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AIDS and judgment

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Interesting paragraph from an article over at HuffPo about HIV in the black community:
Tony Ray, 26, a black activist at the Bronx AIDS Institute, said some narratives are more difficult than others, and that can contribute to the ongoing stigma of the disease. Ray was infected when a condom broke during a one-night stand when he was 17. "In a really weird f---ed up way people judge you by this moral standard," he said. "It's like, 'Oh the condom broke? I'm so sorry'. 'Oh, you were having sex without condoms? Well, that was f---ing stupid'."
I get why HIV activists worry about judgment - it can scare people away from treatment, and can help embolden lawmakers who are only interested in bashing people with AIDS (often as a proxy for people who are gay, among other reasons).  But having sex without a condom is f'g stupid. As is having unprotected sex with someone, especially if you know you're HIV positive.
Jahlove Serrano knows about overlapping epidemics. He's a black, gay, HIV-positive, 25-year-old AIDS activist and youth advocate. These days, with the help of medication, his health is under control. But for years, his life felt like chaos, and he got sicker and sicker. Sitting in the "Youth Pavilion" at the AIDS conference, Serrano explained that he was infected with HIV the night he lost his virginity in a one-night stand with an older man he met on Christopher Street, just a few days before his 16th birthday.
We don't know from the story if the older man knew his status. But he was happy to have unprotected (presumably anal) sex with a kid, who likely didn't know any better. That's not just f'g stupid, it's f'g obnoxious.

None of us are perfect.  But that doesn't mean we're incapable of judging right and wrong, and more importantly, it doesn't mean that notions of right and wrong are entirely counterproductive all the time.

In the larger civil rights battle, we seem to believe that the notion that being a bigot is a bad thing, that saying bigoted things is bad, will help make bigotry less and less acceptable over time.  It's why we get upset when comedians, and other personalities, say obnoxious anti-gay things.  Our outrage isn't simply fueled by outrage, it's fueled by the knowledge that if we make an example of this particular offender, we send a larger message to society that such offenses - such bigotry - is wrong.

I just worry sometimes about what message we're sending to people who are at risk of HIV, but not yet positive, when we refuse to condemn those who, through their own indifference, would help sero-convert a 16 year old kid.

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