I have just read “Barely Legal” (July 2006), about the criminal prosecution of people with HIV. As a prevention educator at a small AIDS service organization in Maine, I am dumbfounded. Criminalizing people who choose to have sex while knowing that they are positive [without disclosing] will hurt the “know your status” campaign intended to help stop the transmission of HIV. Who in their right mind would want to get tested if they know they could be charged with spreading the virus and go to jail for years? Nobody!
I saw POZ editor in chief Regan Hofmann’s interview posted on Newsweek.com last June. In it, she says that anyone who’s “ever had unprotected sex even once” should be tested for HIV. It was interesting to hear this because every time I go to the doctor to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases, so that I can feel like I have a clean slate, it’s like pulling teeth. I think this is a problem that probably affects many women like me everywhere. The receptionists don’t want to schedule the appointment. They say that since I haven’t been exposed to any of the risk factors, they don’t see the point of my getting tested. I have to insist that they give me an appointment. Sure, the tests have always come back clean, but that’s exactly what I need for my peace of mind.
I am disappointed that anyone would question the validity of Todd Ahlberg’s documentary Meth (“Meth Madness,” July 2006). It is a powerful film about the dangers of crystal meth in the gay community. You quoted Dr. Perry Halkitis, who challenges the film’s relevance because it focuses on, as POZ correctly states, “white gay meth users.” He may be seeing more black and Latino users in New York, but for much of the country, it’s still a gay white man’s drug. Even your statistic shows a majority (55%) of users are not men of color.
SITE FOR SORE EYES
I recently learned about POZ.com. I have read the print magazine in my doctor’s waiting room, but I never took the time to check out your website. It offers so much information and so many helpful tips. I have been positive for eight years now, and I am thankfully very healthy. You all are doing a great job educating people about HIV. Keep up the good work.