I read this article on CNN the other day: Love in the time of HIV/AIDS . It’s about how HIV/AIDS patients are living longer lives and are increasingly able to do normal stuff like get married (even to HIV negative partners) and have biological kids (who are very often HIV negative).
All this is great news! But I wonder whether the article itself displays some stigma towards HIV/AIDS sufferers. Why would I think such a thing? Because, of all the couples they could have picked to feature in the article, they chose one in which the HIV-positive partner “contracted HIV through contaminated blood products when he was a child.” As such, he is sexually innocent, having played no part in his contracting HIV. We should be glad that he is able to get married, because he didn’t do anything wrong.
The reality of the matter is that nowadays few people contract HIV through contaminated blood products and most contract it instead through choices involving sex and drugs. Many individuals play russian roulette in this regard, and some lose. CNN passed up a valuable opportunity to portray the reality of the matter: that most HIV/AIDS patients are not victims of circumstances but of their own choices. However, that does not make them terrible people or undeserving of valuable relationships, it’s just the way the disease works. With the loving understanding of their partners, people who have made all kinds of mistakes in the past, even including those resulting in HIV/AIDS, can participate in successful marriages.
With the help of friends, family, and medicine, HIV/AIDS patients are now more able than ever take control of their futures and enjoy lives well worth living. This is something to be celebrated, regardless of whether the patient in question was a drug user or did not conform to rarely practiced ideals of sexuality. Let (s)he who is without sin cast the first stone.