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Monday, August 16, 2010

Healthy, Happy, Hot, and On Trial

Remember the "Healthy, Happy, and Hot" controversy earlier this year? Let me refresh your memory: a group of Girl Scouts were attending a United Nations event. The parents were kicked out of the room and, without any parental permission, the girls received a Planned Parenthood booklet called "Healthy, Happy, and Hot." It's still on the Planned Parenthood website, if you're interested. But this is the "best part":
Young people living with HIV have the right to decide if, when, and how to disclose their HIV status. Sharing your HIV status is called disclosure. Your decision about whether to disclose may change with different people and situations. You have the right to decide if, when, and how to disclose your HIV status.

Safer sex is a shared responsibility. When you share your HIV status, you and your partner(s) can work together to make your sex life safe and pleasurable!
And when you don't share your HIV status, you can endanger your partner's health and life! Woohoo! Of course, Planned Parenthood valuing privacy over human lives is nothing new.

Did I mention that negligently infecting someone with HIV can be a crime?
An HIV-positive German pop singer went on trial on Monday accused of failing to tell sexual partners about her condition, causing one of them to become infected.

Nadja Benaissa, 28, former singer in the girl band No Angels, is charged with causing grevious bodily harm and attempted bodily harm, a court spokesman told CNN.

Benaissa had unprotected sex on five occasions between 2000 and 2004 with three people and did not tell them she was infected, Agence France-Presse reported the charge sheet as saying. She had allegedly known her status since 1999.
The reason she didn't disclose her HIV status, she says, was that "she believed there was little chance of her passing on the virus and did not want it made public because of the harm it might cause her daughter and the band." If Planned Parenthood has come to Ms Benaissa's defense, I'm not aware of it.

Perhaps that's just because she's expressed too much remorse for Planned Parenthood's taste. In court, she declared that she is "sorry from the heart." I have no way to know the sincerity of Ms Benaissa's apology, but I'll give her the benefit of the doubt. Planned Parenthood, on the other hand, apparently believes that she was simply exercising her "sexual rights" and has nothing for which to apologize.

Interestingly, although she's now 28, Ms Benaissa was not much older than a Girl Scout at the time of the alleged offense: just 17 years old (plus nine).

20 comments:

Michelle Ye Zhang said...

PP's idea of disclosure seems to be a trend.

http://www.aidsmap.com/page/1424402/

gerardnadal said...

Great article!! You capture the essence of these killers at bP;anned Parenthood. Mind if I share this one?

secularprolife.org said...

Go right ahead, Gerard.

Ginny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ginny said...

"Young people living with HIV have the right to decide if, when, and how to disclose their HIV status"

The exerpt you take from the pamphlet is not referring specifically to disclosure within a sexual relationship. When it comes to within a sexual relationship, the pamphlet expands on why it is important and how to go about telling your partner and how to protect yourself (and your partner).

You denounce PP for providing this information and advice to young people living with HIV? You would rather they not?

Michelle Ye Zhang said...

@ Ginny

IFPP fights AGAINST disclosure laws. Their belief is that if you are using protection, then you DO NOT have to disclose right away that you are HIV positive. That you have THE RIGHT to wait until when you are ready, which can be after you've already started having sex with your partner.

secularprolife.org said...

"The exerpt you take from the pamphlet is not referring specifically to disclosure within a sexual relationship."

Yes, it is. Keep reading the excerpt; I did not cut and paste those two paragraphs from different places. Read in context, Planned Parenthood is saying exactly what Michelle just explained.

Ginny said...

Really Michelle? Because that's hardly the message they are sending out with this:

"Safer sex is a shared responsibility. When you share your HIV status, you and your partner(s) can work together to make your sex life safe and pleasurable"

Actually it's really too bad this woman didn't have access to this pamphlet from PP. If she had, she would have known that there is indeed danger of passing on the HIV virus through unprotected sex and would have provided her with information of how to protect herself and her partner.

