Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

AIDS: Dick Uyvari, Surviving the AIDS wars
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times
2011-11-02

This article shared 4622 times since Wed Nov 2, 2011
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Dick Uyvari is emotional, teary-eyed when talking about the gay Chicago bowler, "John," who was in the Lincoln Park Lagooners league during the fall of 1980. The league used nearly all of the 40-lane house with its 200-plus bowlers, playing on Thursday nights.

"John" was tall, handsome, muscular and very personable, Uyvari said.

In October of that year, about a month or so after the league started, "John" was suddenly absent.

"We noticed [ that he wasn't around anymore ] , but didn't think much of it at first, as people often would come and go in the league," Uyvari said. "Weeks later, we learned that he was sick and went to stay with close relatives in Arizona."

A few months later—in February, 1981—Uyvari and the rest of the bowlers learned that "John" had died, even though the friend they knew was, on the surface, "a perfectly healthy guy, in fact the very epitome of health," Uyvari said.

"Word spread that he had gotten some type of fungus, and dropped from 180 to 90 pounds, having just wasted away. Doctors weren't able to do anything for him. We were shocked.

"In retrospect, it's pretty obvious what happened: he had died from AIDS."

That was Uyvari's earliest memory of HIV/AIDS, a disease that, well, few people have been impacted by more than Uyvari, now retired and living in Uptown.

Uyvari said the local gay bowlers of the 1980s started hearing about HIV and AIDS by 1981, mainly from cases of the disease that had struck on both the East and West Coasts, but not really in Chicago, yet.

By the beginning of 1982, some of the Chicago bowlers and others locally started getting diagnosed with what would become known later as HIV and AIDS, Uyvari said. "By [ the end of ] 1982, that's when it really started to impact Chicago."

Uyvari quickly realized that HIV/AIDS was hitting friends—and within a couple of years, it was close friends, some very close friends, and even his older brother Bob, a well-known artist.

When the International Gay Bowling Organization ( IGBO ) held its annual tournament in Chicago in 1983, there were 576 bowlers from across the U.S. and Canada participating. During the tournament, Uyvari spearheaded a fundraising campaign—a raffle to help the AIDS-related wing of the Howard Brown Health Center. The event raised about $3,800, a sizable amount at the time.

Uyvari said the local scene continued to worsen in the mid-1980s as the HIV/AIDS vice grip intensified. "Everyone was thinking, 'Am I next?' because we didn't really know how it was being transmitted," said Uyvari, who watched his brother die on June 4, 1986—about a year after he was diagnosed.

Despite the tears, or perhaps because of them, Uyvari was aggressive on the fundraising trail to battle HIV/AIDS. He co-founded the Strike Against AIDS fundraiser at the now-closed Marigold Bowl in Wrigleyville. The annual fundraiser, held from 1985-1993, raised about $500,000.

Uyvari, who was the director of several local gay bowling leagues at the time, also started a 50/50 raffle in 1984—which is still part of Chicago's gay bowling scene. The winning ticket holder won half of the night's sales and a chance to win the other half by rolling a strike.

Over the years, the 50/50 raffles through Chicago's gay bowling leagues and tournaments have raised about $600,000 for HIV/AIDS and other charitable causes.

"I feel good about [ the funds raised over the years, ] " said Uyvari, though sadness is ever-present when Uyvari reflects back over the past 30 years.

In April 1988, for instance, one of his closet friends died from AIDS.

In June 1993, his very best friend died.

Uyvari himself learned he was HIV-positive in 1991.

His life partner Joe La Pat, who died unexpectedly in 2008, also was HIV-positive, although his death was unrelated to HIV. Both La Pat and Uyvari were inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 2008.

"It was just a scary time because, from 1981-1996, there really was no hope for long-time survival. For most people [ diagnosed ] then, it was a death sentence. In the early-1980s, it absolutely was a death sentence," Uyvari said. "When you heard someone had AIDS then, there was no question they were going to die. Sometimes [ in ] weeks, sometimes [ in ] months, but nearly always within a year.

"Talking about HIV/AIDS from the 1980s is like talking about 9/11, it's so emotional."

The disease wasn't just affecting bowlers, but rather, everyone—writers, politicians, tradesmen, literally everyone. "It cut across the entire gay community, and literally entire [ bowling ] teams were decimated," Uyvari said.

Take, for instance, Uyvari's first Lincoln Park Lagooners team from the 1980-'81 season, which had six people including Uyvari. The other five all died from HIV/AIDS.

Or, Uyvari's first bowling team at Marigold Bowl during the 1980-'81 and 1981-'82 seasons, which had seven bowlers. Five are dead; one Uyvari has not heard from, or about, in more than 20 years, and then there's Uyvari.

"Whole teams from that era died," Uyvari said.

Uyvari and his longtime partner Joe La Pat had been together since 1969, though Uyvari admits it was an honest, open relationship.

"I cried the day I learned I was HIV-positive.I thought I was going to be dead within a year or so," he said. "I think one thing that helped was that I was very healthy. I didn't smoke, drink or do drugs."

Uyvari started taking medication in 1996 and still does to this day. He's living with HIV fairly well, with the disease being undetectable in his system, he said.

Just a lot of horrible memories.

Starting in the mid-1980s, for instance, Uyvari compiled an annual list of the approximate 800 bowlers in the various LGBT leagues in Chicago. By 1992, 115 of those had died from AIDS-related causes—one of every seven bowlers.

"Thirty years," Uyvari said, pausing, "I just think it's a horrible set of circumstances. One of the things that made gay life unique was our ability to separate sex and love. So, you could have a sexual encounter with someone, without necessarily falling in love. We had that sexual freedom.

