Have HIV-positive people become invisible?

An evening with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (a movement against AIDS, against shame and for joy and condoms) is always an opportunity to learn something.

caf%C3%A9 lunettes rougesDuring the screening in the premises of the CFDT of the documentary “ And your sister! ” (a film on the origin of the Sisters and their struggles), I meet Didier Dubois-Laumé, founder of the Cafe Red Glasses. The Café is a welcoming place for HIV-positive people, open on weekends and public holidays. It takes place at the LGBT Center in Paris, near the Pompidou Center, a very central place. It allows HIV-positive people to come and find a little human warmth, even a little warmth altogether, on days when everything is closed. More generally, it is one of the only places to welcome HIV-positive people outside the hospital environment (since 2010 and the closure of Arc en Ciel, the similar structure of Aids), whose public is rather made up of precarious people.

So I ask Didier how Café Lunette Rouges has been going since my December 2010 visit. “The cafe is closed,” he told me, to my surprise. Following an altercation with an HIV-positive person, Christine Le Doaré, the director of the LGBT Center, decides to close its doors at the Red Glasses Café.

“It’s a pretext,” Didier told me, “because relations with the Center had deteriorated sharply. They felt that it was not a place of welcome, that there were too many precarious people, and therefore that it harmed the image of the LGBT Center. But where to go? You still have to know that only 1 in 2 HIV-positive people work, which means that their income is the AAH (Disabled Adult Allowance), which is not a huge budget. We don’t live with AHA, we survive. » (The maximum amount of the AAH is 743 Euros). (See the video)


The closure of the Red Glasses Café is in line with one of the remarks of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence during the debate that followed the screening of the film. “Today people with HIV only have the right to exist if they don’t look sick, if they have a job, if they are well in every respect. But we must say the effect of tritherapies, we must take care of the sick, and not deny their existence” said Sister Mystrah. According to Didier, this denial of HIV-positive people has a reason:

“LGBT associations are afraid that people with HIV will damage their image. Gays, for example, work hard for legislative progress, have eyes only for gay marriage and same-sex parenting. HIV-positive people risk blurring their message, so they prefer to put them aside”.

Because the Café is not the only place to welcome HIV-positive people to have closed. A similar structure recently closed in Nantes. Is it a general movement?

” I’m wondering. It’s not a statement, but it might be interesting to think about it. »

A question shared by Sister Rose, from the convent of Paname:

“We can indeed wonder about these two trends. On the one hand, the socially integrated seropositives, rather young, who have not experiencedAZTare not lipodystrophiéshave a job and live quietly in a small apartment in Paris, like for example the seropotes. And on the other, this public of the Café Glasses Reds, who lives a double pain between illness and precariousness. At the same time nobody takes care of these people, we can’t pretend they don’t exist! »

Didier is not giving up and is looking for a new place for the Café Glasses Reds.

“I have been looking for a place for 9 months. But I don’t want to accept any place, which would be away from everything, I don’t want to create a ghetto for HIV-positive people. You need a place where things happen other than the Café, where you meet other people. »

Can’t the Paris City Hall offer him anything?

“The Town Hall doesn’t get involved, because it doesn’t want to disown the LGBT center it funds… But I keep looking. “.

AIDS has not disappeared: the number of contaminations in France is relatively stable, around 7,000 new cases per year. Precariousness either (I have the impression that on this side it is not going to work out).

I therefore take this opportunity to appeal to all those of goodwill: if you know of such a place, if you are ready to welcome the Café Glasses Reds, do not hesitate to contact Didier.

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Have HIV-positive people become invisible?

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