The acting Medical Officer of Health in Toronto, Dr. Bryan Gibson, is recommending that a free bottle of bleach be given to illegal drug users so that they can sterilize their needles. He called this a “vital first step” in reaching intravenous drug users and thus helps prevent the spread of AIDS. “I don’t see it as encouraging drug use,” he said. “I see it as preventing the transmission of the AIDS virus.” The plan is to distribute five thousand kits of bleach, with instructions on how to sterilize needles and syringes, together with condoms and lubricants. Vancouver and San Francisco have already begun similar programmes.
In New York, 36 per cent of AIDS cases are drug related. In Canada, three per cent are drug related.
Federal Depravity: The art of shocking
The Toronto Globe and Mail reported on August 12, that Ottawa student Corey O’Neil (among others) had strongly objected to Richard Fund’s videos called Chinese Characters, on view at the National Gallery. “I couldn’t believe they would show such material in the National Gallery,” he said. “The video showed close-ups of male genitals and intercourse between males. I’m fairly liberal-minded but at that point I left in shock.”
Susan Ditta, assistant curator of film and video defended the videos as unquestionably works of art, which explore difficult questions of our time – sexual identity and the role of the media in people’s lives. “We want people to see videos as modern historical works of art and to have some background on them,” she said.
In May, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Toronto Cardinal Carter, ordered Covenant House to stop handing out condoms as an AIDS preventative measure. A teacher of social work at Ryerson Polytechnical, John Hunter, has now asked the Ontario College of Certified Social Workers to overturn this policy. “This is unethical behaviour.” He said. “Their decision was based solely on Catholic doctrine and dogma which have not place in this debate – it is strictly a health issue.”
Presumably the Cardinal will be amused at this social worker’s ex Cathedra pronouncement that sodomy is not a moral question. The College denied the request.