"That all changed in 1981-'82 because you didn't know if the person you were with was HIV-positive, and whether or not HIV was actually transmitted by sexual contact. It wasn't until the mid-1980s that the correlation was certain and that safe sex became the norm."

Uyvari recalls how known HIV-positive men, especially those with full-blown AIDS, were often shunned—by many in the straight community and even some in the gay community. Some people were even afraid to touch someone who was HIV-positive.

"I don't think HIV ever will be eliminated completely. I think it will be like diabetes, a controlled medical condition—which it is for most of us now," Uyvari said. "I've seen, heard and read about so many things over the years, things that are billed as, 'The next breakthrough to cure HIV/AIDS.' But no cure has ever been found.

"The thing I'm expecting somewhere down the line is a vaccine that will prevent you from getting HIV in the first place. But to cure HIV/AIDS, or eradicate it, I don't really see that happening."

Uyvari thinks about the 30 years of HIV/AIDS at least three times a day—when he takes his HIV medications. He also thinks of those who have died, be it in the past year, five years ago, 10-, 20- or even 30-plus-years ago. And he's been to countless memorial services over the past three decades.

"If I had to describe HIV/AIDS in one word, it would be: insidious," Uyvari said. "It really is an awful disease—the way it has impacted, and continues to impact, so very many people."


This article shared 4622 times since Wed Nov 2, 2011
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

David E. Munar reflects on Howard Brown leadership and new Columbus, Ohio post 2024-04-11
- On April 1, David E. Munar started his tenure as CEO of the Columbus, Ohio-based non-profit health system Equitas. The date marked the latest chapter for Munar, who previously helmed AIDS Foundation Chicago and, most recently, ...


Gay News

RUSH, others receive grant related to HIV prevention for Black women 2024-04-11
--From a press release - CHICAGO — RUSH, in collaboration with Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital, University of Chicago Medicine, University of Illinois Chicago and Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL), has been awarded ...


Gay News

HIV criminal laws disproportionately impact Black men in Mississippi 2024-02-21
--From a press release - A new report by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds that at least 43 people in Mississippi were arrested for HIV-related crimes between 2004 and 2021. Half of all arrests in the state ...


Gay News

'West Side Story' gets a sex-positive spin with new burlesque show 2024-02-19
- In partial observance of National Condom Day, which was Feb. 14, Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) presented A West Side Story Burlesque at the Harris Theater for two hour-long performances on Feb. 17. The show, ...


Gay News

$200,000+ raised at AIDS Foundation Chicago's World of Chocolate Fundraiser to fight HIV/AIDS 2024-02-13
--From a press release - (Chicago, IL) More than 950 guests gathered at Chicago's famed Union Station (500 W. Jackson) for Chicago's Sweetest Fundraiser, AIDS Foundation Chicago's (AFC), World of Chocolate on Friday, February 9. ...


Gay News

Munar prepares to step away from Howard Brown leadership 2024-02-11
- After 10 years of leadership at Howard Brown Health, President and CEO David Ernesto Munar has decided to step down from his post on Feb. 29. Munar, who'd previously been president and CEO of AIDS Foundation ...


Gay News

National Black Justice Coalition commemorates National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2024-02-07
--From a press release - WASHINGTON — Today, Feb. 7, marks National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD). In commemoration, Dr. David J. Johns, CEO of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), a leading Black LGBTQ+/same-gender ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Wis. report, gender dysphoria, HIV research, Stonewall exhibit, gay CEOs 2024-01-19
- A new annual report from Wisconsin's Office of Children's Mental Health shows that the state's minors—especially girls, children of color and LGBTQ+ youth—continue to struggle with anxiety, depression and thoughts ...


Gay News

WORLD Activist honored, marriages in Estonia, Madrid law, trans sports item 2024-01-05
Video below - The National AIDS Commission (NAC) recently honored Caleb Orozco—a leading figure in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights in Belize—for his instrumental contributions to the national HIV response, BNN reported. According ...


Gay News

SAVOR World of Chocolate, Jaleo and 'Superhot' 2023-12-31
- World of wonder: I am excited to announce that I will be a judge at AIDS Foundation Chicago's World of Chocolate fundraiser! Join me in sampling delicious chocolate from local chefs and help support a great ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Frankie Franklin-Foxx 2023-12-18
- Frankie Franklin-Foxx (born Waverlynn Franklin), a resident of Chicago's North Side, passed away peacefully Dec. 13 at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston. She was 68. Born at Cook County Hospital, Frankie graduated from South Shore High ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Dr. Rachel Levine, World AIDS Day, trans deaths, Philly bar art 2023-12-08
- United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama Liles C. Burke ruled that emails and other records from U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Rachel Levine are relevant to a lawsuit challenging Alabama's ban ...


Gay News

STRUT marks World AIDS Day with 14th Annual Fashion Show 2023-12-05
- On Dec. 3, John Fleming and Madman Productions presented the 14th annual STRUT fashion show at Joe's on Weed Street, 940 W. Weed St. As in previous years, the standing room only show was a fundraiser, ...


Gay News

World AIDS Day commemorated at AIDS Garden Chicago 2023-12-03
- On the rainy morning of Dec. 1, Chicago Parks Foundation and the AIDS Garden Chicago Board of Directors hosted a World AIDS Day commemoration at AIDS Garden Chicago, just south of Belmont Harbor on the Lakefront. ...


Gay News

GLAAD marks World AIDS Day with launch of global resource hub, new HIV report 2023-12-01
--From a press release - New York, New York — Friday, Dec. 1 — GLAAD marked World AIDS Day this year by sharing the results of its fourth annual State of HIV Stigma Report, a national survey among U.S. adults measuring ...


 


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS






Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.