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AIDS and Japanese society
      #24206 - 11/05/01 05:42 AM

I have a close Japanese friend living in Tokyo. He has AIDS and I fear his condition is deteriorating rapidly. When he first told me that he had AIDS he asked me to tell his parents about him and the disease after he was dead - and related to me the extreme shame associated with having a gay son and AIDS in Japan.

I'm not entirely comfortable with this. Firstly, it reminds me that I am not out to my own family and I have some discomfort around this. Secondly, I don't understand the Japanese culture well enough to appreciate the contemporary view of gay men and AIDS in Japan. Thirdly, I don't know my friend's family and don't understand why he would want them to know all of this after he's dead. Fourth, I don't understand why he's asked me to do this.

I could really use some advice with this. I don't understand enough how AIDS affects the body - what the stages of the disease are, what are the various treatments. And I could really use some help researching good sources on Japanese society and culture, especially with respect to the perception of homosexuality and HIV/AIDS.

I am planning a trip to Japan to visit my friend in December 2001. I'd like to be prepared - more prepared than I am now. I am deeply affected by this and I could also use some personal support as well.

I appreciate your help with this and look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you.

..SETH (

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