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Mr_Saturn512's avatar

Why do people blame the gays for AIDs?

Asked by Mr_Saturn512 (474points) September 12th, 2012

I never really understood this. Doesn’t HIV spread like any other STD? I know some of the first cases happened with gay people, but I still don’t understand why some people blame them for starting AIDs. I don’t see their rationale.

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32 Answers

tedd's avatar

When AIDs first hit the scene it was very wide spread in the gay community. Even today it is more widespread in the gay community than the heterosexual one. Many crazy-religious types saw it as god’s punishment for them being gay.

The stigma has never fully gone away.

syz's avatar

I’d like to be able to say “Are people still that uninformed and stupid?”, but I no longer get surprised by how uniformed and stupid people are.

Mr_Saturn512's avatar

@tedd So I guess my next question then is why is it more widespread in the gay community than the heterosexual community?

YARNLADY's avatar

@Mr_Saturn512 To answer your question ^^ probably more promiscuity.

Aethelflaed's avatar

It was more widespread in the gay (male) community because the gay (male) community at the time was less centered around meeting fellow gay people you could have a bookclub with and share adoption tips with, and more centered around finding hot gay people you could anonymously have unprotected sex with. Bathhouses and leather clubs were the gay scene at that point. Also, HIV transmits more much easily through anal sex than vaginal.

Today, more gay men in America have it, but more heterosexuals have it in Africa.

wundayatta's avatar

People are ignorant and don’t understand science. Gay men may have been the vector for the spread of AIDs in the US, but they didn’t create the disease. The disease came from Africa somewhere, and may have come from another species.

JLeslie's avatar

Because the supposed patient zero was a man who slept with a lot of men, and so began the sweep of AIDS through the gay community. But, it is not a gay disease. That label let many many children die. Hemophilic children and adults who had tainted medication made from blood parts to treat their clotting dysfunction.

The Reagan Bush administration treated it as a gay disease and didn’t put in regulations for blood supplies soon enough and refused to get information out about how it is communicated through sex. Surgeon General Coop, a conservative man himself, wanted to get the information out, wanted to get more regulations in place based upon what they suspected, wanting to protect the public health, the very job he was charged with, and the administration at the time was not willing. This is part of the reason Coop eventually left his position. Actors took up the cause and started foundations and got information out and produced movies. There was one wealthy woman, high society, maybe she was married to a politician, that I don’t remember, who contract AIDS and she gave the face of a white, wealthy, heterosexual woman to the disease. She spoke out.

Heterosexual men want to believe it is a gay disease so they can fuck around without protection. They are less likely than other groups to contract it, but still possible.

cheebdragon's avatar

Why do people call them the Gays?.....some things just don’t make sense.

CWOTUS's avatar

The movie And the Band Played On (full length movie free on YouTube, with no commercial interruption), while filled with overdramatization, historical inaccuracy and facts twisted to fit the screenplay, is still pretty informative.

One thing that I learned from watching it was that when it was first studied and reported (that is, even before it was “reported in the media”) it was called by the acronym GRID for “Gay-Related Immune Deficiency” since that was where it was first manifested and spread in the USA. In fact, if the movie was correct about this, then changing the name to AIDS for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome was one of the key steps to make it “not just a gay thing”. But it still had that genesis.

marinelife's avatar

I don’t either if it is true that people blame gays for the disease. The disease started in Africa where it spreads through the heterosexual population.

LuckyGuy's avatar

In the early 80’s there was an Air Canada flight attendant named Gaetan Dugas, infamously called “Patient Zero”. He is known to have infected dozens of men and is suspected to have infected hundreds. He was known to have about 250 partners per year that he met in bathhouses as he flew around the country. That helped to spread the disease quickly in the gay community.
From there it spread to blood plasma recipients and heterosexual partners. And so it goes.

Shippy's avatar

I really don’t think people think that now, maybe in the earlier days.

