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Dear Abby Schools Reader on HIV Transmission

Dear Abby Schools Reader on HIV Transmission


The advice columnist explains infection risks.

Advice columnist Dear Abby recently set readers straight once again.  An Indiana woman wrote to Abby concerned that an old friend of hers, who is HIV-positive, had unprotected sex without revealing her status to partners in the past.

"She says she loves these men, their families, and their children," she writes. "It makes me sick that she's killing them." 

The woman also told the columnnist that another person told the woman's doctor of her behavior and that the poz woman had told her doctor she was informing her partners. 

"What can be done so she quits spreading this disease?" she writes under the handle "She's Killing Them in Indiana."

But Abby is quick to pump the breaks on the hysteria by calmly explaining to the writer that she spoke to an expert and that while she believes what her friend is doing is morally incorrect by not disclosing her status (and sidenote: possibly illegal), it is unlikely the woman is spreading HIV if she's taking her meds. 

"Her chances of passing it on are far less than they were years ago," Abby said, passing on information from health expert Mervyn Silverman. 

Abby also wrote that if these men had contracted HIV they could have passed it on to their wives, who would have discovered the disease when they were pregnant. 

Abby closed out with the following: 

"You need to talk to your friend and explain that this is both a health issue and one of morality. If she's continuing to have unprotected sex with her partners, there is still some potential risk that she could pass along the virus. So if she truly loves anyone but herself, she will get with the program and be honest about her health status." 

We're on the fence about Abby's closing advice. Sure, it's always a good idea to be open with your partners about your health status and using protection. On the other, we don't know why this woman doesn't tell her partners and if she's in treatment the odds of her transmitting the disease is almost zero, so is it anyone's business?

What are your thoughts? 


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