Prisoners of love

Bill Weintraub

Bill Weintraub

Prisoners of love


On Friday, April 29, the New York Times ran an editorial titled "A Simple Way to Fight HIV and AIDS."

"Simple" is the operative word here, though "simplistic" would be better.

The editorial was endorsing a bill currently working its way though the California state legislature which *mandates* distribution of condoms in the state prison system.

Under this bill, the state Department of Corrections will not have a choice.

It will *have to* distribute condoms to prisoners.

The rationale is that there's a lot of anal "sex" in prison, and that many prisoners are HIV+ and / or carry hepatitis C.

And that men who get infected in prison then return home and infect their wives and girlfriends.

The Times admits that "No one knows for sure how many people pick up H.I.V. while incarcerated."

Nevertheless, continues the Times,

..a 2002 survey of prisoners' own estimates found that about 44 percent of the inmates were probably participating in sex acts. Researchers suspect that about 70 percent had their first same-sex experiences in prison. If those estimates are anywhere near accurate, the risk of infection behind bars is substantial, and the men who contract H.I.V. in prison return home to infect wives and girlfriends. [emphases mine]

Notice that no one actually knows how many men are having sex, *what sort of sex* they're having, and whether the sex is first-time or long-term.

The Times doesn't care.

Nor does it mention rape -- which, according to Human Rights Watch, is what a huge amount of "sex" -- that is, anal penetration -- in American prisons actually is.

Nevermind says the Times.

Give these guys condoms.

Be it African or American, Philippine or Thai, the condom is the Times' solution to everything HIV.

And, cleverly, the bill in California is written so that public health and "nonprofit groups" -- that is, AIDS Service Organizations (ASOs) -- will be doing the distributing.

Well, we all know what that means.

No talk about non-anal alternatives.

Just all anal all the time.

Which concept of m2m these men will then take back with them into their predominantly minority communities, where they will have even more anal, thus *increasing* the probability that they will be infected and / or infect others.

Indeed, the way the bill is written -- it's AB 1677 for those interested -- there's no mention of any sort of safer sex education.

Just give 'em condoms and, I guess, hope for the best.

Guys, when I first saw this editorial, it brought tears of frustration to my eyes.

And anger.

We all know how wrong-headed this policy is.

We've all seen the effects of this condom-only policy in the gay male community:

it supports and reinforces anal penetration and promiscuity, the very two MSM ("men who have sex with men") behaviors which *transmit and spread* HIV.

While *marginalizing* non-anal sex and fidelity.

Under these condom campaigns, HIV prevalence among MSM has been steadily increasing, and the sheer number of MSM infected with HIV goes up by more than 60 men each and every day.

So why take those campaigns into the prisons?

Basically, so far as I can tell, because AIDS Inc wants them there.

Yet, as the Times admits, there's NO evidence that such programs will reduce HIV prevalence among prisoners.

And reason to suspect they will actually do the opposite.

We have a better idea.

IF -- and it's a big "if" -- the state of California wants to sanction sexual activity among its male prisoners, the thing to do is to educate them about the benefits of mutual masturbation and penile-penile frottage, and warn them about the dangers of anal penetration.

Should condoms be distributed at all?

In my view, no.

Rather, the policy should be to tolerate mutual masturbation and frottage, and to punish anal penetration.

But, as a practical matter, I'd be willing to support the version of ABC put forward by Chuck Tarver:

"Avoid anal; Be faithful (or have fewer partners); use a Condom only if you won't do the first too."

That formulation gets the MSM hierarchy right:

Avoid anal and Be faithful first; use a Condom only as a last resort.

Now, I said that reading about this impending condom campaign brought tears of frustration to my eyes.


Because as reasonable as our position is, the reality is that we don't have a dog in this fight.

Sure, I'm going to try to talk to the legislative staffers involved and explain why we think this is a bad idea.

But, assuming they even talk to me, it's extremely unlikely they'll listen.

Because we have no standing in the AIDS prevention community.

And the reason that we don't, guys, is that YOU WON'T DONATE.

Your failure to donate has kept us in our little internet ghetto.

Leaving us powerless to do the one thing we actually set out to do:

change the sexual culture of men who have men sex with men.

Including in prison.

What do the bulk of you do on this site?

You look for sex and/or a partner.

Every day I get lots of email, and basically I get two sorts of letters:

Please please please Bill find me a partner.

Please please please Bill my wife doesn't understand me -- find me a partner.

That's it.

And once you've found the partner, you disappear.

