I was reading over Rich's Whose HIV Is It, Anyway?: Tiger Mandingo and Viral Responsibility and one thing that jumped out at me was the racial politics behind sex and HIV.

In particular this really stood out;

A study published in the journal AIDS and Behavior, looked at 10 years of HIV prosecutions in Nashville. It found that "Persons who were black were more likely to be convicted of criminal HIV exposure related to a sexual interaction than persons who were white," and that "individuals who were black received significantly longer sentences than those who were white."

Rich didn't elaborate anymore on race and I wish he would have, because its obvious that race should play a huge part in this discussion.

This also stood out to me;

"I let him come in me," the student said. He wanted bareback sex, he said, because Johnson was "huge," "only my third black guy," and — as he said Johnson told him yet again — "clean."

Well. There is a lot to unpack in that statement in regards to racial fetishization (that's a whole different discussion), but its obvious that race was a factor in this person's decision to bareback.


HIV transmission very often becomes racialized. Its portrayed as something closely related with being Black or effecting Black people. I don't think that its a coincidence that this case involving a Black man has become so well known. Even though Black men have disproportionate rates of HIV, White MSM (men who have sex with men) still have the highest (raw) numbers of new HIV infections every year. [ETA: I've looked at other statistics, and depending on the source and year, White MSM and Black MSM have approximately the same numbers] Discussion of the criminalization of HIV transmission cannot be talked about without talking about race and how Black people find themselves disproportionately on the "wrong" side of the criminal justice system.