Latest posts by Liam Carroll (see all)
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- Sports betting vs. the stock market: Which is riskier? - February 27, 2017
The swelling in his legs was bothersome, his genitals and legs were covered in scrofulous skin, and his testicles were severely swollen. He was also emaciated (having lost much weight suddenly), and even though he was an African-American male he was considered “pale”. He also had shortness of breath. His symptoms led his caregivers at Barnes Hospital to conclude that one of his problems was lymphedema (a swelling caused by lymphatic problems). This was only a tiny part of his health issues, however.
First denying he was sick, he later willfully and maliciously spread the disease to unsuspecting partners. After having casual sex in a darkened room once, a male interviewee later reported he had turned on a light in the room where Dugas lay naked on a bed. This man spotted the lesions (Kaposi’s sarcoma) that were the classic earmarks of “gay cancer” on Dugas’ chest. When he remarked upon it, Dugas replied sardonically, “It’s gay cancer. Maybe you’ll get it.”
And the real Patient Zero – the HIV-Adam or HIV-Eve – lived and most likely died there, somewhere in the Congo, unknown and unrecognized for the catastrophic role he or she would play in human history.
He started out as a hairdresser. Wanting to travel, this French-speaking Canadian learned that flight attendants for Air Canada had to be bi-lingual. He moved to Vancouver and learned English to qualify for the job. He found work as a flight attendant on Air Canada. This career choice allowed him the freedom to move around the world, visiting exotic locales, and meeting many strange men for anonymous sexual encounters. In 1977, he was legally married in Los Angeles, California, in an illegal attempt to gain United States citizenship.
“I’m Candy – Fly Me!”
Anal scarring also indicated repeated sexual penetration.
The Road to Zero
Molecular research shows the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s stemmed from a viral strain that had entered the US via Haiti about 1966. Other strains have been isolated as well. As in cases like Robert Rayford’s, the disease died with him (though he probably infected others, those people likely did not have access to the sheer number of sexual partners that, for example, Gaëtan Dugas had, and died before spreading it much).
One such mystery concerned the AIDS epidemic in America. As long as the killer remained comfortably within the gay community not much was done to investigate. As soon as AIDS found its way into the heterosexual population, though, suddenly America’s interest in ferreting out the cause was paramount. Panic stricken virologists and other epidemiologists worked feverishly to isolate the source of this sexually transmitted disease first endemic among homosexual men.
From a front-line perspective
AIDS in the United States was isolated in pockets of contagion until the promiscuity (homosexual or otherwise) of the 1970s gave the disease a clear path of propagation in humans. IV drug use, on the rise in the 1970s and early 1980s, also provided another avenue of blood-exchange necessary for the virus to thrive.
The criteria for entry were pure sadism: one night only women might be allowed in; other times, a sloppily dressed man might be sent away while another, looking exactly like that man but “famous”, would be let in. Gay-themed parties were held there often, and casual sex in the bathrooms and the “exclusive” privacy lounge was common among attendees.
Gaëtan Dugas was a French-Canadian born February 20, 1953. His life was on a collision course with history. In 1972, Dugas first became sexually active. [He would later claim he had over 2,500 sexual partners in his lifetime, whether all male is unknown. He may have been bisexual.]
The term “velvet rope” came into existence then – a red velvet rope (as one might see in a museum keeping patrons at a safe distance from a particularly priceless exhibit) became the literal and symbolic barrier between the plebes on the street and the hipsters within. Each night crowds gathered outside Studio 54′s doors; admission was granted whimsically by a group of door men and many times by Steve Rubell himself.
Gaëtan Dugas, the narcissistic and embittered flight attendant, alternately feeling morose and spiteful about his condition, was given the code name “Patient Zero”, the source of the AIDS epidemic in North America.
Diverting conversations occurred between Rayford and his primary care givers when questioned about his sexual activities. His doctors had not considered homosexuality initially, and all conversations, such as they were, seemed to be taken as referring to female sexual contacts.
Meanwhile, as a symbolic sign of the coming Armageddon, Studio 54 was forced to close its doors for liquor license violations and tax evasion; entrepreneurs Steve Rubell and his business partner were sentenced to short terms of imprisonment. [Rubell later died of AIDS.]
Both his wife and daughter developed an illness that mimicked his symptoms, and they died in 1977. Doctors, helpless to find the cause of death for the Noe family, preserved some tissue samples. In 1988, further testing showed Noe, his wife, and his daughter had all been HIV-positive
Dating America’s exposure to AIDS is irrelevant: AIDS is a global problem. And continuing research has led to many more interesting facts about the spread of HIV.
He had a chlamydia infection (a bacterial venereal disease), clearly indicating he was sexually active. His doctors also uncovered evidence of the herpes simplex virus and the virus responsible for Epstein-Barr. Robert Rayford was not terribly forthcoming with his doctors, partly due to his retardation leaving him mostly uncommunicative, but also because he was embarrassed by something.
The disease it spawned was rechristened, in light of its indiscriminate virology, to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or AIDS. That same year that 248 cases of the disease were reported, local health departments in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta began investigating.
Of the 248 cases known before the detection of the virus, interviewing led to the shocking revelation that at least 40 AIDS Get More Info