A case in point: the guy we call "Luke Shelton," author of Beatific.

After Luke contacted me via email, I spent many hours on the phone with him working through what had happened to him when he was 16 and what he could do about it now that he was 46.

And do something he did: he re-found "Stephen" and restored their relationship.

Luke is well-off, and he promised to give our work significant financial support.

How much has he donated to the site?


Not a dime.

Does Luke Shelton, a wealthy, white, Texan, care about the Black kid incarcerated in San Quentin or the Hispanic kid in Pelican Bay who's going to get fucked up the ass and develop AIDS thanks to this ill-conceived prison condom campaign?

Based on his actions, I can safely say: NO.

Luke does not.

Luke cares about Luke.

The only person he's ever cared about.

I could cite many other examples of essentially caddish behavior like Luke's towards me and the site, but what's the point?

The truth is the bulk of you are Luke Shelton.

Less eloquent, perhaps, less skilled with words, but when it comes to parting with your money, you're all Luke.

Guess what?

I'm not interested in running an empty philanthropic exercise for people as mean-spirited and tight-fisted -- not to mention short-sighted -- as are you.


Unless I see substantial support coming from you guys, I'll close the sites; because it's not worth it to me to go on living with this level of frustration.

We cannot impact the culture hanging passively on the net waiting for men to stumble upon the site.

All we can do is sit helplessly by while anal becomes not less but MORE entrenched with each passing day;

MSM culture becomes increasingly debased;

and of course infection rates rise.

Even if you're not doing anal, you need to somehow understand that it's not in your interest to allow the gay male community to become a huge reservoir of drug-resistant HIV and other anally-vectored pathogens.

Because disease spreads.

So figure it out guys.

Start donating.

Or watch as anal penetration becomes not merely the perversion of choice for the gay male community, but that of the straight male community as well.

And your own lives irrevocably irrelevant to the life of your time.

Bill Weintraub

A priori vs a posteriori

Bill Weintraub:

In the post above, I criticized a plan to distribute condoms in California prisons.

This sort of AIDS prevention effort is known as a "condom campaign."

And it's relevant to what we're doing on this site because these condom campaigns have not only failed to prevent new HIV infections among "men who have sex with men" (MSM), but have without question been instrumental in cementing the identification of "gay sex" with "anal penetration."

A few years back, virtually all AIDS prevention efforts all over the world were condom campaigns.

And then the government of Uganda developed its ABC program.

ABC stands for "Abstinence first, Be faithful to your partner, and if these are not adhered to, use Condoms as a last resort."

That Ugandan ABC program was then studied and verified by Dr. Edward C. Green, a Harvard University medical anthropologist.

What Dr. Green found was that Uganda, alone among Sub-Saharan African countries, had reduced HIV prevalence for twelve consecutive years.

A drop from 15% to 5%.

Yet since Dr. Green brought ABC to the attention of the West, ABC has been under constant attack from condom campaigners.

Those attacks have been so effective that its efficacy in Africa is being injured.

As Morton Glanz, MD, MPH, of Harvard concludes in a review of Dr. Green's most recent book, Rethinking AIDS Prevention, in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA),

If Green's analysis is correct, we are faced with a troubling paradox: while our technologically sophisticated system often operates at the margin of acceptable cost efficacy, halfway around the world, secular bias and biomedical fiscal power are responsible for discouraging and discrediting simple yet effective solutions, at the cost of millions of lives.

For example, recently ABC was attacked in an article written by the director of the International Planned Parenthood Foundation (IPPF).

Here's what Dr. Green said in an emailed response:

Guys like the director of the IPPF seem incapable of recognizing their own ideological blinders, only the ideology in others. For him and those who work in similar organizations, AIDS is simply a branch of family planning and anyone who disagrees is a dangerous right wing ideologue..

This is the guy I debated in Bangkok last July ("CNN [condoms, needles, negotiation] vs. ABC"). His arguments are tired and more than a little lacking in logic, e.g., "some women abstain and then become infected only when they are married, therefore abstinence and marriage are of no use." That's like hearing that someone died of a heart attack during church, therefore we should do away with churches since no one is safe there...

And ABC is "really abstinence-only....", so while it might sound reasonable, we need to RESIST it!

He and other family planning experts are so afraid of becoming irrelevant, that I'd almost be sympathetic with their plight, except that millions of people are still dying because of efforts like this to keep abstinence & fidelity out of AIDS prevention. Why can't we agree that all three are needed: Our recent Lancet article advocated for a more middle position, which is that A should be emphasized for youth, B for sexually active adults, but that C also has a "backup" role for both populations...

