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Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Too close to home

From my daily dose of news from Telus, through all the election newscaps, I noticed this rather disturbing article, titled Man found guilty of knowingly spreading HIV. What was even more disturbing is it's in the city bordering near my home. Here's the first two paragraphs of the article, which is in it's entirety here.
NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. (CP) - A B.C. jury has decided an HIV-positive man knowingly spread the virus to his sexual partners.

HIV-infected Adrien Nduwayo, 36, was found guilty on Tuesday on five counts of aggravated sexual assault, one count of attempted aggravated sexual assault and one count of sexual assault. The charges relate to the man's failing to disclose his condition and engaging in unprotected sex with seven women between 2000 and 2003.
I just can't imagine what would posess somebody, infected with HIV, to engage in intercourse, given full knowledge of the repercussions to their partners. In trying to figure out this mentality, I can only ascertain that Mr. Nduwayo feels he must lash out at the world for whatever reasons, along with the one that he has been infected with the disease that will, by all medical counts, claim his life.

While keeping that in mind, I can only try to put myself in the same shoes. Though I can imagine feeling anger, rage, hate, and desire for revenge, I could not imagine acting upon those feelings. My emotional states would be a disaster, but I would spend my remaining time encouraging others to practice safe sex, avoid intravenus narcotics, and to spread compassion towards those around me. It seems in this day of an eye for an eye, that the best, most effective solution is to educate and enlighten, not to frighten.

As for HIV being an automatic death sentence, I constantly think of Earvin "Magic" Johnson. I can clearly remember, back in my first year of university, the day when I found out he was diagnosed with HIV. Fourteen years ago (yup I'm feeling old... uggghh). With what we knew about the disease back then, it was out of the realm of the possibility then that a human could survive for so long with HIV. But yet, fourteen years later, Magic is still with us, alive and well, speaking to people about the dangers of HIV. Funny how he and I share the same principle. Teach others from the mistakes he made.

So maybe HIV isn't a guaranteed death sentence after all. I'm not going to argue the medicine here, as my chemistry does not go beyond second year university. What I will say though, is for Mr. Nduwayo, his HIV may not be a death sentence after all. Though, by fact, the odds are very high in the favour that HIV, complicated into AIDS, will claim his life.

So what do we do with someone who acted with malicious intent? Extreme rightists, supporting the death penalty, might say execution. But, with any study of a society that favours the death penalty, the main positive of such a system, amongst the many negatives, is it is a great deterrant for heinous criminal behaviour. However, how much can the death penalty deter those whose fate is sealed? Prison terms? Again, really not a deterrant from such activity.

So what can a society do to prevent such cases in the future. The answer is already here. Educate. Enlighten. And Empower. It's back to basics. In a world dominated by terror, absolutes in heros and villans, good and evil, it is easy to fall in the trap of influence by fear of the consequences. We must rise above that, and take the time to teach others, so that not only will such acts be comitted much less, but also, to help slow the spread of this disease.

That is all.
neolithic pondered at 21:31
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