AIDS/HIV | Ari Ezra Waldman

The Political and Legal Power of Identity: Coming Out as HIV-Positive

BY ARI EZRA WALDMAN 

Michael J. Kaplan, President and CEO of AIDS United, took to the Huffington Post yesterday to call for a "National HIV Coming Out Day. A day where we face the reality that America is living with HIV, that our friends and family need to be tested, that those infected can live better through treatment, and that we can get to an AIDS-free generation."

AidsribbonFor Mr. Kaplan a National Coming Out Day for HIV-positive individuals, which would be on top of all the other awareness days -- National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, Caribbean American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, and World AIDS Day -- would concretize the HIV problem in this country and begin to address the stigmatization, isolation, and unfair enmity some people impose on members of the HIV-positive community.

The strategy is familiar, and it is one that the gay community has used to great success since the days after Stonewall. Hiding your sexual orientation, we argued, was tantamount to accepting the stigma of shame and burden of second-class citizenship thrust upon you by a heterosexual majority. Coming out, though, was not just a statement of pride and a challenge to the social status quo. It was the essential first step of a concerted effort to turn gays from media caricatures to real people, with goals, loves, hopes, and dreams. If you were out, you could have a conversation with your neighbors when some bombastic politician bloviated about sodomy and the end of all things. They could attach real examples to abstract concepts like discrimination if they knew that you had been fired simply for being gay. They could see the litany of concrete ways in which anti-gay laws like the Defense of Marriage Act, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," or marriage bans were hurting you and your family, not just the harder-to-understand "gay community."

The question is: Will coming out as HIV positive benefit the HIV-positive community the same way coming out as gay benefited the gay community? Is there any reason to think the situations will be different?

StaleyThere are similarities, but also real differences. Given those similarities, some in the HIV-positive community think that special "coming out days" are fine. They raise awareness and give hidden communities the chances to join forces to do something terribly brave and often dangerous. As Peter Staley, the founder of ACT UP and the Treatment Action Group and star of the powerful and successful documentary How to Survive a Plague noted via email, "This certainly can't hurt. The HIV closet has been hugely destructive, ultimately feeding the stigma that all of us suffer from. Acting ashamed is no way to fight the shaming."  

But, given the differences, it is not at all clear that a coming out drive is the best thing right now. As Lambda Legal's HIV Project Director Scott Schoettes told me, "We think it is most important to focus upon creating an environment in which people feel that they can safely acknowledge this aspect of their lives if they so choose, to empower people with information regarding the risks and benefits of disclosure in various circumstances (as well as the legal protections available and the limits of those protections), and to ensure that individuals are making a fully informed and voluntary choice about if, when and to whom it is appropriate for that individual to disclose this information."

I am uninspired by the proposal of another awareness day. Standing alone, another "day" is not going to make coming out as HIV-positive any more likely or any more helpful to the cause of ending discrimination of HIV positive individuals. To do that, the rest of us need to help.

Let's discuss how AFTER THE JUMP...

There is reason to believe that coming out as HIV-positive would be a great boon to acceptance of HIV-positive Americans. In addition to all the benefits discussed above -- concretizing discrimination, turning esoteric concepts into real world examples -- coming out as HIV-positive is necessary for any otherwise silent or hidden group to stand for its rights. Making coming out an essential part of a civil rights strategy, then, has social and political benefits.

If the example of the gay community is any indication, there are also substantial legal benefits. As much as we would like coming out to be the stuff of slow news days, the truth is that as long as conservatives insist on making our sexual orientation a basis of their hatred and discrimination, our coming out is a political act, entitled to protection under the First Amendment. 

Some members of the HIV-positive community challenge the comparison to the gay community. Being HIV positive is, if anything, more stigmatized than being gay and it always has. They argue it is still socially acceptable to ostracize people who are HIV-positive, whereas it is increasingly the stuff of the fringe to hate people just for being gay. They also argue that there is too little support for the HIV-positive community among the rest of the population.

Maybe that's true, but then it's only a matter of degree. Under this theory, there is nothing different about coming out as gay and coming out as HIV-positive other than the fact that, as gay persons, we have been coming out for longer. We have the benefit of 30 years of being out and proud during which time, the American people not only got used to us, but also started actively supporting our quest for equality.

