SEXUAL ECOLOGY: AIDS and the Destiny of Gay Men by Gabriel Rotello
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SEXUAL ECOLOGY: AIDS and the Destiny of Gay Men

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A compelling warning about gay culture and the imperative need for a change in beliefs and behavior, issued by a gay activist and journalist. Rotello, a founding editor of Outweek magazine and former columnist for New York Newsday, once promoted the belief that it was simply an accident that in the United States AIDS first manifested itself among gay men. Here he dismisses that notion with persuasive scientific and epidemiological data. The term ""sexual ecology"" refers to all the biological and behavioral factors that influence the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. According to Rotello, ""the simultaneous introduction of new behaviors and a dramatic rise in the scale of old ones produced one of the greatest shifts in sexual ecology ever recorded,"" one that had ""a decisive impact on the transmission of virtually every sexually transmitted disease, of which HIV was merely one, albeit the most deadly."" The new behaviors that Rotello cites are multipartner anal sex, particularly in core groups centered in commercial sex establishments, widespread abuse of recreational drugs, and high intakes of immune-system-compromising anti-biotics to deal with high rates of hepatitis, herpes, syphilis, and other sexually transmitted infections. The key to AIDS prevention, cautions Rotello, lies not in technological fixes but in changes in the way gays live. Rotello's message that absolute sexual freedom has been biologically disastrous for gay men and that behavioral changes are crucial has been carefully and convincingly laid out. In his closing, Rotello offers up for discussion his own suggestions for building a healthy and positive gay culture. Well aware that his call for increased sexual restraint will be seen as reactionary and homophobic by those who cling to an orgiastic view of gay liberation, he anticipates their arguments and answers them persuasively in this impressive analysis of a pressing social problem.

Pub Date: April 21st, 1997
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Dutton