I too was working in African family planning when AIDS broke out. The very first thought in anyone's head, including mine, was, "Gee, now we can promote the condom for...lets see....I know! Duel protection!"

But I have had some thoughts about AIDS prevention SINCE 1983, prompted in part by the harsh finding that even with all our duel protection, no country in Africa has achieved >5% consistent condom use, nationally. Does that not call for having some additional thoughts, beyond latex?

I mean, the very first thought that occurs to us is not necessarily the best and only one, esp. considering it was a priori and not a posteriori!

Ted Green

A priori refers to ideas based upon pure intellect; a posteriori, those based upon empirical data -- the facts.

Think about what Dr. Green says in relationship to HIV in MSM.

We've had condom campaigns aimed at gay and bi men since 1984.

21 years.

And we've had HAART, which in theory reduces viral load, since 1996.

Nine years.

More than enough time to essentially eradicate HIV among gay men.

The opposite has happened.

HIV is spreading in the gay male community, and the total number of infected keeps rising.

Condoms are a failed strategy.

They may seem, a priori, like a good idea, but a posteriori what we know is that men don't and won't use condoms consistently or correctly.

Indeed, a recent study found that one's risk of infection from unprotected receptive anal was only slightly greater than one's risk from *protected* receptive anal.

I'll talk more about that study in a subsequent post.

Truth is, though, other, earlier, studies have come to the same conclusion.

For example:

Zenilman, J.M., Weisman, C.S., Rompalo, A.M., Ellish, N., Upchurch, D.M., Hook E.W. 3rd et al. (1995). Condom use to prevent incident STDs: the validity of self-reported condom use. Sex. Transm. Dis.; 22,15-21.


Richens, J., Imrie, J., & Weiss, H. (2003). Sex and death: why does HIV continue to spread when so many people know about the risks? J. of R. Statist Soc A 2003;166, 207-215.

There are a number of reasons that condoms don't work:

They're not used, they're improperly used, they break.

And they also disinhibit, encouraging men to have more sex and riskier sex than they otherwise would.

But like I say that's not news.

Yet when we come up with a reasonable alternative to condoms alone, which we know would work --

Avoid anal -- the primary mode of MSM transmission;

Be faithful / have fewer partners -- again, the single biggest predictor of STD is your total number of lifetime partners;

and use a Condom if you won't do the first two.

we're shouted down or outright silenced.

Once again, as Dr. Glanz' says in his JAMA review, "..secular bias and biomedical fiscal power are responsible for discouraging and discrediting simple yet effective solutions, at the cost of millions of lives."

That's exactly what's gone on with Frot:

Secular bias -- in favor of "sexual freedom," "honor diversity," and "it's all sex and it's all good" --and biomedical fiscal power -- which favors pricey devices such as condoms and lubricants and of course drug therapies for those infected -- are responsible for discouraging and discrediting a "simple yet effective" solution:


Which requires NO technology whatsoever, just a simple behavior change away from a form of "sex" which is highly problematic to one which is deeply pleasurable and HIV safe.

Once again, I appeal to you not to let that constant and unreasoning denigration of Frot, stand.

But to fight and resist those who refuse to recognize that Frot, combined with Fidelity, is the best MSM option: phallic, masculine, and heroic.

Greg Milliken

Re: Prisoners of love


First of all, I can't believe Bill is out here having to beg for donations AGAIN.

This isn't a joke guys. Bill isn't threatening to shut down the website because he's trying to extort you out of money or because he's mean.

He's saying it because it's true. Just like everything else on this website.

Websites cost money. Why do you think all those companies went out of business during the dot com crash?

And truth be told, this website is one of the only ones out there worth having.

Guys, I didn't want to say this because I don't think it's anyone's business what I do with my money. Even as a poor college student who doesn't work during the school year I donate $10 a month to Bill.

If I can afford that there's absolutely no reason any of you can't.

But the cost isn't just in dollars.

Because every month you wait to donate just that small amount of money is another month AIDS, Inc. gets to push it's recipe for death.

And it's another month the buttfuck boys get to perpetuate their dogma of anal sex.

It's not difficult to donate. Most of you probably shop at and hence have accounts already.

All you do is click two links and you're done.

You get a confirmation email a few minutes later.

Whatever you are spending that $10 on, I sincerely hope it's worth the lives of 60 people every day.


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