CambaBut, there is one way in which coming out as HIV-positive is significantly more problematic than coming out as gay. And, it is a product of the HIV/AIDS awareness movement itself. Public health organizations focusing on HIV/AIDS in America have recently been focusing on two goals: eliminating the stigma associated with being HIV positive and reducing infection rates among young men in the gay and other minority communities. Achieving these goals often requires us to educate the greater population about HIV transmission and amazing new medications that make living and thriving with HIV a long-term reality. At the same time, we have to target susceptible communities with reminders that HIV is still a burden. When that message is filtered through a media focused on sound bites and allergic to nuance, it could sound like a mixed message: HIV is bad, but not so bad that you should stigmatize those who have it. That's a delicate balance to maintain. In a world where we still have to persude young gay men that HIV is still something they should try to avoid, coming out as HIV positive will always be difficult.

At a minimum it is incumbent upon us -- the gay community, lesbians, heterosexual allies -- to support our brothers and sisters to make it easier to come out as HIV-positive. Just like we support the younger generation's desire to be out and proud in schools, we should support the similar desire of those who happen to be HIV-positive. Here are a few simple steps we can all take to do that:

1. End the stigma. The level of disrespect some members of the gay community have for members of the HIV-positive community is staggeringly upsetting. When I was in San Francisco last year, I conducted an informal (admittedly unscientific) survey of passersby in the Castro, asking them if an employer should be allowed to fire someone simply for having HIV. Ninety-seven percent of respondents -- 319 out of 329 -- said either "no" or "of course not" or some derivation thereof, with the few contrarians saying something about health care costs for small businesses. Yet, more than 60 respondents insisted on saying, unsolicited, that they were not HIV-positive. This should sound familiar: "I'm totally straight, but we shouldn't hit gay people." That helps no one. It suggests that we accept that being HIV positive is somehow something to be dismissed or denied.

2. Learn your history. An increasingly cavalier attitude toward unprotected sex is just one manifestation of the younger generation of gay men failing to appreciate what the generation(s) before us went through. Survive a Plague is an informative and well constructed documentary that teaches us about a particularly meaningful (and devastating) part of gay American history. The more younger gay persons understand where they came from, the more likely they will appreciate their indelible connection to their HIV-positive comrades. The team responsible for How to Survive should also make more of an effort to screen the film for university students and straight allies rather than preach to the choir.

3. Get tested. The best way to fight HIV stigma is to stop hiding. The only way we can do that is to get tested. Of the 1.1 million Americans estimated to have HIV, more than 20 percent don't know it. This kind of willful blindness is risky to sexual partners and to the community as a whole. 

4. Invest in the community. As my friend James Loduca, Vice President of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation (the country's largest AIDS services organization), told me, "An awareness day is great -- in fact, I'd like 365 of them. You see, HIV stigma and shame are powerful foes, and it's going to take a lot more than awareness to overcome them once and for all. We must invest heavily in programs that increase self-esteem, community connectedness and resilience while reducing shame about STIs, substance use and mental illness." An awareness day cannot, without more, encourage more people with HIV to come out. Awareness is a small part of the calculus; you are a bigger part.

What else do you think we can do to make it easier for our friends in the HIV-positive community to come out?

***

Ari Ezra Waldman teaches at Brooklyn Law School and is concurrently getting his PhD at Columbia University in New York City. He is a 2002 graduate of Harvard College and a 2005 graduate of Harvard Law School. His research focuses on technology, privacy, speech, and gay rights. Ari will be writing weekly posts on law and various LGBT issues.

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Comments

  1. Teens and guys who've just come out -- are they even being told to use condoms anymore? I feel like more and more, the message from so-called "public health" folks is similar to the one here: the most we'll ask you to do is get tested. We won't even advocate wearing a condom! This site linked recently to a study in which some "public health" guy in Canada actually seemed to accept that it's too much to ask the 47% of the grindr users in the study who bareback to wear condoms.

    Posted by: Matt | Feb 21, 2013 3:30:55 PM


  2. Matt you should go to a current ACT UP meeting. It's unrecognizable from the Larry Kramer heydays. ALL you ever hear about is stigma. They're practically encouraging people to get HIV with their attitude.

    Posted by: chad | Feb 21, 2013 3:32:49 PM


  3. @ Chad:

    I wonder what % of the people in ACT-UP have HIV?

