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Old 02-23-2005, 06:29 AM   #1
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somewhat radical idea to help curve HIV infections

in his column this week, Dan Savage posits the following idea:

"If people are looking for a truly radical step—something that might actually curb unsafe sex—I've got a suggestion. But first some context: When extremely promiscuous gay men assess the risks and benefits of unprotected sex, most assume that if they get infected, or if they infect someone, that an AIDS organization or state health agency will pay for the AIDS meds they or their sex partners are going to need to keep themselves alive. It seems to me that one surefire way to curb unsafe sex would be to put the cost of AIDS meds into the equation. I'm not suggesting that people who can't afford AIDS meds be denied them—God forbid. No, my radical plan to curb unsafe sex among gay men is modeled on a successful program that encourages sexual responsibility among straight men: child-support payments. A straight man knows that if he knocks a woman up, he's on the hook for child-support payments for 18 years. He's free to have as much sex as he likes and as many children as he cares to, but he knows in the back of his mind that his quality of life will suffer if he's irresponsible.

So why not drug-support payments? If the state can go after deadbeat dads and make them pay child support, why can't it go after deadbeat infectors and make them pay drug support? Now that would be radical. Infect someone with HIV out of malice or negligence, and the state will come after you for half the cost of the meds the person you infected is going to need. (The man you infected is 50 percent responsible for his own infection.) Once a few dozen men in New York City, San Francisco, Toronto, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and Vancouver are having their wages docked for drug-support payments, other gay men will be a lot more careful about not spreading HIV. Trojan won't be able to make condoms fast enough."

just one more reason to never, ever have unsafe sex. and a potentiall radical idea that might do much to change a culture that frowns (with good reason) on judgement and moralizing. in the face of an explosion of unsafe sex fueled by growing crystal meth addiction -- and the fact that Savage is right: it does come down to a few dozen highly promiscuous men -- might this be a good step towards enabling a community to take care of it's own by legally enforcing responsibility on some for their own actions?

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Old 02-23-2005, 06:34 AM   #2
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I don't know,child support doesn't seem to matter to so many men, or deter their behavior. I just think it comes down to the sad reality that so many people are going to do what they want and have their pleasure regardless of the consequences-gay and straight people.

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Old 02-23-2005, 08:06 AM   #3
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canada has already steps toward imposing legal responsibility to this end--back in 1998, our supreme court convicted a man who repeatedly had unprotected sex without disclosing his HIV-positive status to his partners of the crime of aggravated assault. in light of this being added to the realm of criminal law, a person could also sue for assault, negligence, pain and suffering, etc.

while i'm all for holding people accountable, particularly in such a devastating context, there is one distinct disadvantage to involving the legal process: in order to prove HIV transmission, the complainant's sex life would also go on trial. if most women do not report rape because of the dehumanizing and antagonistic nature of the legal system, i can't imagine what HIV positive gay men would go through...

(note that the canadian criminal law cases to date involve complaints laid by women who were unknowingly infected by their male partners--fitting of the stereotypical victim profile.)
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Old 02-23-2005, 02:33 PM   #4
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I think it would be often difficult or impossible to prove. You can dna test for paternity, there is no such test to prove who have you aids.
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Old 02-23-2005, 03:25 PM   #5
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Originally posted by ILuvLarryMullen
I think it would be often difficult or impossible to prove. You can dna test for paternity, there is no such test to prove who have you aids.
That's what I was thinking. Also, no responsible gay man would have casual sex without a condom just because the person said they're negative. If they do, they're playing with fire and need to be held accountable. Even couples in monogamous relationships for several years still use condoms because of multiple partners in their pasts until they've had repeated HIV tests and until that time that they both agree that they're ready to ditch the condoms.
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