A Gut Feeling – Part # 5 – From The G Tales

 A Gut Feeling:  Anal Pleasure, Holistic Sexual Health, and Interpretations of AIDS
Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio
Part # 5 
“We were talking about AIDS Dissidence and why it rang a bell for you when you first heard,” I said when G and I connected again.
 “Of course it rang a bell,” G replied, convinced.  “I didn’t jump to conclusions, though.  Scientists of the highest reputation were now saying HIV was not a problem.  I tend to respect research independent of pharmaceutical companies.  But I would typically play it safe, just in case.  What about you?”
“In many ways I did the same.  I still rarely fluid bond.  For one thing, not all lovers really inspire one to do so.  Many have fluid-bonded partners of their own, and one would have to negotiate with them.  Nonetheless, the ideas of the dissenters helped to keep my focus on the strength of my immune system,” I offered. 
“Over the years, I’ve navigated the AIDS era as a sexually active bi woman with multiple partners and with a taste for the richness of anal pleasure.  My immune system has maintained its function thoroughly thanks to the holistic health practices I chose more that two decades ago.”
“We’ve done well,” I concurred.  The suddenly my mood changed.   G must have felt it. 
“What are you thinking?” she asked, perplexed.    
“This seems all well and good–but I’m not sure I can go along with the political implications,” I replied, nervous. 
“What do you mean?” G inquired, alarmed,
“Well, put yourself in the shoes of a gay man like Tony Lance, for example.  Do you realize what it means for him to be ‘telling’ on his people?  To spread the word to ‘straights’ that what gay men did in bed back then made them sick–not a bad bug?”
“Oh, I know what you mean.  That’s how his first video begins.  He explains how difficult it is to be a gay man, a ‘poz’ person, and a dissident–all at once.  It gives you a community of ‘zero’ people, he says.”
“Right.  Are your surprised?”
“No.  Look at my poly friends.  First the public humiliation by a poly gay man in a New York bookstore. [1] Then the book review that paints Sub-Saharan Africa as the abysmal land of promiscuity and infection, and falls short of blaming me for importing its bad bugs to pristine poly America.”[2]
“Right.  See what I mean.  And you’d think poly’s would know better.”
“Some do.  Many people came to my rescue.  And the concept was established that dissidence deserved to be called by its own name.”[3]
“All right.  If you don’t mind.”
“It’s not that I don’t mind.  It’s more that I know that new ideas meet with disagreement at first.  There is a central paradigm and it has the power to keep itself in place.  It won’t yield of its own accord.  One has to push against it.  And push.  And push again.  There’s a power imbalance here.  Big interests are at stake.  Politics.  That’s why it’s called dissidence.  And yet, it’s from disagreement that knowledge evolves.”
“So, does Lance disagree with everything allopathic medicine recommends?”
“He points to the paradoxes of current wisdom and to how the hypothesis of intestinal dysbiosis explains them.  But he also admits that some of the treatments actually work.”
“For example?”
“Well, when you have dysbiosis, your gut becomes depleted of its natural flora that would help do its job.  You lose your symbionts.  These are replaced by fungi, known to cause trouble, as in Candidasis, which then can give you Pneumocystis. ”
“Ok.”
“In the allopathic interpretation, you take Anti-Retroviral Drugs to treat HIV with the protease inhibitors as active ingredients.  It turns out, claims Lance, that protease inhibitors also attack fungi.  So, in the holistic interpretation, that’s how ARVs help to alleviate the dysbiosis.”[4]
“Then the holistic interpretation does not rule out the presence of a virus altogether.”
“Right, that’s besides the point.  It’s a matter of interpretation.”
“Turns out, if I understand you correctly, that intestinal dysbiosis can explain what we came to know as AIDS as a plague of the gay male population back in the 1980s with or without HIV, and it also explains why the current tests and treatments work for this group in some roundabout way.”
“Right.  That shows how important it is to listen to those with a different explanation.  Imagine that by some strange twist of fate intestinal dysbiosis turns out to be the correct interpretation, don’t you think we better know?” Asked G, passionate.
 “Of course.  I bet that’s why Lance went forward, exposed himself.”
“Consider, he is vibrant with health after 13 years:  a role model –a beacon for others ‘poz’ people also seeking to heal themselves from AIDS in a holistic way.”
“But I was getting at something different.  Health is also made of physical freedom, freedom to love, to fall in love, to express oneself erotically.  And if you become a dissident–if you embrace this cause–you immediately become profiled as a sexual offender even if you are celibate.” I observed.  “It’s a very difficult to be in if you’re a sexual healer or educator–if you practice or advocate some alternative style of love or are part of a sexual minority.”
“Tell me about it.  The flack I got from the Loving More board.  They basically profiled me as profligate even though they know I exercise a lot of restraint.  They did it because they’re afraid.”
 “I know, G, but that’s not comparable to what a ‘poz’ gay man who embraces dissidence can face.”
“I’m not sure what you mean.  Can you explain?” G asked.
“Yes I will,” I replied, “when we talk next.”


[1] Serena Anderlini.  What’s in a Word? Poly Planet GAIA. What-sInAWord-1-8
[2] Review of Gaia and the New Politics of Love.  Polyamory in the News. GaiaOnAlan-sBlog
[3] Serena Anderlini. What’s in a Word? Poly Planet GAIA.  What-sInAWord-1-8
[4] Tony Lance.  “GRID: Gay Related Intestinal Dysbiosis?” First Rethinking AIDS Conference. Oakland, November 2009.   TonyLanceArticle  RethinkingAIDS-Program
http://polyplanet.blogspot.com
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serenagaia • May 3, 2010


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