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To The "Detroit AIDS Serial Killer:" Thank You

I wish I'd have gotten to this sooner...

Guess plenty of people are angry with 23-year-old Jackie Braxton for the scare she recently threw into some around the city. If you haven't heard, Braxton posted a video of herself online a couple of weeks ago, wearing a bandanna and claiming that she had passed along the AIDS virus to numerous male sex partners around Detroit in an effort to "destroy the world."

"Three minutes of pleasure turns into a lifetime of death," she declared. She even held up a list of people she said she'd slept with, including other women's husbands and boyfriends.

She was arrested by police not long after the video posted -- it's a crime for someone with AIDS to have unprotected sex without informing the partner beforehand -- and volunteered to be tested. Turns out, Braxton doesn't have the AIDS virus. The entire thing was just a hoax, Braxton admitted, a frightening attempt to drum up attention for the porn site she stars in and runs with her husband. More importantly (OK, maybe not to her, but at least to me), she said her stunt was also an attempt to remind us of the dangers of unprotected sex.

Message received, Jackie.

“Hopefully, it will serve as a public service,” she added.

With a noticeable jump in the number of people showing up Thursday and today at Detroit's walk-in HIV/AIDS testing clinics, Braxton may have gotten her wish.

Detroit Department of Health and Wellness Promotion officials said an average of seven people a day come in for walk-in testing available on Monday, Thursday and Friday. On Thursday and today, the department saw about 15 people a day.

Clearly, the hoax was as effective as it was cruel. And for that, I think, Jackie Braxton deserves not a jail sentence (seems there's nothing to charge her with anyway) but rather, a "thank you."

Thank you, for reminding a state that has more than 18,000 AIDS cases -- and a metro Detroit area that's home to nearly 40 percent of them — that this disease is just as real and deadly as it ever was, that we'd best remain vigilant.

Thank you, for reminding so many of us men of that old Bell, Biv, Devoe adage that "you can't trust a big butt and smile," that careless promiscuity and multiple sexual conquests isn't a measure of manhood -- but rather like playing Russian Roulette with your private parts.

Thank you, for reminding a black community hit hard by AIDS that this killer virus stalks our neighborhoods with a particularly deadly rapacity, taking our brothers, sisters, daughters and sons in epidemic numbers while too many folks in charge still do far too little about it.

Yes, if Braxton's stunt (which is posted below) hadn't been a hoax, I'd be horrified, angry and deeply saddened for her "victims." Instead, though, her vicious marketing effort made people get themselves checked out, made men who might not have thought about it otherwise consider what unprotected sex-capades can mean for their wives, their children, their lives.

It took a mean joke to make some of us recognize that AIDS is deadly serious. And like I said, it worked. So, again, thank you, Jackie Braxton.

And thank goodness it was all just a lie...this time.

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