This article by Becky Allen first appeared in TheBody.com here.
I usually work behind the scenes here at TheBody.com, but after spending eight years quietly immersed in the HIV community, it turns out I can no longer see HIV in the news without having some pretty strong reactions.
Since rumors began yesterday, and were confirmed this morning, that Charlie Sheen is HIV positive, oh man, has the news coverage been making me cringe -- and that was before I made the No. 1 Internet mistake of reading the comments on some mainstream coverage.
I started to rant about it to my coworkers here at TheBody.com, and they encouraged me to actually write those rants down, so here you go: my five initial reactions to the conversation around Charlie Sheen's HIV status.
1) Charlie Sheen Has Done Terrible Things, but HIV Is Not a Punishment for Being Terrible
I am not going to defend Charlie Sheen. Sheen has a long history of domestic violence. He has frequently behaved like a total jackass (and a borderline anti-Semitic one at that). He's also anti-vaccination. Charlie Sheen is not a guy I want to know or spend time with. I avoid his TV shows and movies.
I get that it's tempting, when bad things happen to a bad person, to revel in the schadenfreude -- especially given that Sheen has always seemed to be ultra-proud of his sex-and-drugs lifestyle. But this isn't comeuppance or just desserts -- and sorry folks, the contracting-HIV-from-tiger-blood jokes aren't funny.
Read the rest of the article here.