Nullo's avatar

That’s where it first showed up.

bkcunningham's avatar

Anal sex is one of the risk behavior of HIV/AIDS and it is a sexual behavior associated with homosexuals.

digitalimpression's avatar

Someone thought sex was only about physical pleasure with very little emotional connection. The rest is history and statistics.

_Whitetigress's avatar


I don’t like this question. “Why do people blame the gays for AIDs?” It screams ignorance and generalizations. I’ll try and not to seem pompous or above your intelligence or those who refer to the gay community as the gays.

First off gay people function just like other people, they are driven by goals, some are slackers some really like money, some are professionals some aren’t, some enjoy fast food some enjoy sharing sexual partners some enjoy no sex at all. Let’s get that straight. There are those whose sexual drive are really high some really low.

Ok now to the physicality of this whole shebang. When the penis enters the rectum the chance of the skin being ripped from the inside is much higher than a more natural entrance like the womans vagina which is naturally lubricated in most cases. Now with that being said if someone with HIV rips the skin of another and ejaculates in them there you go, disease transferred. The risk is just much higher in the sense of skin to skin ripping and transferring. Applying the same logic to a man and woman you see no difference. If one of the partners has HIV and there is no protection, ripping in the skin down there can easily lead to a transfer of the disease.

I’d also love to add that I’m a straight man. And I don’t in anyway shape or form blame a gay person for AIDS. Like others have stated it’s origins are most likely from Africa and from another species. Humans pick up diseases from other creatures on this planet. We have a really advanced immune system, however it’s not perfect and fully understood.

Also you need to do yourself a favor. I’m not coming at you in an aggressive manner this is merely some friendly advice. Ask yourself, who is saying “the gays” created aids. Do some research on that person, or that group and see what they believe in. Find out what statistics back their statements up. If you carry this skeptical mindset and truth seeking mantra you’ll go a long way.

Sorry I have a lot on my mind especially when it comes to a certain group trying to put another group down. Not in my U.S.A.!!!! RAR!!!

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Kayak8's avatar

And from a different perspective . . . had HIV disease been detected first in any other community in the US, the outcome likely would have been very different.

Harvey Milk was assassinated in 1978 causing the gay community to coalesce in a way they hadn’t before. A few short years later (1981) when the first cases of pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PCP) were observed in San Francisco, the common denominator of the cases was being a gay male. As the community had come together as a result of Milk’s murder, there was a new type of coalition as a result of friends suddenly dying.

Because it was San Francisco and people were able to be more “out” than anyplace other than (maybe) New York, the doctors were able to see the pattern and these cases were reported in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) that set off alarms for doctors treating gay men in their practices. This clicked for doctors of some gay men in NY city who observed Kaposi’s sarcoma in their patients. Both of these conditions (PCP and KS) were symptomatic of severe immune dysfunction when seen in otherwise healthy young men.

The other relevant element was that the group of folks being impacted, while disenfranchised, were not poor. Some of their number were well connected. The community (lesbians and gay men) really came together to take care of friends who had been cast aside by their families. The overwhelming loss of so many loved ones really inspired a level of activism the community had not seen before.

HIV has always been an equal opportunity disease, but the fact that a pattern could be observed in gay men in the US meant that getting to the cause happened MUCH more rapidly than had the virus initially infected random others first—in fact, there is nothing to suggest that it didn’t impact random others in the US even earlier, but because no pattern could be recognized UNTIL there was a common denominator, who can guess how long HIV has been in the US. The earliest documented case was from 1969.

@JLeslie The “Patient Zero” notion was widely introduced in the movie, And the Band Played On, but he was not the index case for the disease, just the index case for a specific cluster of cases Don Francis of the CDC was studying.

