There is a chilling article in the December 2006 issue of Glamour magazine. Itâ€™s worth picking up off a newsstand and flipping to page 168.
The article is a profile of three women who are â€˜livingâ€™ with AIDS. I found their stories very interesting, especially in light of the conversation I had with Bob on this prostitution post.
The first girl profiled was infected during a night of drunken, unprotected sex. There were overtones of force although she didnâ€™t accuse her partner of rape. She was 18.
Her story could very well be almost any girlâ€™s story, especially if that girl is in college and living on campus. (Force or no force, drunken unsafe sex is sort of de rigueur in school.) I bet some female readers of this blog have had this same experience. And fathers of daughters probably find this scary. It is.
The second woman profiled is in her 40s, black, and was given HIV by a former boyfriend who knew he had HIV but told no one.
She is a statistic. According to the information Iâ€™ve come across in my own research, the fastest rising group of HIV/AIDS sufferers in the US are heterosexual minority females (black women followed by Hispanic women; other minorities donâ€™t seem to be having this explosion). It seems theyâ€™re becoming infected mainly through their male partners in monogamous relationships (at least, monogamous from the womanâ€™s side). Her story is scary because she could be any unsuspecting woman in a relationship.
Iâ€™m glad Glamour printed the third profile; at the same time I canâ€™t believe that they did.
The third profile is of a woman who is an HIV carrier (she is not suffering from the disease). Sheâ€™s actively dating. Although sheâ€™s upfront about her status, she says that most men donâ€™t care and donâ€™t fear becoming infected. Then she tells about an incident last February where she picked up a man in a bar and they had drunken sex. He knew about her status, and sheâ€™s fully aware of it herself. But neither of them insisted on a condom. She became pregnant from her one-night stand.
Her pattern of behavior is how she became infected at age 25. She had an HIV-positive boyfriend yet she didnâ€™t really insist on condom usage. She admits she didnâ€™t care enough about herself to stay safe.
The risks that she and her partners are willing to take tell me that none of them care about themselves or each other. Iâ€™d say she sufferers from low self-esteem. Perhaps a victim of abuse who feels compelled to seek sexual approval and attention from men?
At any rate, the reaction of the men she meets doesnâ€™t surprise me. Men who pick up drunk chicks in bars probably arenâ€™t going to care very much about a disease that they stand a small chance of catching, especially one that manifests itself years down the road. Of course, both she and her partners are missing the simple fact that HIV is not the only disease passed through unsafe sex, nor it is the only incurable one.
What galls me about this is that if she were a sex-worker of any sort, sheâ€™d probably be in prison right now. But because sheâ€™s just a careless slut, sheâ€™s apparently safe from any legal charges. And I bet she would look down her nose at a woman whom she considers to be a prostitute.
Unsafe sex is unsafe sex. Disease is disease. Money is nowhere in this equation.