Norfolk Virginian-Pilot Editorial Calls for Continued Condom Use to Prevent HIV Transmission
Surveys showing that men who have sex with men are choosing to have unprotected sex and not telling their partners about their HIV status highlight an "astonishing example of self-delusion and irresponsible behavior," a Norfolk Virginian-Pilot editorial says. "Consenting adults ought to do as they choose, so long as they harm no one and don't expect the government or someone else to pay the price of their folly," the editorial continues, adding that MSM "who center only on their own needs" may "damag[e] the vital campaign to sustain and increase funding for AIDS research and international prevention." HIV-negative men who engage in unprotected sex "are foolishly risking their health by avoiding precaution," while those who are HIV-positive "are immorally failing to inform others that they might be an agent of illness, or even death," the editorial continues. The editorial says that HIV-positive MSM "have an ethical obligation to inform anyone with whom they have sex of the potential risk. It may be unfair that life has dealt them a blow; that does not grant them freedom to indiscriminately jeopardize others." Although the use of antiretroviral drugs has successfully extended the lives and good health of HIV-positive individuals, the editorial says, "To stop using condoms because AIDS deaths are down is like giving up seat belts because the traffic fatalities have diminished." Noting that "[i]t may be illogical that the risky behavior of a sub-group of the HIV population would affect broader public policy," the editorial concludes, "Confronting AIDS is still not on the priority list of very many politicians. Giving them a reason to be indifferent when the need remains so great is unconscionable" (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 8/27).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.