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Found 86 results

  1. Update: All BW members can get 10% off their first order with no minimum purchase, by using the code BWPREP10 at checkout Hello Everyone! We are a group of PrEP activists based in Europe and Asia who started a site called PrEP Online to make access to PrEP more convenient and affordable for people around the world. For those of you who don’t know, PrEP is a pill approved by the World Health Organization that you can take daily to reduce the risk of contracting HIV by up to 99%. We believe that PrEP is a game-changing drug and an important weapon in the fight against HIV. Our goal is to help spread awareness and make access to PrEP more convenient and affordable to people worldwide. We work directly with US FDA-approved manufacturers of generic PrEP to supply it at a low cost - you can get a month’s supply from just $27 on our site, with shipping to your doorstep included. Our shipping and packaging is absolutely discreet for those of you who are concerned. Order PrEP: https://getpreponline.com/shop/ Learn more about PrEP: https://getpreponline.com/prep-info/ Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions! PrEP Online Team
  2. Shin Min Daily News 新明日报 Man molest man! A middle aged man was charged for hiding in a male's toilet and subsequently molesting a 29 year old man. The molested 29yo man was using the toilet at HDB Hub Toa Payoh when he met the molester. The molester not only watched him from the opposite cubicle, and also molested his legs by touching them through the gap below the partition. The 29 year old man was shocked and ran out of the toilet immediately. This molest case occurred in 19 Nov 2004, at around 6:30pm at Toa Payoh HDB Hub. The molester was a 44 year old man named Hong Ya Sai. He is a computer promoter. He was charged this morning in court. Hong Ya Sai was wearing a blue T-Shirt and was medium built. He faced a charge for molestation and another for peeping. He is out on bail of S$12,000. The case will be adjoured to 24 Oct 2005. According to the courts, the molestation happened at the 3rd level toilet of Toa Payoh HDB Hub.
  3. Hi All, Thanks for all those enquiries. Keep them coming in. Many guys are now on PreP and taking it as an additional precaution to preventing HIV. PEP is also available for those who think they have been exposed to HIV. But its efficacy is a window period of 72 hours and less. For those who are co-infected with Hepatitis C, there are now generic versions of Sofosbuvir, Ledipasvir and Daclatasvir. These are now much more affordable. Do talk with your doctors and/or healthcare professionals about it. Generics are cost saving drugs, that can stretch your dollar and go a long way. Best wishes and stay safe, Hotspunk +6597531592
  4. Hey not sure whether this is the right place to ask but does anyone knows where I can get Prep ni Klang valley area?
  5. Just want to share this here, this is indeed worrying. Hope everyone here practice safe sex and be safe. Remember to do the occasional checkups especially if you're sexually active with multiple partners http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/361-new-cases-of-hiv-reported-between-jan-and-oct-moh-9459194
  6. Being Sure Is Sexy What’s your sign? Are you a Mr. Mind Blowing Sex or are you Mr. & Mrs. Unforgettable Sex? Pink Carpet wants to make the experience as simple, safe, and appropriate for the community. Fill up the form below and a FREE HIV test coupon will be e-mailed to you. Regular testing puts you in control of your HIV and STI status, allowing you to protect your health and the health of your sexual partners. However, we understand that taking an HIV test can be a very stressful event, and that’s why we are here for you. Visit www.gayhealth.sg/kys to claim your complimentary HIV test.
  7. It will make my day if ya'll can help complete this 1 minute questionnaire for my university project on improving healthcare and medical services for the LGBT community! http://bit.ly/2nQ3CY0 Thank you in advance love ya'll!
  8. There was an incident recently where I had a small skin "sensitivity" near the private areas. I was deciding whether to ignore it or goto see my family doctor. I decided to see a new doctor for treatment. I registered using a christian name and told the registration that I was a foreign talent and thus do not have a NRIC. The good news is that the doctor told me that it was a common "skin reaction" that had nothing to do with sex. A little cream and a review one week later and I was cured. After that incident, I think that it is good that we should know some PLU friendly medical practitioners. a. We are more comfortable when you speak to them about the medical condition and if necessary the real context of how we may have got it. b. They probably know our concerns and can address it more directly. c. Sometimes you may want to bring your partner along who will need to learn how to take care of you. eg post circumcision care Anyone can recommend PLU friendly doctors. Post or PM me. If required, I can keep the information private. Related : Anyone can recommend PLU friendly lawyers and financial counsultants that can provide professional advise.
