TRISTAN'S MOON

HIV/AIDS-defining infections & diseases

i am the kind of mad person who raves in the middle of the street/ you don’t seem to understand that the boys are boys who you gave up on BEFORE they were infected/ what the fuck are you going to do with them now that hasn’t been done to them a million times/

Medicine Man by © Daniel Goldstein

Sexually violated & sexually exploited boys are more at-risk for being infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), developing Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome defining infections & diseases (AIDS), and dying prematurely, than any other group of youth (in the USA).

The boys need safe shelter to grow up in and from which to access appropriate and consistent medical care, and learn strategies to better cope with the long-term and diverse side-effects from prescription drugs that they will have to source and take for the rest of their lives. The boys will also need to learn about their individual physical and psychological responses to stringent medical treatment regimens and how to advocate for their health and well-being. These significant skills and their empirical knowledge lead to survivors becoming strong care-givers and support for their less experienced peers, who may also feel abandoned and lonely.

Yes, our experiences are "only anecdotal evidence" and often quickly dismissed by scientists, pharmaceutical companies and government officials.  But since the beginning of the epidemic, people with HIV have been the experimental canaries in the pharmaceutical coal mine.  We almost always know the side effects first--through our oft-discredited anecdotal evidence--long before doctors and drug companies and AIDS organizations and government officials tell us about them (Sean Strub, 2010).


HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS (HIV)
is a retrovirus that weakens a boy's immune system so he is unable to fight off even simple infections. ACQUIRED IMMUNE DEFICIENCY SYNDROME (AIDS) is the period when an HIV-positive boy's immune system is so severely compromised that he begins to develop acutely serious and life-threatening illness.

Lifetime prescriptions of DNA chain-terminating and other anti-HIV drugs, and chemically distinct drugs (such as cocaine, heroin, nitrite inhalants, and amphetamines) used for drug-mediated sexual contacts & to alleviate chronic trauma/pain (whilst enduring survival sex work), can cause & exacerbate weight loss, immunodeficiency, lymphoma, muscle atrophy, loss of bone density, liver damage, dementia, cancers, self-harming behaviours, depression, suicide ideation.



highwire act/ dark wires untangling

you grab on to the high wires of your life to keep from falling/ looking down/ when did it become a crime to not believe in hope/ such a convenient illusion/ there are no archives in a high wire act/ there is only hanging on/ moment to moment/ eyelash to eyelash/ shoe to shoe/ wire to wire/ there is no remembering dark with water/ just don't let go/ no records as to who has fallen to the ground/ there is no way to sleep/ insomnia is a fugitive's final drug/

high wires grotesque with secrets/ dying fingers pluck the bones/ genuflecting hope/ but the suits almost always win/ the powerful are the powers of indifference/ there were holes in my socks today/ and derelict holes in my skull where my eyes should be/ hope is a renaissance of longing for the void/ the black is closing in/ the wires will sing tonight and quickly through the door/ the sky is raining ticking clocks/ hopefulness is as inexcusable as a dead river and your job is to clean the carp out/ and sweeps the day away/ even the clown is connected tight/ dark wires untangling/


AIDS CRAWLING UP MY SPINE

brainworms

remi has always been the younger dancer among us/ here overlooking the runways of our lives/ some virus hangs between us like an icon/ and you wonder why i left/ remi came to me to apologize/ crawling into my bed/ everything is always remi's fault/ remi hates himself/ it was quite late/ i hate it when they do that/ stay out of my bed/ they never listen/ i'm sorry he said the brainworms are bad tonight/ what do you mean brainworms/ i mean these worms inside my head/ crawling around in my blood/ remi, there is no such thing as worms inside anyone's head that crawl around in blood/ by now i was pissed off/ and wide awake/ you guys never let me sleep/ and you wonder why i left/ but i can see them in my eyes remi said/ there are no brainworms in your eyes i told him/ but i am sorry the brainworms are killing me/ there are no brainworms in your head there is no such thing as a brainworm/ i see them he said/ brainworms/ whatthefuck/ maybe if you hug me they will go away the brainworms/ i doubted it/ but i hugged him anyway/ what did i have to lose but another night of sleep/ the next day i took him to the clinic he has dementia they said/ on the way home he said i am sorry i have brainworms it is all my fault/ remi, what can we do to make the brainworms go away please tell me we can dance he said when we dance they go away/ and so we danced the dances of dementia/ washing my body in the water of that war/


Why are people with AIDS at highest risk for Dementia?

AIDS dementia complex (ADC; also known as HIV dementia, HIV encephalopathy, HIV-associated dementia (HAD) and HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder) is a common neurological disorder associated with HIV infection and AIDS.  It is not a true opportunistic infection, rather one of the few conditions caused directly by HIV itself.  However, it is not quite as simple as that because the central nervous system can be damaged by a number of other causes: opportunistic infections - there are many; primary cerebal lymphoma or metastasis of other AIDS-related cancers; direct effects of HIV in the brain; toxic effects of drug treatments; malnutrition

Delirium: sudden severe confusion and rapid changes in brain function that occur with physical or mental illness.

