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Living in the Midst of HIV-AIDS

  • Peter Robinson
Chapter

Abstract

For most of the final decades of the twentieth century — and until HIV infection rates began to increase in 19991—the focus of HIV-AIDS policy and debate in countries like Australia was on the sexual health, practices, and wellbeing of the initial age cohort of gay men who were affected by it, the so-called ‘baby-boomer’ generation.2 These men were born in the late 1940s and 1950s and grew to social maturity in the mid to late 1960s and early 1970s. They either participated in or were strongly influenced by the social movements of the time, such as the anti-war movement and the women’s and gay liberation movements. By a cruel irony, just as many were enjoying the freedom of expression that accompanied a growing tolerance towards non-heterosexuals, the HIV-AIDS epidemic began.

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Notes

  1. 2.
    See G.W. Dowsett (1996) Practicing Desire: Homosexual Sex in the Era of AIDS (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press), ch. 3.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    D. Altman (1989) ‘Aids and the Reconceptualization of Homosexuality’ in D. Altman et al. Homosexuality, Which Homosexuality? Essays from the International Conference on Gay and Lesbian Studies (London: GMP), pp. 35, 37.Google Scholar
  3. 13.
    In 1987, an advertising campaign to alert the public to the risks of HIV- AIDS began on Australian television. The television advertisements showed the hooded figure of Death, scythe in hand, stalking people of all ages and types. The highlight of the advertisement showed Death (thereafter in public discourse referred to as the Grim Reaper) bowling a ball in the lane of a bowling alley where the skittles were random human figures, thereby reinforcing the unpredictable nature of the disease’s spread. For more information, see P. Sendzuik (2003) Learning to Trust: Australian Responses to AIDS (Sydney: University of NSW Press).Google Scholar
  4. 16.
    T.E. Cook and D.C. Colby (1992) ‘The mass-mediated epidemic: the politics of AIDS on the nightly network news’ in E. Fee and D.M. Fox (eds) 1992 AIDS: The Making of a Chronic Disease (Berkely, CA: University of California Press), pp. 84–122;Google Scholar
  5. J. Gordon and C. Crossman (1992) ‘“aids kills fags dead …”: cultural activism in Grand Bend’ in J. Miller (ed.) Fluid Exchanges: Artists and Critics in the AIDS Crisis (Toronto: University of Toronto Press), pp. 241–54;Google Scholar
  6. A. Meredith (1992) ‘That last breath: women with AIDS’ in Fee and Fox AIDS: The Making of a Chronic Disease, pp. 229–44;Google Scholar
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  8. 20.
    H.M. Sapolsky and S.L. Boswell (1992) ‘The History of Transfusion AIDS: Practice and Policy Alternatives’ in Fee and Fox AIDS: The Making of a Chronic Disease, pp. 183–5.Google Scholar
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    For the link between homophobia and conservative opposition to discussion of homosexuality in sex education curricula in Australia, see S. Angelides (2008) ‘“The Continuing Homosexual Offensive”: Sex Education, Gay Rights and Homosexual Recruitment’ in S. Robinson (ed.) Homophobia: An Australian History (Sydney: Federation Press), pp. 172–92.Google Scholar
  10. 27.
    A. McLaren (1999) Twentieth Century Sexuality: A History (Oxford: Blackwell), p. 199.Google Scholar
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    S. Watney (1992) ‘The Possibilities of Permutation: Pleasure, Proliferation, and the Politics of Gay Identity in the Age of AIDS’ in Miller Fluid Exchanges, pp. 329–67.Google Scholar
  12. 30.
    For more extensive discussion of varying strategies gay men adopted in the face of the disease, see P. Robinson (2008) The Changing World of Gay Men (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan), ch. 4; and Watney ‘The Possibilities of Permutation’, p. 352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 33.
    For a fuller discussion of ‘sero-sorting’ and ‘strategic positioning’, see F. Prestage et al. (2008) Three or More Study (Sydney: National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, University of New South Wales), pp. 2, 42–3, 50–2, 54. My thanks to Mr Daniel Reeders, former campaign co-ordinator for PLWHA Victoria, South Yarra, for his advice about safe-sex policy and health campaigns in Australia.Google Scholar
  14. 36.
    For discussion of gay communities’ response to HIV-AIDS and their relationship with government health and research strategies in Australia, see Dowsett Practicing Desire, ch. 3; for discussion of similar work in the United States, see R.A. Padgug and G.M. Oppenheimer (1992) ‘Riding the Tiger: AIDS and The Gay Community’ in Fee and Fox AIDS: The Making of a Chronic Disease, pp. 245–78.Google Scholar
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  18. 41.
    For more on homophobia in secondary schools, see, for example, M. McCormark (2012) The Declining Significance of Homophobia: How Teenage Boys Are Redefining Masculinity and Heterosexuality (Oxford: Oxford University Press), and McCormack’s interview of 8 April 2012 on the Melbourne gay and lesbian radio station, JoyFM, as well as some discussion of changes in homophobia in schools over last 15 years: http://badblood.wordpress.com/2012/04/08/mark-mccormack-interviewed-by-dean-beck-lauren-rosewarne, accessed 20 December 2012. ConclusionCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Peter Robinson 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Robinson
    • 1
  1. 1.Swinburne University of TechnologyAustralia

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