Wednesday, April 9, 2008

AIDS Prickers, Trinidad, 1986

Trinidad Express [Port of Spain, Trinidad]
9 April 2008

Getting under their skin

Courtenay Bartholomew

[...] Now, in the early period of the epidemic when it was foolishly thought that AIDS only occurred in the homosexual community (in February 1986, a few days before the Carnival), there was a widespread and false rumour that certain homosexual men were pricking revellers with needles at public fetes. The rumour quickly reached the Trinis in "Brooklyn" and everyone feared that it would stop the Carnival (as if that could needle anybody into stopping the Carnival. Certainly not rain!). There was national panic. The press immediately rang me and a front page headline of the Trinidad Guardian of February 7, 1986 read: "Bartholomew scotches rumours that needle pricks can cause AIDS.'' It was eventually a fearless Carnival. [...]