Love’s The Cure

Thank you for including women over 50 in your one-time-only personal ads [“The Love Cure,” February/March 2003]. Dating is hard enough for us gracefully aging boomers without the additional burden of HIV. You’ve shown that we’ve still got some good years left!

-- Sheryl M. Johnson

My heartfelt thanks for including me in POZ. I’ve gotten some great responses and have even met one guy right here in my own city—and we’ve really hit it off!

-- Jason McWilliams
Oklahoma City

I’m still smiling through your personals. I met a guy who seems to be very nice. He is an ex–police officer. We talk every day and exchange pictures. I have not dated or had any romance in quite some time. Thanks again.

-- Ida Byther-Smith

The personal ad you printed was not the ad I submitted. You omitted words, added others I never said and quoted out of context to make the ad look as salacious as possible. Rather than furthering my quest for a mate, I would not be interested in anyone who would respond to the ad as written. You edited out the word outdoors, a major interest of mine, to have more room for your titillating interests. I am extremely upset, embarrassed and angry. You should be ashamed. I can only hope that you run this letter to try to minimize the damage.

-- Jan Lustig
Vancouver, Washington

POZ responds: All the words we used were included in the answers you gave to our questionnaire, although we did edit and rearrange. We regret any pain this brought you—our intention was to help your love life, not to hurt your heart.

Thanks for making my personal ad sound so fun. One problem: My e-mail address should read

-- Jamie Unicorn Escobedo
San Francisco

Dan, Savaged

I was horrified to see columnist Dan Savage quoted as a POZ “friend” in the February/March 2003 issue [“Date Bait”]. Calling him a friend of the HIV community is like calling Jerry Falwell a friend of the gay-rights movement. Savage has consistently choked Seattle AIDS prevention organizations with his narrow-minded calls to ignore the AIDS walk, blind ramblings about the epidemic being over and constant verbal battery of HIVers, saying they cause their own grief. He shouts down from his high and mighty HIV-negative pedestal, blaming positive people for the epidemic. Few people have hurt our local HIV community as much as Dan Savage. As an HIV positive man, I wouldn’t use his column to line a birdcage floor, or even to wipe my butt if I ran out of toilet paper.

-- Beau Burriola

Dan Savage responds: Sometimes you rely on friends to tell you the truth, and in Seattle the truth is that our AIDS organizations are a mess. People here ignore the AIDS walk; I’ve reported on that and speculated as to why. Reporting on something and calling for it are different. Some HIVers are the cause of their own grief—and many HIVers cause others grief.

I think we’re past the point when we had to slap a smiley-face on every problem. We’re definitely past the point when no one could pass judgment on an HIVer’s actions. Once, having HIV was so awful that HIVers pretty much got a pass. They weren’t long for this earth, so why burden them with uncomfortable truths, criticism and appeals to responsible behavior? (Like “It’s immoral to pass the virus on”—one of the controversial stands I’ve taken). Today, HIVers have to be held to account. It may seem like “verbal battery” to the letter writer, but that’s only because he, like many HIVers, is unaccustomed to criticism.

A Bright Hydeia

I was delighted by the article on Hydeia Broadbent [“America’s Sweetheart,” February/March 2003]. I saw Hydeia on Donahue when she was very young, and I’ve always wondered what happened to her. Her story brought tears to my eyes, reminding me that people are still not educated enough to know HIV is no joke. She’s straight up with people and doesn’t sugarcoat anything.

-- Sam Bartley
Columbia, South Carolina

Unpopular Science

Your reviewer Lawrence Goodman said he didn’t find John Crewdson’s Science Fictions, a substantial documentation of Robert Gallo’s dishonesty, convincing by page 240 [“A Gallo Gotcha,” February/March 2003]. Yet my copy of the book has 619 pages of text, notes and Web resources. Goodman may have bridled at Crewdson’s painstaking accumulation of evidence, but that’s how investigative journalism works.

Crewdson leaves no doubt that Gallo ran the most dishonest, venal lab in National Institutes of Health history. Gallo stonewalled the investigators, had odd memory lapses and changed his story when confronted by contrary evidence. The man is a thug. The truth is not in him. That’s why the book is so important.

-- Paul Varnell

Mothers’ Day

HIV positive women can have negative babies, but reproductive rights are denied them by a conspiracy withholding information [“Baby Love,” December 2002]. I know. I’m an HIV-certified obstetric nurse. Since 1995 I have advocated for pregnant women with HIV. My program has a less than 1 percent transmission rate. Health professionals are not eager for this to be known. Practitioners abhor the idea of positive women becoming pregnant. Women are made to feel as if they’re homicidal for planning a pregnancy. It’s hard to speak up when the people who are supposed to care for you are so prejudiced. I thank Dawn Averitt, the 437 HIV negative babies born in my program thank her, and their mothers are beamingly proud of her because she is speaking for them.

-- Ana Rua Dobles, RN, BSN
Orlando, Florida

Send letters, including name, address and daytime phone number to: The Editor, POZ, One Little West 12th Street, 6th Floor, New York City, New York 10014; or e-mail us at: Printed letters may be edited for length and clarity. We regret that we cannot answer all mail