People with HIV who do not disclose their status to their sexual partners are risking arrest and prosecution.
In a recent writing and an ever increasing compassionate society, being HIV positive and not sharing this information with a sex partner can get you thrown into the slammer.
All across the country, people are becoming restigmatized because of their status while at the same time infection rates are going up and underserved communties are refusing to get early testing that would save their lives.
By making the penalty for disclosure jail time, we have now effectively ensured that people will now have a very legitimate reason to stay ignorant and sexually unsafe.
What happens if a person is falsely accused ?
Is the onus on the one being accused to disprove his accuser ? Is it fair to tell a person find out your status but if you don’t share it with the world you will be punished ?
How will anyone know and who gets to decide what was actually “shared” between two persons?
If there is a group situation is every participant expected to speak up and or hope for the best ? There have been times when I’ve asked a trick their status (all the while assuming that they were lying or don’t know) and there have been times when I did not.
So many times our fear keeps us silent and stupid and in the throes of making some very bad decisions.
Deliberately deceiving someone is flat out wrong. Not taking precautions and or a visit to the clinic is also wrong. While there may not be the need or the safety to share this information at every encounter at one point it is irresponsible to not share this info.
When is a good time to address a sex partner’s HIV Status ? If you are in a very sexually charged atmoshpere(the park, an alley or some other cruise spot), there probably is not a whole lot of honesty going on. In a different environment, ie. seriously dating, it might be a great opportunity the minute things start heating up.
It is up to us to keep ourselves safe. We can’t rely on the government or depend on the kindess of strangers. But is criminalization the answer ? So the options are have sex and possibly infect or reinfect yourself or shut your gravey hole and risk being dragged into court years down the road because you neglected to share this information ?
Is it any wonder our young people are fucking their brains out with abandon and very little understanding of consequences regarding being infected or even being thought infected ?
The real question is not if to reveal one’s status but when.
Having unprotected sex with a total stranger is just plain dumb. Sex is not the big bad here. This issue is very complex.
By simply dividing our choices to either disclosing or jail, we don’t leave much room for discussion, solution creation or the complexity that is male sexuality and its negotiation.
People will never stop having sex.
This is why abstinence is a ridiculous joke. As a culture , we both fear and obsess about sex and its expression.
One way to try and control this entity is through legislation. Legislation may change behavior but it rarely changes thinking.
Why not have PSA’S and billboards in cruisey areas that succintly state : Assume the person you’re screwing is HIV Postive. Protect yourself. Is there a reason people are refusing to disclose their status ?
Are we investigating why some people might not be at liberty to share this informantion ?
Are we clear that some people may lose jobs, housing and health benenfits if this info is shared ?
By not deeply examining the reasons behind people’s behavior, we encourage more of the same.