In an article titled “Stop Stigmatizing HIV-Positive Sex,” VICE LGBTQ writer John Walker defends Charlie Tredway – a gay HIV-positive man who recently came under fire for allegedly promoting condomless sex.
Tredway recently won the title of Mr. Gay New Zealand. His celebration was short-lived, however, when internet users linked him to an account on a “barebacking” website.
The New Zealand Herald subsequently published an editorial stating, “it is disappointing that the new Mr. Gay New Zealand, Charlie Tredway, has sent a message which threatens to undermine the clear and consistent advice that [the] very best health experts in New Zealand and overseas have conveyed over a number of years.”
The Herald goes on to blast Tredway and the NZ Aids Foundation – his employer – for arguing that advancements in AIDS treatment have made the disease “virtually non-infectious.”
“This does not square with the constant advice of the Ministry of Health, or of medical experts in the field overseas, which is to practice safe sex,” counters The Herald.
Indeed, according to New Zealand’s Ministry of Health website, “using condoms and water-based lubricant correctly every time you have vaginal or anal sex reduces the risk of getting HIV by around 95%.”
Vice soon rushed to Charlie Tredway’s aid, arguing that the backlash he’s facing “is a reminder that our cultural baggage surrounding HIV is as heavy as ever.”
The article goes on to quote Anti-Violence Project co-director Darlene Torres, who says “stigma can easily become violence.”
“The point is to dehumanize a person,” she continues. “The shame is intentional, and the message is that they [people with HIV] are dirty, shouldn’t exist or have a life of happiness, safety or respect.”
Following news of Vice’s defensive play, social media appears to be abuzz with criticism of the implication that stigmatization of HIV is bad.
— Cate (@pistachiochick) March 9, 2017
— Scottie Owens (@Oriana_Orisha) March 9, 2017
— J.Daisho (@JDaisho) March 9, 2017
@polNewsNetwork1 Everyday I’m more and more convinced Liberals do what they do because they want to destroy everything
— Vlad le Putin (@VladlePutin) March 10, 2017
— Y.B. Fishel (@ybfishel) March 10, 2017
@polNewsNetwork1 While you are at it, play a few games of Russian Roulette between trying to catch HIV.
— John Malone (@Jlone7us) March 10, 2017
@polNewsNetwork1 I’m going to continue my 35 year streak of being AIDS free, thanks no thanks Vice.
— Pepe Trump (@pepe_trumpster) March 10, 2017
— Time to Stop (@YUMadM8) March 10, 2017
@polNewsNetwork1 wait. but aids is bad why are we saying it’s good THE WHOLE POINT OF LIFE IS TO CURE AIDS
— Kevin Vexerzo????️???? (@KevinVexerzo) March 10, 2017