And the Band Played On (Book & Movie)

The book and movie are brilliant. This book is great if you want to know the origins of Aids. However, Gaetan Dugas was Not “Patient Zero“. It is believed that Robert Rayford, a black young man from Missouri is the First case of Aids and he died from it in 1969. This was confirmed in 2007 by testing the dead boy’s blood and the results confirmed that he indeed died of AIDS. By reading this book I learned of gay practices I had no idea about, the use of “enhancers” such as poppers, the practicing of something called “fisting”. There was a Huge division within the gay community; those who were monogamous and more family oriented and wanted the bathhouses to close, and the ones that were promiscuous and had had sexual partners in the upward thousands.  The book traces the origins of Aids from Africa, the first case reported in 1981 and the latter part of the late 80’s. Sadly Randy Shilts died in 1994. I recommend the HBO movie, it has a Brilliant ensemble cast  but Matthew Modine stood out the most as Dr. Don Francis and his Speech in this scene was very powerful.

“How many dead hemophiliacs do you need? How many people have to die to make it cost efficient for you people to do something about it? A hundred? A thousand? Give us a number so we won’t annoy you again until the amount of money you begin spending on lawsuits makes it more profitable for you to save people then to kill them?”  

 

Another book recommended to me is The River by Edward Hooper.

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80’s Music

It took me a long time to come up with my top 20 80’s song list since there are so many songs and artists  I love from that decade. In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel would have been my no. 1 choice but unfortunately Spotify doesn’t have the original song.  I experience the 80’s as a child but a lot of  the music (after the 70’s and 60’s) I love also comes from this influential decade. Speaking of the 80’s I am  NOT liking very much the CNN miniseries. They are concentrating too much on making Reagan look like a saint, and I was thoroughly disappointed and angry to learn they have decided not to air the episode based on the AIDS Crisis because they deemed it too controversial and depressing.  I don’t know how true this is but if it is it sounds like Horse shit to me.  I hope they reconsider because no matter how ugly and controversial the AIDS crisis was it was a BIG part of that decade.

The Age of AIDS

At the beginning of the epidemic in 1981 the mortality rate was between 40-60%.  There were more cases of mortality reported than cases of infection.  The “Aids cocktail” medications  initiated in 1995 has dramatically extended the lives of people with the AIDS virus. According to  the “monkey theory” the virus was transmitted from chimp to humans and “mutated” into the HIV virus (this being the HIV-1 virus) when humans hunted these chimpanzees and ate their meat and came into contact with their infected blood. Others believe it occurred when some chimps were used in developing a polio vaccine for humans in the late 1950’s. Among conspiracy theories the most prevalent one is that the virus was created in  a top secret military laboratory in Fort Dicks Maryland and was introduced as a hepatitis B “vaccine” for gay men in 1978.  I have more questions than answers and plenty of doubts surrounding the origins of AIDS. If this SIV virus  (Simian immunodeficiency virus)   mutated into HIV in humans, then why did this disease specifically started in the gay community??  If according to Randy Shilts book “And the Band Played On” the first case of HIV/Aids reported in the US was not a gay man but a prostitute in San Francisco in 1978 then why was this not known to the public back then??

Scientist claim this disease was wreaking havoc in  Africa before it made its way into the developed  world.  They claim AIDS  was being transmitted heterosexually in Africa for decades. Nonetheless, there is still no  explanation  of why the gay community was the first to be targeted in the developed world.  I’m slowly coming to the conclusion that we will never know the true origins of Aids.

 

Thus far the best film I’ve seen regarding the beginnings  of the Aids epidemic.