Tim Barrus is my co-writer. He has been running a school for boys at risk who have HIV-AIDS, fewer of them die now. But Tim himself is dying. Besides the AIDS he has Avascular Necrosis (bone death) and lung damage from repeated pneumonia. He stays alive with a complex system of drugs plus rage, rage, rage against the dying of the light or anything else that gets in the way.
- Mary Scriver
WE SCREAM IN SILENCE
The drugs I need to stay alive were not available. They are being rationed. I was told to go away. The line of people behind me waiting to get their drugs was a long one.
Sometimes I wonder how some people can do the jobs they do, and then I remember that I’ve had jobs, too, where I’ve had to bite it.
I don’t know how you can sit behind a pharmacy counter and tell people with AIDS to go away.
I like to think I could not do it. I like to think I would not do it.
Often, people just tell themselves that you gotta do what you gotta do.
There are now waiting lists for people who need AIDS drugs. This is beyond simple public health policy as revenge. This is bad public health policy because it means not that people will die, but they’re dying, and while you can maybe rationalize that, it has to be more difficult to rationalize the mutation of virus that takes place in people infected with HIV who then pass that mutated strain of virus on to someone else already infected where the entwined strains of virus are now becoming more and more virulent, more and more powerful, and thusly rendering antiviral medication less and less effective. Add into this mix the numbers of people in the US who are not aware they have the virus, and let us pretend to complicate the situation even more (this could never happen) by assuming that they might be having sex with people who are unaware they have the virus as well as people who are aware they have the virus.
It is a witch’s brew of pathogen.
And you approach the problem by restricting pharmaceuticals that keep people alive and viral loads of the infected suppressed.
Well, what is the problem.
I will tell you what the problem is in one word. Indifference. Indifference to genocide. Not just the indifference of the uninfected because they typically don’t give a rip about anyone other than themselves. But you simply can’t ignore the indifference of the infected; those of us who stand in line being told to go home who blink and say what? We are to blame, too. We should be out there burning flags and rubber tires in the street. But no. We are powerless because there is something about powerlessness that fits into what we like about our raggedy-ass selves.
So many in line are women. Black. Hispanic. Adolescent. Men on parole. Standing there with kids crawling all over everything. In our exhausted arms and on the floor. The image of the gay male as being the stereotype here is just plain stupid. If that myth is what you think of AIDS it’s because you have been brainwashed by a media more eager to sell you laundry soap and designer clothes than a slightly harder reality.
You are sooooo stupid. Why. Because you think it won’t affect you. Sooner or later, a pandemic affects everyone.
How are publications whose lifeblood is selling SEX going to react other than by attacking the messenger. I know how the scumbags work. I’ve written around them my entire adult life. Not because of them. But in spite of them. I’ve gotten published, too.
I don’t know too many people who lived through the bad old days when there were no antivirals because ALL of my friends are dead. I do not know a single survivor outside of a very small burnt-out group. The screaming of the toddlers with their mothers behind me is so disconcerting that I am almost relieved the clinic doesn’t have my drugs so I can get out of there. Who wants to know these people let alone help them. I literally run for the door.
I’m dying. You have just accelerated the process.
Why SHOULD you care. You shouldn’t. You don’t. I’m tired of fighting this disease. You should simply let this virus spread like wildfire around the planet again so that it rids you of the people you find so problematic. You know, the prisoners, and the blacks, and the poor, and the faggots. Be done with it once and for all.
The last mass burial I saw was in Kenya where they were using bulldozers to cover up the pits filled with corpses. Happy days are here again. Every single scene in a book I wrote and published called GENOCIDE has come true. And they called it science fiction. What science. What fiction. Restricting antivirals is not science. It’s social engineering.
Mary wants to alert the media. But the media only wants scapegoats. Someone to blame.
What would you do.
How about a few corpses on the doorsteps of the GOP. They would laugh. They just don’t give a rip. Those counts would just step over the dead.
The few of us who survived the AIDS crisis (as if it ever ended) are getting older and chances are good we would cost you a fortune since Big Pharma has no incentive or plan to lower prices for drugs no one but no one can afford, and you don’t have a fortune.
Go ahead. Raise awareness.
It doesn’t mean the time of day because people do not CARE.
But, TIM, what can we DO.
Nothing. You can do nothing. The systems you have created cannot be recreated and they are very good at the kind of grinding genocide that is obfuscated by the mythology of kindness. You can do nothing because you are powerless. You can do nothing because no one will listen to you anymore than they will listen to me. And you think the bad news is a sword of Damocles about to drop sometime in an abstract but not too distant future. Your future is here. We are ALL in the same pit of bulldozed corpses.
What the people who run the system have is routine.
But we’re not the bureaucrats, Tim.
Yes, you are.
You run, you pay for, you operate, you construct, you make the rules, you establish the need for both the clinics that keep us alive and the clinic pharmacies (same building, only downstairs) that kill us. You can’t hide behind the illusion of being conflicted. Dead is dead.
Tired as I am of fighting you, and fighting this disease, I know how a black market flourishes. Simple supply and demand. Capitalism at its very best.
How can a black market exist.
The drug companies have been under enormous public pressure, (not by trade delegations — the thought is ridiculous), to provide these drugs to poor people in poor countries who make less than two dollars a day. The chances that these people will be able to afford tens of thousands of dollars to buy the drugs are not good. So what do drug companies do. Easy. They find markets.
Let’s PRETEND I go to the black market in let us pretend, Bolivia, to get my hands on the drugs that will save my worthless fat white ass. Who do you think I will be buying the drugs from. (In la Paz you don’t need a prescription, you can get the drugs over the counter.) That particular black market is called a pharmacia. And I will be buying the drugs from the same people I would be buying them from in the States. There are other black markets. China would be one. Most antivirals destined for and consumed in the US are made in Shanghai.
I will get the drugs. I am hardly going to tell you how. I am not on any of the waiting lists where people are literally dying to get these drugs. But if the drugs aren’t available, your waiting lists are as redundant as a concentration camp.
I don’t give a rip if you don’t like me. I would rather live than have you like me. I don’t like YOU so who cares who likes who. This isn’t Facebook. This is real life and death.
There is no like button to click.
I don’t answer the phone, and I don’t answer email either, so save yourselves the trouble of attempting to contact me. Chances are good, I won’t be home.
The only real reason I want to get those drugs and stay alive is so I can continue to be in your murderous, indifferent faces.
— Timothée Bârrus