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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 22 October 2017 at 4:05pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

He's not even saying a quarantine should have been implemented, just that it would have saved a lot of lives.


As has been pointed out, AIDS has a long incubation period. The first death where HIV antibodies were found was a Midwestern teenager who died in 1969. By the time the medical community knew what was going on, it had been in the wild for years. A quarantine would have just as likely made things worse by fueling anti-gay prejudice and driving the disease underground as people would have avoided treatment. 
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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 22 October 2017 at 4:11pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Yes. I'm privy to the incubation period and how hard it was to initially detect. People could have it for years and not have it show up in tests only to have HIV eventually manifest and show up on the tests. Although a quarantine after it was detected likely would have reduced the deaths, I'm not saying a quarantine was a good idea by any means. I was just trying to emphasize that JB's intent in speculating about it wasn't coming at it from a homophobic/right wing "lock up the gays" one, though surely as a fan of JBs for years he would know that by now.
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David Miller
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Posted: 22 October 2017 at 4:46pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

I don't know what political reputation Randy Shilts's AND THE BAND PLAYED ON currently enjoys, but when I read it in 1991, I found it a thoroughly informative and horrifyingly eye-opening account of a systemic failure, not just in government and public health, but of human nature, that allowed HIV/AIDS to spread. It's impossible to say how many lives were lost through inaction -- for example, blood banks knew very early about AIDS infected blood in their supplies, but as one Center for Disease Control doctor observed, executives appeared to be waiting for an undefined number of corpses before they would consider it worth the expense to reform their collection and testing protocols.

There's much about the book that has stayed with me, but I remember that same doctor calculating the implications of the incubation period and realized America had been in an epidemic for close to half a decade without realizing it, and there were thousands of deaths to come.

It's a word Shilts kept returning to: "Thousands." Thousands of blood transfusions. Thousands of men visiting bath houses. Thousands of dollars in political contributions by the blood bank industry. Thousands of cells sitting in storage unexamined. Thousands of protestors in the streets. Thousands of infections as the Reagan administration ignored AIDS, delayed and underfunded research and made jokes at press conferences. And thousands, and thousands, of deaths.

Shilts himself died of AIDS in 1994.

Anyway, I recommend the book.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 22 October 2017 at 4:47pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

In the play 1776, the highly fictionalized Stephen Hopkins, delegate from Rhode Island, has this to say: "Ive never seen, heard, nor smelled an issue that was so dangerous it couldnt be talked about. Hell yes, Im for debating anything!

The real Hopkins is not known to have expressed such a sentiment, but when I first heard the words, decades ago, they seemed to represent what I most admire about Americans -- that we're not afraid to talk about anything.

Has that really changed?

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Charles Valderrama
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Posted: 22 October 2017 at 4:54pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

One of the things I like about this Forum, JB - is the open, civil discussions/debates we can have here.

-C!
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John Byrne
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Posted: 22 October 2017 at 4:57pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

And, seriously, have we forgotten what "suppose" means?
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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 22 October 2017 at 5:23pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

JB, it hasn't changed for most Americans. One of the things I've long admired about you is that you're not afraid to talk about anything or to put your opinions out there. I think the whole PC movement has really hurt discourse in this country. What started off with likely good intent has begun to trample over free speech. And anyone that would take from your initial posting something that was pure speculation as something that should have been done falls into the "illiterates" category.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 22 October 2017 at 5:33pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I couldn't add to the topic originally, but when did conversation/debate ever hurt anyone?

Surely we can only get to the heart of an issue, and improve our world, if we chat/debate, whether it be about social security, this issue, law and order, etc. A discussion is better than no discussion at all.
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Eric Kleefeld
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Posted: 22 October 2017 at 9:07pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Michael Roberts:

 QUOTE:
As has been pointed out, AIDS has a long incubation period. The first death where HIV antibodies were found was a Midwestern teenager who died in 1969. By the time the medical community knew what was going on, it had been in the wild for years. A quarantine would have just as likely made things worse by fueling anti-gay prejudice and driving the disease underground as people would have avoided treatment.

Yes. An effective quarantine was simply never possible. Quarantine only works with diseases that manifest in a fairly quick amount of time after infection: Days, weeks, perhaps a few months; but certainly not 10 years.

Instead, there were simply ultra right-wingers using it as a pretense to persecute gays, and openly hoping for them all to die off. (As state Rep. Price herself wishes they'd still do quickly, like it used to be.)

At that point, resistance to such proposals became a civil rights cause because it was a civil rights cause.

This gets to an odd thing about persecution of gays: You can kill all the Jews in the world, or kill all the Romani in the world, and there won't be any more Jews or Romani. (Or the Rohingya in Myanmar, plus a great many indigenous peoples around the world, etc.) But even if you did kill off all the LGBT people on Earth, there'd be more of them again soon enough, once a new generation hits puberty.

But since the religious right fully denies any scientific finding that might clash with their Dark Ages worldview, you can't expect logic to go that far with the people at the top. At best, you might peel away some secret doubters from the flock.
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 22 October 2017 at 10:57pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

The moralizing can be seen in the way blood donations are handled. Up until a couple of years ago, MSM (men who have had sex with men) and anyone who has engaged in sex for money or drugs at least once had a lifetime deferral on blood donation. Meanwhile, as a straight man, I could have unprotected anal sex with multiple IV drug-using prostitutes, and I would only have had a 12-month deferral. Even now, MSM deferral is 12 months, which unfairly prohibits gay men in monogamous relationships and/or who practice safe sex from donating blood.
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Brian Peck
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Posted: 23 October 2017 at 12:03am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

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?


*******
It would not have made a difference. If AIDS infected people were
quarantined then you would have less people coming forward it would have
gone further underground. The incubation period is longer than the other
diseases and symptoms show up much later so fewer would come forward
earlier to identify possible transmission to others.

You can not compare HIV and AIDS with other contagious diseases which
have been quarantined in the past. First malaria is not contagious and you
do not quarantine people since it cannot be spread from person to person .
Typhus is transmitted by the human body louse and should be quarantined.
HIV and AIDS is a sexually transmitted disease and is not be contracted
thru the air or personal to person contact. There is no need to quarantine
people with AIDS. It would have added to the bigotry and hysteria.
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 23 October 2017 at 12:48am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Regarding blood donation,in the UK we just have to fill
in a check list of the questions Michael mentioned,i`m
not sure if it`s the same in the U.S. but you could lie
and nobody would have been any wiser until it was too
late.
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