HIV Disclosure & Prevention: Stop legislating, start listening

Guest Commentary

“You have HIV” are the most difficult words I have ever had to hear. At only 26 years old in 1999, “How long do I have left?” was the first question to come out of my mouth when our doctor told me and my 19-year-old boyfriend my test had come back positive. Everything I thought my life was about changed with three words, three letters, in three seconds. Indeed, as far as I was concerned, life was over.

Growing up gay in the South, haters masquerading as Christians told me that for being gay I would get AIDS, die and go to hell. I wondered if they were right, and I hated myself more than ever.

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Just like a smoker with cancer blaming a tobacco company for my sickness, I was looking for anyone else to blame — anyone but me. How could this happen? Who infected me? Who was to blame? I had a policy of using condoms except for in monogamous relationships with guys who maintained their alleged negative status. Looking back, I know those times were life-altering mistakes.

Supposedly my HIV status is a confidential issue protected by law. Therefore, it is a contradiction to mandate disclosure by any law or court. Being HIV positive does not preclude my rights as a citizen under the Constitution of the United States. Thus, any law that requires me to tell someone I am HIV positive is a violation of the Constitution. Some people have been prosecuted in several states, including the Carolinas, for not disclosing their positive status to allegedly negative partners who subsequently sero-converted.

No doubt, government regulation of sex could potentially make the world safer, just as totalitarian government could eradicate deviant behavior. Then freedom would become but a distant memory of the decadent times when individuals were actually entrusted with the power to make decisions for themselves.

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With new HIV infections rising, what will be next? Could HIV positive people be quarantined? What if HIV positive men accused of not “disclosing” were labeled as “sex offenders” and castrated? How long will it be before we are again branded by pink triangles? No one is safe from the pack of soccer moms and other wolves picking away at our Constitution one piece at a time. Who will be next? Will it be you?

Telling someone I have HIV is a private issue to be decided only by me, not by the government. HIV prevention efforts must evolve into the 21st century or they’ll continue to have the opposite effects of their intent. Stop legislating and start listening.

— Q-Notes strives to afford the Carolinas LGBT community an open forum for discussion and commentary. The views of guest commentators do not necessarily represent the official views or positions of Q-Notes, its editorial staff or publisher.

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