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HIV, in fanfic and in real life - Mo's Journal — LiveJournal
June 21st, 2005
02:03 pm

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HIV, in fanfic and in real life

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From:penknife
Date:June 23rd, 2005 12:00 pm (UTC)
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I've only dealt directly with HIV in "Fear the Rest," where I'm writing Erik as bisexual and active in the gay community in the late 80s and early 90s; it felt necessary to me to have the reality of AIDS touch his life in a personal way, because that's been such an important experience shaping the perspectives of men his age I know. He and Mystique wind up in a situation where she's having casual sex outside the relationship and he's having occasional sex with a partner who's HIV-positive, and their decisions about how to handle that aren't always easy ones.

As a reader, I don't need to see HIV mentioned directly unless there's some reason for it to be an issue. I do like to see condoms used in realistic modern fandoms when it's in character, though. I'll buy that some characters wouldn't practice safer sex -- some characters are risk-takers -- but especially for characters who are responsible and careful in other ways, not using condoms feels OOC to me. It's jarring.

OTOH, I don't write condoms in Star Trek, and would find it silly for them to be used for inter-crew sex; even if Amazing Space Medicine can't prevent all STDs, surely starship crews are tested regularly for communicable diseases. I also don't usually write them in Harry Potter, on the assumption that magic takes care of such things, although I might want to look more closely at that assumption a bit more at some point. And of course in pre-HIV historical settings, the issues with condom use are different -- one of the things I like about C. Elisa's short "Brand New '81 Dodge" is that Erik in early 1981 thinks of condoms as birth control for teenagers, not as a normal part of gay sex.

Personally, I don't find condom use in fanfic a turnoff, but I'm a lesbian in a monogamous relationship, and condoms aren't a part of my own sex life; I think people who do use them in real life may be more likely to not want to deal with them in fantasy as well.
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From:mofic
Date:June 23rd, 2005 12:56 pm (UTC)
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I've only dealt directly with HIV in "Fear the Rest," where I'm writing Erik as bisexual and active in the gay community in the late 80s and early 90s; it felt necessary to me to have the reality of AIDS touch his life in a personal way, because that's been such an important experience shaping the perspectives of men his age I know. He and Mystique wind up in a situation where she's having casual sex outside the relationship and he's having occasional sex with a partner who's HIV-positive, and their decisions about how to handle that aren't always easy ones.

That sounds really interesting. Can you tell me where I could read it?

I think people who do use them in real life may be more likely to not want to deal with them in fantasy as well.

That's a good point and one I hadn't thought of or heard before.

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From:penknife
Date:June 23rd, 2005 01:05 pm (UTC)
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I'll warn you that it's a WIP and hasn't been updated for a quite while, although I've recently started working on it actively again and the next chapter is now in beta. The first five chapters stand fairly well on their own, though. You can find them here, assuming I've figured out how to use tags correctly.

(If you're just curious about the handling of HIV issues, you can skip forward to Chapter 3, but you'll get a better sense of what's going on with the characters if you read the previous two chapters first.)
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