The breakup went badly. “Footage on the evening news” badly.
They had a fight, as so many couples do. But she saw him riding his bike and hit him with her car. We have the footage. Bumper hits the bike, rider goes flying, flipping head-over-heels several times. He flew right over the car before tumbling headfirst onto the street.
So I guess she was mad about something.
We’ve all heard about messy breakups, but have you ever seen one go this far South? What could possibly set someone off to doing something like this?
There is just a little bit more to the story. Her reaction might have had something to do with the bad news he told her. We don’t have a direct quote or anything. We just know what she was told.
How upset would you be? Imagine if someone said “Hi hon, I probably should have told you this before. I’m HIV positive.” (And yes, they had “done the deed”.)
Imagine how you might have reacted. Oh, and one more thing — when he told her? Reports tell us that he laughed. Probably doesn’t find it quite as funny now. He went to the hospital with head trauma and a fractured vertebra. She went to jail for attempted murder.
How did your reaction to that story change between when you first read about the attempted vehicular manslaughter and when you read how he laughed about having exposed her to HIV? Imagine the woman in the car was someone you knew. A friend or family member. How do you even begin to process these events? Villain? Victim? Right? Wrong? Is your head spinning yet?
As we speak, there is a movement (championed by LGBT(&c)) arguing against HIV disclosure laws. In other words, it is a movement arguing against criminal liability for situations like the above. No punishment for the intentional exposure of a sexual partner to the possibility of contracting a chronic, lifelong, sexually-transmitted illness completely without their consent or knowledge.
I realize that ours is no longer a culture where both husband and wife bringing virginity into a monogamous marriage is prized. Many people are not new to the whole sex thing when they finally do settle down with someone. But there is a trade off for this cultural change, one we seldom consider.
Virginity at marriage, together with monogamy is a firewall against certain categories of disease. If we have exchanged that value for what we commonly consider “sexual freedom”, we need to establish some other sort of protection against those diseases. Realistically, condoms will only take you so far. They sometimes fail, they are sometimes used improperly, and there are some things for which they offer no protection.
The social trade off is a certain kind of etiquette. If you are open enough to share a bed with someone, it should follow that you be open enough to warn them if they could be at risk. But sadly, factors like high-risk sex, use of alcohol or drugs, or even ordinary selfishness get in the way of all that. If telling her means he won’t get laid, maybe he won’t mention it.
There is another, darker thread to this story. It can be seen in the personal account of Chad Felix Greene. (Check out his blog: reasonablygay.com )
He tells about the time he was sexually assaulted by a stranger. He gives a poignant account of issues like shame, fear, and dignity. And he shares the fact that he came out of that experience, through no fault of his own, as HIV positive.
I learned something through his story that I would never have guessed nor imagined. There are people in this world so twisted as to take pleasure from ruining other people’s lives. In his own words:
It wasn’t until I tested HIV+ later that the experience truly flooded back to me. He had mentioned “breeding” me and making me one of “his own.” Researching I discovered a disturbing trend of HIV+ gay men who intentionally target younger men to forcibly infect them with HIV. That is when I first spoke of the rape and I first experienced the range of responses. Most people responded with horror and compassion, but many responded with “Are you sure you didn’t let it happen?”
Notwithstanding the great strides modern medicine has made in treating and containing the illness, there is still no cure. Transmission is 100% preventable, and (in the West, at least) is almost entirely limited to a few high-risk groups, by very specific transmission vectors. It isn’t something that’s spread by accident if you know you have it.
But this is where honesty is so terribly necessary. If someone is infected, there is a possibility of transmission. Even if virus levels are below detectable thresholds, Chad explains that it’s as simple as missing a few days of meds, or having the virus mutate and they can go right back up.
It isn’t as though there are even symptoms like oozing sores or blistered skin that would catch someone in a lie. It’s invisible. And the person lied to wouldn’t even know it until long after the fact.
So long as our society has decided not use monogamy’s failsafe, we need something else to protect people from the kind of person that preyed on and infected Chad, or that laughed when he told his girlfriend about his positive status.
And those are exactly the sort of sociopaths for whom we build prisons.