Delirium occurs frequently in the medically ill and is more likely when a patient's illness is more severe. Many HIV related brain illnesses and most HIV related drugs can also cause delirium. Moreover, two subtypes of delirium, substance intoxication delirium and substance withdrawal delirium may be more prevalent in people with HIV. Finally, HIV-Associated Dementia, a common complication of AIDS, predisposes patients to delirium. Delirium is the most common neuropsychiatric, diagnosis in hospitalized or critically ill HIV -1 infected patients. Estimates of rates of delirium in HIV patients range from 43% to greater than 65% in latest age AIDS.


AIDS dementia at the movies

we were living in a movie/ lucas and i go to the aids dementia clinic and when we are able to leave (with pills) stretched out to some peculiar place and over another peculiar edge/ scattered still we know we’re crazy but how crazy is crazy, crazy/ still, to make this song: i’m thinking pretty crazy, cat/ doctor: so what do you do all day/ we write poetry/ what kind of poetry/ demented poetry/ more pills for the poets/ demented poet pills/ doctor: you’re going to die/ us: we already know that/ we do not get the usual physical examination because we are labeled as: survivors of sexual abuse/ this is good that we are not abused by the aids dementia clinic (same building as the county health department) because we would probably burn it to the ground if they insisted we had to do that and we would not submit anyway/ no one is going to stick his finger up my asshole and that is the end of the discussion/ i may have aids dementia but i am not crazy, crazy/ how men do that i cannot figure and do not want to really know/ they take our blood pressure and that’s it/ the clothes stay on/ purges touch from us/ the instrumentality of self-restraint eludes my ability to remember in linear ways the crazy watchman’s watch/ i can write like this/ but it cannot be called linear/ so we leave the aids dementia clinic and decide to do a hit of  acid each/ it was cold and a deep sound came from it (hearing voices) that said go to the movies/ our finely-tuned and needled arms enmeshed in live coals black as an alkaline tattoo melted on a pair of desert biceps smells like gasoline/ we were living in a movie/ we derive our strength from cooking oil and popcorn and complex images and grey dead hands/ we are the demented/ i couldn’t tell you what film that was we saw (i have dementia and do not remember) but it has wild flashes of color and beautiful women who walked across a room on clouds/ we drag ourselves home to our deserted windmill and would take our swords to commit seppuku (we are in a lot of pain and do not want to live anymore) and cutting up disembowel our subterranean, recoiled circuitry both under and above the ground/ but tomorrow we are going to take some more hits of acid and take the bus like skulls  by this spilling of the light to see the cinema/ we were living in a movie/ 


WHY ARE YOU WATCHING ME DIE




Jumper. A poem by Kieran

We talk about suicide among us boys and we always laugh.

When we talk about how we might do it. Jumpers and gunners and pill poppers.

It is funny.

We are comedians.

But it is not really funny.

Cuz we are serious.

And we will do it.

It will be a mess.

Of blood and bones and fucking virus.


there but for the grace of god/

hiv among the homeless voices/ who do not necessarily remember to take their pills/ pills, pills, and more pills/ take a pill, baby, and the house of rant will suddenly appear/ the moving company will move your stuff in on friday/ please keep the lawn mowed/ pacing back and forth, back and forth/ this animal throwing himself off any number of cliffs/ there are some bushes at the back of the playground where the junkies shoot up junk/ bleach, bleach who brought the bleach: o, no one/ wtf/ we all die anyway/ also by word of mouth needle exchange 6th and market/ it knows in the rant if a lunatic has dignity/ but no/ they're not working hard enough (they lack social skills) so let us punish them/ there's a word for clinical therapy: jail/ the line around the block for a bed in the shelter smells of old men and shoes/ kaposi's sarcoma splotches climbing from the neck into the eyes/ like a roadmap to a purple destination/ community mental health does not treat hiv/ did you bring your medication list/ gotta cigarette/ curio-collecting so morose/ hiv among the homeless/ the blood on the floor of the showers at the shelter and by hope in deadly combat has become a set of wings/ down the drain of which by razor blades/ and suicides/ we have pills for those rants, too/ we all die at county general on the aids ward where the wheelchairs in the hallway are for patients only/ the john doe anonymous (for those who cannot or do not choose to remember their names or their failures) corpse gets a toe tag tied around the big toe with wire when john doe dies thin as gin and there but for the grace of fucking god go the rest of us whose thorazine cages endeavoring to pass as respectable fervently deny such cages hear/


the bed is soaked in sweat again

3am: we have to change the sheets and blankets/ both of us burning from a fever/ is this real the 15-year-old wonders/ yes: i tell him/ the bed is soaked in sweat again/ drenched in sustiva nightmares/ sailing through the vast agean/ whose gorges unexplored since that last dawn of waiting for both of us to die/ has washed my sun with a tongue of redstained torn/ unwrap us suicidal with the blind/ throwing the wet sheets that smell of us pasted together with cum and scissors/ my bandages having leaked blood again/ what abortion has been performed here masturbating on this bed/ lashing in the transatlantic sea/ a crow flies round and round the room/ is it real i wondered yes he said there is a crow flying round and round the room/ the shivering will commence/ even the blankets ancient in their violated sleep/ to make a nest of salt while sky/ o brief epic, despair darks the stain upon the face/ holes and holes and holes in gripping vague as a desert prophet/ swallowed up/ a bonfire inside my eyes/ crowned with my lover's bloody shoes/ the bed is soaked in sweat again/ the sheets are wrung with us/ i am quite beyond the exhausted horizons of any witch of sleep/

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