In a particularly dishonest headline, Slate argues that we need to “decriminalize HIV.” Of course, no state has actually criminalized HIV. No one has ever gone to jail for having HIV or AIDS. By arguing that we need to decriminalize something that was never criminalized in the first place, Slate is spreading fake news.
What was actually criminalized is spreading HIV or exposing someone to HIV without a sexual partner’s knowledge or consent. Of course that should be illegal. Even if one argues from a libertarian perspective that there should be absolutely no restrictions on sex between consenting adults if one of them is HIV-positive, it is impossible to have informed consent when one of the partners does not know the HIV status of the other one. It is likely that the person who does not have the fatal disease would not consent to sexual activity if he or she knows that the other person is HIV positive.
The basic premise of libertarian philosophy is that you can do as you please unless you harm someone else. When someone has sex and does not disclose that he (or she) has a lethal sexually transmitted disease, there is harm being done. One could even make the case that it should be illegal for single people with HIV to have sex at all, from a public health standpoint. That is not being argued here: The issue is exposing someone to a lethal virus without his knowledge or consent.
Slate goes to the typical well, whining that the case is about racism and anti-homosexual bigotry. This is not about race or homosexuality. Had it been a white male exposing women to the virus without telling them, it would be every bit as wrong and should also be prosecuted and punished. The issue is that a crime has been committed and someone has been exposed without his knowledge or consent to a lethal virus. This is not a difficult concept for those not immersed in the cult of total sexual anarchy.