    All the prevention and care orgs are full of HIV-positive people. I can understand why that is, but there's a huge moral hazard/conflict of interest problem, too: all too often, these are people who have much more of a vested interest in lowering the stigma of having HIV (even though when you destigmatize something, you get more of it) instead of trying to prevent new infections. Even Dan Savage has noted that the surest way to get a job in an HIV treatment/prevention org is to be a recovering meth addict with HIV. If such people are serious about actually, you know, working to prevent new infections, which is why they are being paid, then that's fine. But plenty of them are quite obviously not.

    As a community, we've decided that since HIV is no longer a death sentence (and thank God it's not) we'd rather risk our own and each other's health than make the hard choices that would be necessary to bring the infection rate down from 20% (1 in 5!) -- and what's more, what really grates, is that we pretend that self-serving, selfish attitude is actually noble and affirming (see the moral preening in this article). We're so "nonjudgmental" and "accepting" that we apparently think we should affirm treating each other's bodies like trash receptacles for a virus that has no cure.

    Posted by: Matt | Feb 21, 2013 3:40:54 PM


  4. how about you show you own towering integrity, Matt, and be the change you want to see?

    make a video where you share your thoughts and views, and put it in youtube, and provide the URL here for us all to share.

    when can we expect to see it?

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 21, 2013 3:44:08 PM


  5. couldn't agree more Matt. I've said everything you're saying 'til I was blue in the face. I'm gonna keep saying it too because it looks like a vaccine will come before a cure. All this kids who get HIV and just think they can take a pill a day until there's a cure are in for a rude awakening. Who knows if the current meds will even be available 20 years from now much less any new and better ones. How many people do you think are working for a cure for polio now?

    Posted by: chad | Feb 21, 2013 3:51:22 PM


  6. @ Chad:

    couldn't agree more Matt. I've said everything you're saying 'til I was blue in the face. I'm gonna keep saying it too because it looks like a vaccine will come before a cure. All this kids who get HIV and just think they can take a pill a day until there's a cure are in for a rude awakening. Who knows if the current meds will even be available 20 years from now much less any new and better ones. How many people do you think are working for a cure for polio now?

    Rotary International is doing good work to eradicate polio worldwide, though it's Rotary International-- who joins groups like that anymore? They may cease to exist before they finish their work.

    As for HIV in the gay community, what really scares me is the possibility that the HIV virus, which is very good at mutating, will become untreatable, kind of like the way we're seeing antibiotic-resistant strains of other STDs out there. The approach we're taking, "let's just accept 20%-and-rising of American gay men will get HIV and even affirm it as a totally neutral thing" cannot continue. Evolution is real. Something else bad is going to come along if we keep risking our health and each other's health like this.

    Posted by: Matt | Feb 21, 2013 3:59:59 PM


  7. I'm kind of tired of the HIV/AIDS industry, and that's exactly what it is, an industry, corrupting everything it touches.

    The HIV/AIDS "non-profits" - they are funded by big pharma, pay often outrageous salaries, and accomplish exactly what ? If they're so successful, why is it always a crisis, and why isn't it time to do something different if what they've been doing isn't working ?

    The "activists" that take money in various forms from pharmaceutical companies. Your paid vacations and perks don't make you activists, it makes you whores.

    The politicians and wanna be media whores that try so hard to make HIV/AIDS relevant to everyone, when it isn't relevant at all to anyone that simply takes personal responsibility.

    There is, and has been no "epidemic" of AIDS int he US. under 9k "AIDS deaths" a year isn't an epidemic. And it's not just not OK to count someone as an "AIDS death" when they suicided or got hit by a bus or never even tested positive. The degree of fraud and lies and corruption involved in HIV/AIDS propaganda is absolutely disgusting, and making excuses for it needs to stop.

    I don't know anyone in my life that gives a crap about HIV/AIDS. It's irrelevant. It's not rocket science. We've known how to prevent it for decades. It's not part of our gay identity. We don't feel compelled to repeat obvious lies about how "everybody's at risk" and how it's so necessary to "get tested often". And we don't feel the need to make lame excuses for people that did know better, but CHOSE to put themselves at risk.

    At this point, you're doing it to yourself. Just stop it. Being drugged up and self destructive and addicted to high risk sex isn't the definition of "gay" anymore. You don't have to be a professional patient.

