Posts Tagged ‘Background’

39856_1156248682487_1715825008_306464_227638_nThis past week marked a milestone in my life. Twenty years since I met Ed Briggs. The most amazing many I have ever met.I am happy to say, now husband. I am looking forward to the summer with the Supreme Court makes us legal across the land.I met Ed in 1993 at the National March on Washing for Gay and Lesbian Rights, Or the March. Although he had been at a party I hosted the night before, so were 1800 other men. When we did meet, it was literally a one in a million chance. According to estimates there were a million people on the Mall that day to march for GLBT equality.

There were groups marching representing differing geographic locations, fetishes, sports and gender preferences. I was looking for people with the leather community when I ran into some men that I had met at a FFA party on Thursday night. Although hot, hot, men, by the time Sunday rolled around I was just plain wiped-out . That along with the fact that I had a dozen people staying in my small basement apartment meant no privacy.

In an attempt to make a graceful exit, I notice a cute little stud on the hill about 50 feet away. Feigning surprise I told the guys that I just spotted a friend that I had net seen in years. I made a bee-line over to him, gave him a hug as I whispered in his ear; “I’ll give you $20 bucks if you pretend that you know me and walk out of sight of the guys behind me. He did, we walked away together and have been walking together every day for the past 20 years. He never did ask for the $20.

The funny thing is that later when Going through pictures I had taken that day, I found a picture of him from before we met.

We spent the rest of the day together having dinner at Mr. Henry’s on Capitol Hill. In one of the first signs of Synchronicity,  one of the people staying with me during the march had been dating Ed’s friend he came to the march with. Having spent almost 19 years with this man I will have more to write about and the things I have learned. But as a quick introduction, when we met Ed was active with the Spartan Wrestling Club in Philadelphia where he lived. For the first year, one or the other of us made the trip to Philly or DC every weekend. We finally moved into together in Philly then a year later moved to Florida.

To celebrate the occasion, We spent a week in Spain. Maybe it’s a sign of age, but I preferred the city of Madrid to Barcelona.

Dave and Ed at Gaudi Park in Barcelona

Dave and Ed at Gaudi Park in Barcelona

I’ve lost three months of my life recently to Pristiq. Pristiq is an antidepressant that I started and from the very beginning I felt it was wrong. I lost interest in reading and writing. I lost interest in weight training and sex.  I lost three months. I knew I wanted off the drug but every web site I visited talked about listed testimonials of people who various reasons (lost insurance leading the way) have had to go cold turkey of the drug. People complain of Massive headaches and nausea and light-headedness. All of which I have experienced to one degree or another. None to an extreme or uncomfortable level.

This past week when I went to refill my prescription, I lost the new bottle. Faced with going out of pocket or cold turkey I figured I would try going, over Christmas, cold turkey without my Pristiq (I am still on Abilify). As I say So far the only thing I have noticed is last night I read 4 chapters in a new book. The Last Werewolf. While on Pristiq I was unable to read an entire page from that book. I am now driven to get back into the gym and last night took a long walk with the dogs and Ed after dinner instead of napping. I am relived to be back in sorts to a large degree. I still won’t watch the hallmark channel yet. Why ask for depression or tears. I do, for the first time in months feel in control. Something I have not felt in months.

Is that the goal of the mental health professionals, to give people socially acceptable ways of feeling numb? I thought it was to develop the tools to maintain control. I’ll keep my therapist but I am dropping my pill pusher psychologist. I want to develop my own tools for handling my life and life experiences. I don’t want to feel dead.

A lot of ink has been used in recent month examining the change in the Republican party. My take is a little different.

The R’s have become the home of the Evangelical wing of Christian churches and the former John Birchers’. The John Birchers are the most interesting additions to the party. They were the first to migrate to the party when President Nixon embarked on his southern strategy to win re-election. The John Birchers’ were previously the dixicrats or southern democrats that Nixon and the Republicans targeted.  The John Birch Society is a political advocacy group that, in their words, supports anti-communism, limited government, a constitutional republic and personal freedom. The society upholds an originalist interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, which it identifies with fundamental Christian principles, seeks to limit governmental powers, and opposes wealth redistribution, and economic interventionism. It not only opposes the practices it terms collectivism, totalitarianism, and communism, but socialism and fascism as well, which it asserts is infiltrating US governmental administration. Congressman Larry McDonald (D-Georgia), (who I worked for in 1978) then its newly appointed president, characterized the society as belonging to the Old Right rather than the New Right.

