Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Michael Johnson sentenced 30 Years for HIV exposure

The story of Michael Johnson is truly sad and yet, very telling of how we view HIV and men of color.

He was student who known as "Tiger Mandingo" to many men he met online. In these sexual encounters, no condom was used and later he was infected with HIV. Some of these men (all White) claimed that he lied about his status. Michael said that they lied and never asked him anything. In fact, they demanded to bareback with him.

After he was reported to the police, Michael was convicted on one count of recklessly infecting another with HIV, three counts of attempting to recklessly expose another to HIV, and one count of recklessly exposing another to HIV. Yesterday, Michael was sentenced to 30 years in prison for infecting and exposing sex partners to HIV.

He's only 23.

I believe there's more to this story and while Michael isn't innocent, the men involved should be also held accountable. I can't truly articulate how I feel about this because there's a lot roaming in my head. Michael faced a lot issues in his life that made he questioned everything he was. These men used him and when there was a price to pay, they quickly turned against him. Again, Michael isn't innocent, but to punish him like this is wrong.

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Viktor is a small town southern boy living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Twitter, writing about pop culture, politics, and comics. He’s the creator of the graphic novel StrangeLore and currently getting back into screenwriting.