Fellow blogger Peter recently had a letter published in the Globe and Mail, a national English newspaper in Canada. (I read it once on the plane and found it to be quite conservative. When I read articles with that "bent", I find myself wanting to yell at the paper. So I haven't read it since. Yes I'm biased, and that's why.) It's always exciting to have one's words in print, and I remember the letter of mine that the LA Times printed 7 years ago. (I wrote to protest the Pilot's union protest against the idea of cameras in the cockpits. The union said it was an invasion of privacy. Please, no more jacking off while flying the plane.) Anyway, it was fun to read Peter's words in print but then yesterday, an article was printed by a well known journalist here who had interviewed Peter. Her article was received badly by many attendees of the World AIDS Conference currently taking place in Toronto. In fact, protests were organized to denounce her words and demand a retraction.
I love me some good drama, and the comments are interesting to read. Brian also has some things to say on the matter. (As I'm sure many other bloggers do, I'm just too lazy to go look.)
From what I can tell, it is out of the question to suggest that anyone who contracts the disease may have had some responsibility for contracting it. Even though there are those who willfully engage in unsafe sex with strangers without even having a conversation about status, we are not allowed to talk about them. In my mind, we must talk about them, because that's reality. There are many other realities on contracting the disease, that is merely one of them. I see how the media should be more sensitive (that irresponsibility isn't the only factor, hey-accidents do happen) and balanced so that the general impression isn't that everyone who contracts it deserves it in some way. That I see. But I don't think there is anything wrong in discussing how to encourage people to be more responsible for their own health. (hypocritical drinker and smoker that I am)
I was talking with my ex the other day. We talk once or twice a year. He works in a hospital as an HIV treatment advocate. He was telling me how much better it's gotten over the years with the meds but that he still sees people dying. The big problem around there is crystalmeth and all the patients have to do is take ONE pill a day to stay alive, but they can't even do that, and they die.
Sounds to me like taking crystal (I know of what I speak, I was young and crazy once) makes one completely irresponsible. Personally, I think this should be addressed and outed in the media more than "the people who knowingly engage in unsafe sex". It's the drugs, stupid. Or the booze.
Now I've talked myself onto the fence. Because how can I hold someone responsible for what they did when they were shit faced drunk or tweaking on meth? That's not quite fair is it? Still, I think the link between the shitfacedness and the contraction of the disease should have more prominence in the media.
I'm just thinking out loud here, feel free to do the same.