So rather than condemning PP for this pamphlet, you should be applauding them for their efforts. Hopefully it will stop another young woman from making the same mistake

Ginny said...

"Yes, it is. Keep reading the excerpt; I did not cut and paste those two paragraphs from different places."

Keep reading the entire pamphlet, secular... and my reply to Michelle

secularprolife.org said...

Ginny, I don't think you quite understand my point. I am not saying that Planned Parenthood WANTS people to hide their HIV status. They would agree that telling your partner that you are HIV-positive before having sex is a good idea.

But that's all it is to them-- a good idea. It isn't a responsibility. When it comes down to it, they're saying that if you'd rather not tell your partner about the risk, it's your body and your choice. You have the RIGHT to not tell your partner.

SecularProLife.org is not one of those abstinence-only outfits. We actually have a comprehensive sex ed outreach. But we cannot get behind any literature or organization that thinks you have a bogus "right" to put your partner at risk for HIV/AIDS.

Ginny said...

"But that's all it is to them-- a good idea. It isn't a responsibility. When it comes down to it, they're saying that if you'd rather not tell your partner about the risk, it's your body and your choice. You have the RIGHT to not tell your partner."

Actually, that's not true. Read my excerpt above to Michelle. They clearly stayed it is a SHARED RESPONSIBILITY.

PP does not want people to hide their HIV status. They say it is up to them when, how and if they disclose it, in general, to people. They go on to say that when it comes to your sexual partner it is a shared responsibility and then they go on to give tips on how to tell your partner and how to engage in safer sex.

Bottom line this pamphlet could have helped this singer and her partner. You are wrong to condemn it, especially in this case.

And I appreciate that you are not a fundy christian, anti-contraception, abstinence-only prolife blog. But you are prolife, and inasmuch are against any work that PP does.Hardly objective about this.

secularprolife.org said...

On page 6, Planned Parenthood unambigiously comes out against requiring HIV-positive people to tell their partners before sex. They call it a violation of a RIGHT to not disclose. (They call it the right "to decide whether to disclose," but it makes no practical difference.)

There is just no other way to interpret that. A throwaway line to "shared responsibility" cannot excuse such an extreme position.

Ginny said...

"On page 6, Planned Parenthood unambigiously comes out against requiring HIV-positive people to tell their partners before sex. They call it a violation of a RIGHT to not disclose."

False.

Show us where this supposedly is on page 6.

secularprolife.org said...

Page six going by the page numbers in the bottom corners. Going by the pdf page numbers, it's page 8. Sorry if there was any confusion.

If you're reading the correct page and just not seeing the message, then I don't know what to tell you.

Ginny said...

Still FALSE.

There is nothing there on either page to support your claim that "PP unambiguously comes out against requiring HIV-positive people to tell there partners before sex. They call it a violation of a right to not disclose".

Pull this supposed excerpt from the page for us.

Ginny said...

See, you can't support your claim Secular.

PP actually encourages sexually active HIV positive people to engage in safer sex. They tell people this is a joint responsibility. They encourage people to get tested. They educate them on risks and how to avoid them. They advise them on how to tell their partners. They encourage them to tell their partners.

PP may not agree with making non-disclosure to sexual partners a crminal offense. But this is not because they don't think they should disclose their HIV status. On the contrary, they think making it a crime, is reactionary and will stop people from being tested and telling their partners for fear of prosecution.

I can see how you are opposed to PP because they are an abortion provider. But do not condemn them for this pamphlet. Their goal here is to reduce the spread of HIV by educating people, and to help those living with HIV enjoy sex safely and to feel better about themselves. Your friends over at Jill Stanek's may oppose this, but you don't.

darkcougar555 said...

OK, I just read all pages from that link, and it look like you made a small mistake. But those words are still there, they're on 5th page out of 20th page. Not 6th page, or 8th. The title could be easy to find by read "Sexual Pleasure and Well-Being", through the page was labeled as 3rd page at the bottom on the right side.

