Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches Act 1, Scene 9 Summary
It's the third week of November.
Roy is at the office of Henry, his doctor.
Henry is explaining to Roy all the facts that are known about the HIV virus.
The doctor says that no one knows where it comes from or how to cure it. It enters the body through a cut or an orifice and attacks the immune system. Eventually it breaks down all the body's defenses against other infections. These infections eventually prove to be fatal.
"That is very interesting, Mr. Wizard, but why the fuck are you telling me this?" says Roy (1.9.3).
Henry points out that Roy has many of the symptoms of the disease.
Roy counters that HIV mostly afflicts drug addicts and homosexuals.
And hemophiliacs, adds the doctor.
Roy says that he's not a drug addict or a hemophiliac.
He dares Henry to call him a homosexual, saying he'll ruin the doctor for saying so.
Henry reminds Roy that he's treated him for years and lots of his treatments have been for venereal diseases – including venereal warts in the rectum.
Roy claims these were from a prostitute in Dallas.
Henry says, yeah, maybe, "but it wasn't a female whore" (1.9.28).
Roy is still daring Henry to say the word homosexual.
Henry puts it simply, saying Roy has had sex with many, many men and now has full-blown AIDS.
Roy tells Henry that he's way too hung up on labels. He says he's not a homosexual just because he has sex with men. Homosexual isn't the right word for him, because homosexuals have no clout. Roy, on the other hand, has tons of clout. He says he can pick up the phone, dial fifteen numbers, and be on the phone with the president's wife.
Roy claims out that the difference between him and every other homosexual in the country is that he can bring whatever guy he's having sex with to the White House and the President will shake both their hands.
He asks Henry again what the diagnosis is.
Henry tells him again that he has AIDS.
No no no, says Roy. "AIDS is what homosexuals have. I have liver cancer" (1.9.41).
Awesome, says Henry.
He tells Roy that there's a new drug called AZT that's got a major wait list. The doctor sarcastically says that Roy ought to call the First Lady up and see if she can get him some of these pills for "liver cancer."
No matter what you want to call it, says Henry, "it boils down to very bad news" (1.9.42).