  9. Maybe I'm not supposed to ask this here but I'm still gonna try it. 2 years ago, I had gay sex with a guy. Whatever we did was kiss, and 69 blowjob(boring) then after I went home, weeks or months later, I realized a lump growing on my glans. Also, it slowly spread to the base of my glans this year. They seemed to grow uncontrollably under my glans. But the one bump remained one, on the glan itself. It kinda enlarged a little compared to last year. Now it's like 2mm-3mm or 4, likely 3. Characteristics: Solid, round, white in colour/bright coloured I suppose. And most of all, rock solid solid like I first mentioned. Harder than my glans when erected. Why did I say I suppose it's bright? My frenulum is not detached and my foreskin has not completely dissolved. As a matter of fact, I can't retract my foreskin completely because 11/20 of it is still intact! Like it's glued. And the spots are growing like below it. I can only see their existence by stretching and sliding my foreskin, to see a not moving, still white (to my eye with foreskin filter) object on my glans of course. I am freaking worried about my condition, for like months since last November. Oh yes, there are roughly 20- spots on my one is that are hard and of different sizes. Please help me out people I'm really afraid to see a doctor sorry. And thanks a lot.
  10. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/hiv-has-nowhere-to-go-now-breakthrough-drug-prep-to-be-approved-for-public-subsidy-20180207-p4yzkt.html EXCLUSIVE FEBRUARY 8 2018 - 12:15AM SAVE PRINT LICENSE ARTICLE 'HIV has nowhere to go now': Breakthrough drug PrEP to be approved for public subsidy Adam Gartrell A revolutionary HIV drug that will liberate thousands of gay Australians from the fear of sex will almost certainly be approved for federal subsidy this week, in a watershed moment in the decades-long fight against AIDS. Hopes are high particularly in the gay community that the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee will on Friday issue a long-awaited "positive recommendation" for Truvada, commonly known as PrEP. Fairfax Media understands Health Minister Greg Hunt will then move quickly to list the drug on the Pharamaceutical Benefits Scheme. That will bring the price of the drug from as much as $10,000 a year down to just $39.50 per script, or just a couple of hundred dollars a year. An estimated 31,000 people - mostly gay and bisexual men - will benefit from the move, including Gavin Prendergast. The 46-year-old Sydney man has been on the drug as part of a trial for the past 18 months and says it has taken the fear out of sex. "I was around for the whole Grim Reaper thing," Mr Prendergast said, referring to the notorious 1980s AIDS advertising scare campaign. "The fear was hammered into me early on: if you don't use condoms you're going to get AIDS and you're going to die. Sex back then was always tinged with a little bit of paranoia or fear. What if I slip up, what if I don't use a condom? "Now we have a pill that can basically guarantee you're not going to get HIV. It's a pretty monumental change. The fear is disappearing." New Zealand on Wednesday became one of the first countries in the world to publicly fund PrEP, meaning it will be subisdised from March 1. With PBAC's decision due on Friday afternoon, Australia is set to follow suit. The antiretroviral drug is so popular among gay men - the people most likely to contract HIV - experts say it will slash the number of transmissions across the country. The drug is up to 99 per cent effective. The drug was approved for use as a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in 2016 but the advisory committee subsequently announced it had rejected a proposal to list it on the benefits scheme due to price concerns. That left the drug available but prohibitively expensive - about $1000 a month - for those not part of government-funded trials. The sponsoring pharmaceutical companies subsequently submitted fresh applications that were expected to be approved last year, but a decision was deferred - disappointing the gay community and HIV campaigners. After months of further negotiations it now appears the positive listing is imminent. Mr Hunt said in December said he would not pre-empt the committee's decision but "we are making very good progress" on negotiations. "My hope is the PBAC will recommend PrEP and my commitment is if it does recommend PrEP we will list it and list it quickly," he said. Bridget Haire, the president of the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations, said a listing would be a "huge step forward". “Coupled with additional investment in health promotion, workforce skills and co-ordinated leadership, this would allow us to properly pursue the end of Australian HIV transmission in Australia," Dr Haire said. “This would be a huge advance for people at risk of HIV and also a massive benefit to the Commonwealth, as every averted HIV transmission saves close to $1 million in lifetime care and treatment costs.” Mr Prendergast, who works for the HIV prevention group ACON, is optimistic there will be no further delays to a listing. "HIV has nowhere to go now," he said. "Which is pretty awesome when you consider that thirty to forty years ago people were skeletons and dying in the street. It's nice to know that something as beautiful as having sex won't kill you."