--- --- ---

"Sexual Pleasure and Well being"

"You know best if and when it is safe
for you to disclose your status.

There are many reasons that people
do not share their HIV status. They
may not want people to know they
are living with HIV because of
stigma and discrimination within
their community. They may worry
that people will find out something
else they have kept secret, like they
are using injecting drugs, having
sex outside of a marriage or having
sex with people of the same gender.
People in long-term relationships
who find out they are living with HIV
sometimes fear that their partner
will react violently or end the
relationship."

"Young people living with HIV have
the right to decide if, when, and
how to disclose their HIV status"

"Sharing your HIV status is called
disclosure. Your decision about whether to
disclose may change with different people
and situations. You have the right to
decide if, when, and how to disclose your
HIV status."

"Safer sex is a shared responsibility. When
you share your HIV status, you and your
partner(s) can work together to make your
sex life pleasurable and safe! Many young
people who are living with HIV or have a
partner who is living with HIV find that
they get the most sexual pleasure when
they know that they are having sex as
safely as possible."

--- --- ---

From www dot ippf dot org

That is all. OK, I now read your blog. Somehow I find it is hard to believe they said it like that. Sound not so cool to me. =\

darkcougar555 said...

Never mind again; I now realize you actually referred to the laws and something. I see those words are still on either 6th on the book or 8th page out of 20th.

----- --- ----- --- -----

"Some countries have laws that violate the right of young people living with HIV to decide whether to disclose. Young people living with HIV can take steps to protect themselves."

"Some countries have laws that say people
living with HIV must tell their sexual
partner(s) about their status before having
sex, even if they use condoms or only
engage in sexual activity with a low risk
of giving HIV to someone else. These laws
violate the rights of people living with HIV
by forcing them to disclose or face the
possibility of criminal charges."

"Strategies to protect yourself:

• Find out the specific laws in your country, visit www.gnpplus.net/criminalisation/ and
read Verdict on a Virus (IPPF, GNP+, ICW) www.ippf.org/en/Resources/Guides-toolkits/
Verdict+on+a+virus.htm or speak to your service providers or local support group.

• Open communication and trust are important for healthy relationships. At the same
time, it is also wise to take steps to protect yourself from criminalization. The best
way to protect yourself is to share your status with your partner(s) before becoming
intimate (including kissing, oral sex or full penetrative vaginal and anal sex). New laws
criminalising the transmission and exposure of HIV to others are based on whether the
person living with HIV has disclosed their HIV-positive status to their partner(s) or kept
it hidden. If you have disclosed to your partner, it could be a good idea to keep 'proof'
that you have told your partner about your HIV status.

• Demonstrate that you have taken steps to reduce the chances of your partner(s)
becoming infected. This includes choosing lower risk sexual activities, using condoms
consistently and adhering to your treatment (if you are on ART).

• Get involved in advocacy to change laws that violate your rights. Contact your local
network of people living with HIV."

----- ----- ----- ----- -----

What I understand is people with HIV don't have to tell their partners about their personal healthy issue. It seems it's totally up to them if they want to tell their lovers or not... I can understand what it mean: "[. . .] others are based on whether the
person living with HIV has disclosed their HIV-positive status to their partner(s) or kept
it hidden.
"

It seems so clear to me... But I don't agree with criminalizing people with HIV...

Ginny said...

Thanks darkcougar I see that now. PP is in fact against disclosure laws, but that does not mean it is against disclosure. On the contrary they promote it.

Michelle Ye Zhang said...

@ Ginny

I agree. I never said they are against disclosure. Of course they encourage it and that's a positive for them. But I absolutely disagree with them fighting against disclosure laws. That's what I don't like about this or the pamphlet.

I think we just had a misunderstanding, but it seems to be sorted now. :)