    Evolve or extinct. Choose wisely.

    Posted by: ReallyGay | Feb 21, 2013 4:15:19 PM


  8. I'm a conformist pretending to be savvy and intelligent.

    That's why I can't entertain any ideas or observations of reality that run contrary to my childish and insular assumptions about people.

    Show your faces, you cowards, show me what real men look like !

    Check out my blog. Oh, and look at the pictures of me at dance clubs high on meth with fake bruises on my face made of masquera and lipstick. Aren't I hot ? You know you want me. I'm so sexy and young.

    Meeee. Meeeeeeeeeeee. Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee !

    Posted by: LITTLE KIWI | Feb 21, 2013 4:32:50 PM


  9. Something I don't get, if people are barebacking as much as everybody says they are, why are we not seeing a really huge explosion in HIV infections ?

    I don't get it. It just seems that someone has been crying wolf now for a long, long time. This all sounds really familiar, oh, like the same $hit we've been told year in year out for how long now ?

    Somebody enlighten me. Or does everyone have amnesia ?

    Posted by: WhatWhat | Feb 21, 2013 4:36:30 PM


  10. The stigma of having HIV and the problems many people have accessing competent medical care prevent people from getting testing and treatment.

    Being in active treatment is important because a person under successful treatment is much less likely to infect another, as the amount of HIV circulating in the body of a person with undetectable viral load is very low.

    A virus has no morals. It has no preference for anything but perpetuating itself. Any activity by humans that enables the passing of the virus is counter to the public health. This includes not only unprotected sexual liaisons, but also the continuing stigma and blaming of those with HIV for their affliction.

    Blaming those with HIV for acquiring it is like blaming a person for getting lung cancer, or a girl for getting pregnant. It may make the blamer feel morally superior, but it does nothing to address the problem of the continued spread of HIV. This blame game, while making those who are negative feel better, is in fact perpetuating the spread of HIV by extending the stigma of HIV and causing people to avoid and delay getting tested and into treatment if they have acquired HIV.

    Similarly, criminalization of HIV through the laws of many states does not assist the fight against HIV, but rather perpetuates the spread of the virus. This is because if I get tested and find I am HIV positive, any intimate contact I have from that day forward is criminal, regardless of whether or not I engage in an activity that MAY transmit the virus, or whether or not the person I am with actually acquires HIV. By not getting tested, I am free to do as I please without any possibility of criminal charges being placed against me, regardless of the actual damage I do to myself, others and society.

    We abandoned the criminalization and stigma for other STD's 20 years ago, and the battle against these, while ongoing, is more promising than the battle against HIV. It's time we treated HIV as it is: A blood-borne virus that requires treatment and whose propagation can be avoided through education and treatment.

    Although much less so than in the 1980's, coming out as HIV positive still has many risks for those choosing do do so. I would never suggest that anyone blithely tell others that they are HIV positive. The immediate expected costs far outweigh the long-term potential benefits on the personal level. Although some are in a position to be this open about their status, most likely can not afford the risk of the probable backlash.

    Posted by: Doug | Feb 21, 2013 6:22:36 PM


  11. Kiwi, your demand that everyone post a YouTube video of whatever they want to say is getting old. How is that any different than just TYPING what you want to see here, or on facebook, or twitter, or anywhere else online, or in any forum or manner in which such communication is appropriate? Is video that much more valuable as a communication tool? And even if you think so, give it a rest. I personally have access to a keyboard and not a camera. Sorry to be off-topic, but sheesh.

    Posted by: Zlick | Feb 21, 2013 8:20:04 PM


  12. "Coming Out" as HIV positive is as important as "Coming Out" as having hemorroides. It's not revolutionary, it's not my problem, and it's not that big a deal. Give it a rest. We know how HIV is spread, and most people int he US diagnosed ain't gettin' it from transfusions. Trying to come of as innocent victim is BS.

    Not buying into the pity party.

    What state is HIV positivity criminalized in ?

    Give me a freakin' break, and stop the lying.

    If you feel a stigma, STFU about it. Nobody is buying into it anymore. Yeah, it's tragic people have it, unconscionable that some a$$hats are still spreading it, but no, you don't want to talk about THAT, you want pity and money. THAT'S what it comes down to.

