I will never forget the acidic chemical trail it left burning from the tip of my tongue plunging deep down into the guts of my stomach.
It was necessary but certainly not an enjoyable experience.
This was the way. As prostitutes in the late 1980s – we were taught to avoid contracting HIV. Suck on extra thick condoms, safer if you use two of them for extra protection, ensure they are laced with Nonoxynol-9.
Years later, WHO announced while N-9 killed HIV in the lab, using it as we did increase your chances of HIV infection.
Media-driven directives can often prove false over time.
So now we are dealing with yet another pandemic. The big difference between this deadly coronavirus and the HIV pandemic is that sex workers are not being blamed for Covid.
And neither is the LGBT community. Maybe for once, we are all in this together?
If you skip back to the late 1980s and a politically incorrect world thrust into a pandemic dumped, it is suspicions on the.
Out-there gay males and hookers.
Trouble with that theory was the hookers and the out-there gay males knew the truth – there was a whole subculture of ‘men who have sex with men’ presenting as heterosexuals, married with wives, hiding in the shadows.
Apart from this truth, HIV was not exclusively associated with presenting as gay or standing on that illegal, promiscuous street corner – it was indiscriminate. Babies were being born HIV positive, wives were diagnosed, single females died, heterosexual and gay males alike were being infected, blood transfusions were as capable of saving lives as taking them – and one.
Surprise, surprise, a hapless scapegoat called Sharleen was suddenly arrested and locked up, simply because she was HIV positive.The problem I had with Sharleen being ripped off the streets.
It was her clients who were the ones ripping off the condoms.
Back then though, nobody cared what a prostitute said. (hear us now)
Sharleen confessed she was HIV positive and still hooking on the streets of Kings Cross.
Sharleen, the star scapegoat of a zillion tsk tsks from a so-called respectable society, but seemingly the only soul to be placed in quarantine while the rest of Sydney still fucked like rabbits.
The Grim Reaper television ads were terrifying enough with a razor-sharp scythe striking down victims faster than HIV, but then the media found Sharleen and created a reality star before her time.
It was once a very unfair, very cruel, discriminatory world.
But has anything really changed?
Have we grown as a society – or do the laws passed by a few causes just superficial change on paper?
If a sex worker was Covid positive and working, would she suffer the same fate as Sharleen?
Yes, she would, but at least now so would her clients. But, deep down, who would we blame?
Welcome to the Brave New World.
We’re all in this together – some of us more fairly than others.