In a recent interview with Matt Lauer, actor Charlie Sheen disclosed that he is HIV-positive and has been aware of his HIV status for approximately four years. Since Sheen has a well-known sexual legacy and claims to have had sex with 5,000 women, Matt Lauer and the rest of humanity were understandably concerned that Sheen may have infected some of his many partners with HIV over the years.
Lauer asked Sheen pointedly, “Have you, since the time of your diagnosis, told every one of your sexual partners, before you had a sexual encounter, that you were HIV positive?” Sheen said, “Yes, I have.” Lauer: “No exception?” Sheen: “No exception.”
In this exchange, both Lauer and Sheen seem to assume it would be the right thing to inform a potential sexual partner that you are HIV-positive before engaging in sexual activity with him or her. Even if Sheen is not telling the whole truth, he seems to know he should at least publicly insist that he, without exception, told his sexual partners that he was HIV-positive before engaging in sexual activity with them.
Would it surprise you to know that Planned Parenthood disagrees? International Planned Parenthood Federation, of which Planned Parenthood Federation of America is an official affiliate, maintains it is a person’s “human right” not to tell their sexual partners they are HIV positive if they don’t want to.
Go Ahead, Infect People
It’s all laid out in International Planned Parenthood Federation’s booklet for HIV-positive youth entitled “Healthy, Happy and Hot.” It says, “Young people living with HIV have the right to decide if, when, and how to disclose their HIV status.” It continues: “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.”
In other words, Planned Parenthood thinks it’s your human right to risk exposing other people to a potentially deadly disease without telling them. Most of the states in the union disagree with Planned Parenthood. Lauer went on to ask Sheen, “What about criminal charges? In 35 states if you or someone who is HIV positive…have sex with someone else without divulging it, you can be charged with a crime.” Sheen said he understands.
But fortunately for him, International Planned Parenthood Federation is working to change that. “Healthy, Happy and Hot” explains, “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.”
The pamphlet then gives tips to protect oneself from criminalization, and does say that the best way to protect yourself (which is apparently more important than protecting your partner) is to tell your partner that you are infected before you have sex. This section ends with the statement, “Get involved in advocacy to change laws that violate your rights.” It appears that, according to Planned Parenthood, Sheen’s right to have sex trumps his partners’ right to live. That should give him some peace of mind.
Also, Impair Your Sexual Judgment
Furthermore, to the Charlie Sheens of the world, take heart. Your days of sexual indulgence are far from over. Planned Parenthood’s booklet says, “There are lot’s (sic) of people who don’t mind whether their partner(s) is HIV negative or positive,” that it’s your right to “experience sexual pleasure” and that “you’ve done nothing wrong.” So don’t bother with any of that I’m-going-to-change-my-life rhetoric, Charlie. Don’t change! You’ve done nothing wrong!
Finally, Lauer was understandably concerned that Sheen’s drinking and drug use might affect his ability to take his medication regularly and to make responsible sexual choices that may affect his health and the health of others. He asked Sheen’s doctor, “Are you worried that in an impaired state, that Charlie will simply lapse in taking his medication? It impairs your judgement. Can he be trusted to continue to take that medicine on a regular basis if he continues to drink and perhaps do drugs?” Then Lauer said to Sheen directly: “You need to stop drinking.” Good job, Matt. You had the guts to say what everybody was thinking.
Everybody except Planned Parenthood, that is. Here is the “Healthy, Happy and Hot” advice on alcohol and drug consumption for HIV-positive youth: “Some people have sex when they have been drinking alcohol or using drugs. This is your choice. Being drunk or high can affect the decisions you might make about sex and safer sex. If you want to have sex and think you might get drunk or high, plan ahead by bringing condoms and lube or putting them close to where you usually have sex.”
It then gives this sound advice: “It’s not okay to have sex with someone who is so drunk or high that they are staggering, incoherent or have passed out.” Good on you, Planned Parenthood. Way to take a moral stand for what’s right.
So, Charlie Sheens of the world, rejoice. Planned Parenthood doesn’t think you should have to tell your partners that having sex with you might kill them, they want you to keep having sex no matter what because it is your human right, and they don’t mind if you do drugs and drink while you do it. And through their expansive sex-education programs, they want to fashion the rising generation of school children in Sheen’s image.
In fact, if Planned Parenthood is looking for a new poster child, I know just the guy. Looks like, after 5,000 tries, Sheen may have finally found his soul mate.