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Monday, August 16, 2010

HIV-Keeping it Safe.

I just read this article about the German pop-star Nadia Benaissa, who was in court today facing charges of aggravated assault for infecting a man with HIV. Not only did she NOT disclose her HIV status to multiple partners, but she also engaged in unprotected sex with them. This story really bothers me. How does a beautiful, talented, seemingly intelligent woman allow something like this to happen, and why are young people still so afraid to talk about HIV and safe sex? 

I have a daughter who is nineteen. She's an honors student, holds a part-time job, is beautiful, smart, and yes, HIV positive. Born with the disease, she came to me at just sixteen and told me that she wanted to disclose her status. She came out to friends, school and our whole community.  That took a lot of courage. Did she lose dates or lose friends because she chose to reveal her status? No, she did not. She still went to prom and she still went out on dates. She'll tell you herself that she's not ready to have sex, but you can bet that when she is, she and her partner will have the maturity and the conscience to talk about HIV and safe sex first. 

Although Ms. Binaissa's choices are unacceptable to me, I don't judge her, nor can I condone her actions. When she was asked why she did it, she admitted that she didn't think that she could infect her partners. I believe that she's telling the truth about that, but is that a good enough reason not to tell... Not to use protection? No, obviously it's not and that's why she's going to do jail time, and someone she had sex with is now going to have to live with HIV for the rest of his life. What she did was shocking and sad. What was she so afraid of? Was she worried that revealing her status would make her less attractive or less of a person in her partner’s eyes? If anything, I think disclosing would have shown courage and the care she had for her partner... I think it would have made her a hero.   

HIV and safe sex: Talk about it. Don't be afraid. And if you're in a relationship where you can't talk about it then maybe you're just not ready to take that step.  

8 comments:

Andrea H. said...

Suzan, you always find the good stories. Here I am from Germany (at least born and raised there) and havn't heard about it. Thanks for sharing. I am not judging her either, but it is frustrating because it makes all the other families like us who are open about just look bad. We are trying so hard to face this head on, teach our children to be safe, talk about it at an early age and so on. The one thing I wanted to tell you about Germany though is that Germans are still narrow minded when it comes to HIV/AIDS. Although smart people, but acting really uneducated. They don't understand the basics facts that you can live a normal life and are also confused about how its being transmitted.

Suzan said...

Well said, Andrea!

M.R.J. Le Blanc said...

There was a man in our city who was being charged with the same thing, only against multiple women instead of just one. And he was far more jerkier about it than this woman was. I do kind of feel for her, but at the same time it was a really bad decision. You nailed it with the last sentence though. The right person will accept you for who you are, but sometimes you have to take that risk to find out. As hard as it is, the hurt of that sort of rejection is an easier hurt to get through than what she's going through now I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your post, but I have to look at the whole picture - Perhaps the person who was infected has not heard of condoms and the risks associated with un-safe sex including HIV and STDs? Will we get into a culture where everyone who transmits the virus ends up in jail? Maybe a just have a problem with the "victim" mentality and also with a litigious society... I personally feel that people should be protecting themselves AND others. For the record, I agree with you that what she did was wrong.

Suzan said...

Great comments and thoughts on this friends!

Andrea said...

Thank you for sharing! In some respects I agree with Annonymous... I don't believe what the singer did was right, however the persons that had sex with her also have some responsibility. Having unprotected sex with anyone you aren't in a monogamous relationship comes with all kinds of risk. I am not pointing fingers in either side...it's a tough and sad situation for them all.
Thank you again for sharing.

Suzan said...

So true, Andrea!

CrazyD said...

I stumbled upon your blog for the first time tonight and just wanted to say what a great job you are doing here. Thanks for all of your work in this area!