    You NEED HIV, I don't, and I reject the kind of attitudes that spread it. It's not "feeling superior", it's recognizing cause and effect, and being responsible. Try it sometime.

    The hypocrisy is palpable when you whine about how "criminalized" HIV is in some states, and claim making the spread of it equal to the spread of "other STD's" is some kind of solution is the most grievous idiocy.

    Doug, you are an absolute idiot.

    Posted by: SickOfHIV | Feb 21, 2013 8:46:16 PM


  13. @whatwhat The rate of new infections is climbing, even though we know how to prevent them. http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/feb/16/unprotected-sex-rise-gay-men-hiv

    Here's data from the UK, which is doing better than the US.

    Posted by: Tad | Feb 21, 2013 11:09:42 PM


  14. Oh jesus someone just had to invoke that spitty old angry queen Larry Kramer. Like John McCain, he is not the only vet, just the noisiest. Invective, read in these comments, reflects Larry's self hatred and failure. If you don't like redu ing the stigma because "those others with HIV" seem to be criminally infecting innocents you're worse than any straight hate. Rhe point of any defeat of a disease is to make public awareness increase. No day will do that, or we'd have Leprosy Day. But, I digress lol.

    Posted by: Chevytexas | Feb 21, 2013 11:31:50 PM


  15. @Little Kiwi--I don't get your reaction to what Matt is saying. Being sex positive is one thing, but your reaction seems a little over the top (what is it? "virginity shaming"? "monogamy shaming"?). Just as monogamy isn't a guarantee against infection, neither are condoms. Does everyone use condoms during oral sex? During hand jobs? During frot? You might be smarter than average, but a ton of gay guys are simply not that smart about sex and disease vectors. A lot of transmitting fluids are around during sex. A lot of stupid decisions are made during sex, driven by actual neurological changes.

    Sex is never totally "safe" or "unsafe." Statistics don't lie--condoms are a big help, and being closer to exclusivity than one night stands on the sex spectrum helps too. Just look at the transmission rates among monogamous couples versus all others. Why not tell guys that condoms are really important, but that it's also important to know--as well as possible--who you're having sex so that you can calculate how much trust you want to invest in that person? It's not about guarantees; it's about management of risk. There is no magic bullet.

    Posted by: Stefan | Feb 22, 2013 12:07:20 AM


  16. @Matt I'd rather die of Kaposi Sarcoma than listen to your apoplectic horsesh1t about HIV. HIV on proper meds is about as dangerous as smoking a pack a day. Do you breathlessly browbeat smokers on the sidewalk, too? It's only life, stop taking it so seriously. No one gets out of it alive. *yawn* That all said, I'd rather live healthy than be dead and there is much promise from Sangamo to functionally cure HIV. If only governments would commit resources for a cure instead of treatment, but I digress. Keep on clutching your pearls on top of your soapbox if that makes you happy but you can count me out. I'd prefer to die with dignity.

    Posted by: SFChris | Feb 22, 2013 12:14:30 AM


  17. Blaming pornography for HIV infection rates (other than the actors) is like blaming video games for thugs killing each other on the streets of Chicago.

    The illusion of unprotected sex in pornography isn't to promote unsafe sex, it's because IT"S A FANTASY. And in fantasies there are no deadly diseases.

    PS- You can't really jump off the roof of a building with an umbrella and drift slowly and safely to earth.

    Posted by: David Hearne | Feb 22, 2013 12:19:15 AM


  18. I have always maintained that a person who lies about his HIV status to a sex partner is guilty of attempted murder.

    An HIV positive person has a moral obligation to disclose his status BEFORE a person has sex with him. It should be the choice of the other person if he wants to take the additional risk of having sex with a person known to be HIV positive.

    You would be surprised at how many people refuse to accept the obvious, ie that having sex with a person who has HIV is a higher risk than someone who doesn't have it or doesn't know. Of the three, one is playing Russian roulette with a semi-automatic.

    Posted by: David Hearne | Feb 22, 2013 12:23:59 AM


  19. @DB and @David Hearne
    if you going to criminalize those WITH HIV then you better be criminalizing the dolts that don't protect themselves. While I agree to the principle that the HIV+ person has a higher moral responsibility to inform their partners and take precautions, ultimately it is up to each individual to protect his/her own status. When someone gets infected with HIV is is their own fault for not taking the precaution.