  11. Im a 23 year old guy who was closeted my whole life...then for some reason being foolish I went and fool around for 3-4 times, which I deeply regretted my actions after that. Recently I went to check for STDs and realized I have genital warts, which also means I have human papillomavirus (HPV). Upon further reading up on the internet than I realized that the warts could be remove but there is no way to cure the virus, even though many people have it. It is just very depressing to know that I'll have such a virus, and how I'm suppose meet/date anyone anymore. The more I think about it, the more depressing it gets, and I don't know what to do anymore.
  12. Hello everyone, Great news! Gayhealth has turn two years old and we like to celebrate this milestone by presenting two episodes of People Like Us on our webpage. Yas gurls!! We have also revamped our website to provide more sexual health information with a user-friendly interface. To celebrate pride, love and community stay tune for more upcoming episodes of People Like Us. *To watch the mini-series, click on the link to retrieve the password for viewing. P.S very steamy scenes awaits you AND watch till the end for a special surprise! http://www.gayhealth.sg/plu/
  13. Dear All. Any contributions from you guys with regards to this topic. Can anyone share or who had experienced living wif HIV friend/s or boyfriend.
  14. Guest

    STD in singapore

    What are the consequences of being detected with std in Singapore for foreign worker and for local? are they going to report this to MOH, to your parents, to your colleagues and everyone near to you or they will keep it private? Is it safer to go Malaysia or other country for check up or Malaysian Doctors will also report this back to sg? Sorry im just seeking for people who gone through this and have knowledge about this thanks!
  15. I think it's high time that we address the elephant in the room. It is likely that there is at least 1 friend of friend whom is positive, and is keeping his status private for fear of harassment and discrimination. I, for one, think and feel that I will have no issues with it. This would be a good gauge to see where (part) of the community in BW think about this.
  16. A list of non-comprehensive helplines in Singapore: General Samaritans of Singapore (SOS): For anybody in crisis and persons with suicidal tendencies. Tel: 1800-221 4444 Opening Hours: 24 hours Oogachaga Hotline: Helpline for gay, bisexual, and transgendered men on sexuality and relationship matters, as well as advice and resources on safer sex and HIV/STI related issues. Tel: 6226 2002Opening Hours: Tuesdays - Thursdays: 7pm - 10pm and Saturdays: 2pm - 6pm (except on public holidays) Oogachaga is an anonymous hotline manned by LGBT professionals and all calls are strictly confidential. Our volunteers are trained to listen to you. You can also go to our website to find out more about us. Oogachaga email counselling at http://www.oogachaga.com/care Family Centre for Promoting Alternatives to Violence (PAVe): For families facing violence in need of counselling and support servicesTel: 6555 0390 Opening Hours: Mon to Fri: 9am – 6pm and Wed: 9am – 9.30pm Child Protection and Welfare Services (MCYS): Reporting of Child AbuseTel: 1800-258 6378 / 1800-7770000Opening Hours: Mon–Fri 8.30am – 5pm and Sat 8.30am – 1pm Elderly SAGE Helpline for Seniors: For anyone 50 years and above or anyone who has a concern or question regarding someone 50 years and aboveTel: 1800-555 5555 Opening Hours: Mon to Fri: 9am – 7pm and Sat: 9am – 1pm Lions Befrienders: Information, referral and befriender services for the elderly. Tel: 1800-375 8600 Opening Hours: Mon to Fri: 9am – 6pm Health & Disability Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH) Helpline: For people who have psychological, psychiatric or social problems and others who need information for such persons Tel: 1800-283 7019 Opening Hours: Mon-Fri: 9am – 6pm Action for AIDS Helpline: For those enquiring information and counselling services on all aspects of AIDSTel: 6254 0212 Opening Hours: Mon-Fri: 10am – 5.30pm Singapore Cancer Society: For those needing information related to cancerTel: 6221 9578 Opening Hours: Mon-Fri: 8.30am – 6pm Centre For Enabled Living (CEL): First-stop centre for users of eldercare and disability services, and their caregivers.Tel: 1800-8585 885 Opening Hours: Mon-Fri: 8.30am – 6pm and Saturday: 8:30am – 12:30pm (except on public