Stances on the AIDS Antibody TestingHughes
Well, Denny McShane was very concerned about any political people taking away the liberties of people who were gay. And with HTLV-III testing, he took a very firm stance that if that test was to be done, it had to be extremely secret, or maybe not done at all.
At that forum, I probably came out and said that the test could be quite helpful. I think I registered some concern about the fact that safe-sex guidelines needed to be awfully strict. I felt that I left that meeting rather unpopular.
In June of '86, you participated in a program on the antibody test in which you discussed its clinical applications, highlighting the "exceptional" situations in which the test was useful for gay men.
34. "BAPHR co-sponsors meetings," The BAPHRON, vol.8, 34, July/August 1986, 347.
I know we'd had a series of Scientific Affairs Committee meetings on who should be tested and who should not be tested.
― 139 ―That was still before AZT, and we were still probably not recommending the test for everybody.
Well, a year earlier the Executive Board recommended against antibody testing except for "certain special circumstances", which the minutes didn't detail.
35. Sam Thal. Minutes of executive board, July 7, 1985. The BAPHRON. vol. 7, #5, September/October 1985.
Yes. And I think almost every gay publication in 1985 came out, like the New York Native came out, with things like, "Don't take the test." There was really a strong movement against the test until AZT was available. When AZT became more broadly available in the spring of 1987, gay men were encouraged to be tested.