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Montrose Voice, No. 139, June 24, 1983
File 018
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Montrose Voice, No. 139, June 24, 1983 - File 018. 1983-06-24. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. September 26, 2020. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/1787/show/1771.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(1983-06-24). Montrose Voice, No. 139, June 24, 1983 - File 018. Montrose Voice. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/1787/show/1771

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Montrose Voice, No. 139, June 24, 1983 - File 018, 1983-06-24, Montrose Voice, University of Houston Libraries, accessed September 26, 2020, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/1787/show/1771.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Montrose Voice, No. 139, June 24, 1983
Contributor
  • McClurg, Henry
Publisher Community Publishing Company
Date June 24, 1983
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
  • Gay liberation movement
Place
  • Houston, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 22329406
Collection
  • University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
  • LGBT Research Collection
  • Montrose Voice
Rights In Copyright
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 018
Transcript JUNE 24, 1983 / MONTROSE VOICE 17 Health Delta Agent: A Scenario By Harvey Thompson, M.D. (Editor's Note: This month Dr. Thompson departs from a strictly factual column to indulge in a bit of medical science fiction. It's an intriguing connection of several bits of factual information that affect all of us which may raise important questions in your mind.) New York Gays had vactioned in Haiti for years. Creole Charlie always said it was because he and his fellow Haitians were French instead of Spanish like the Dominicans next door, or English like Jamaicans further south. Whatever the reason, it was common knowledge that you could pick up one of the easy-going Haitian hustlers off the beaches of Port- au-Prince for the cost of a drink and a U.S. $10 bill. By the late 70s, it had become such a populor vaction spot that there were all- gay cruises to Haiti each winter. In 1977 there was an explosion at a top- secret Russian biological lab in Sverdlovsk that contaminated the surrounding countryside. An epidemic of deadly anthrax broke out a few weeks later; the government ofthe United States officially asked for an explanation. By 1978, the U. S. Department of Defense permitted its Biological Warefare Division to clone Pseudomonas exotoxin by recombinant DNA experiments. It was no secret that the United States was loosening up on its observance of the Biological Weapons Convention of 1975, In the Congressional Record of the next year, botulism, anthroex cholera, and diphtheria were listed as the bacterial toxins currently under study. But the real interest was in viruses They were much more difficult to detect, and far easier to transmit. At any rate, the Biological Weapons Convention had never actu ally barred research into possible agents, only development of new ones. From Brazil 1979 came reports of a mysterious "Delta Agent" that turned ordinary viruses like hepatitis-B into dangerous killers. The combination was deadly; more than half the victims ofthe Brazilian epidemic died. Delta Agent was frightening; it had never been isolated, and could only be detected through a complex antibody test in research labs. It seems to be a tiny, subviral particle. But also in 1979, the U.S. Public Health Service opened an office in Port au-Prince to study the African Swine Fever virus that was decimating the entire pig population of Haiti. With Cuba only 20 miles away, the concern was that the U.S.S.R. was backing Castro with biological warfare aimed at creating economic and social unrest in Haiti. Security was tightened when news came of the Brazilian "killer hepatitis." The Public Health Service began an investigation of the second epidemic. When the Delta Agent was finally isolated, the information went straight to the Surgeon General's office, stamped "TOP SECRET: EYES ONLY." C. Everett Koop was appointed Surgeon General by President Ronald Reagan in 1980. The appointee had made a famous statement the year before; he had warned that Gay Rights would lead to the production of "100,000 homosexual and lesbian test-tube babies to give the gay movement more political clout." A few gay leaders took him seriously enough to wonder about his mental stability, and began calling him "Dr. Kook," worrying about what he had in mind for gay health. But the medical community had always learned from the gay community. Some bigoted investigators privately referred to gays as "giddy guinea pigs." The hepatitis-B vaccine had been developed only because of gay willingness to serve as test volunteers. Gay blood was teaching medical investigators a lot about viruses in general. One such virus—Cytomegalovirus—was ubiquitous in the gay community. It had long before been found incorporated into the DNA of a rare cancer called Kaposi's sarcoma, and was known to be a potent suppressor of the immune system. Yet generally, CMV was a relatively benign virus that at worst left the victim feeling tired for a few weeks, as if he had Mononucleosis. Still, it had long been thought that viruses had some link to cancer, possibly causing it. President Nixon badly wanted to prove this connection and earn the title of "the President who had cured cancer." Meanwhile, Creole Charlie, like all the hustlers on the beaches of Haiti was feeling the effects ofthe slipping economy in the United States. His friends used to call him "C.C." for his initials, but lately they had changed that to "G.C." because he was always getting the clap, and the Tetracycline tabs he bought at the pharmacy didn't work all that well any more. His doctor called him "Juan-pepitas-de- manzana"—"Johnny Appleseed." Charlie didn't know the story of the man who spread apple trees all over the United States; he thought the name came from the fact that he had met the doctor while eating an apple. The hustlers all knew that Americans had the best medicines. Their shots seemed especially good for the "maladies venereales" that they often caught from Yankee tricks. So, when the American doctor in the expensive suite offered him $100 to participate in something he called "vaccine trails," Charlie was only too happy to accept. Charlie's arm was still sore as he walked away from the office of the U.S. Public Health Service in the new building just constructed for the Agency For International Development, Sudamerica. All the people had been very nice, especially the doctor who had brought him to the nice big office behind a door marked "Project Delta." The doctor had unlocked his black leather bag and brought out the vaccine himself; he said it was a "new kind of penicillin," and Charlie could tell it was expensive stuff because it was inside a special metal cylinder with red labels all over it. Charlie was feeling great about the day. He was going to get well, he had $100 in his pocket, and there was a whole shipload of New York gays just pulling into port. Business was looking up, and he should be able to grab a large part of it while the shot was still working. Thank God for America! And AIDS began in Haiti. EPILOGUE: Medical science fiction? Yet the following parts are true: Delta Agent, Dr. Koop and his quote, the information on CMV, the African Swine Fever epidemic, the portion on biological welfare, and the health office in Haiti. The last section can't be proved: Creole Charlie died last year. Of Kaposi's sarcoma. '1983 Stonewall Features Syndicate
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