S.F. HIV Rate is Falling: Window Pix
How long have I been demanding that the Stop AIDS Project inform the community of declining AIDS and HIV stats, and congratulate gay men for the drops? Ever since widespread use of protease inhibitors was implemented after 1996, and surveillance reports for San Francisco and the state first documented declining death rates.
SAP officials were too wrapped up in fear-driven messages and social marketing campaigns to offer any good news about epidemiology. They viewed gay men as diseased pariahs in endless need of safe sex workshops and scary ads, and forced us to create safety practices such as sero-sorting without them.
The key ingredient that allowed SAP to penetrate the collective gay male sexual psyche and body politic was unrelenting promotion of fear, with strong doses of stigma and controversy thrown into their outreach programs.
Telling gay men the truth about stats and offering some praise for the control and prevention sexual infections, and claiming some credit for the declines, was anathema to SAP. You can't strike fear in the hearts of horny homos talking honestly about how drug cocktails were extending the lives of many people with AIDS.
In the past week or so, SAP finally got around to touting the latest good stats about HIV infections and giving the gays a pat on the collective back. How is the organization spreading the good word? By plastering the news in the windows of their storefront on Sanchez near Market in the Castro district.
Curious that SAP uses the number thirty twice in their message, what with the thirtieth anniversary of the first report by the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report coming up in June.
I wish the SAP web site explained why they are finally admitting HIV infections are seriously declining in San Francisco, and why they now feel the need to loudly proclaim the drop, coupled with mentioning their falling revenue. Does less funding equal fewer infections? If it does, SAP should immediately empty their bank account.