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Right Intention: I just can't feel sorry for this person

Sunday, October 10, 2004

I just can't feel sorry for this person

On the last page of the Sunday New York Sunday Times magazine is a column called "Lives". Today's was about a 59 year old man that has had multiple sex partners continuously over the years and refers to "partying" the entire time (which in the context of this article I took to mean unprotected sex).

He was diagnosed with HIV after one of his partners died of AIDS. Seven years later he got a call to say that the positive diagnosis was incorrect. He returned for another test and he was in fact negative, having never been positive in the first place.

While he thought he was HIV positive he was ostracized by many "friends that I had sexual relations with". His family, which had never been supportive, gave him a hard time and life generally sucked.

Well, now he's "mad as hell". And he's suing the doctor. Because he doesn't have AIDS.

Is it me? or is there something desperately wrong with this picture? We're asked to accept the concept of suing a doctor that made a mistake, while simultaneously feeling sorry for someone that spent decades having multiple sex partners and unprotected sex. I have a very, very tough time relating to the anger of someone whose behavior is so awful and so reckless.

The "protagonist" of this story happens to be gay, but my revulsion with the story would be the same if he was straight.


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