holidays) Financial Assistance Comcare Hotline: Connect with Family Service Centres or other helping agency Tel: 1800-222 0000Opening Hours: 24 hours Credit Counselling: For consumers seeking help for serious debt problems.Tel: 1800-CALL-CCS (1800-2255 227) Opening Hours: Monday - Friday: 9am – 6pm More Information: http://www.ccs.org.sg/link.php Legal Aid Legal Aid Bureau: For low-income persons requiring legal assistance Tel: 1800-325 1424 Opening Hours: Mon-Fri: 8.30am – 12.30pm, 2.00pm – 5.00pm and Sat: 8.30am – 12.30pm Singapore Association of Women Lawyers: For members of public requiring free legal counselling. Appointments must be made directly with the community centres where the legal clinics are conducted.Tel: 6334 6809 Opening Hours: Mon-Sun: 9.00am – 8.00pm except public holidays Safra: By appointment and for SAFRA members only. Tel: 6377 9880 Opening Hours: Every 2nd Thursday of the month, 7pm to 9pm Community Centre: By appointment only. Please call your nearest Community Centre (www.pa.gov.sg) for information. More Information: http://legalclinics.sg/ Addiction / Substance Abuse Alcoholics Anonymous: For those who are alcohol-dependent and their families Tel: 6475 0890 Opening Hours: 24 hours National Addictions Management Service (NAMS): For individuals with various addictions, including substance behavioral addictionsTel: 6-RECOVER (6-7326837) Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday: 8.30am – 6.00pm, Friday: 8.30am – 5.30pm, Saturday: 8.30am – 12.30pm Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association (SANA): For drug-abusers, their families and the general publicTel: 1800-733 444 Opening Hours: Monday – Friday: 8.30am – 6pm WE CARE Centre: For individuals and families who need help with addictions Tel: 6471 5346 Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 8.30am – 9.00pm and Sat: 10.00am – 8.00pm Gambling National Addictions Management Service (NAMS), Institute of Mental Health (IMH): For those with a gambling problem or know someone who does Tel: 1800-X-GAMBLE (1800-9 426253) / 1800-6-668-668 Opening Hours: Mon to Fri: 8.30am – 6.00pm ================= APPLY FOR CASINO EXCLUSIONS Self Exclusion: http://ces.ncpg.org....t&access=publicSelf Exclusion (Foreigners): http://www.knowtheli..._Foreigners.pdfFamily Exclusion: Call 1800-6-668-668 LEGAL & FINANCIAL ADVISORY SERVICES: The following FSCs have trained counsellors on hand to provide basic legal and financial advisory services for those facing problems such as financial difficulties, marriage issues and property related issues. Ang Mo Kio Family Service CentresAng Mo Kio Branch: Blk 230 Ang Mo Kio Ave 3 #01-1264 S(560230) Tel: 6453 5349Cheng San Branch: Blk 445 Ang Mo Kio Ave 10 #01-1627 S(560445) Tel : 6454 6678Sengkang Branch: Blk 223D Compassvale Walk #01-673 S(544223) Tel : 6312 8100 Hougang Sheng Hong Family Service CentreBlk 237 Hougang St 21, #01-406, S(530237) Tel: 6289 5022 Thye Hua Kwan Problem Gambling Recovery Centre133 New Bridge Road, Chinatown Point, #04-05 S(059413) Tel: 65382406 ================= Here are some other helplines that you want to call if you wish to talk to someone about your feelings. Other Helpline (Straight) > Samaritans of Singapore (a 24 hr suicide prevention hotline) 1800-221 4444 > SAGE Helpline (For elderly people over 50 years old and care-givers of the elderly) 1800-555-5555 (9:00am - 5:00pm Mon-Fri and 9:00am - 1:00pm Sat) >Care Corner Family Service Centre 1800-222-0000/1800-353-5800 (Chinese Speaking) > Singapore Association for Mental Health Hotline 1800-283-7019 > Family Service Centres 1800-838-0100 > Touchline (Touch Youth Service) 1800-377-2252 ================= Sexual Health Sexual Health Counselors at DSC If you need to talk to someone about sexual health, our friendly counselors are always ready to assist and they are reachable, call DSC Clinic 1800 252 1324. To visit DSC for a testing or screening, simply call our appointment hotline at 6293 9648. More info at DSC Website. ================= Last update : 28th April 2013
  17. Hi guys, I've recently had unprotected sex as a top. DSC reckons my odds are 1:10000. I have started PEP within the 72 hr window from a private doctor. The DSC has since referred me to the CDC because they do not carry truvada and worry that my foei gras liver will not be able to take the older generation pep that the DSC stocks. Does anyone here have any experience with the CDC ? Im worried about having it on record.
