A follow up on my last post, ‘Reviving the Tribe‘
Here’s another thought. Eric Rofes is saying that becoming infected with HIV is a decision that we must respect. People must decide for themselves whether receiving body fluids from potentially HIV positive partners is more valuable to them as a sexual or spiritual part of their life than remaining alive is. The question arises whether the larger society is then responsible to provide treatment for men who seroconvert as a result of this decision.
Put another way, having unprotected sex of the sort Rofes is discussing risks health and life and also a great deal of money. Is the community responsible to subsidize that risk? Can someone demand that their community pay whatever it costs for them to have the sex acts the person feels they need to be fulfilled?
In the end, I think the answer is that a community owes sick people treatment. We can’t watch folks suffer without mercy. We must provide treatment to people suffering from AIDS. If we as a community take responsibility to provide treatment for these HIV positive men, then even if their decision to risk infection is educated, it is not a decision that affects only them. Unless they are able and willing to take responsibility to provide their own medical care, then they are only taking partial responsibility for their decision.
If they expect their community to join them in assuming responsibility for the risks of their personal decisions, can the community not express a degree of risk it is willing to accept and a degree it is not willing to accept?
The personal is political