    Posted by: leatherman | Feb 22, 2013 10:45:18 AM


  20. Leatherman, If a criminal points a loaded gun at a victim and shoots the victim, who is responsible for the murder? Is it the criminal shooter (i.e., the HIV-positive person having sex without a condom) or is the victim (i.e., the HIV-negative victim) liable for not wearing a bullet-proof vest? Yes, anyone having sex with someone who is not a long-term known-negative partner has a responsibility to use condoms every time. However, there is a separate responsibility for an infected person not to murder others. If a person who is HIV-positive EVER has unprotected sex, has sex without informing a sex partner, or passes HIV to a sex partner, then that person should be criminally liable for murder without exception.

    Posted by: DB | Feb 22, 2013 11:05:20 AM


  21. actually, cowardly troll who just proved he's a cowardly troll, why not do what i suggested?

    perhaps because you're merely just a cowardly troll, and not someone who actually cares about any of the things you claimed to care about?

    to come on to a site like this, and then ramble on and on about how little people are doing to...well...do things "your way" is rather useless.

    what's stopping you from making a youtube video where you share a message that you feel the ACT-UP crowd are missing or neglecting? why not do something proactive, for once, and use your voice to do what you wish others were doing?

    oh, right. that would require an amount of personal integrity.

    and rather than do that, you prove yourself a ninny and post under my name. same old story.


    @Zlick - it's very simple: look at the specifics of who is complaining on here, and how, and why. discernment, please.

    feeling like there's a message not being shared? feel like the ball is being dropped? what use is it, then, to anonymously complain about that on a site like this when one has the gift of the digital medium at their disposal where you could get YOUR chosen message out to those you could benefit from it?

    well, of course, that would require people to actually care about what they claim to care about. and as we all know, most folks don't actually care. they just pretend they do. anonymously. it's not as if they're actually prepared to do any of that real work - they'd rather complain that...uh...everyone else isn't doing it, either.

    fail.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 22, 2013 12:06:50 PM


  22. It all sounds very "strategic." Aids never went away, it has better drugs to treat it now. The marriage mavens want to try and hide it away like it doesn't exist. It's still a factor -- and a factor that works against "equality" People should be able to live with HIV, but if it can throw up any roadblocks to the "we're perfect and respectable marriage crowd" it is a welcome double edged sword. My brother died of Aids and I know many many who did. Their pain has obviously been lost on this generation. It lingers to remind some people that sex is a gay priority above -- exchanging rings.

    Posted by: GB | Feb 23, 2013 12:17:21 AM


  23. Although there's no simple solution, it's a process and starting the discussion is the first step. The stigma surrounding HIV really comes from two separate camps; the gay community itself and the overall society at large. The more immediate and damaging stigma is that from within the gay community itself. Although we can work at decreasing stigma from both camps simultaneously, before we can successfully tackle it from an overall societal standpoint, decreasing the stigma from the gay community itself would have the most immediate impact.

    Posted by: Bill | Feb 23, 2013 7:14:17 PM


  24. Stigma doesn't spread HIV; barebacking does.

    "Sex is never totally "safe" or "unsafe." Statistics don't lie--condoms are a big help, and being closer to exclusivity than one night stands on the sex spectrum helps too. Just look at the transmission rates among monogamous couples versus all others."

    Over two thirds of new infections are from steady partners. Anal sex is too dangerous to practice without a condom.

    Posted by: MGC | Feb 23, 2013 11:11:36 PM


  25. Stigma contributes to the spread of HIV. In order to avoid the stigma, a person who has engaged in risky behavior may be less likely to get tested. Similarly, a person who is knowingly HIV positive may be less likely to report their status to a potential partner, even when safe sex is practiced. Removing the stigma would increase the number of people who get tested and who report their statuses. It would also increase the use of safe sex practices (including, but not limited, to condom use).

    Surprisingly, I find myself in agreement with David Hearne when he cites the efficacy of HIV meds and the resultant decrease in mortality among those infected as a factor in the increase of unsafe sex practices and the rise of infection.

    Destigmatizing HIV and practicing safe sex are not mutually exclusive solutions. One would lead to the greater use of the other.

    and "MATT/CHAD" sockpuppetry is just pathetic.

    Posted by: Acronym Jim | Feb 24, 2013 1:27:53 PM


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