Monday, June 29, 2015

Pride pushing forward

For many gay people of my generation, the annual LGBT Pride bash evokes mixed emotions, if we even attend. We remember terrifying times. We remember so many causalities among our age group who dared to flaunt forbidden love when such conduct required heedless optimism -- and who are dead. A few were gay-bashed. Sometimes the drug and alcohol abuse which can be the refuge of outcasts did them in. In this city, HIV/AIDS killed a generation. We never imagined we'd see a majority of our fellow citizens affirm that our love could be just as good as theirs. The Supreme Court's marriage decision, even though the more politically attuned among us were confident it was coming, leaves us slightly stunned. Happy, yes. But still a little disoriented.

Lots of older people carried these muddled feelings to the San Francisco city streets today, mingling with crowds -- gay, lesbian, trans, straight and whatever -- whose celebration is not complicated by such tangled memories. It was a grand day.

On the BART train home from the gargantuan civic party, I noticed this tableau and ad. There's a pill called PrEP these days that protects uninfected people from the HIV virus, if they take it every day. Since that kind of rigorous health regimen is hard to sustain -- who does anything every day? -- the San Francisco Health Department via a program called Bridge HIV is looking for additional reliable methods to deliver the drug to protect sexually active people. Where better to recruit pharmacological volunteers than on the Bay's transit system?

One of the enduring consequences of the AIDS crisis that so decimated our community is that this appeal to ordinary people for help with expanding the science is now a more conventional practice.

Here's a good Center for Disease Control video about the PrEP drug. Knowledge is still power.

What is PrEP? from Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis on Vimeo.

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