Hour 2: gay men’s history from New York to New South Wales

One of the USA’s most prominent AIDS activists, Sean Strub, and high-profile HIV-positive Australian activist Paul Kidd join Shannon Power to discuss the progression of HIV and AIDS, the rise of the activist movement, and the political engagement of HIV activists in Western culture.

Sean explains why he thinks the stigma associated with HIV is worse today than it has ever been. In the early years, a young gay man diagnosed with HIV would be embraced by the collective community response. Today that young man would experience a heightened sense of shame and be cast adrift by a community that is no longer connected to the epidemic. Paul says that HIV-positive people are always dealing with their diagnosis but for him, going public has meant that his voice can be the one that replaces the silence of those unable to speak of their status.

Sean highlights the rapid and ever-evolving scientific response to HIV and says that over the last 30 years, treatments that were once considered essential were later tabled by the medical profession as ineffective or even dangerous. Paul reminds us that science and medicine have come a long way and that today’s developments in treatment are backed by the highest standards in medicine and ethics. Sean endorses this view.

The panel discusses the fact that criminalisation of HIV has come about in part due to more people living with the virus, and criminalisation has resulted in people now avoiding being tested due to fear of stigma, reinforced by laws.


Sean Strub
New York-based activist and writer, executive director of the Sero Project
Paul Kidd
Australian activist, chair of the Legal Working Group of Living Positive Victoria

Hosted by Shannon Power

Watch the video above, or listen to the audio only below: