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By Craig Stadler

It occurred to me the other day, just how lucky we are in 2018, not just as a gay community, but as a global society at large. In South Africa specifically, we enjoy an open constitution granting a vast spectrum of rights to all walks of life. Even gays can get married and hold hands in public without too much kerfuffle unless you find yourself in Orania. There are gay clubs where you can shake your ass in a safe environment, newspapers such as Exit, targeted specifically at the LGBTQ community, indeed, there is even a gay village in Cape Town, whether formally designated that way or only in the hearts of the community.

Furthermore, we are allowed to get married and actually call it marriage. We can adopt children if we feel the need to change shitty nappies, we can get life insurance, funeral cover, dread disease cover, hell you can even get medical aid for your Siamese cat. Not the least of these things that we enjoy is the advent of Treatments that have turned HIV/AIDS into a life sentence as opposed to a death sentence. We can also not forget the miracle range of drugs known as PREP or Pre-exposure Prophylactics. Which means that if you meet someone on Grindr who is on the same drug, you can fling your legs apart and get banged like a Salvation Army drum without fear of ever getting sick or diseased with HIV or AIDS. Amazing, right?

Wrong.

We have so much to celebrate and so many wonderful things that we enjoy that perhaps people have become relaxed. Too relaxed. We believe that we are suddenly immune to a disease that killed people at Holocaust levels and was meaner and less caring than Pol Pot, Ghenkis Khan and Adolf Hitler put together. Allegedly. I’m sure they were lovely people. So is Trump. Cough.

We play Russian Roulette with our lives because we believe that we have found a way to avoid that sickness people once spoke about but that is no longer around. Right?

Wrong.

HIV/AIDS is still a very real possibility in major society. And perhaps we have become Flazéda about it because we have forgotten the nightmare that was the 80’s. When people you knew suddenly got a nasty flu that wouldn’t ever clear up. You watched them lose weight and become pasty and suddenly dark lesions would show up on their skin. They stopped coming to parties and you would start hearing rumours that they were in hospital. So, you decided to visit them. Except you couldn’t because they were kept in isolation so that they could not pass on this illness they had. This illness that people called The Gay Flu, or GRID – Gay Related Immune Disease.

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