  18. Hello everyone! If you and your gay/bi friends who need a complimentary HIV test please email us pinkcarpet@gayhealth.sg ALSO if you are 18-24 years of age, drop by the Pink Capet Y Drop-In for youth to get FREE coupon for testing and meet other youth. This is safe space for youth to learn about HIV and other sexual health issues. Join the Facebook group - Pink Carpet Y
  19. Guest

    Do I have HIV

    Around two months ago, I had understall fun. When I sat down and leaned my privates over to his side of the cubicle, the other party gnawed and bit on my exposed dickhead. I immediately retracted and got a little scared. After he reassured me, I leaned my privates over once more and he bit and gnawed me again. I was furious and left the toilet. Now, I've been having fever, fatigue over the past two days. I've never had sex before, only received oral once. Could I have HIV? Where is a trustworthy place to get tested anonymously?
  20. *Hi everyone! firstly, have a Happy Chinese New Year, i'm posting this on behalf of Gayhealthsg as I am one of the coordinators for the programme! ^^* We know it is hard to be a youth. Trying to figure out about yourself: the struggles and challenges, identity, school and dating, to name a few. Gayhealth would like to introduce a new initiative (Pink Carpet Y) for gay/bi/questioning youth between 18-24. This will be a bi-weekly drop-in for youth who want to meet other like-minded youth in a safe space to learn drawing/painting, games and good sexual health education. Located at 9 Kelantan Lane #05-01. Please help pass this along to any youth who would benefit from the drop in. For more information, please email us at pinkcarpet@gayhealth.sg STARTING DATE : Saturday February 4 Pink Carpet Y
  21. So, how often do you guys get tested? Because I am surprised at people not asking about disease status on apps like Grindr. Some people find it "rude." What do you think?
  22. bonekaz

    Urgent: Do I Have Std?

    Hi guys, I've recently been to the polyclinic and the doctor referred me to the DSC clinic because he wasn't sure if what I have is an STD. A week pr so before I visited the polyclinic (I'm in NS so that explains why I didn't get it checked earlier), I experienced an unbearable itch in the area between my dick and my anus. It was so unbearable that I began scratching continuously and before long, I experienced pain while I shower. I then noticed that the scratching has caused a wound which started secreting foul smelling pus. The pus has even caused a rash on my butt cheeks around my anus and the entire area is red now. Tomorrow's my STD check up and I'm afraid. I've Googled my symptoms and they all point to a condition termed as a 'jock itch' which is not an STD although I've not read anyone experiencing the pus causing more rash on the butt cheeks area mentioned above. However, I do believe that it works like normal wounds that do not get to 'breathe'; the pus causes an irritation of the skin and thus lead to a break out of rash. I've also asked a few friends and they believe that it was a skin irritation that I aggravated when I scratched it which probably lead to an infection. A friend of mine also has 'jock itch' every now and then and he said that my symptoms were similar to his (he has already went for the STD check up and cleared it). Here's a picture of how the area looks like now. I'm sorry if this is disturbing but I really need some opinions (hopefully some good ones). P.S. I'm actually a top but because my boyfriend is a top, I took on a more passive role when we got attached. We've been together for a year plus now and neither of us have had STD symptoms during or before the relationship even though we never actually got tested.
