“How to Have Sex in an Epidemic” (May 1983)

Gay Press Association Award for Outstanding Achievement in Community Projects, 1983.


“It was How to Have Sex in an Epidemic…that pioneered the approach to safer sex which we recognize today. By deducing a means by which gay men could continue to ‘have sex in an epidemic’ but take rational precautions to make that sex safer, [Richard Berkowitz and Michael Callen, under the scientific supervision of their physician, Dr. Joseph Sonnabend] provided the model for safer sex campaigns ever since.”

Edward King, author of Safety in Numbers

“This is the sanest, most sensible advice I’ve read yet about AIDS.”

Edmund White, author of States of Desire, Genet

“At last: a response to the effect of AIDS on our lives that goes beyond fears and myths to suggest positive actions.”

Dennis Altman, author of Gore Vidal’s America

“Particularly well-done.”

Village Voice

“It urges a sensible restriction of sex among currently promiscuous homosexual males.”

New York Review of Books

“The useful thing about it is that it is precisely about how to have sex, not a warning not to.”

Body Politic (Toronto)

“The only literature yet produced by this particular crisis in human affairs, is this touchingly funny, very instructive 40-page pamphlet.”

— Peter Fisher, author of AIDS: Your Questions Answered

“Sympathetic…their recommendations are appropriate for all sexually active people.”

Frontiers Magazine


The text of “HOW TO HAVE SEX IN AN EPIDEMIC: One Approach”

Click each thumbnail below from (left to right) to enlarge and read:

— The End —

Dr. Joseph Sonnabend, Michael Callen & me, 1993

3 Responses to ““How to Have Sex in an Epidemic” (May 1983)”

  1. Christoph Gysin Says:

    Hello Richard

    We are working on a book about AIDS in Basel (Switzerland).
    The book tells the story about how the HIV virus came from Africa over Amerika to Switzerland, about the people getting infected, about fear, sadness and hope.

    May I asked you kindly if we could print the cover of the brochure “How to have sex in an epidemic war” in our book?

    The editor of the book will be the Aids Foundation Basel.

    Kinde Regards

  2. […] guidelines was inspired by a 1983 pamphlet, written during the start of the AIDS crisis, called “How to Have Sex During an Epidemic,” which pioneered the public health strategy of harm reduction and safer […]

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