Filed under extemporanea

Still here

I said I’d publish a weekly post and I will. But not today, or the last two weeks, because of study commitments. Last exam is on Monday and then I’m free for four weeks. I am planning for one of those weeks to be internet-free (more on that later) but should be able to catch up on a few things that I have on the backburner.

The week: 1 June

I don’t remember taking the first pill but I do remember picking them up from the pharmacy. This was in August 1991 – a week or so after I got my HIV diagnosis. The doctor said the treatment options were limited, but there was a drug, called AZT, that would buy me some time. Of course, I’d heard of it.

So with my paperwork in hand I hesitatingly took myself to the pharmacy department at St Vincent’s hospital to pick up my drugs. The pharmacist looked dispassionately at my script, told me to wait, and a short while later handed my the biggest bucket of pills I’d ever seen in my life. It was a month’s supply, but it felt like enough for a year. I stashed the bucket out of sight and, when I got home to my flat in North Bondi, took my first dose. Two decades and sixty-something-thousand tablets later, I’m still here.

This week, I took another step on that path by starting HCV treatment. An extra seven pills a day, a period of abstinence from booze, and a hefty dose of luck, and by Christmas Iris and I hope to be rid of that uninvited hitchhiker for good. As I write this, four days in, I feel rather crap, but glad to have taken this step.

Meanwhile, in the real world, last week’s ugly racist incident at the MCG continues to have repercussions. Eddie McGuire, on Friday night one of the heroes of the story, reverted to form and made a spectacularly ignorant remark on Wednesday morning.

If we were all pulling together to avoid victimising a 13-year-old girl, when the 48-year-old president of Collingwood put his foot in his omnipresent mouth, it presents a unique opportunity for every pundit on the planet to weigh in. McGuire himself didn’t help things with a ham-fisted fauxpology, but the resulting Sturm un Drang did little to inform an understanding of the issue that went any further than ‘you shouldn’t say certain things or people might get upset’. A couple of notable exceptions: Debra Jopson in the (new!) Guardian Australia points out Australia’s ‘covert racism‘ and the six-year-old assault on Indigenous rights that is the Northern Territory Intervention. Helen Razer pointed out that Australia is a racist society and therefore she, he, and we are all racists, and ‘the only way out of this shunless truth is to acknowledge it’.

The Guardian finally launched its much-anticipated Australian edition and, lo, the luvvies were pleased (actually, it’s a welcome addition). It was National Sorry Day again. The British government said it wanted to supply more arms to Syrian rebels, and the Russian government said it would arm the Syrian government, opening the way for a horrible, drawn-out proxy war. An international drugs think-tank warned that the ‘War on Drugs‘ was driving a global hepatitis C epidemic. Cardinal George Pell fronted a Victorian parliamentary inquiry, admitting that the Church covered up paedophile priests, but not taking any responsibility himself. Julia Gillard tweeted in Dothraki. The remains of two Aboriginal men who were unearthed in Tathra in 1961 were reburied in a traditional ceremony. The NSW Court of Appeal ruled that not everyone is male or female.

And finally…

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The week: 25 May

This is a bit of an experiment. Seeing as how I rarely write anything for the blog these days, I’m going to try to do a weekly post with lots of links to interesting things I’ve noticed during the week, a bit of personal narrative and maybe a photo or two.

Selfie, 21 May

Selfie, 21 May

I came home from university on Monday feeling rather brilliant after getting my two major essays back, both with ‘A’ grades. Then I read this blog post by Daniel Reeders and this review by Dion Kagan and I realised I was just an old duffer again. Daniel’s insightful analysis of a real-world encounter with HIV stigma, and Dion’s brilliant synthesis of multiple streams of nostalgia and documentary-making, put my first-year legal blatherings in their rightful place. Thanks to Dion I now have the terms ‘melancholic disavowal’ and ‘traumatic unremembering’ at my disposal.

Still on the subject of stigma, last week I had the opportunity to talk about the stigma that is increasingly apparent around hepatitis C virus infection among HIV-positive gay men, at a public forum hosted by Living Positive Victoria. I recently came across Gareth Owen‘s 2008 paper ‘An “elephant in the Room”? Stigma and Hepatitis C Transmission Among HIV‐positive “serosorting” Gay Men’ that examined this issue and I used some material from that paper in my talk. One sample quote:

‘The hep C situation on the scene is much like HIV was in the early days, so guys will avoid having sex with other guys who they definitely know have hep C. Though they tend to assume that guys don’t have hep C if it isn’t mentioned.’

I also used some anonymised quotes from a prominent serosorting/bareback hookup site to support my observations – I found dozens of texts like ‘žnot on here to get hep c guys so please be upfront about it’ and ‘I’m Hep C neg and not really into putting that at risk, being poz is enough as it is.’

It’s impossible to ignore the obvious parallels with similar statements made by HIV-negative guys about HIV.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What are Twitter’s bottom feeders saying about Adam Goodes?

What are Twitter’s bottom feeders saying about Adam Goodes today? (Warning, strong language and weak minds ahead):

(Tweets which are rendered in text only have been deleted since this post was published)

From tough to ENUF

It’s World AIDS Day this Saturday, and it would seem I’ve reached elder statesman status. One of our local LGBTI community papers, Melbourne Community Voice, interviewed me on the ways HIV has changed, and the challenges ahead.

Kidd notes that while physical well being has greatly improved, the negative impacts of stigma and discrimination have remained from the earliest days of HIV response. The image of the notorious ‘Grim Reaper’ advertising campaign has lingered along with negative perceptions of HIV and people with HIV for two long.

“I’ve never been a big fan of the Grim Reaper campaign. It did bring HIV – or AIDS as it was then – into the minds of the broader public but it was in a way that was not compassionate and there has been some analysis suggesting that when a lot of people saw that ad they thought of the Grim Reapers that were bowling down ordinary Australians as being gay men.”

“In some ways it contributed to that stigma.”

You can read the full interview online.

“We are looking at an epidemic, and worse, an epidemic that society seems content to accept. There is little apparent concern that men underuse primary healthcare, and are consequently less likely to be referred to mental health services. With most psychiatric professionals accepting a causal link between suicide rates and socio-economic conditions, worklessness, poverty and insecure employment, prospects of these statistics improving in the near future look bleak.”

Ally Fogg, We tell boys not to cry, then wonder about male suicide, The Guardian 17.1.12.

2068: Entire world population gay due to chemicals in the water

XKCD’s massive timeline of “The future – according to Google search results” is the most wonderfulest thing I have seen in ages. Click the image to see the whole thing.