Tag: AIDS

HIV in Brazil: Health and Human Rights in a Global Context

The fight over the future of the ACA here in the U.S. has made me think about universal healthcare, disease, and rights in a global context. The fierce debate over the idea of healthcare as a “right” versus a “privilege” on Capitol Hill seems almost antiquated when compared with other countries. When a friend of… Read more →

Love and Rage

On November 2, 1992, members of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) carried a dead body through the streets of Manhattan. The deceased was Mark Fisher, a gay man and AIDS activist who had died from complications of the disease he spent his last years fighting. His was the first political funeral staged… Read more →

Silence and Noise: What AIDS Activism and Social Memory Can Teach Us

In the mid-1980s, when I was a twenty-something college dropout, I met people my age or older who knew a lot about history, about our history, the history of queer people. Part of this history included that of the men who were forced to wear the pink triangle in the Nazi concentration camps. And maybe… Read more →

Bill Maher, Charlie Sheen, and Modern Day Snake Oil

Bill Maher has done the impossible: he’s fallen farther in my esteem. There was a time (high school) when I could tolerate — and even enjoy — Real Time with Bill Maher. I’m not sure if he became more chauvinistic or I became a more critical viewer, but that time has long since passed; his… Read more →

The Abdominal Exam

Unless we’re toiling away in an English PhD program, most of us don’t pause in our daily lives to read poetry — to read anything closely, really. We might scrutinize a job offer or rental contract, or devour a Facebook feed. Seldom, however, do we allow ourselves to pause over a verse, to wade into… Read more →

Obergefell v. Hodges and the Legacy of AIDS

So, yeah… gay marriage is legal now. It’s kind of a big deal. That was about all I could offer in the immediate aftermath of the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, the landmark Supreme Court case that, on June 26 of this year, legalized same-sex marriage across the country. I’d been expecting the ruling for a… Read more →

PrEP, The Pill, and the Fear of Promiscuity.

By Ian Lekus

The first I learned of PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, came from the signs and postcards around Fenway Health, Boston’s LGBT community health center. Those advertisements appeared as Fenway served as one of two U.S. research sites for PrEP, in advance of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approving Truvada in July 2012 as the first drug deemed safe and effective for reducing the risk of HIV transmission.[1] As I started learning more, I quickly discovered how its advocates frequently compare PrEP to oral contraceptives. One PrEP researcher I consulted with early on in my investigations explicitly drew the parallel to her decision to use the Pill a few years earlier. Some of the similarities jump out immediately: for example, like oral contraceptives, PrEP — a pill taken daily to prevent HIV infection — separates prevention from the act of sexual intercourse itself.

Positively Negative: Love, Pregnancy, and Science’s Surprising Victory over HIV

By Lara Freidenfelds

What would you do if you desperately wanted to have a baby, and your spouse had HIV? In the mid-1990s, the introduction of highly-effective HIV drug regimens turned HIV from a death sentence into a chronic condition. People with HIV and their life partners could begin to imagine creating families and living to see their children grow up. But it was not until 2014 that researchers and policy-makers approved a prophylactic regimen that effectively protects against HIV-transmission even without condom use. (It still is not officially condoned for family-building purposes, but some physicians are willing to prescribe it for that purpose.) For almost two decades, HIV-discordant couples faced a special kind of infertility: it was childlessness caused by the threat of illness, by fear, and by a traumatized, cautious public health and medical community that could not move beyond its initial message, that “only condoms prevent HIV transmission.”

A new e-book, Positively Negative: Love, Pregnancy, and Science’s Surprising Victory over HIV, takes us into the lives of two couples who lived this history.

Visual Campaigns against AIDS, Then and Now

Once upon a time, AIDS was a focal point for artists in the United States. My design students and I recently read Maud Lavin’s Clean New World: Culture, Politics, and Graphic Design, in which she discusses the rise of political art and design in the 1980s after the election of Ronald Reagan.1 The Eighties —… Read more →

A Historian’s Guide to Summer – The TV Edition

By Jacqueline D. Antonovich

Ah, summer. There is so much to love about this bewitching season. The long, warm evenings on the porch, the tinkling of ice in a cold beverage, vacations to exotic locations, and a slower pace of life that seems to magically rejuvenate the soul. I think F. Scott Fitzgerald stated it best when he wrote, “And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” Who am I kidding? Summer is also about kids out of school and underfoot, the dreaded bathing suit shopping trip, vacations to not-so-exotic locations (Dollywood, anyone?), and temperatures so hot and muggy that certain portions of skin stick together abnormally. Let’s be honest, summertime is a mixed blessing.