Weighing the Benefits of Disclosure
Are we not perpetuating transmission rates of HIV by being legally bound to disclose our HIV status? Does this not perpetuate a laissez faire attitude within the general public about sex? Does it not work against the traditional safe sex message – use a condom- as the general public can have bareback sex with no worries? Does it not promote a lack of responsibility and commitment to community well being? The legal onus on people living with HIV to disclose their status, thereby keeping the general public safe and free to carry on their sex lives with few worries is completely flawed but there does remain a division within the community around duties and obligations for every person living with HIV to disclose their HIV status to potential sex partners. Given legislation and rates of criminalization for non disclosure on the rise, the support for disclosure is apparent with the general public.
If every person living with HIV dutifully disclosed their status, accepted this burden without questioning or challenging the outcomes,which includes severe imbalance in responsibility, abuse and out right rejection, what obligations do HIV negative people have, beyond care free sex? To carry on having blithe sex while assuming everyone is negative because no one dared to say otherwise? Except for those pesky people living with HIV, the buzz killers, erection wreckers, the disclosers.
If equal responsibility was accepted, there would be no more stigma and rejection during disclosure, with a much more level playing field for both parties. It is such an easy concept to grasp but the resistance to considering these changes in values,ideology and legislation persists with a vengeance. Strong scientific evidence which defies it is conveniently ignored. How long will this conversation take place until everyone sees the common sense in this plan where there is no reckless sex followed by blame and prosecution?
Perhaps we should be spending less time on lists of desired and undesired characteristics, many of them stigmatic and discriminatory, in attempts to construct the perfect mate on dating profiles, and more time on making sex better for everyone with shared responsibility.