The Washington Times-Herald

Community News Network

December 4, 2012

When revealing HIV status turns deadly

(Continued)

"A woman's HIV status can easily be used as a tool for manipulation and coercion," Khanna said. "Maybe her parents, her baby daddy or her landlord [doesn't] know about her status, and so the partner holds that over her head -- threatening to get the courts to take her kids away or make her lose her housing. This creates abusive situations, which, sadly, all too often turn violent."

While the act of disclosure is extremely complicated, by no means is anyone suggesting that HIV-positive people should remain mum about their status.

But the key is for everyone, including HIV/AIDS advocates, to look at the big picture.

Many HIV/AIDS leaders boast that disclosing is empowering and can improve one's health, but Dazon Dixon Diallo, founder and president of SisterLove Inc. in Atlanta, said she believes that this communal message needs nuance.

"We have to encourage disclosure in a way where we say that it has to be careful [and] prudent, and have conversations about where to tell and why to tell," she said. "Because right now we have a serious dilemma. We are fighting against prejudicial and unfair HIV nondisclosure-criminalization laws [that jail people for not disclosing their HIV status to partners]. And yet the HIV-positive people we are trying to protect [would] rather go to jail and not disclose than be killed because they did."

In the end, Bolden's death is another tragic reminder of the constant fear and violence that so many people living with HIV/AIDS, especially black women, face on a daily basis in the United States -- violence that is a direct consequence of the stigma and ignorance that HIV-negative folks create and perpetuate, yet are unwilling to own up to and admit is a problem.

"Cicely Bolden's murder is, for women, what Trayvon Martin is for the black men," says Dixon Diallo. "Another man is going to get off lightly or completely for killing a woman for disclosing her status, and in no day or any country should that be acceptable."

Terrell, an award-winning Chicago-based freelance writer who covers race, gender, health and pop culture, blogs about health for BET.com.

Text Only
Community News Network
  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Inequality crisis shot with factual problems, hypocrisy

    President Obama, various media and political liberals say inequality, of all things, is the defining issue of our times. Yet this message is delivered by multimillionaires and a president who jets from tee time to stump speech on the taxpayer's dime.
     

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement

    A little over a decade ago, federal prosecutors used keystroke logging software to steal the encryption password of an alleged New Jersey mobster, Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., so they could get evidence from his computer to be used at his trial.

    July 25, 2014

  • Russia's war on McDonald's takes aim at the Filet-o-Fish

    Russia said earlier this week that it had no intention of answering Western sanctions by making it harder for Western companies to conduct business in Russia.
    But all bets are off, apparently, when you threaten the Russian waistline.

    July 25, 2014

  • Has the iPad lost its swag?

    July 24, 2014

  • Facebook continues moneymaking trend

    Facebook seems to have figured out - for now at least - the holy grail for all media right now: how to make money selling mobile ads.

    July 24, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    The NCAA once cracked down on colleges that went too far luring top prospects, then it targeted teams that lathered players with special treatment. That was until the NCAA's get-tough approach backfired, rendering it ineffective and creating an opportunity for those who want to play dirty.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police Brutality screen shot. Technology plays key part in battling police brutality (VIDEO)

    Allegations of police brutality are nothing new -- as long as there has been law enforcement, citizens have registered claims that some officers cross the line. But in the last few years, the claims of excessive force are being corroborated with new technology from cell phone cameras, police dash-cams and surveillance videos. 

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo