A recent article was written by Alex Bitterman, a professor, and chairperson in the Department of Architecture and Digest at SUNY Alfred State seems to be what everyone is talking about. In his article, Alex Bitterman is comparing the effects that two pandemics have had on the global population, especially on gay men. He is comparing the current COVID-19 pandemic with the AIDS/HIV pandemic that happened in the early 80s.
As he explains, the current pandemic is similar to the one that had happened when AIDS/HIV first occurred. Much like then, we are now practicing self-isolation and social distancing as a way to protect ourselves during these rather uncertain times. Although not many may remember, this is exactly how gay men have been feeling when HIV/AIDS first struck the Earth.
Knowing nothing about the new disease, having no vaccine, or treatment available that they could rely on is similar to how the entire world is feeling now whenever they think about COVID-19. Alex Bitterman explained his current situation as one filled with panic – a situation that serves a trauma trigger for anyone who has been living through the HIV/AIDS pandemic since it has first started.
To make things even worse, COVID-19 has spread even quicker than HIV/AIDS, affecting every continent and almost every country in a matter of a few months. But there is one difference that he reminds us of and that is – COVID-19, unlike HIV/AIDS does not focus on impacting the gay and bi men in the world, but rather does not choose whether it will be children, men, or women of any age that will be affected by it, potentially even putting an end to their lives if they shift their focus for only a minute away from following the provided prevention guidelines.
For COVID-19 it does not matter whether you are rich, poor, black, white, young, or old as we have seen so far. Any gay/bi man who has been affected by HIV/AIDS could confirm that HIV/AIDS comes more than just the characteristic symptoms, it also comes with shame, guilt, and discrimination that these men are feeling because of the disease that has entered their body and live.
Alex Bitterman also talks about how important it is not to let that happen to anyone who has been affected by COVID-19. He alerts that now is the time to focus on finding a solution, a treatment, that will stop this pandemic from spreading even further. And we could not agree with him more. Faced with such a horrible situation, we need to work together on finding a cure and a vaccine that can help us protect the most fragile ones. And maybe we can use this experience that we have now to make a better effort at finding a solution for anyone who has been affected by HIV/AIDS in the future.