The society opposed aspects of the 1960s civil rights movement and claimed the movement had communists in important positions. The Society produced a flyer titled “What’s Wrong With Civil Rights?,” which was used as a newspaper advertisement. The group is Anti-Semitic, racist, anti-Mormon, anti-Masonic, and filled with a paranoid fervor. They are against the trilateral commission and at one time tried to tie the Queen of England to an international drug cartel. The UN’s role in the Gulf War and President George H.W. Bush’s call for a ‘New World Order’ appeared to many society members to validate their claims about a ”One World Government” conspiracy. It should surprise no one that Chuck Colson, convicted White House Aide to Nixon, (found Jesus in jail) was an architect of the Southern Strategy for Republicans as well as a supporter and leader of the Family. The “Family” is the secretive evangelical group responsible for the National Prayer Breakfast and the infamous “C Street House”. I lived in another one of their houses while in college. Sen Brownback (R-KA) in 1999, joined together with fellow Family members, Senators Strom Thurmond and Don Nickles to demand a criminal investigation of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. They run a convert operation and have a burnt earth policy against those who challenge them.

What do these two groups have in common? Both need to feed upon people with low analytical skills and suffer some form of paranoia. The average member of each group is less educated then average and believe the world to be seen in terms of black and white, us against them. There is no room for nuance. In one group there is a constant undertone of conspiracies set to undermine their lives. The others group has that plus a belief that there are invisible forces at work that only they understand because of their special calling. There is an invisible force that created the universe and they have a special intimate relationship with. Because of this relationship they get special treasures after they die. While alive they are give a special insight into the universe. They need to see the world in terms of black and white. The Devil is out to destroy them and their way of life with temptation. This is why they eschew facts and reality because there is no proof to substitute their belief patterns in both cases. Therefore evidence base science directly challenges their belief and cause them to lash out.

(Part 2 – Why they hate education)

I’m back. It’s been awhile and the depression got worse and darker but I think I have turned the corner and understand the roots. The shrink gave me some meds that made matters worse. I remember joking about the warning on antidepressants, warnings that they “increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior”. Wow, they were not kidding. There are a few of us that can have these reactions and it is unbelievable to me how dark it can get.

The good news is that I think I have discovered a root of the problem and can go about fixing it. One part of the problem is that I never wanted to be an attorney. As I mentioned earlier, I went to law school so my obituary would not read waiter. I never thought I would live to see graduation. Now some 25 years later I am in a situation where I can do what I want and I am going to start doing that. Piano, Photography and continue with the athletics and training. Most important is writing. While I reorganize my life a bit I will update regularly. My this weekend the blog will pass 50,000 views. Thanks for your support.

Though I’ve never been through hell like that
I’ve closed enough windows
to know you can never look back

A friend posted on Facebook today that she was returning to the Piano. Her quote was wonderful. “THE PIANO – When you truly play, you and the piano become one. And until you play again, it is indeed a temptation and difficult to resist.”

From the time I was a kid I wanted to learn to play the piano. I had a couple of lessons in 7th grade from Sr. St. George but could not get access to a piano to practice and it fell by the wayside. The very first record album I ever bought was Horowitz playing Moonlight Sonata. It was a RCA recording from 1956. I still have that album. I used to lay across my bed and listen to it over and over. While other friends were learning the chords to Smoke on the Water I was listening to every nuance and variation in the music. VLADIMIR HOROWITZ was sent from the gods. His hands touched the keys and the angles would weep in shame. I so wanted to become one with an instrument in such a way that the sounds coming forth would make the world stop and take notice. I just never had a piano or the discipline to follow that path.

In my 20’s I had the opportunity to sit on a piano bench with Horowitz at the Ritz Carlton off DuPont Circle in Washington DC. Horowitz had just returned from a trip back to Moscow for his now famous concert and the Reagan people wanted to capitalize on it as some kind of US vs. USSR battle won by the good guys. In 1986, Horowitz announced that he would return to the Soviet Union for the first time since 1925 to give recitals in Moscow and Leningrad. In the new atmosphere of communication and understanding between the USSR and the USA, these concerts were seen as events of political, as well as musical, significance.

