AIDS is a disease with a complex history

March 12, 2004

Dear Editor:

A letter to the editor on March 4, which blamed gay men for the advent and spread of the AIDS virus, expressed a stereotypical folk history of the past and was misleading, misconceived, and mean-spirited. Was it intended as yet another reason to restrict the human rights of gay people?

I am not going to list the obvious and contradictory medical "facts" about AIDS nor raise the banner for gay rights, but rather simply point out that AIDS is a disease, a sickness, like diabetes, with a complex genetic and behavioral story.

Large segments of the population throughout the entire world, such as half the continent of Africa (the "gay" half?), are actively endangered by this disease. Witch-hunting for someone to blame is a waste of energy that might be better spent in self-education, good works in the community or monetary support to medical research.


My brother, like me, was a spiritual person, a family-oriented and civic-minded educator who was a very productive member of society. He also happened to be gay, and have the bad luck to contract AIDS and to die prematurely.

Which of these biographical "facts" has more weight? Which of these details, if any, is most relevant to our lives? Why construct from random fear, insecurity and negativity a distorted vision of "truth" that is alienating, hateful, divisive and certainly ungodly?

I am offended and embarrassed by these opinions.

Phyllis Passariello


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