Are HIV infected women selfish for wanting to live normal lives?

Recently I watched an episode of Oprah that exposed the secret lives of down-low men. Let me take the time to clarify for you all what the term “down-low man” is considered to be. A “down-low man” is a male that assumes the role of a heterosexual lifestyle in the public’s eye but behind closed doors they secretly have sexual encounters with homosexual men. Now that we’ve gotten all the technical  jargon out the way, Oprah had several guest on her show who had encountered the down-low lifestyle whether it be direct or indirectly. One guest in particular stood out to me for several reasons.

Bridget B, a 32 year former business woman, had been infected with HIV by her ex-husband Jon B, a Hollywood executive. Jon B, as he is known in court documents, lived this secret lifestyle unbeknown to his wife. The two dated for two years before getting married and shortly once they returned from their honeymoon John began to fall ill with a temperature of 103 degrees. About a month after John had such rising temperatures Bridget then became sick. Bridget went to the doctor for a physical and requested to be tested for any and everything when a week later she received the news she was HIV positive. Immediately after her diagnoses Bridget told her husband who’s reaction was cool, calm, and collect. John went and got tested, and too was told he had HIV and Bridget was the reason why.

Both Bridget and John chose not to disclose their HIV status to their families however, once John became adamant about refusing his medication Bridget made the stand alone decision to come clean. After hearing the news Bridget’s brother Lee advised her to confront her husband and ask him of his sexual history with men. Bridget then found emails and web history of her husband’s second lifestyle. Needless to say the two are no longer a pair. Bridget filed for divorce, sued John and won a whopping $12.5 million settlement. John filed bankruptcy so she never received any of her money.

Today Bridget lives on government assistance, but has found a new happiness with a new love interest along with a baby on the way. While I am very happy for Bridget as I was reading several message boards I found that many women were not. Most women found that Bridget’s decision to conceive the natural way was selfish and inhumane. Many of those who had negative comments to say gave the reasoning that Bridget put the life of another individual at risk by knowingly having the disease and still choosing to have unprotected sex. Some also said she was unfit to raise a child because she had HIV and was living on public assistance. While these reasons shocked me, the most shocking and I must say the most ignorant justification for the scrutinization of Bridget’s character was she willingly would be bringing a HIV positive baby into the world.

Out of ignorance, and I use the term ignorant as a lack of knowledge, people were disgracing this women for her actions and for no apparent reason. The same people in fact if they would have taken the time to do just a little research would have known it is possible to give birth through cesarean section so the unborn child does not contract the virus. Bridget also explained on the show that she was on special medication to protect the health of her unborn child. I found it funny how everyone was quick to jump on Bridget’s case when she and her partner both discussed the risk of having unprotected sex and jointly made the decision to conceive a baby. Being as educated of a woman as Bridget was, I’m sure she and her partner sat with their physician to examine every possible outcome.

I am very interested in hearing your thoughts! Do you think women like Bridget are inhumane monsters for wanting to continue living a normal life, or should infected woman live under a rock and forget about ever starting a family they maybe once dreamed of? Please comment below.

For more information on HIV/Aids as well as other STD/STIs please check out planned parenthood.

For more about Bridget’s story check out it here on the oprah.com website.

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