Empty calories

"The AIDS-activist community is really in a pathetic state," Treatment Action Group founder Peter Staley told New York magazine. "Politically, it's feeding on itself. The egos are enormous, and they unfortunately play a great role in the battle. They are as much a player as the goal of ending the crisis, and I find that infinitely depressing."

Battle of the bulge

Boston's AIDS Action Committee actually wrote down what a lot of people have been thinking: "Oral Sex Is Safer Sex." This stoked the Walt Odets/Gabriel Rotello spit-fight also known as Bathhouse II over whether the gay community should try to close down or more closely monitor its bathhouses.

San Francisco's HIV transmission rate must be really low right now

DNCB Now! doppleganger ACT UP/San Francisco launched a media attack on ACT UP/Golden Gate for auctioning off an autographed photograph of O.J. Simpson. "It is disgusting that an AIDS organization would exploit this tragic situation," says ACT UP/San Francisco member Tamara Sherman. "Simpson was known to beat his wife."

If he can live with Kim Basinger he can live with anything

Animal rights are way cooler than anything else in Hollywood these days. So AIDS-related animal-research controversies have some celebrities at a loss. Frequent red-ribbon man Alec Baldwin, for instance, was forced to improvise what one reporter called "a feeble reply" when on The Charlie Rose Show he was asked how he could support a cause that opposes the use of animals for AIDS research.

A consummate outsider may, however, meet regularly with consummate insider Barbra Streisand

In a visit to AIDS activists this year, Larry Kramer urged the French to avoid the mistakes made by ACT UP/New York. "If you have a choice of being on the inside or being on the outside, stay on the outside," he said. "You must be very careful not to become researchers who take the place of researchers, or doctors who take the place of doctors. Remain activists. Continue to be strong, because you're an inspiration to all those people who are burnt out."