I mentioned the story about Horowitz being the first album I ever purchased and apparently she mentioned it to Vladimir. When he came out to warm up the piano and check its’ tuning he invited me to sit with him. He didn’t have to ask twice. I sat with him while he warmed up the most beautiful piano I had ever touched. As I watched his hands fly across the keyboard I realized I would never have that skill and all but gave up any dream of ever learning to play.

Vladimir Horowitz and David Schauer

Vladimir Horowitz and Me

After the dinner there was a receiving line that included Horowitz, Senator Paul Laxalt, Justices Warren Berger and Renquest, and Secretary George Schultz to name a few. As the guests were winding through the line and after-dinner drinks were being served, Horowitz bolted from the line asking “where’s that kid?” He came back into the dining room and found me. The confusion on the host face and the elite of Washington who had just been abandoned was priceless. Horowitz had tracked me down to ask if I had all his CD’s (A new fade in those days). I responded that I did not that I could not afford them all. He asked if I went to New York often to which I answered in the affirmative. He told me that next time I was in the city to call him and he would give the rest. He asked if I knew where he lived. I said you’re so famous like that John Lennon guy everyone in the city would know. And I’d ask when I got there. He retorted “Smart-ass” and then printed out his address and phone number.

On my next trip to NY I stopped by but he was napping. I had tea with his wife Wanda who gave me several CD’s. She told me that he was so excited to find someone at one of those parties who actually appreciated his work and not his fame that he actually talked about meeting me for several days. I couldn’t stop telling my friends who responded with a collective Vladimir who? By the time I made a trip to the City after that he has passed away.

Several years ago I purchased a baby grand with hopes of taking lessons and rekindling that love affair but every time I sat down to learn I psyched myself out by comparing myself to Horowitz.

Once again I have decided to try to learn. First step is to have it tuned. Then focus. The piano still calls to me and intimidates me at the same time.

There has been a break in blogging over the past few weeks due to the difficulty in seeing clearly in the darkness of a real depression. It has been a number of years since I have been in this deep a depression. For the first time in almost twenty years I am actually seeing a professional.

I had forgotten the difference in being depressed and hitting depression. Sad is ok because it makes you appreciate the happy moments. This depression had no hope of happy on the horizon. A few factors built the hole and a few factors came together to break out of the hole.

One of the key factors building the hole was the fact that my lab work came back with a positive viral load for the first time in almost ten years. There is a huge disconnect between the attitudes of younger people who are getting infected for fun or whatever reasons. They believe, maybe incorrectly, that there will be medications available to them that will always keep the disease in check. Then there are the people I came of age with, the few remaining from my generation.

We became the walking dead

I came out in Washington DC in the pre-AIDS days. This season of fun and excitement soon turned to the dawn of the dead. My friends and lovers soon became walking corpses almost overnight. Healthy, playing racquetball on Monday, a cold on Wednesday and a cough by Friday. Saturday a trip to the ER when they began coughing blood and dead the following week. Drowned by their own lungs. This was my life. This was their death. For ten years I waited for my turn. Expecting that at any day the virus would explode in my system and take me like it did so many other of my generation. It is hard to unlearn a decade of learning that was pounded into my psyche.

A few of the lucky ones actually had family or friends with them at the end.

Every trip to the local stores, every time I took a buddy to the doctor or came to clean their house was a reminder of what I had to look forward to when it was my turn. In times like this when the virus makes it presence known I realize that I am still waiting for that explosion. I realize how many are dead and wonder why I’m not. I was a bigger whore than Barry, Ron, Mike but not Andrew. They are gone and I’m in a hole of my own making as dark as any grave.

Logically I understand that things are different now. I could live another twenty plus years without any problems. Those thoughts can’t change or explain the past.

So what is helping me climb back out of the hole? Bottom line, like a ghost that can’t cross over, I have unfinished business.  I have several books that I’m currently reading. The common thread in them is that we use energy available to us to create our own reality. We can be energy vampires and drain people around us or use the energy available to us to create a new reality. That is what I’ve started to do. One of my perceived obstacles is that I feel as though there is no one to support me. That after years of being people’s confidant, strength and counselor, there was no one with time for me. I began to realize a couple of things. First was that I had not really let anyone get that close to me again that could see me when I not in control. Second, that I probably need to do it on my own.

