Infect me. I don’t care.


Louis’s contradictory attitude about sex reflects the dilemma of sex or AIDS that facing by the queer community at that time.

In Act 1 Scene 4, after Louis visited Prior in the hospital, he went to the park and hooked up with another man. In the beginning, the man didn’t want to use the “rubber”, but Louis consisted that he wouldn’t have sex without the “rubber”. At this point, as a gay man who just saw his boyfriend suffering a lot from AIDS, Louis was really terrified by AIDS and can give up anything, either boyfriend or sex, to get rid of AIDS. However, when the condom broke, it was Louis who wanted to keep going without the rubber but the man who chose to leave. So, what made Louis change in such a short time? When they have sex, Louis was not a gay man who has a sick boyfriend anymore, he was just a man who wants to be happy at this moment. His fear of AIDS went away just like the shame of having sex in a public place. Louis’s words “Infect me. I don’t care. I don’t care” are also the voice of a group of other gay men like him at that time. For them, life just becomes another thing, like family, like social status, that they need to sacrifice to be themselves.

Having sex and taking the risk of AID or yielding to AIDS and saying no to sex is a hard choice to make for not only Louis and this man but the whole queer community at that time. The author, by letting the rubber brock, shows how even the thought of AIDS can make gay people change their behavior and how greatly AIDS affects queer people. Louis and that man’s vacillation also reflects other queer people’s vacillation. Rather than being clear about what they exactly want to do toward AIDS, there is also a group of people that are still being shocked by AIDS, can’t get used to it, and don’t know what to do.

3 thoughts on “Infect me. I don’t care.”

  1. I think that Louis’s decision in that moment also reflects on how he processes grief as a character. Although Prior didn’t die, the loss of him in Louis’s life loosened Louis’s grip of control. In this moment Louis also mentions that he wants this man to “hurt [him], make [him] bleed”, and the man agrees that he wants to hurt Louis, possibly so it can dull the pain of his break up with Prior (Kushner 57).
    Although the main point behind this scene is to demonstrate the opposing viewpoints during the AIDS crisis, it also connects to the theme of cycles of pain and how Louis sought out pain to heal his own, but the process just puts Louis back at the start.

    1. I agree with this, and also think that this moment serves as an example of Louis’s self-sabotaging personality. Throughout the play, he is shown to be extremely uncomfortable with other people’s pain. That being said, he selfishly complains about his own hurt to Belize and Prior, even having the nerve to say he is bruised on the inside to Prior, who is himself covered in actual bruises and lesions. Following his separation with Prior, he engages in many impulsive and self-destructive behaviors, seemingly to make up for the guilt he feels for abandoning Prior. He also emphasizes to others the pain he feels from the guilt itself. Overall, I think this moment shows one instance of Louis acting out in order to justify the hurt he caused Prior to himself.

  2. I agree that Louis’s intentions and motivations change as the scene progresses. I also think that Louis’s reaction to Priors illness is a way of him grieving his death preemptively because he believes that Prior wont survive. His loss of his original limits is his own defeat in accepting what he believed to be the fate of both himself and Prior as gay men during the aids epidemic.

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