So, why gay men? Well, in the 1970s, sexual exploration for men and women had changed rapidly as a result of the advent of the birth control pill. Among gay men, any STDs encountered at the time could be cured. Due to the lengthy incubation period, many gay men were likely infected years before they displayed the symptoms of end stage AIDS. In the absence of a test, all doctors could recognize was end stage disease. Once the pattern was observed, it took several years to identify the organism and to create a test to look for it—all the while more gay men became unwittingly infected.

When looking at statistics related to an epidemic, one has to consider incidence (new cases) and prevalence (existing cases). Due to the prevalence of HIV in the community of men who have sex with other men (whether they label themselves gay or not), the incidence of HIV among people who have sex with them is likely to increase exponentially. That is the benefit of the new medications on the market which, if taken consistently according to physician instructions, dramatically reduce transmission to sex partners.

In today’s epidemic, incidence is highest among young (age 13–29) men who have sex with men, particularly young men of color (Citation here). There are many possible explanations for this (including stigma around being “gay,” poverty, and limited access to healthcare).

filmfann's avatar

I recall many Evangelists back in the 80’s saying that AIDS was a punishment from God on the queers. Flat out saying that! It’s assholes like that that make me hesitate to be open about my faith.

gailcalled's avatar

@JLeslie; The Surgeon General you refer to is C. Everett Koop.

JLeslie's avatar

Ooops. Yeah, my dad worked for him at the time AIDS hit. My mom was working at NCI where they did the research to isolate the virus. Not that she was in that section of NCI, I only mean my family was more on the inside than the average person, but not the real inside inside.

ucme's avatar

Err, is this 1980?

Response moderated (Spam)
gambitking's avatar

The wording of this question isn’t exactly ‘PC’, but it’s an understandable query.

People that just say “Ignorance” , or “Stupidity”, etc, are themselves that very thing.

@_Whitetigress did give a pretty good explanation (although graphic).

In actuality – the numbers don’t lie, it is simply a statistical fact. Look here

@tranquilsea , maybe next, you can go call the CDC ignorant

tranquilsea's avatar

@gambitking ROTFL calling me ignorant.

HolographicUniverse's avatar


Gave the best answer thus far in light of the great answers given by @kayak8 , @JLeslie and @_whitetigress

Simply because he/she said the most pertinent point to your question, anal sex is the main and most effective transmission point for HIV.

This being said the homosexual community has been arguably the most responsible barons of this disease (that is in the beginning)

Of course this common belief was conjured in North America because of it’s prominence in the homosexual community. The truth, however, has already been stated here which is that it is imply by uninformity that a percentage of the populous seem to believe that it is the only way to contract this disease… which in itself is “ignorant” (sorry @gambitking)

gambitking's avatar

I agree, that believing homosexuality is the only way to contract HIV is ignorant. What percentage of the populous holds that belief? It’s a blood-borne disease as well as sexually transmitted one, it’s widely known a simple blood transfusion can spread it. Not sure what you’re meaning there, holographic

Kayak8's avatar

The most effective mechanism for transmitting HIV is direct contact with the blood stream. This means sharing injection drug needles, tainted blood transfusions, Factor 8 used by hemophiliacs,etc. were the best ways to transmit HIV.

Sexually, it was initially difficult to sort out what was most dangerous behavior because most people don’t just perform one act consistently each and every time. As such, it took a while to sort things out. Anal intercourse is the most effective way to transmit HIV sexually (if you don’t count fetish activities like cutting). Keep in mind that medications can be administered rectally because this tissue is designed to absorb materials that are introduced. Vaginal sex is next on the list of ease of transmission, and oral sex is last on the list (presuming the performing partner has poor dental hygiene or an opening in the oral tissues).

Gay men are not the only people who engage in anal sex and not all gay men do engage in anal sex (just sayin’). One of the challenges in HIV prevention has been getting the message out to young girls who get infected by partners (who are typically 5 years older than the girl) who tell the girl that they can have anal sex and she will still be a virgin.

susanc's avatar

Typical blame-the-victim behavior. Full of cruelty, fear and bullshit.

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