The facade we show is usually enough to hide behind.

I have long felt that to many people like to be victims and want other people to either carry the blame for their failings or in the alterative seek out the attention reserved for true victims. I have started to reshape my energy so as not to be a victim of my past. There is still a world of difference I can make in the lives of other. I hope for the better. More important, there are things left in that not only bring contentment but long-term happiness. I also need to stop relying on comfort food. I added ten pounds on in the form of a severe “zinger” addiction.

I look forward to more blogging in the coming days and weeks and I hope this time I can get completely out of the hole. I am going to spend a lot of time in the next few days setting long and short-term goals for myself in a lot of different areas.


I am sorry the blogging has sucked. I hit a major depression a month ago and had trouble pulling out. Think that is behind and off to Disney for the weekend. Regular bloging should be back then!


July 2012, Washington DC is hosting the International Conference on AIDS. The Names Project Foundation, which takes care of all the Quilt Panels is trying to ‘blanket DC’ with all the Quilt Panels. The Quilt has been to DC in 1987, 88, 89, 92 and 1996. Some of the Quilt were included in President Clinton’s Inauguration Parade. The Quilt was also nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. It is the single largest community project in the World to this day.

The Quilt continues to grow as HIV/AIDS takes more lives. The Quilt now has over 47,000+ panels, weighs over 54 tons and has over 92,000+ names listed. Some famous names include: Arthur Ashe, Eazy E (rapper), Perry Ellis, Rock Hudson, Richard Hunt (muppeteer), Liberace, Freddie Mercury, Tim Richmond (Nascar), Robert Reed (Brady Bunch), Anthony Perkins (Psycho), Max Robinson (ABC News anchor), Jerry Smith (Redskin Football player), Ricky Wilson (B-52 band), Ryan White, Rudolf Nureyev, just to name a few…

According to POZ magazine, the  AIDS Memorial Quilt will be displayed in its entirety for the first time since 1996 in multiple key locations on and around Capitol Hill and throughout metropolitan Washington, DC. from July 21-24.

Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt is a 1989 documentary film that tells the story of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. Narrated by Dustin Hoffman with a musical score written and performed by Bobby McFerrin, the film focuses on several people who are represented by panels in the Quilt, combining personal reminiscences with archive footage of the subjects, along with footage of various politicians, health professionals and other people with AIDS.  One of those focused in the film was an ex of mine Tracy Torrey. Part of me want to go to DC to see the quilt, but after all this time and all those deaths and all those funerals, not sure I could handle it.  One of those focused in the film was an ex of mine Tracy Torrey. Part of me want to go to DC to see the quilt, but after all this time and all those deaths and all those funerals, not sure I could handle it.

During the recent weeks much ink has been shed involving the alleged “War on Christianity.” This is usually a topic reserved for the Xmas season but due to the recent pronouncements by the Obama Administration concerning the equal treatment of women with respect to health care, and the Republican efforts to politicize men’s control over the vagina, it has gathered considerable attention. One of the biggest problems in society at large, in my opinion, is the rejection of fact-based arguments based on provable facts. As a society we have ceded thoughts to a few “experts” who do not use facts but rely on hyperbole to reinforce held positions. Even the vaulted “PolitiFact” has some epic fails of recent in their attempt not to be seen as too political. I hope to examine the roots of religion in America and then how it is affecting the debate on education and GLBT issues.

Christians have become apt at playing the “victim card” after almost two thousand years of practice.

“Does anyone know…does the Christian persecution complex have an expiration date? Because…uh…you’ve all been in charge pretty much since…uh…what was that guys name…Constantine. He converted in, what was it, 312 A.D. I’m just saying, enjoy your success.”

“I have to say, as someone who is not Christian, it’s hard for me to believe Christians are a persecuted people in America. God-willing, maybe one of you one day will even rise up and get to be president of this country – or maybe forty-four in a row. But, that’s my point, is they’ve taken this idea of no establishment as persecution, because they feel entitled, not to equal status, but to greater status.”

–      Jon Stewart

This began in America as far back as the Mayflower. American history, as written by those who came to America, is a story of “true Christians” fleeing Great Britain to practice their faith. The reality is a little different. One man’s Freedom Fighter is another man’s terrorist.  The people who fled from England were in fact tied in closely with those supporting Guy Fawkes.

