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John Byrne
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Posted: 22 October 2017 at 10:20am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Rep. Betty Price (GA) has lately come under fire for seeming to suggest that those infected with HIV and AIDS should be quarantined. She's now saying that her words were misunderstood, but whether or not that's the case, it raises an interesting and troubling question.

Suppose HIV and AIDS, back when they first began to manifest, had been treated like any other contagious disease. Malaria, for instance, or typhus. Both of those killers were virtually wiped out by relentless containment.* What if the same thing had happened with HIV/AIDS?

Unlikely, of course, since AIDS very quickly transformed into a civil rights issue, with people insisting their right to privacy was somehow more important than the right of others to, well, keep on living!

There is an intensely cruel irony at the center of this. If those early suffers of HIV and AIDS had been quarantined, hundreds of thousands, even millions of lives might have been saved -- and most of those would be Gay lives.

____________

* Not exclusively contament, but quarantine and isolation played a big part.

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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 22 October 2017 at 10:57am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

That is a good point and, as you say, likely could've saved millions of lives, but I can see the bad Byrne stories starting about this post. Cue the Mary Sue site with a headline like: "John Byrne thinks there should've been concentration camps for gay people with AIDS!"
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John Byrne
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Posted: 22 October 2017 at 11:32am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

If I worry about the illiterates when I post, I won't post anything!
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Charles Valderrama
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Posted: 22 October 2017 at 12:28pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

What made it hard to contain in the early years was the lack of knowledge. The origin of HIV has been a subject of scientific research and debate since the virus was identified in the 1980s.

Remember, HIV is not selective in your sexual preference - you can contract HIV if you are heterosexual and sexually active. In 2015, the CDC reported thousands of HIV infections identifying as heterosexual.

HIV/AIDS is not easily transmissible so it isn't a public health threat on the order of say... tuberculosis. A quarantine would do little to limit it. Sex education, condom distribution and (safe) needle exchange is much more effective.

-C!


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Eric Kleefeld
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Posted: 22 October 2017 at 12:31pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

By the time HIV/AIDS was discovered, it was already too far out in the wild (and with a 10-year incubation period for adults) for quarantine to have been possible, even if a person were to have thought it desirable for those early years.

But here's something else from the news article:

 QUOTE:
“It’s almost frightening the number of people who are living that are … carriers with the potential to spread,” Price said during the hearing. “Whereas in the past, they died more readily, and then at that point, they’re not posing a risk. So we’ve got a huge population posing a risk if they’re not in treatment.”


So yes, a "family values" Republican, herself the wife of a former corrupt Sec. of Health and Human Services, looks back positively on the days when HIV/AIDS patients died so much quicker.

We should remember that the original response to HIV/AIDS by much of the Christian Right in this country was to celebrate it as God's wrath upon sinners. And a great many of them still harbor this sentiment.
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 22 October 2017 at 12:32pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I think that with the whole ‘punishment from God’ thing that went on, this could never have got off the ground. However, as you say, if we had treated this as we treat any other similar disease, we could have beaten it.

This sex thing complicates everything it touches doesn’t it?
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marios ksidonas
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Posted: 22 October 2017 at 12:48pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

What a big issue!!!!
The major problem with this desease is that it was very underestimated back then when the first victims appeared.Since it wasnt contageus through the air it was ok for them not to be  in quarantine.So far so good.What they miscalculated was the human psique.The human denial to accept the reality drove a lot of people in reckless actions gave the desease the opportunity to spread worldwide.I believe many of them saw it as a salvation  of the gay community extermination so they were loose upon the upcoming catastrophe.They didnt saw back then that primitive human emotions would irise (ex. since i have it everybody will have it!) that drove a lot of people not to have safe sex IN PURPOSE  so to spread their catastrophy all over the world!Men women and children became carriers of the desease  and lost their life.Plus one of the most stupid human ideology of THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN TO ME was easy food for the desease..and all of that cause we understimated the human psique.(not to mention the blood trunsfusion victims.)


Edited by marios ksidonas on 22 October 2017 at 1:52pm
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David Miller
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Posted: 22 October 2017 at 12:50pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

There were calls for quarantine when AIDS first gripped public conciousness in the Eighties, but they didn't come from public health officials—they came from homophobes and the religious right incorporating AIDS into their pre-existing persecution model. There's a long and heartbreaking list of public health measures whose delay or lack of implementation contributed to the spread of the disease, but quarantine was never on the list. 

California recently changed the law criminalizing knowingly transmitting HIV to an uninformed person, from a felony to a midemeanor. This brought the penalty in line with other diseases such as herpes or syphilis;HIV/AIDS was the only STD treated as a felony, a leftover from Eighties hysteria. The liberals in my Twitter feed exploded; it was if the past 30 years of research and education never happened. "AIDS is a death sentence!" ""The stigma never goes away!" "It should be life in prison!" 

This about a disease currently as manageable as Type 1 Diabetes. 
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Eric Kleefeld
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Posted: 22 October 2017 at 1:05pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

As Jerry Falwell infamously said:

 QUOTE:
"AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals. To oppose it would be like an Israelite jumping in the Red Sea to save one of Pharaoh's charioteers. AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals. It is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals."


These are the sort of people who call themselves "Values Voters," and Republican presidential candidates all flock to seek out votes and endorsements at the university that Falwell founded.
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Bob Harvey
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Posted: 22 October 2017 at 2:15pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

AIDS quarantine was one of two bills I proposed in my 11th grade "Mock Congress" exercise. It was shot down in the Senate.
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J W Campbell
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Posted: 22 October 2017 at 3:36pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

I can't find an option to delete my account. Would a moderator kindly oblige?
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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 22 October 2017 at 3:49pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

If this in relation to being offended by JB's post, I think you might be missing his point, JW. John Byrne is not anti-gay as evidenced by his stance on gay rights throughout his career and the fact he created not one, but two gay characters (Northstar and Maggie Sawyer, with Northstar being the first gay superhero in comics) neither of which were ever treated as stereotypes. In fact, as he states in his initial post, this would have likely saved millions of gay folks' lives. He's not even saying a quarantine should have been implemented, just that it would have saved a lot of lives.

Edited by Shane Matlock on 22 October 2017 at 3:50pm
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