Gay Spirit: Keith Brown Interviews MGC on “Lead the Way,” July 2001:
I heard Dr. Little announce the project on May 10 at the Hillcrest Town Council, and shortly after that I wrote an editorial for Zenger’s entitled, “Big Brother Is Testing You.” I was particularly incensed by their proposal to send out mobile testing vans to certain blocks in the 92103 and 92104 Zip codes — coincidentally or not, the parts of San Diego with the largest Queer populations — and knock on people’s doors in a Johnny-on-the-spot approach to get them to take a survey about the test as well as to get blood drawn for the test itself. I didn’t think people put on the spot this way were going to be in a position to make a rational decision whether or not they should undergo a test that, accurate or not, could lead to their so-called “diagnosis” with a presumably fatal disease, huge pressure from their doctors and the medical establishment in general immediately to go on highly toxic and expensive drugs; discrimination in employment, housing and other public services — it’s supposed to be illegal, but of course it still goes on — and the threat of prosecution if they have the “wrong” sort of sex with the wrong person, even consensually.
In the immortal words of British comedienne Anna Russell, “I’m not making this up, you know!” Though both Dr. Little and her P.R. person, Danielle Gano, sometimes insist that their goal is merely to build up public awareness about testing and ask why people do or don’t want to get tested, this comment Dr. Little made at the Hillcrest Town Council indicates something of the Machiavellian ambition behind this program, which goes a long way beyond simply surveying people about their attitudes towards HIV testing.
Shortly after my article on “Lead the Way” appeared, I got a call from my friend Keith Brown of Hartford, Connecticut asking if he could interview me for Gay Spirit, the Queer-themed public radio program he’s been hosting in Hartford for almost 30 years. Like me, Keith is convinced based on scientific evidence that the conventional wisdom about AIDS which we’ve been brainwashed to believe since 1984 — that it’s a disease caused by a single virus, the so-called “Human Immunodeficiency Virus,” or HIV — is wrong. Indeed, he’s made it a bit of a tradition to interview me on World AIDS Day, December 1, to review the year’s events in AIDS from an alternative perspective. As he acknowledges in the show you’re about to hear, for a long time he pulled back on AIDS coverage because little new seemed to be happening on the issue.
Then he read an editorial of mine blasting one of the AIDS establishment’s most cockamamie ideas yet, “pre-exposure prophylaxis,” which means prescribing anti-HIV drugs to people who test HIV negative but who, because they’re Gay or have some other so-called “risk factor,” are considered likely to encounter the virus in their sex lives. The fact that HIV has never been proven to be sexually transmissible, of course, doesn’t enter into this. He called me for an interview on “pre-exposure prophylaxis” and again for one on “Lead the Way,” and he got two shows out of my material — which I, with his permission, have edited down to one. So here are Keith Brown and I from opposite ends of the country, talking about a sinister HIV antibody testing program that’s being tried out in San Diego and could spread nationwide if Dr. Susan Little has her way.
As I noted in my introduction, the Web site refers to the mobile testing vans as “four wheels of goodness,” and calls the entire project “something really good and really big.” But when I think of a program aimed at reaching people in their homes, as well as when they’re shopping for food or out for a good time, to try to sell them on taking an unreliable test for antibodies to a virus that has never been isolated by classical standards of virology and almost certainly is harmless anyway, to people who will be told if they test “positive” that they are infected with a virus that will kill them and they need to be on highly toxic and very expensive drugs all their lives, the word that comes to my mind about this project isn’t “good” but its opposite, “evil.” And when I read the weird language of the “Lead the Way” Web site, with its bizarre and indigestible combination of infantilism and megalomania, I think not only of the word “evil” but of another word, the one the late Hannah Arendt linked with it in the title of her book on Nazi official Adolf Eichmann: “the banality of evil.”