Like most media, the Weekly was slow to recognize the emerging AIDS crisis. But once it did, the paper’s writers covered the plague from all angles, chronicling victims and crusaders and looking for causes and cures — occasionally in the wrong places.
From "Can Food Help AIDS?" by Rita Xanthoudakis (January 27, 1984)
Each individual needs certain things to maintain health, says nutritional therapist Steve LaFleur. Each person is predisposed to have either a vegetarian, balanced or meat-eating metabolism. The vegetarian type, known as a "sympathetic dominant," is skinny, has lots of energy, is more aggressive and more intellectual. People who have a meat-eating metabolism are "parasympathetic dominant" and tend to be stocky, Northern European types.
LaFleur has taken these metabolic guidelines to the streets, where his involvement with the AIDS Project has become a political forum for nutritional counseling. "It’s really a political issue if we’re going to alter the direction that health has taken," says LaFleur. "A disease like AIDS did not come from Mars." Most AIDS patients have led an unhealthy lifestyle, which, together with the amount of carcinogens and immunosuppressive agents present in our food, air and water supply, leads to a total breakdown in the body’s resistance. "It’s not a question of whether you shake hands with or are in the same room with an AIDS victim," LaFleur says. "Chemotherapy, which suppresses the body’s immune system, can predispose cancer patients to the same infection that AIDS victims contract. With health-building therapies, the immune system is restimulated, and that’s what fights off the cancer."
From "What’s Love Got To Do With It?: AIDS and the Limits of a Positive Attitude," by Alexandra Wolf (February 14, 1986)
What I’d come to hear about were remissions, a word Louise [Hay, in her support group] uttered as frequently as "love." I raised my hand, asking for a clarification. Had anyone present had a remission verified through a live-virus test? Had anyone documented a drop in their virus count? "I realize it’s crucial that we feel good emotionally and physically," I said, "but are you saying that by elevating our belief systems and behavior to a higher vibration of love and light we can actually affect the physical plane enough to eliminate all virus from our bodies?"
My question provoked a veritable explosion of anger. No one bothered to raise his or her hand. "Don’t you know all the tests are inaccurate?" "The doctors don’t know anything!" "You’re not relying on them, are you?"
They spoke during the meeting about replacing fear and despair with love and faith, and how wonderful that process is. At the same time, they seemed to fear that by looking at their condition directly, by verifying their transformation with blood tests, they will find their achievements are mere phantoms. It is as if they cannot, after all, bring the divine into the material plane. Look upon the face of God and die!
Some people feel that the AIDS virus is the result — either intentional or inadvertent — of American biochemical research, especially ä intelligence operations. The CIA’s history of murderous biochemical projects is well documented . . . "There is no known animal virus with all the symptoms of AIDS," says Pasadena internist Dr. Robert Strecker. "It must have been genetically engineered from different viruses . . . almost certainly a research laboratory in the United States."
New York physician Steven Caiazza suggests that . . . the AIDS virus may mask the real threat to the immune system: acute and undertreated syphilis, working in conjunction with other viruses.
Serious speculation surrounds the theory that AIDS was spread widely — though not initially generated — by two types of hepatitis treatments popular around the time that AIDS was first detected. "Physicians who took care of gay men were in the habit of routinely administering gamma globulin for prevention of hepatitis . . . it was used much more often in the gay community than for other people," says Dr. Mathilde Krim of the American Foundation for AIDS Research.
From "ACT UP and the Politics of AIDS," by Douglas Sadownick (October 6, 1989)
It had taken AIDS to shatter their hopes for gay utopias — to make these college-educated, mostly privileged men and women see that people far more marginal than they were already so used to being treated prejudicially that AIDS-related discrimination didn’t seem at all unusual.
What to do? ACT UP demands massive funding to end the AIDS pandemic; a worldwide funding program that would stop the genocide in Africa; national health care; the release of life-sustaining drugs; a federally funded education program. The list goes on. But ACT UP’s agenda isn’t merely one of ending AIDS, but of societal reform — to create the kind of America where the government, through education and a national health system, would prevent a disease like AIDS from spreading to the "disenfranchised" ever again.
From "AIDS, Inc." by Douglas Sadownick (May 6, 1994)
An entirely new AIDS landscape has developed in the ’90s that features a multibillion-dollar AIDS industry (running the gamut from pharmaceuticals and hospitals to magazines and conferences), the transformation of onetime street activists into public and private agency heads, the blurring of distinctions between obvious enemies and obvious friends — and an interminable amount of death and suffering. For many, the politics of confrontation have become passé. In the ’90s, you shun ACT UP–like tactics in order to get yourself onto community boards and governmental panels — but you pursue ACT UP–like priorities once you’re there. Or you try. ä
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