According to an article in the Smithsonian Magazine, the “Puritans” were led by a group of radical pastors who, challenging the authority of the Church of England, established a network of secret religious congregations. William Brewster, one of the leaders of this movement who came to America, became the senior elder of the colony, serving as its religious leader and as an adviser to Governor William Bradford. As the only university educated member of the colony, Brewster took the part of the colony’s religious leader until a pastor, Ralph Smith, arrived in 1629. Thereafter, he continued to preach irregularly until his death in April 1644.

Guy Fawkes

Before coming to America William Brewster was embroiled in the controversy, when Queen Elizabeth decided to have her cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots, executed in 1587. Mary, a Catholic whose first husband had been the King of France, was implicated in conspiracies against Elizabeth’s continued Protestant rule. It was this event, combined with the rise of James, Mary’s protestant son to the throne, which inspired Guy Fawkes. Brewster himself survived the crisis, but he was driven from court in London, his dreams of worldly success dashed. His disillusionment with the politics of court and church led him in a radical direction.

Brewster and his followers objected to the King being the head of the Church of England. Having lost his ability to rise to power in England, Brewster and his sect made a deal and went to the States. Away from the Church and Crown they wanted to live a life as they interpreted it from the bible. They did not need educated people telling them what to think.  They did not come to America to start a land of religious tolerance. They came so they could develop their form of religious purity.

Giordano Bruno

When Catholics came a few years later they were tortured and killed by these Puritans. To put things in perspective, in this time period the Roman Catholic Church burned astronomer Giordano Bruno at the stake for heresy in 1600. His crime? Advocating an endless universe, and that the sun did not go around the earth. Churches and religion did not allow anyone to challenge their dogma. The Churches used government to enforce their dogma and the crown got their “divine right” to rule from the church.

By 1654, however, the Puritans so dominated the colony that Catholics found themselves actually outlawed, the persecution becoming so intense that they fled to Pennsylvania.  Although Catholics eventually moved to Maryland in small numbers, they still, even until 1776, were not allowed to hold public office, establish schools, or conduct religious services. My girlfriend’s home in southern Maryland still had an alcove in one room designed for secret masses during the catholic persecutions well into the 1700’s. The government confiscated land that had been owned by the Jesuits. It was against this backdrop of violence and persecution by the religious on the citizens of the colonies, that Thomas Jefferson wrote the Bill of Rights. It was not to protect religious beliefs of a particular church, but to protect people from the religious belief of others. As Jefferson said; “If anything pass in a religious meeting seditiously and contrary to the public peace, let it be punished in the same manner and no otherwise as it had happened in a fair or market”

It was not a matter of Churches being protected from government intrusion but of attempting to control church influence and dictum in the actions of government. For millenniums, from the days of the Romans and Greeks, states and countries had a favored religion that would support a favored ruler who would in turn use that government to protect the favored religion. Every so often a leader in either the church or government would challenge that equilibrium and war would ensue. That is the religious heritage of the United States.  It has nothing to do with the noble thoughts of religious freedoms and every thing to do with accumulation of power in the few. In order to understand the current “culture wars” one has to know this history. Not the sanitized history taught in the Bible tracts given by the churches. One needs only to point to the use of the judicial system to enforce dogma by the church a recently as the Salem Witch trials or the enforcement of the slavery laws in the south. As Kenneth Stamp wrote in The Peculiar Institution, Christianity actually became a way to add value to slaves in America:” …when southern clergy became ardent defenders of slavery, the master class could look upon organized religion as an ally …the gospel, instead of becoming a mean of creating trouble and strive, was really the best instrument to preserve peace and good conduct among the negroes.” As to the witch-hunts, according to scholars, the number of executions for witchcraft exceeded 50,000 people. This is the “American Religious Heritage” that Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Pat Robertson and others are fighting for. It is the America Barry Goldwater warned us of. He said that these Christians believe they are acting in the name of god, so they can’t and won’t compromise.  You must have compromise to have a functioning government. Otherwise you have a theocratic rule of law.

As a society we must fight this at every step and not yield a inch to the fanatics who would (and have) white washed their past. These protestant reformers who try to hide the killings of Catholics and non-believers: the Catholics who try to ignore two millennium of wars, executions and burnings (and a few sex scandals) and any others who attempt to control our government and thoughts. We need to challenge not just their arguments and demands but the very foundation they are built on. It is then that the house of cards will collapse under its own weight of hypocrisy.

