in a brothel, and had possibly up to 1000 partners in my spare time, I know what I'm talking about. One of my ex-boyfriends once looked me in the eyes while I was making love to him and said "If anyone gives me HIV, I'd want it to be you" and went into a frenzy of lust which needless to say, killed my erection. He's now positive and charging $250 per hour for safe sex and $400 an hour for bareback sex in his sex-work. There are many reasons for Bugchasing including fetishisation of disease, wanting the fear of contraction to end, desire for victim status, isolation and wanting to belong to a community, being sexually excited by the taboo etc, etc.
It's extremely difficult to dig up reliable data that helps individuals make their own minds up about various issues surrounding the HIV/AIDS holocaust. One reason would probably be delay in action and funding for research caused by homophobia, especially in the US till the mid-1990s. There's also issues with differences between the developing world and developed world, straights/gays/bis and the drug-injecting population. But anyone who has spent time searching for, or looking at, statistics pertaining to basic and sometimes widely-asked questions (which should be available to everyone so can they choose their own courses of actions viz-a-viz sexual behaviour) knows that there has been a deliberate obfuscation campaign going on for a couple of decades now. Sometimes you can wade through mountains of tables and explanations of methodology, protocol and and the absolute plethora of interpretative models out there, link the information together, do your own calculations and adjustments through your own personal prism of analysis but it's exhausting. So sometimes you've got to just give a ballpark figure and be unable to source it.
Allocating public funds - especially those that don't facillitate economic activity that delivers future revenue or fail the cost-benefit analysis on some other count - is a matter of competing choices. Sometimes it's just a simple moral crime to spend $1m on training an elite athlete over the course of their career instead of providing public housing for say 10 people from the cohort of 100,000 homeless people in Australia. End of story.
It's extremely difficult to quantify the amount of taxpayer money sacrificed per person with HIV, especially per year. HIV+ people cost money in a bunch of ways. The obvious one is paying for the medication they are actually given, whether it be Antiretrovirals (ARVs) or medication for secondary complications (in countries that actually have decent health systems where meds are virtually free for everyone). HAART is the standard treatment (combinations of ARVs) and from various sources (try finding a straight answer on it) I've calculated that in the US and Australia this costs over $10,000 per year per patient. Allied health care in Australia costs another $10,000 (paid by the States). HAART takes up 2% of the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme (PBS) budget despite being used chronically and indefinitely by 0.01% of the population of Australia. Costs escalate as the disease progresses and patients develop secondary illnesses and then skyrocket in the lead up to death. The cost of HAART is offset by a resulting drop in new infections by 3%, and benefits like giving HIV+ people an extra 8 years of life during which they're well enough to live normally, work etc ("Quality Adjusted Life Years" or "QALYs"). They extend people's actual life expectancy from 10 years to 15-30 years from point of infection, although this would imply that the health system would have to care for them for the years between when they become incapacitated with things like early-onset dementia. There are a multiplicity of other costs involved in dealing with HIV+ including provision of housing, HIV/AIDS research, education and the like. These costs are not amenable to analysis in terms of price per HIV+ person but have to be acknowledged. Overall, general estimates of the cost to taxpayers of caring for HIV+ people are between $500,000-$750,000 per patient for the remainder of their lives.
So should we divert such massive amounts of money away from the homeless, international aid, education and health for Bugchasers? Make your own mind up but think of the sheer selfishness involved here. At least cigarette smokers more than fund their drain on society through tobacco taxes.
The only problem with withdrawing care for Bugchasers is that of practicality: how do you determine who's an innocent HIV+ person and who's just filth? The only thing I can think of is monitoring barebacking websites, but it would be intrusive. Barebacking websites should be banned and held criminally liable for not taking down Bugchaser-facillitating material.
Now to HIV+ people who have bareback sex with other HIV+ people. Wake up. It took 50 years from the time of SIV's mutation into HIV and cross-over to humans before the first cases of AIDS were diagnosed. With the increasing contact of humans with previously untouched wilderness and the advent of widespread air-travel, it's only a matter of time before a similarly fatal STI jumps into the population, spreads like wildfire through the gay community (amongst others - but we're far more sexually adventurous and anal sex is simply far more conducive to STI transmission than other forms of sex) and wipes out another generation of us. We have enough to deal with. It's probably happening already.
Then there's Superinfection: when someone acquires more than one strain of HIV, accelerating the march to AIDS and death. And drug resistance. Drug resistance can occur within a host through non-compliance with their ARV program. It can also occur inter-host. Everyone's HIV is at a different stage of mutation under the pressure-cooker of years of exposure to medication and journey through various people's bodies.
Finally, there is a possibility that the current economic upheavals rocking the world and the inevitability of global warming will cause disruptions to civilisation as we currently know it, cause civil unrest, and cause problems with the ability to acquire and distribute anti-HIV medication. It'd be like the 1980s era of the epidemic again where everyone drops like flies.
For negatives, remember that 12% of openly gay men have HIV.
Gay men that convince other gay men that having HIV is like having a cold for the purposes of luring them into barebacking are scum, especially if they do it to young guys who don't remember the absolute annihilation of gay life, culture of utter fear, ignorance and discrimination in the 1980s. And Giftgivers should be incarcerated, have their assets seized and wages garnished to pay for their crimes against all of society.
And I hope people have noticed I haven't used the term "People Living With HIV" ("PLWHIV"). No, they're dying. Be honest. We needed to destigmatise HIV/AIDS in the 1980s-1990s but the well-documented increase in bareback sex in young gay men needs to be halted. In my experience men over say 35-40 are generally extremely vigilant with using condoms because they remember all their friends dying in agony in the early days while many young guys jump on anyone's cock without the slightest hesitation.
This article will piss off just about anyone who reads it but the truth needs to be told. Bring it on, bitches, if you have the balls.
Some lingo for any research you want to do:
"Giftgivers" = HIV-positive men who like to infect other men.
"Poz" = (adjective) HIV-positive. (verb) to give someone HIV.
"Conversion Party" = orgy where there are various configurations of numbers and proportions of Bugchasers, Giftgivers, Tops and Bottoms.
"Bug Party" = ditto.
"Seed" = to ejaculate up someone's anus.
"Load" = the entire volume of semen from one ejaculation.
"Neg" = HIV-negative.
"Convert" = to infect someone.
"Bug Juice" = [I'm starting to feel sick so I'll leave it to your imagination].
A taste of the irresponsibility and cronyism in gay organisations like ACON - who should be publishing statistics like probability of HIV contraction from various sex acts instead of patronising the gay community with signs like "Get Tested!" under pictures of cartoon characters - where careerism and upward mobility in the gay world are often the primary motivators for those involved:
Criminal transmission of HIV:
The Impact of HIV/AIDS in NSW –
Mortality, Morbidity and Economic Impact
Tracking Down the Next HIV:
An example of the irresponsibility of authorities and some advocates in dealing with the HIV crisis:
A history of the development of anti-HIV medication and an example of how authorities and big pharma get things so wrong that they do things like hasten the death of HIV+ people with supposed "medication" (here, AZT):