Joe Reilly (jreilly4261) wrote in gayspokane,
Joe Reilly

HIV/AIDS -- still a bad, bad thing

  According the KXLY, Zuriel Roush has been running around town having unprotected sex with men without disclosing that he is HIV+.  A bisexual man learned of Roush's status after the fact and called police.

The scary part of this story isn't that he had unprotected sex with about 20 guys without disclosure.  The truly scary part of this story is that half of his sex partners knew at the time they were having unprotected sex with an HIV+ man.  So, about 20 guys were told by Roush that he was HIV+ and decided the risk was worth taking.  Roush told KXLY "Nowadays if somebody has HIV they don't care, they don't care about asking."  

So, the HIV scare is gone.  I'm sure most of the people who Roush had sex with have never knowingly met someone who is HIV and have never known anyone who died from AIDS.  Maybe it's just me, but when I was his age, HIV/AIDS scared the hell out of me.  I'd seen panels of HIV+ people speak.  I'd met people with HIV and with AIDS.  I had volunteered with an AIDS service organization.  And I'd made casual friendships with people who happened to be HIV+.  I worked briefly as a volunteer on an LGBTQ crisis line and the potential call that scared me the most wasn't the suicide attempt, but was the kid who just learned he was HIV+.  I couldn't imagine at the time what I could say to help someone in that circumstance.

Is HIV/AIDS not on our lips often enough?  Has its image softened now that there are drugs that turn it from a painful death sentence into a chronic manageable disease?  Have we failed to scare the crap out of the younger generation?  I don't want us to fear the people, just the disease.  I thought the AIDS crisis had brought us universal precautions in the areas of blood, drugs, and sex, that we knew to assume everyone had it, and hope no one did.  Apparently that prophylactic mindset was generational.

When Roush is all done with his newly found criminal issues, and after he gets some much needed counseling, I hope he takes his story on the road to schools.  College, high school, junior high, and even 5th & 6th graders need to know his story.  There is no room for naivete where HIV/AIDS is concerned.
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