Andrew Sullivan: Author compares Covid-19 to AIDS, Internet says 'HIV isn't airborne'

Andrew Sullivan spoke on the media's misrepresentation of the Delta variant and said that people have to learn to live with the like he did with HIV

                            Andrew Sullivan: Author compares Covid-19 to AIDS, Internet says 'HIV isn't airborne'
Andrew Sullivan talks at George Washington University on April 4, 2014 in Washington, (Photo by TJ Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)

Andrew Sullivan, a Provincetown resident, Conservative author and LGBTQ media figure, spoke on CNN's 'Reliable Sources' on Sunday, August 8, to discuss how the media misrepresented the recent Delta virus outbreak in his town. According to the World Health Organization, the Delta strain, which was initially discovered in India in October 2020, has been found in more than 130 nations across the world. It is said to be the most contagious coronavirus variant.

After a busy and wet Fourth of July vacation brought hundreds of guests to the resort, Delta virus cases spiked, including "breakthrough" instances of persons who had been vaccinated but became ill. According to a CDC report published on July 30, 469 people who were in the area between July 3 through July 17 "tested positive for the coronavirus," of whom 74% were vaccinated, Edge reported. 


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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which updated their Delta variant fact sheet on Friday, August 6, noted, “The Covid-19 vaccines authorized in the United States are highly effective at preventing severe disease and death, including against the Delta variant. But they are not 100% effective and some fully vaccinated people will become infected (called a breakthrough infection) and experience illness. For such people, the vaccine still provides them strong protection against serious illness and death.”

However, one fact was missing from the Edge report. The fact that "the outbreak overlapped with July Fourth weekend and 'Bear Week,' Provincetown's annual gathering of gay men; 85% of the identified infections were in males. In the summer, the town's population swells to approximately 60,000 people". Sullivan told CNN's 'Reliable Sources' that the media had missed "almost everything" in its coverage of the Provincetown cluster, assuring presenter Brian Stelter that "it is extremely normal right now. We're something like 3% positivity."

Conservative gay writer and commentator Andrew Sullivan gives his keynote speech at the 2004 Log Cabin Republicans National Convention and Liberty Education Forum National Symposium April 16, 2004 in Palm Springs, California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)


Who is Andrew Sullivan?

Andrew Michael Sullivan is a British-American author, editor, and blogger. He was born in South Godstone, Surrey, England, into a Roman Catholic family of Irish descent. He grew up in the nearby town of East Grinstead, West Sussex and was educated at Reigate Grammar School. His classmates included Labour Party leader Keir Starmer and Conservative member of the House of Lords Andrew Cooper. 

Sullivan attended Magdalen College, Oxford, where he was awarded a first-class Bachelor of Arts in modern history and modern languages. In his second year, he was elected President of the Oxford Union for Trinity term 1983. In 1986, he received a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and in 1990, he received a Doctor of Philosophy in Government from Harvard. 'Intimations Pursued: The Voice of Practice in the Conversation of Michael Oakeshott'.

Sullivan is also a political commentator, a former editor of The New Republic, and the author or editor of six books. According to the Harvard Magazine, Sullivan got his MPA. in 1986, his PhD in 1990, and was the editor of a political blog called The Daily Dish, which he started in 2000. He later shifted his blog to several venues, such as Time, The Atlantic, The Daily Beast, and lastly to an independent subscription-based model. In 2015, he declared his retirement from blogging. Sullivan was a writer-at-large in New York from 2016 until 2020. In July 2020, he began his newsletter, The Weekly Dish.



He hired Stephen Glass, Ruth Shalit

Sullivan has earned many a critic over his career. David French in his recent New York Times article on Andrew Sullivan wrote: "When he is wrong, he is wrong loudly. With feeling." Journalist Mark Ames has charged that Sullivan lacks journalistic integrity and has been responsible for a number of unethical and misleading articles during his career. In an article in The Daily Banter, titled 'If Andrew Sullivan is "The Future of Journalism" then Journalism is F*cked', Ames wrote about how Sullivan brought in former journalist Stephen Glass, known for his fabricated pieces, as an intern, then as his personal assistant.

"He not only brought Stephen Glass into The New Republic as a kind of time-delay WMD, but he also was responsible for what would have been The New Republic’s most shameful episode in journalism fraud had Glass not topped her a few years later: Ruth Shalit", he wrote. Shalit was dismissed from The New Republic following claims of plagiarism and inaccuracy. In other news, Sullivan has also claimed to have been a daily user of marijuana since 2001, according to the New York Magazine.

Sullivan says 'we're not at any great risk' from Covid-19

In 2001, it was discovered that Sullivan had placed anonymous internet ads for unprotected anal intercourse with "other HIV-positive males," particularly with "other HIV-positive men", according to Salon. He talked with CNN about living with HIV after being diagnosed 28 years ago. "It isn't gone. It's hiding there in the bone marrow. I've been able to repress it dramatically so it doesn't affect me. But then I go about my life and I live. You can, when you grab a new virus, lose perspective and think, 'All I have to do is to kill this virus'," he said. "The goal is to live with these things, not to have some false triumph over them. And so, vaccination really will help people get back to normal. And in ways that we can then clear our minds, and realize we're not really at any great risk. We really aren't; that's hard to believe, I know it, but we aren't," he added,



People on Twitter discussed Sullivan's comments on CNN. "Andrew Sullivan says we might have to learn to live with Covid. Says he’s been living with HIV AIDS for years. But HIV Aids is not airborne," said a Twitter user.

Another shared a 2001 article by The Nation in this regard. The article described Sullivan as a 'neoconservative gay pundit', Sullivan placed an anonymous personal ad on, which bills itself as the “one-stop source for bareback [unprotected anal] sex.” He went by the screen name "RawMuscleGlutes," submitted two headless photos, and asked for bareback intercourse, preferably (but not only) with other HIV-positive males. Other site visitors, maybe someone with whom Sullivan had sexual contact, uncovered Sullivan's identity. The story broke on LGNY in an article written by gay columnist Michelangelo Signorile. People on Twitter further commented on Sullivan's remarks on CNN. "It's come to my attention that Andrew Sullivan has some new hot takes on COVID-19. He had a lot of terribly bad, typically hypocritical, takes on HIV/AIDS and gay culture back in the 90s and early 2000s too.," said a tweet linking the 2001 article. "A ludicrous comparison from a ludicrous person," another added.