  23. GOOD NEWS: HIV/AIDS cure finally FOUND, Doctors confirm July 28, 2016 Doctors in Barcelona, Spain believe they have found the cure to HIV – the AIDS-causing virus that affects the lives of more than 34 million people worldwide, according to WHO. By using blood transplants from the umbilical cords of individuals with a genetic resistance to HIV, Spanish medical professionals believe they can treat the virus, having proven the procedure successful with one patient. A 37-year-old man from Barcelona, who had been infected with the HIV virus in 2009, was cured of the condition after receiving a transplant of blood. While unfortunately the man later died from cancer just three years later, having developed lymphoma, the Spanish medical team is still hugely encouraged by what it considers to be a breakthrough in the fight against HIV and related conditions, according to the Spanish news source El Mundo. Doctors in Barcelona initially attempted the technique using the precedent of Timothy Brown, an HIV patient who developed leukemia before receiving experimental treatment in Berlin, the Spanish news site The Local reported. Brown was given bone marrow from a donor who carried the resistance mutation from HIV. After the cancer treatment, the HIV virus had also disappeared. According to The Local, the CCR5 Delta 35 mutation affects a protein in white blood cells and provides an estimated one percent of the human population with high resistance to infection from HIV. Spanish doctors attempted to treat the lymphoma of the so-called “Barcelona patient” with chemotherapy and an auto-transplant of the cells, but were unable to find him a suitable bone marrow. “We suggested a transplant of blood from an umbilical cord but from someone who had the mutation because we knew from ‘the Berlin patient’ that as well as [ending] the cancer, we could also eradicate HIV,” Rafael Duarte, the director of the Haematopoietic Transplant Programme at the Catalan Oncology Institute in Barcelona, told The Local. Prior to the transplant, a patient’s blood cells are destroyed with chemotherapy before they are replaced with new cells, incorporating the mutation which means the HIV virus can no longer attach itself to them. For the Barcelona patient, stem cells from another donor were used in order to accelerate the regeneration process. Eleven days after the transplant, the patient in Barcelona experienced recovery. Three months later, it was found that he was clear of the HIV virus. Despite the unfortunate death of the patient from cancer, the procedure has led to the development of an ambitious project that is backed by Spain’s National Transplant Organization. March 2016 will mark the world’s first clinical trials of umbilical cord transplants for HIV patients with blood cancers. Javier Martinez, a virologist from the research foundation Irsicaixa, stressed that the process is primarily designed to assist HIV patients suffering from cancer, but “this therapy does allow us to speculate about a cure for HIV,” he added.
  24. http://www.out.com/positive-voices/2016/5/19/meet-woman-who-cared-hundreds-abandoned-gay-men-dying-aids Between 1984 and the mid-1990s, before better HIV drugs effectively rendered her obsolete, Ruth Coker Burks cared for hundreds of dying people, many of them gay men who had been abandoned by their families. She buried more than three dozen of them herself, after their families refused to claim their bodies. For many of those people, she is now the only person who knows the location of their graves. It started in 1984, in a hospital hallway. Ruth Coker Burks was 25 and a young mother when she went to University Hospital in Little Rock, Ark., to help care for a friend who had cancer. Her friend eventually went through five surgeries, Burks said, so she spent a lot of time that year parked in hospitals. That’s where she was the day she noticed the door, one with “a big, red bag” over it. It was a patient’s room. “I would watch the nurses draw straws to see who would go in and check on him. It’d be: ‘Best two out of three,’ and then they’d say, ‘Can we draw again?’ ” She knew what it probably was, even though it was early enough in the epidemic for the disease to be called GRID — gay-related immune deficiency — instead of AIDS. She had a gay cousin in Hawaii and had asked him about the stories of a gay plague after seeing a report on the news. He’d told her, “That’s just the leather guys in San Francisco. It’s not us. Don’t worry.” Still, in her concern for him, she’d read everything she could find about the disease over the previous months, hoping he was right. Whether because of curiosity or — as she believes today — some higher power moving her, Burks eventually disregarded the warnings on the red door and snuck into the room. In the bed was a skeletal young man, wasted away to less than 100 pounds. He told her he wanted to see his mother before he died. “I walked out and [the nurses] said, ‘You didn’t go in that room, did you?’” Burks recalled. “I said, ‘Well, yeah. He wants his mother.’ They laughed. They said, ‘Honey, his mother’s not coming. He’s been here six weeks. Nobody’s coming.’” Unwilling to take no for an answer, Burks wrangled a number for the young man’s mother out of one of the nurses, then called. She was able to speak for only a moment before the woman on the line hung up on her. “I called her back,” Burks said. “I said, ‘If you hang up on me again, I will put your son’s obituary in your hometown newspaper and I will list his cause of death.’ Then I had her attention.” Her son was a sinner, the woman told Burks. She didn’t know what was wrong with him and didn’t care. She wouldn’t come, as he was already dead to her as far as she was concerned. She said she wouldn’t even claim his body when he died. It was a curse Burks would hear again and again over the next decade: sure judgment and yawning hellfire, abandonment on a platter of scripture. Burks estimates she worked with more than 1,000 people dying of AIDS over the years. Of those, she said, only a handful of families didn’t turn their backs on their loved ones. Burks hung up the phone, trying to decide what she should tell the dying man. “I went back in his room,” she said, “and when I walked in, he said, ‘Oh, momma. I knew you’d come,’ and then he lifted his hand. And what was I going to do? So I took his hand. I said, ‘I’m here, honey. I’m here.’” Burks pulled a chair to his bedside, talked to him, and held his hand. She bathed his face with a cloth and told him she was there. “I stayed with him for 13 hours while he took his last breaths on Earth,” she said. Since at least the late 1880s, Burks’s kin have been buried in Files Cemetery, a half-acre of red dirt on top of a hill in Hot Springs, Ark. When Burks was a girl, she said, her mother got in a final, epic row with Burks’s uncle. To make sure he and his branch of the family tree would never lie in the same dirt as the rest of them, Burks said, her mother quietly bought every available grave space in the cemetery: 262 plots. They visited the cemetery most Sundays after church when she was young, Burks said, and her mother would often sarcastically remark on her holdings, looking out over the cemetery and telling her daughter, “Someday, all of this is going to be yours.” “I always wondered what I was going to do with a cemetery,” she said. “Who knew there’d come a time when people didn’t want to bury their children?” Files Cemetery is where Burks buried the ashes of the man she’d seen die, after a second call to his mother confirmed she wanted nothing to do with him, even in death. “No one wanted him,” she said, “and I told him in those long 13 hours that I would take him to my beautiful little cemetery, where my daddy and grandparents were buried, and they would watch out over him.” Burks had to contract with a funeral home in Pine Bluff, some 70 miles away, for the cremation. It was the closest funeral home she could find that would even touch the body. She paid for the cremation out of her savings. The ashes were returned to her in a cardboard box. She went to a friend at Dryden Pottery in Hot Springs, who gave her a chipped cookie jar for an urn. Then she went to Files Cemetery and used a pair of posthole diggers to excavate a hole in the middle of her father’s grave. “I knew that Daddy would love that about me,” she said, “and I knew that I would be able to find him if I ever needed to find him.” She put the urn in the hole and covered it over. She prayed over the grave, and it was done. Over the next few years, as she became one of the go-to people in the state when it came to caring for those dying with AIDS, Burks would bury more than 40 people in chipped cookie jars in Files Cemetery. Most of them were gay men whose families would not even claim their ashes. “My daughter would go with me,” Burks said. “She had a little spade, and I had posthole diggers. I’d dig the hole, and she would help me. I’d bury them, and we’d have a do-it-yourself funeral. I couldn’t get a priest or a preacher. No one would even say anything over their graves.” She believes the number is 43, but she isn’t sure. Somewhere in her attic, in a box, among the dozens of yellowed day planners she calls her Books of the Dead filled with the appointments, setbacks, and medications of people 30 years gone, there is a list of names. Burks always made a last effort to reach out to families before she put the urns in the ground. “I tried every time,” she said. “They hung up on me. They cussed me out. They prayed like I was a demon on the phone and they had to get me off — prayed while they were on the phone. Just crazy. Just ridiculous.” After she cared for the dying man at University Hospital, people started calling Burks, asking for her help. “They just started coming,” she said. “Word got out that there was this kind of wacko woman in Hot Springs who wasn’t afraid. They would tell them, ‘Just go to her. Don’t come to me. Here’s the name and number. Go.’...I was their hospice. Their gay friends were their hospice. Their companions were their hospice.” Before long, she was getting referrals from rural hospitals all over the state. Financing her work through donations and sometimes out of her own pocket, she’d take patients to their appointments, help them get assistance when they could no longer work, help them get their medicines, and try to cheer them up when the depression was dark as a pit. She said many pharmacies wouldn’t handle prescriptions for AIDS drugs like AZT, and there was fear among even those who would. She soon stockpiled what she called an “underground pharmacy” in her house. “I didn’t have any narcotics, but I had AZT, I had antibiotics,” she said. “People would die and leave me all of their medicines. I kept it because somebody else might not have any.” Burks said the financial help given to patients — from burial expenses to medications to rent for those unable to work — couldn’t have happened without the support of the gay clubs around the state, particularly Little Rock’s Discovery. “They would twirl up a drag show on Saturday night and here’d come the money,” she said. “That’s how we’d buy medicine, that’s how we’d pay rent. If it hadn’t been for the drag queens, I don’t know what we would have done.” Burks’s stories from that time