I think we can all agree that this is a pretty lousy HIV-prevention strategy:
He said that every time they had sex, he asked Boone if he was HIV-positive, and that every time, Boone said no.
It turns out that Steven Paul Boone was lying. Boone was HIV-positive, he knew it, and he knowingly put his partner—the person so careful to ask Boone about his HIV-status "every time" they had sex—at risk of HIV infection. Boone's partner got tested after he was informed by a mutual friend that Boone was infected with HIV. When confronted, Boone told his partner that he didn't disclose his HIV-status because he "was scared" and feared rejection if he disclosed his HIV-status. So, you know, what other choice did Boone have but to have unprotected anal intercourse, as a top, with this guy, again and again, until the other guy was infected too?
Boone was arrested after his partner went to the police and Boone's picture was released so that other men who might have had sex with Boone—Boone had sex ads up on various gay websites—could get tested. Boone has been charged with nine counts of aggravated sexual assault and could face more charges if other men come forward. Boone's case has stirred up a huge controversy in Canada about the criminalization of HIV transmission. And while this report claims that the gay community holds "diverse opinions" about prosecuting HIV-positive people who fail to disclose to sex partners, both of the gay people quoted in the story hold pretty much the same opinion: prosecuting Boone is wrong, releasing his picture is wrong, criminalizing HIV transmission is wrong.
Ottawan Michael Burtch said the city’s gay community has diverse opinions on the issue, but that for his part, he doesn’t believe in transmission criminalization.... Burtch said the saddest thing about cases such as Boone’s is that it often discourages people in the gay community from getting tested. “Who wants the responsibility of being HIV-positive and being branded a criminal?” Burtch said everyone needs to take responsibility when it comes to safe sex, and that it takes two to tango.
We've been hearing that one since the HIV test was first developed: no one is allowed to complain about getting infected during consensual unprotected sex even if he was lied to or mislead because, hey, it takes two to tango. (Um... doesn't the deceit nullify the consent?) Or as this immoral piece of shit—excuse me, as this "commenter"—at Queerty puts it:
If you choose to have sex with a stranger and NOT INSIST on a condom—you have no one else but your self to blame. If you won't look after yourself, don't expect others too.
So the person Boone infected—the one who went to the police—is solely to blame for his infection because he chose to have sex without insisting on condoms. He has no one to blame but himself. And Boone is absolved of any and all responsibility for his actions because... um... well, because. Because it's every man for himself out there. And if Boone prefers to blow loads in guys' asses without using condoms, and if he can con someone into letting him, hey, more power to him.
Do you agree with that? Do you agree that a guy has to look out himself, that he shouldn't expect someone he barely knows to protect him, and that if he gets infected because he failed to insist on condoms, he's solely to blame for his infection? Would it change your mind if you knew that Boone was 29 and his partner—the person he infected—was 17?
The "gay community" is probably right to oppose the criminalization of HIV transmission. Anything that discourages testing and disclosure is arguably counterproductive. (Although Boone is in trouble for failing to disclose, not for disclosing, his HIV-status.) But the gay community has to come up with a better response to cases like this than to throw up our bloody hands and say, "Well, hey, it takes two to tango." Yes, it takes two to tango. And it doesn't take much to manipulate vulnerable 17-year-olds into having unprotected sex. And there are malicious predators out there, some of them HIV-positive, and telling a newly-HIV-infected 17-year-old that he alone is responsible for his infection is to blame the victim. Yes, that kid should've known better. He shouldn't have trusted Boone, he shouldn't have taken, "No, I'm not infected," for an answer, and he should've insisted on condoms. But he was 17. And what was Boone? Very likely a monster:
A profile belonging to username BarebackRocker, created in 2007, features photographs of Boone, who lists his age as 29, his location as Ottawa, and, interestingly, openly discloses his HIV status as positive. In a section where users are asked to describe themselves, the user invites HIV-negative men "to the front of the line."
Boone was a HIV-positive guy aroused by the idea of infecting an HIV-negative guy. And he got his hands on this kid and did just that. Boone is the type of person the "gay community" should condemn. We certainly shouldn't be making excuses for him. Or blaming his victims.