I read a book by Tracy Hickman called The Immortals. It’s a wonderful read and if you ever get a chance I highly recommend it. However, I found it terrifying in it’s ability to predict what is occurring now.

In the book, a man enters a concentration camp for victims of a horrible HIV/AIDS like disease called V-CIDS. The American government, which is a temporary dictatorship, has set up interm camps for victims of the airbourne virus. The public believes these are places to house those with the disease so that they are safe from catching the virus. In truth, what happens is that the camps are blown up with all victims inside.

Recently, a man in Toronto, Lindani Msimanga, was arrested and charged with aggravated sexual assault because he is HIV positive and not informing his partners. When I first read about it, I had the opinion that, while his arrest made me uncomfortable, it was okay because he wasn’t being responsible. I was a bit more uncomfortable when I discovered that he is being charged as a dangerous offender. Still, I thought, he has HIV and needs to be responsible. Government must make him responsible to keep people safe.

Then I read about a 17-year-old Alberta girl who has been arrested for having unprotected sex and not disclosing her HIV status and the brakes when on in my brain. This isn’t right. At first I thought I was just being another do-gooder because of her age but then I thought again.

I’m not one of these people that believes that teenagers who commit crimes are the tragic Greek figures that the media often portrays them to be. Teens know right from wrong and should be held accountable for their actions. It doesn’t matter if mommy beat them or daddy molested them. They know that violent crimes are wrong and can make a choice as to whether to commit them or not. That choice may not be easy and it may not be the way they want to go, but it is there and they can make it. So I wasn’t upset over the HIV-positive girl’s age. This went deeper.

I’ve since lost my copy of The Immortals (Amazon carries it, but not on Kindle) but I haven’t forgotten the story. Is this what we’re doing? Rounding up HIV-positive individuals so that the public can be safe? Why not round up cancer patients? They pose a threat to me being all hairless and everything. What about TB carriers? Hepatitis? Those who get the flu and refuse to get flu shots (I’m one of them)? The list goes on and on. You can justify any of it. After all, a person with TB just needs to cough to infect you. They should have to wear masks and wear signs. Got hepatitis? Get that tattoo’d on your forehead. A big ‘ol “B” where everyone can see it. Don’t want to? Arrest that person. They’re a threat to my health. Where does it end?

Let’s take into consideration, for a moment, that it takes TWO people to commit the act that will spread HIV. Unless either of these individuals was tying people up and injecting their blood into their victims, the spread of their disease is not solely on their shoulders. If anyone chooses to have unprotected sex with an indivudual they take a chance. Unless you have shown that person a clean bill of health from the local STD clinic or your family doctor given within the past month, USE A CONDOM! If you choose to go bareback and you aren’t 100% positive that person is STD free, you get to take responsibility for anything you catch. It’s not up to the government to make sure your stupid decisions keep you safe, that’s up to you. If you choose to do risk-taking things like not wearing a seatbelt, crossing against the light or not using a condom, that’s your right. But after you go through the windshield, get hit by a car or get HIV, don’t come running to me (a responsible person who buys condoms by the 12-pack) crying about how you should have been better protected. Sorry, but you didn’t like the “feel” of the condom. Maybe you like the “feel” of HIV or herpes or any other STD instead. Have fun.

Stop arresting those with HIV. Start arresting real criminals. Start giving 17-year-olds condoms so they won’t infect others. Teach people the FACTS about HIV, its spread and its treatment. Start putting up a lot more STD clinics. But for God’s sake, stop trying to protect those who make stupid choices!

Addendum: I was wrong earlier. Tracy Hickman’s book The Immortals is available on Kindle. Thank you, Mr. Hickman, for correcting me.

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