Dan Savage’s Modest Proposal

Dan Savage proposes a new way to curb self-destructive sex:

[M]y radical plan to curb unsafe sex among gay men is modeled on a successful program that encourages sexual responsibility among straight men: child-support payments. If the state can go after deadbeat dads and make them pay child support why can’t it go after deadbeat infectors and make them pay drug support? Now that would be radical. Infect someone with HIV out of malice or negligence and the state will come after you for half the cost of the meds the person you infected is going to need.

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9 thoughts on “Dan Savage’s Modest Proposal

  1. Apartment 604

    Sounds nice, but there’s one big difference between knocking somebody up and transmitting HIV: a DNA test can prove exactly who the father is, and at that point, it doesn’t matter how many other men the mother slept with. But if a gay man has had multiple partners and contracts HIV, how’s he going to prove in court exactly who gave him the virus? Talk about some interesting courtroom dramas . . .

  2. mark

    Dan Savage and I had a lengthy email conversation going back and forth after he posted that. Pray to god he doesn’t post any of it. I agreed with him on many points, disagreed with him on a few. I believe people should be held accountable for maliciously infecting someone, but it also takes two to tango. How would something like this be regulated?

    I’m sure there are other circumstances such as a couple who one thinks they’re in a monogamous relationship, when in fact his lover is out cheating and brings home the disease. It makes you NOT want to trust anyone you’re with.

  3. Andy

    Yep – logistics is when it all falls apart. I wonder if the new strains coming out mean a flashback to the 80s.

  4. Joe.My.God.

    I’ve torn apart Dan Savage’s idea on many forum and blogs (including Mark’s Zeitzuge). So, to repeat…..

    I’m a huge fan of his, but as I’ve said, aside from being utterly impossible to implement, his article further stigmatizes poz men (who are NOT all barebacking, despite what many people think).

    Additionally, this “new strain” is only a single case, with many unknown components, not the least of which is whether and how much the patient’s meth addication maybe have accelerated his decline. Rapid transition from infection to full blown AIDS is not entirely unknown, btw.

    Co-infection (re-infection, super-infection) has never been proven, and many AIDS educators have discarded that scare tactic as a prevention tool. This newest round of chicken little may only further erode the credibility of the prevention campaign.

    There are many many reasons that unsafe sex occurs, and as has been noted elsewhere, if this IS indeed a new strain of HIV, it is a testament to the adherence to safe sex by most gay men that it has taken this many years to appear at all.

  5. Alan

    Well, with all due respect to Joe above, simply because a “super strain” has not happened, doesn’t mean it won’t. It will. Definitely. The drugs being used are simply selecting for stronger strains. This isn’t hype, it’s how evolution works — kill off the weak strains, and only the strong survive.

    Yeah, Dan’s idea is unworkable, and he admits that. He also (in new his column this week) goes to great lengths to point out that he’s NOT talking about all people with HIV/AIDS. He’s discussing the type of person who knows they are infected, and goes out for a weekend of bareback sex anyway. Unfortunately, because his proposal is a little silly, everyone is discussing that, rather than the REAL point of his article: that we need to do something different. Why are we still using the same strategy (“Just say no”) to combat AIDS which has failed so miserably in the Drug War? I think his real point is that we need new weapons in our arsenal, and finding ways to increase a sense of personal responsibility — even if it’s a stick, not a carrot — may not be such a bad thing.

  6. Rebecca Cantrell

    I think what we need to do different is to discuss sex and love addiction in a more honest way in the GLBT community. It seems that people are afraid of playing into the stereotypes straight people have about us and so they call it a “mental health issue” (as in this months Advocate). Most people who have unprotected sex at the risk of their lives are probably sex addicts and they need to treated for their addiction before they can stop acting out. I see ads for condoms and safe sex all the time but rarely any mention of sex addiction. I wonder if any of these so called social scientists are even studying the problem.

  7. James Allison

    Dan Savage is an idiot who doesn’t even understand the harm he’s doing by going on public radio and blathering about how the government is giving out free AIDS meds to gay men for the asking, nor how he’s playing into the radical right’s agenda to focus AIDS prevention public policy on those already infected, who know they are infected, while ignoring the majority of people responsible for spreading the virus – the ones who DON’T know they have it. DUH! Dan should be made an honorary gay repbublican for his contribution to the cause.

  8. Huerequeque

    When will the day come when people can see through an act like his? Every single one of his theatrical little numbers smells of an ill-conceived, predetermined character. A Goucher student or something equally as gross. The “apparently” enraged, somewhat informed type reacting against the stability provided to him. I wonder if his brother was some kind of star athlete.

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