Track of the Day: 'Dreaming of the Queen'

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

On World AIDS Day, and from a list of 15 songs about the disease:

The Pet Shop Boys might be the pop-music act with the most (and earliest) nods to the ravages of AIDS in their songs. “Dreaming of the Queen,” which Neil Tennant called “an anxiety dream” about the disease, stands out for its lush orchestral backing and sad hook sung in the guise of Princess Diana: “There were no more lovers left alive/And that’s why love had died.”

John Byrne wrote an excellent essay for us today about his experience testing positive while on PrEP—but his story has an unexpected turn and is worth reading in full. One reader criticizes the implied assumption that “sexually active Americans should be prescribed a preventive medication that costs $18,000/yr, for no other reason than that they want to enjoy sexual gratification with multiple partners without constraint.” Another rightly retorts:

It’s not “for no other reason.” It’s to stop HIV transmissions, which cost the U.S. and the world much more in lost wages, increased medical costs, and general human misery. Taking PrEP is responsible behavior. It’s near perfect at preventing HIV transmissions. The mandatory quarterly STI checks to obtain PrEP identify and treat other infections should they occur, thus preventing any further transmission.

Your thoughts, or personal experience, on PrEP? Drop me an email.