border on nightmarish, with her watching one person after another waste away before her eyes. She would sometimes go to three funerals a day in the early years, including the funerals of many people she’d befriended while they fought the disease. Many of her memories seem to have blurred together into a kind of terrible shade. Others are told with perfect, minute clarity. There was the man whose family insisted he be baptized in a creek in October, three days before he died, to wash away the sin of being gay; whose mother pressed a spoonful of oatmeal to his lips, pleading, “Roger, eat. Please eat, Roger. Please, please, please,” until Burks gently took the spoon and bowl from her; who died at 6 foot 6 and 75 pounds; whose aunts came to his parents’ house after the funeral in plastic suits and yellow gloves to double-bag his clothes and scrub everything, even the ceiling fan, with bleach. She recalled the odd sensation of sitting with dying people while they filled out their own death certificates, because Burks knew she wouldn’t be able to call on their families for the required information. “We’d sit and fill it out together,” she said. “Can you imagine filling out your death certificate before you die? But I didn’t have that information. I wouldn’t have their mother’s maiden name or this, that, or the other. So I’d get a pizza and we’d have pizza and fill out the death certificate.” Billy is the one who hit her hardest and the one she remembers most clearly of all. He was one of the youngest she ever cared for, a female impersonator in his early 20s. He was beautiful, she said, perfect and fine-boned. She still has one of Billy’s dresses in her closet up in the city of Rogers: a tiny, flame-red designer number, intricate as an orchid. As Billy’s health declined, Burks accompanied him to the mall in Little Rock as he quit his job at a store there. Afterward, she said, he wept, Burks holding the frail young man as shoppers streamed around them. “He broke down just sobbing in the middle of the mall,” she said. “I just stood there and held him until he quit sobbing. People were looking and pointing and all that, but I couldn’t care less.” Once, a few weeks before Billy died — he weighed only 55 pounds, the lightest she ever saw, light as a feather, so light that she was able to lift his body from the bed with just her forearms — Burks had taken Billy to an appointment in Little Rock. Afterward, they were driving around aimlessly, trying to get his spirits up. She often felt like crying in those days, she said, but she couldn’t let herself. She had to be strong for them. “He was so depressed. It was horrible,” she said. “We were driving by the zoo, and somebody was riding an elephant. He goes, ‘You know, I’ve never ridden an elephant.’ I said, ‘Well, we’ll fix that.’” And she turned the car around. Somewhere, in the boxes that hold all her terrible memories, there’s a picture of the two of them up on the back of the elephant, Ruth Coker Burks in her heels and dress, Billy with a rare smile. When it was too much, she said, she’d go fishing. And it wasn’t all terrible. While Burks got to see the worst of people, she said, she was also privileged to see people at their best, caring for their partners and friends with selflessness, dignity, and grace. She said that’s why she’s been so happy to see gay marriage legalized all over the country. “I watched these men take care of their companions and watch them die,” she said. “I’ve seen them go in and hold them up in the shower. They would hold them while I washed them. They would carry them back to the bed. We would dry them off and put lotion on them. They did that until the very end, knowing that they were going to be that person before long. Now, you tell me that’s not love and devotion? I don’t know a lot of straight people who would do that.” Ruth Coker Burks had a stroke five years ago, early enough in her life that she can’t help but believe that the stress of the bad old days had something to do with it. After the stroke, she had to relearn everything: to talk, to feed herself, to read and write. It’s probably a miracle she’s not buried in Files Cemetery herself. After better drugs, education, understanding, and treatment made her work obsolete, she moved to Florida for several years, where she worked as a funeral director and a fishing guide. When Bill Clinton was elected president, she served as a White House consultant on AIDS education. A few years ago, she moved to Rogers to be closer to her grandchildren. In 2013, she went to bat for three foster children who were removed from the elementary school at nearby Pea Ridge after administrators heard that one of them might be HIV-positive. Burks said she couldn’t believe she was still dealing with the same knee-jerk fears in the 21st century. The work she and others did in the 1980s and 1990s has mostly been forgotten, partly because so many of those she knew back then have died. She’s not the only one who did that work, but she’s one of the few who survived. And so she has become the keeper of memory. Before she’s gone, she said, she’d like to see a memorial erected in Files Cemetery. Something to tell people the story. A plaque. A stone. A listing of the names of the unremembered dead who lie there. “Someday,” she said, “I’d love to get a monument that says: This is what happened. In 1984, it started. They just kept coming and coming. And they knew they would be remembered, loved, and taken care of, and that someone would say a kind word over them when they died.” *This story originally appeared in the Arkansas Times.
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