24 AUGUST 1985, Page 21

An awful problem

Sir: It might surprise Paul Johnson (The press, 17 August) that some homosexuals are upset that their friends and acquaint- ances are liable to die in the next few years with an especially nasty set of diseases. Some of us — and I do write personally — have made efforts to promote what we think to be appropriate social adjustments to lessen that risk, while also fostering a community spirit and a wider sense of social responsibility among those of us who persist in regarding ourselves as 'gay men'.

Social responsibility is a reciprocal affair, Mr Johnson: if society launches an all-out attack on homosexuals and homosexual organisations it has no right to expect anything better in return. Aids is indeed an awful problem, but tens or even hundreds of thousands of gay men died, in living memory, as the direct result of Nazism in Europe. If anyone needs locking up in the interests of public health, might I suggest that it is Mr Johnson?

Julian Meldrum

Health columnist, Capital Gay, 38 Mount Pleasant, London WC1