“There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this Supreme Being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God’s name on one’s behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in ‘A,’ ‘B,’ ‘C,’ and ‘D.’ Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of ‘conservatism.’ “
(1909-1998) US Senator (R-Arizona) Source: Congressional Record, September 16, 1981

This week, The Canadian Supreme Court heard an appeal involving a people living with the human immunodeficiency virus, who recently were acquitted by provincial appeal courts of aggravated assault and sexual assault charges for not disclosing their HIV status. The convictions hinged on their failure to inform his sexual partners that they have HIV.

In the first case, Mabior was convicted in 2008 of aggravated assault for having sex with six women without disclosing his status, but two years later he was acquitted on appeal. The Manitoba Court of Appeal ruled if an HIV-positive person wears a condom or has a low viral load and, therefore, a low risk of transmitting the virus, having sex does not pose a risk of serious bodily harm.

In the second case, a Quebec woman did not disclose her HIV-positive status to her former spouse. In neither case did the “victim” contract AIDS. In 1997, Florida legislators made it a felony for an HIV-infected person to have “sexual intercourse” without informing the partner of their infected status, adding the virus to a list of established STDs like gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis.

But Florida statutes specifically define sexual intercourse only as vaginal sex between a man and a woman meaning — “the penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ.” Therefor gays and lesbians cannot be charged. The question before the courts and legislatures needs to be decided on legal and not moral grounds.

For the vast majority of people living with HIV, preventing others from becoming infected with the virus is a primary concern. HIV positive individuals are aware of just how difficult it is to live with the illness.

Not all HIV positive people take the precautions that they perhaps should. Some people, angry at their plight or just plain crazy, “deliberately or recklessly transmit the virus” to others. Some of the individuals concerned have even been criminally charged for their actions. To some it might seem obvious to prosecute someone for recklessly or intentionally infecting another with an ultimately fatal virus.  I personally oppose this position for several reasons.

As I have stated earlier, I have been infected with the HIV virus since December 1980.  I personal feel it is my duty to tell people up front about it before there is any intimate contact that could cause exposure. I do not however think that it relives the other person from being responsible for his or her own protection. Unless a person has been home schooled or worse, they should know that every person is a possible carrier of HIV, Herpes or other STD’s. Each person is responsible for his or her own protection. By criminalizing the status of the person with HIV for not telling and not criminalizing the “negative” person for not inquiring, is wrong. It is the same as making the actions of a drug dealer criminal but not the actions of the person buying drugs.

It also becomes a dis-incentive to getting testing and treatment. More important it is impossible to defend against.

Let’s start by using the case of the woman accused of not telling her ex-husband. What was to stop him for saying he was not told simply as a way of getting back at her for cheating or other perceived malfeasance during the marriage. It becomes a he said she said. If it is a case of a trick in the bar, or an ex boyfriend, this becomes a matter of ones word against another. We all know hell has no fury like a scorned queen!

Second if the “victim’ is exposed, it needs to be proven that the accused was definitely the source of the accuser’s HIV. This would involve a range of evidence including sexual history, testing history and scientific evidence in the form of phylogenetics. This compares the DNA of the virus. If they are completely different then it means that the accusers almost certainly did not acquire HIV from the accused. If the strains are very similar, however, it is possible, though not conclusive, that the accused infected the accusers. Phylogenetics cannot reliably estimate the direction of transmission and therefore it is possible that the accusers infected the accused. Furthermore, the same third party, or different third parties who shared similar strains of HIV could have infected both.

Then there is the issue of informed consent. Can you really have informed consent after 4,6,8 drinks on a Saturday night? Being under the influence is a legal justification for getting out of contracts.  Do people need to start carrying informed consent contracts to the bars at night in case they get laid? The most bizarre aspect of the entire thing is that if an HIV person is raped and does not inform the rapist that they are positive, the rape victim is then guilty of a felony. This is a very real scenario in our prison system.

These laws don’t necessarily provide the public with any additional protection, and it may in fact provide the public with a false sense of security because people may have unprotected sex, presuming their partner must be HIV negative because a criminal offense has been created. Do not confuse moral with legal when it comes to obligations. We should not criminalize status.