Missing An Important Distinction
It's not often you want to give kudos to someone for calling you out, but I want to do just that to the folks at The Conversation Starts Here, a great blog about HIV/AIDS Awareness. A writer got on me for a number of points I raised in my blog about the "Detroit AIDS Serial Killer." Most of those points I agree with, a few I don't.
But he was right about one thing: In my haste to post, I messed up and failed to make a critical distinction between being HIV-positive and having AIDS.
Hey, dimwit, being HIV-positive does not mean some one has AIDS.
No, it does not. They are not the same. And while I don't dispute the figures that I refer to, it should be pointed out that they address HIV cases, not simply AIDS. There are many people here and abroad who have waged valiant fights against HIV, and who lead productive and important and fulfilling lives, and I don't mean to add to stereotypes or fan fears about them.
I should've been clearer. I wasn't. My apologies for that.
IMO, he's wrong when he suggests I take a "puritan" point of view on sex. Kinda hard to praise a porn star and be puritan at the same time, and as a guy who thinks that such "puritan" approaches to sex is precisely why our country has such major sexual hang ups, I'm annoyed by that. But in the grand scheme of things, my offense is worse so I won't go on about this.
Among other great points he raises...
Seriously, out of the city's 38 zip codes, 1 zip code has a prevalence of 6 %, 10 have a prevalence of 5%, 6 have a prevalence of 4%, 3 have a prevalence of 3%, 3 have a prevalence rate of 2%, and 2 have a prevalence of 1%. That means that in over half the city's zip codes, HIV prevalence is 3 percent or higher! Where is TIME Magazine with THAT piece of information, or for that matter the rest of the mainstream media?
Because Detroit does not want to admit to the crisis in its midst and relying on raw sex porno promotion to do your HIV prevention messaging is not good public policy.
That piece of information is here now. Thank you for it.
Now, I never said, nor meant, that hoaxes like this should pass for public policy. But to his point, Detroit does need a real, effective strategy for dealing with the disease. And a video by an aspiring sex-film actress ain't that.
That said, though, I still hold that what she did, ultimately, was a good thing for one key reason: It moved some (presumably black) men to go get themselves tested. I don't care about her altruism or lack thereof. I don't care about her greed. I want black men to stop engaging in behavior that leads to the high rates of HIV contraction in our communities. Period. Of course great public policy should be the way we do that. But I still ain't mad at Jackie Braxton for that, regardless of her intentions.
I know that the small bump up in the number of people getting tested isn't going to end this epidemic. But even it means only one person taking this issue to heart, if it means saving even one life, if it means sparking a conversation like this, I just can't be mad.
I am, though, sorry that I added to the misperception that being HIV positive is the same thing has having AIDS. And as thankful as I am that Braxton's hoax reminded some of us how serious this crisis is, I'm also thankful that The Conversation Starts Here checked me on that distinction and provided some great info along the way.
This is way too serious of an issue for anyone to get the facts wrong -- and that includes me.