Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Trying to get back into writing regularly

So much for trying to write a blog entry every day – seems to be a bit too ambitious, so I will simply promise to make at least one entry per week until I get into the rhythm of it.

Ok, for starters, here’s a rather odd case that has been making the news in Canada recently: a guy called Johnson Aziga was found guilty of murder for having had unprotected sex with a number of women even though he knew that he was HIV positive . Some of these women had consequently died of AIDS related disease.

Unsurprisingly, not everybody agrees with the verdict, particularly those who try to fight the stigma surrounding AIDS, such as the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network.

I think it comes down to this: did Mr. Aziga know that HIV infection can spread through sexual intercourse, and that having unprotected sex increases the chances of contracting AIDS by several orders of magnitude? And if he knew this – it would be weird if he didn’t – didn’t he feel that it would have been his obligation to inform others of his condition?

If he feared that the other person would chose not to have sex with him once informed of his condition, I think he is right. I certainly would not want to have sex with somebody suffering from a severe cold, mumps, a herpes outbreak, or syphilis – and most certainly not with somebody who is AIDS positive. And if I found out that the person I had just sex with was suffering from any of these diseases and had failed to tell me (even though they knew they had the condition), I would be extremely upset.

Those who fear that sentencing Mr. Aziga for murder contributes to the stigmatization of AIDS victims have it backwards: it is people like Mr. Aziga whose reckless and callous behaviour stigmatizes AIDS victims. We should be thankful not to live in a society where AIDS victims are put into quarantine. But a few more cases like Aziga, and the mob will be clamouring for an AIDS registry not very similar from the Sex Offender Registry.

I think at the very least those who suffer from AIDS should have the decency to make sure nobody else will fall victim to this horrible disease. They owe it to their fellow human beings – and other victims of AIDS. Yes, wilful and unnecessary discrimination against AIDS victims is wrong, but – endangering a human life out of spite, or what have you, is even more wrong.

So, Mr. Aziga should be locked away – he has proven incapable of respecting the most fundamental rights of his fellow human beings and is consequently unfit for living civilized society.

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