AIDS and Fandom
|Tropes and genres|
|Related tropes/genres||Safe Sex and Fandom|
|Related articles on Fanlore.|
AIDS or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome has been used as a fanfic trope. It was especially common in the 1990s in slash fandom, and, to a lesser extent, in the predominantly het fandom Beauty and the Beast. Meanwhile, some fans also participated in AIDS-related fannish charity.
In many ways, the trope mirrored the growing awareness of AIDS in society. The theme was most often favored by fan writers who focused on gay activism issues.
(The Safe Sex and Fandom page includes a historical overview of how STDs (including HIV/AIDS) were covered in fanworks in various fandoms.)
Fannish charity and AIDS
There have also been AIDS-focused charity zines.
AIDS in Fanworks
The subject of AIDS in fanworks has followed, to some degree, the same trajectory of opinion on the subject as in mainstream culture. Ignored, feared, misunderstood, as the subject of realistic discussion, optimism, it's all mirrored in the fiction.
...to the lady(?) who brought up the idea of Bodie suffering AIDS - I defend to the last her right to write what she likes. I only say that if any one is mistaken enough to give me the story to read without warning me first I shall write my definitive story of "Bodie has piles" (a hazard of gay sex that up to now everyone has happily ignored), send free copies of it to everyone I know in the hatstand world and never write another word of fan fiction. I got out of K/S because I was sickened by some of the topics that were beginning to emerge in that fandom.
Fanworks Featuring AIDS
- (date unknown) Starsky & Hutch: "Confessions" by Elizabeth Lowry has the two men each taking an AIDS test, "The fear bled from Starsky's eyes and he buried his face in his hands. 'God--'he breathed, '--all those transfusions... all those--lovers...' His voice broke."
- (date unknown) Starsky & Hutch: "Life, Not Style" by jat sapphire deals with the subject. "'Think the test results'll be back today?' Starsky's voice made it clear enough that he knew how forlorn the hope was, so Hutch didn't bother to deflate it."
- (1989) Beauty and the Beast: "The Quality of Mercy" in the zine Above and Below #2. In it, Lucy, dying of AIDS, seeks shelter in the Tunnel world and Vincent must fight the council on her behalf.
- (1991) Star Trek TOS and Star Trek: The Motion Picture: "War!" by Geoff Allshorn in the 'zine Spock #61. A metaphoric story about the proliferation of a mind virus that is inadvertently spread initially by Spock after his mind meld with the V'Ger probe, which begins to cripple and even kill crewmembers who enjoy recreational 'blooping' (mind melding between consenting adults). Kirk must appeal to the Organians to cast aside their prejudice against such interrelationships, and help to cure those who are dying. The metaphor of war is invoked, revisiting that terrible era when many people were dying in real life. This story foreshadows a similar treatment about mind melding as an HIV/AIDS analog in a 2003 episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, but without the episode's judgmental innuendo that assigned 'guilt' or 'innocence' to those with the affliction.
- (1993 or before) The Professionals: "Action = Life" by Nina Boal in the 'zine Continental B and D: Have Partner, Will Travel has Bodie contracting AIDS.
- (1992) The Professionals: Shadows Over the Land by Nina Boal is a novel that deals with AIDS (dedicated to the memory of several of the author's friends who died of AIDS). "A tabloid not only brings economic hard times. Ray must struggle on his own. But what of Bodie. his lover? And what is Ray's role within the burgeoning anti-AIDS movement?"
- (1992) War of the Worlds: "Those Who Wait" by Jeanne O'Donnell in the zine Green Eggs and Ham. Sam is Norton Drake this time, and he is paralyzed, within weeks of dying of AIDS.
- (1993) The Professionals: Sword of Damocles by Trish Darbyfield. Summary: "A CI5-based Bodie/Doyle novel in which the spectre of AIDS, new on the scene in the time period, hangs over Bodie's head for his activities in Africa years before, and a few encounters with old mates since"
- (1995) Kiefer/Lou: several stories in Interludes #4 address the topic
- (between 1996 and 1999) Due South: "Lying in Unfamiliar Arms, and Where There is Life" by Gillian Middleton deals with AIDS. It is in the zine Pure Maple Syrup #4.
- (1998) The Sentinel: "A Place Where No Shadows Fall" by Emily Brunson
- (1999) The Sentinel: zine In Another Life by Saraid and Sinaed - "Blair has lots of sex partners and gets AIDS. As he nears the end of his life, Jim takes him into his home so that Blair might live the remainder of his days as comfortable possible and in the company of his best friend."
- (2000) The Sentinel: the charity zine (proceeds went to an HIV positive support group) World AIDS Day by April Valentine. Summary: "Jim and Blair must deal with their relationship, and the threat of the deadly virus striking close to home. Not a death story, but deals with the reality of AIDS."
- (2003) Sorcerer Hunters: "Sanctuary", an incomplete Marron/Gateau AU fic where Marron contracted AIDS through unknown means, and his former lover Gateau intends to take care of him.
- (2004) multifandom: Battle of Hope is an AIDS-themed charity zine.
- (2007) Bandom: Home is a Name by Arsenic Jade includes HIV-positive Gerard and Frank. Gerard gets dangerously ill at one point, but recovers. No one dies.
- (2007) Stargate Atlantis: In earth-based AU "Ring of Fire (Nails Driven Through the Steel)" by busaikko, John has AIDS.
- (2008) Stargate Atlantis: In "A Pocket Full of Posies" by giogio, John is HIV-positive.
- Risky Business: "3" and the Age of AIDS, an X-Files meta by PlaidAdder, episode specific (August 7, 2015)
- What happened with hivliving - fundraising scam in the Hamilton fandom where two sockpuppet accounts by one person were created that claimed to be HIV positive to scam money from other fans.
- As reported in the StrangeWorld article Science Fiction Fans and Charity, Archived version published in 1994: "One enduring relationship between a fandom and a charity is between ZebraCon and the Pediatric AIDS Foundation. ZebraCon is a convention focusing on the 1970s cop show Starsky and Hutch. Series star Paul Michael Glaser (Starsky) now enjoys a successful directing career. Because his work is now behind the camera, many people remain unaware of the personal tragedy he and his family have suffered. Due to pregnancy complications, Glaser's wife, Elizabeth, received a blood transfusion tainted with the HIV virus. She and both children were exposed to the virus. Their daughter Ariel died from AIDS; Elizabeth and her son continue to battle against this disease. Elizabeth and others who had lost children to AIDS established the Pediatric AIDS Foundation. As the Starsky and Hutch fandom became smaller, ZebraCon became a biannual convention and expanded to include other "buddy" shows such as The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and the British spy serial The Professionals. But the original convention charity has never been forgotten. Fund-raising for the Pediatric AIDS Foundation remains a major focus not only of the convention, but of many fandom pursuits. Proceeds from a second printing of The Professionals fanzine House of Cards go to the Foundation. Items donated for auction at this past ZebraCon included Starsky and Hutch action figures, posters, books, magazines, games, and the record album recorded by David Soul (Hutch from the series). Media artist Suzanne Lovett donated a commission piece that sold for over $200."
- from The Hatstand Express #9
- originally posted to livejournal