The gays of BC owe their lives to Dr. Julio Montaner of the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. His policies have been the most successful in Canada for stopping the AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) epidemic. He personally concocted the cocktails of drugs that have kept me alive since I contracted HIV (Human Immuno-deficiency Virus) back in 1985. HIV mutates rapidly and quickly develops immunity to any drug. Montaner pioneered the idea of using a cocktail of three drugs. It is much harder for HIV to develop immunity to three drugs simultaneously. He has reassured pretty well everyone in BC with HIV with his gentle Argentinian accent in his tiny unpretentious office.
Montaner has spoken out against draconian laws to punish people with HIV who have sex with others without telling them. There are a number of reasons why these Harperian laws are counter-productive and silly:
- People who have been tested and found out they have HIV, will be on retroviral drugs, which often reduce HIV to undetectable levels. They are quite low risk for transmission.
- People who are untested who have HIV, have high viral loads and are highly infectious. People who don’t know they have HIV are the ones most likely to give it to you. People will avoid getting tested if they suspect it may put them in jail for having sex. Anything that discourages testing spreads HIV.
- The existence of such laws creates a false sense of security. No matter what the law is, partners will not reveal HIV status. Further, the people who are most dangerous are those who do not know they have been infected. I have been to workshops for HIV + men where I was the only one there who ever revealed status except to close friends.
- In casual sex, people do not even exchange names, much less medical history. Each person is presumed responsible for their own protection.
- Revealing HIV status to strangers is dangerous. I have been threatened and attacked, even when there was no sex involved. People panic imagining just by being in the same room, I endangered them.
- There are all kinds of safe sex activities with very low risk of infection. HIV status is irrelevant.
- Each person must take personal responsibility for avoiding infection. They must treat every sex partner as infected. Even a person with a fresh negative test could still infect you. It can take up to six months for the HIV antibodies to show up. Such laws discourage taking personal responsibility.
If all goes well, Montaner will be put in charge of HIV for all of Canada then all of the world.~ Roedy (1948-02-04 age:70)