Machos, Maricones, and Gays: Cuba and Homosexuality

By Ian Lumsden | Go to book overview

EIGHT
The Impact of AIDS

BECAUSE OF good fortune, circumstances, and certainly not least its commitment to preserving the health of its population, Cuba has so far been spared the worst effects of the global AIDS epidemic. As of December 31, 1994, Cuba had reported a total of only 342 people who had contracted AIDS, 218 of whom had died from the disease. An additional 1,099 individuals were reported as having tested HIV seropositive. Of these 783 were male and 316 female. Heterosexual males and females represented a clear majority of people who had AIDS or were HIV positive. 1 However, over time homosexual or bisexual males have constituted an increasing proportion of seropositive males, rising from 41 percent in October 1990 to nearly 62.8 percent in December, 1994.

Transmission of the infection has almost invariably occurred through sexual intercourse. Intravenous drug use is extremely rare in Cuba and apparently nobody has been exposed to the infection this way. No more than a handful of people have been infected by exposure to contaminated blood, reflecting the fact that

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