Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The scariest thing about having a child with HIV

I get a daily Yahoo feed of news stories related to HIV and one of the ones today sent chills down my spine. You can find it here http://www.4029tv.com/news/19769264/detail.html about a young person who made a very foolish decision and is being subject to psychiatric evaluation and felony charges over it. It is the same chill I get when every other day or so there is a story about a person with HIV who is being criminally prosecuted for "HIV transmission", for having sex with someone without telling them their status, which frequently in the story ends up being made into a pathological attempt to have sex with lots of people and infect them with HIV. It is to me the scariest thing about having a child with HIV and being at all open about it. What scares me is not the messages that I will give my children about sex and responsibility; I feel very clear about that. What scares me is that even the best teens make foolish decisions, for so many reasons, and our kids with HIV will be held to such a higher standard than all those other kids (who may have had more sexual relationships and have other STDs). I don't know if people who are adopting young kids and choosing to be very open are thinking about this, but it is definitely something to think about. And then you think about malicious people out there. I have such mixed feelings about this issue related to disclosure. There is NO SHAME in having HIV, but there is still so much ignorance and the legal implications of our kids making heartbreaking foolish decisions could be not only in the legal system but also in the media, as this young person's name is out there forever. It is really scary to think that the foolish decisions that so many youth make could have such heartbreaking results for our kids. I know that you can't protect your kids from everything; I just wish I could protect them from these high stakes consequences to a momentary lapse of judgment.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

That is unbelievable. Thanks for bringing it to our attention. Teenagers are not known for the best judgment; to be held to a higher standard seems such a violation of basic civil rights. There was no ill intent on his behalf; merely poor judgement. More to think about.