>Despite the hip name, I've never thought of wanting to have sex without a condom as a "fetish"- although maybe in the era of safe sex it is becoming one. If a story circulated that a hetero guy advertised for partners who were willing to have unprotected sex, would that be referred to as a "fetish"? It might be condemned as unsafe but there is an exoticism of gay sex involved in this discussion that has nothing to do with Sullivan's moralistic hypocrisy or AIDS itself.
If a story circulated about a straight man wanting to have unsafe sex, it could be called a fetish if an entire subculture had grown up around that choice. (BTW, straight pornography regularly represents unprotected sex, and often makes a particular spectacle of "unsafe" oral encounters.) So, yes, it is exoticized in this subculture--that is one of the things that subcultures do. I didn't say that exoticism should ground public discussion of the affair, just that it could happen.
In fact, I completely agree with you about the public dimensions of this issue: I dislike the intrusion into Sullivan's private life, though since he has made that such a part of his unctuous public persona and punditry, it's fair game. His sexual choices do not make him a worse writer or thinker--he would be capable of being as reactionary whether or not he were also into barebacking.