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Many Atlantans are familiar with Sir Elton John’s local ties: his world-famous art collection that helped spark Atlanta’s obsession with photography, his hangouts at the Buckhead Diner, and his affinity for Georgia musicians. However, John’s fans may not appreciate that his most lasting gift to our city may be helping reverse the spread and stigma of AIDS.
As always, supporters eagerly anticipating the city's 20th annual Jeffrey Fashion Cares Monday night at the American Cancer Society Center downtown will likely spend the weekend searching for just the right outfit to wear to the unofficial start of the fall social season. But for others, who have traditionally supported Atlanta and New York retailer Jeffrey Kalinsky's yearly evening of fun, fashion and charitable giving for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure of Greater Atlanta and the Atlanta AIDS Fund, the decision to attend this year is more complicated.
The problem is invisible. The solution is expressed in a symbology that few laypeople can decipher. And despite more than a decade of development, any substantive sign of that solution’s effect on humanity is still, at best, years away. But in terms of impact, it doesn’t get much bigger, clearer, and more immediate than the prospect of a successful HIV vaccine.
A few weeks after Joshua Paul’s death, there was a message on the answering machine for her to call the doctor. And the doctor relayed the news over the phone, as if the message was too difficult to utter in person: Joshua Paul tested positive for HIV, and your whole family needs to be tested.
The tiny dance floor is packed. Guitar riffs flash like lightning from amplifiers three feet above the crush of swaying, sweating dancers. In the men's room, a couple is clumsily trying to have sex standing in the toilet stall next to the overflowing urinal. "Put it there," slurs the dark-haired woman to her obviously smashed partner. Outside, a tourist visiting from Toronto meets an attractive, well-educated woman, a chemist, she tells him. Half an hour later, they are having oral sex in the parking lot alongside someone's parked van. He couldn't remember her name. — Friday night at Carlos McGee's, July 1981