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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 1, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 13
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Letters

ARE YOU CLEAN?

It's one thing to want someone to be disease free, it's another things to say things like, 'Are you Clean, DDF? I'm Clean UB2, you must be DDF and Clean.'

Sound familiar? Profiles online in the Gay social network sites are filled with such comments. As a Gay man I find it insulting if someone were to ask me those questions or makes those statements. And I find it even more appalling that this happens in our own community. Whether someone is negative or positive, what happened to being supportive of one another and being caring and sensitive and respecting who we are as individuals?

Not only that, but one wonders how many people are positive anyway, or are lying about their status because of the discrimination in our own community. We have enough to deal with without having our community doing the same thing that is experienced in the straight world. If we are practicing 'safe sex' like we are supposed to be doing, why does it matter? If you are barebacking, you are taking a chance of being exposed whether you know it or not.

I have taught people to assume everyone is positive whether they are or not and to practice safe sex. Why in this day and age would we discriminate against one another and set ourselves up as being superior to those who may or may not be positive? I can understand not wanting to become exposed to the HIV virus and I would wonder how many of those who say they aren't, really are.

It's difficult enough to feel discriminated for being Gay, but being positive sets us up for even more discrimination. Add to being rejected by our own community and this compounds the situation. If we as Gay men go around making comments about being 'Clean,' then maybe we better examine just who we are and what kind of a person we are. How hypocritical is that?

I ask you, what happened to the empathy that was there when this first became an epidemic in our community? What happened to caring for one another? What happened to loving one another regardless what our status is? Have we become so blind to things that we only care about ourselves and how many hookups we can have? I hope not. I care about those around me. I care whether someone is positive or not. But I will not in good conscience use the insulting term of asking my brother if he is 'Clean.' If it's that important to you, then why not just ask their HIV status? Not insult them by asking if they're 'Clean.'

Dennis



SYPHILIS ARTICLE SKIPPED A STEP


Your recent article on the increase in syphilis in Seattle called attention to an issue that rarely gets any attention in this country any more. However, you left out one piece, stage 4, which is Tertiary Syphilis. Stage 4 is when someone has had it in their system for years and years.

I personally was discovered to be in the tertiary stage a couple of years ago. The way it was discovered was that I had brain surgery to remove a tumor, which was benign, and the subsequent testing for the cause led to the discovery of tertiary syphilis. The three specialists, one a Seattle research neurologist, concurred that it was probably in my system for 25, 30, maybe 40 years (yes, I'm Gay and 60+ years old now).

Your article was right on, when people are getting tested for HIV (which I don't have), they should be getting tested for syphilis as well. If it doesn't get discovered early on, they could end up like I did, or even worse. It progresses over the years and enters the classification of neurosyphilis. This is considered a life-threatening complication of syphilis. How well you do depends on how severe the neurosyphilis is before treatment. The symptoms can get slowly worse.

Tertiary, stage 4 syphilis, can be treated and eliminated from your system, but it's more than just a couple of shots of penicillin. Good article, keep calling attention to risky things, but I would suggest you research things a bit more to be all inclusive of extensive and important details.

Anonymous



UPCOMING SEATTLE MEN'S CHORUS CONCERT NOT TO BE MISSED

So how do you go about promoting a concert in which the second act is about the Nazi persecution of Gay men?

The spring concert by the Seattle Men's Chorus is not going to be light and fun like Holiday Glee last December or the boy band concert coming up in June.

Still, it is a concert. I do recommend people attend.

The first act is entertaining, with the cabaret music expressing the sexual freedoms of the Weimar Republic of the 1920s. The second act, though disturbing, is beautifully written and presented by composer Jake Heggie.

It is a concert that describes a horrible period in GLBT history, and history can repeat itself. All it takes is an economic collapse and morality police targeting a select group to blame for society's ills. So, please discuss it with friends and family members who are in the chorus.

If you want to see the concert but are on a fixed income, maybe they can even help pay for part of the ticket.

Bruce B. Ecord, upper bass

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